Ready for some crazy crossword clues? The hosts discuss some clever ones, like “hula hoop?” (3 letters). Also, is the correct term jury-rigged or jerry-rigged? Why are Marines called gyrenes? When someone points out the obvious, do you say “duh!” or do you say “no duh”? And what, pray tell, is in a cannibal sandwich?

This episode first aired Nov. 8, 2010.

Download the MP3.

 Clever Crossword Clues
Grant shares some diabolically clever crossword clues. Have at ’em: Hula hoop? (3 letters). A city in Czechoslovakia? (Four letters). Want to try more? Check out the clues at Clever Clue of the Month and The New York Times Cute Clues.

 Regional Cannibal Sandwich
Hankering for a cannibal sandwich? An Appleton, Wisconsin, woman has fond memories of raw ground round steak on top of rye bread, topped with salt, pepper, and onion. She wonders if it’s a regional dish.

When someone points out the blindingly obvious, a listener might respond with “duh!” There are other options, too, including no duh!, doy!, and der! Grant creates an online survey to find out which terms people tend to use.

 Cotton Candy Homophone
If you’re not yet old enough to understand homophones, you can wind up with some funny misunderstandings. Martha shares a listener’s story about avoiding cotton candy as a child, fearing that it was literally made of cotton.

 Literary Character Quiz
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a literature quiz based on descriptions of characters in novels.

Something that’s repaired in a makeshift, haphazard fashion, is said to be jury-rigged. Martha discusses the expression’s likely nautical origin and Grant tells how a different term, jerry-built, led to the variation jerry-rigged.

 More Crossword Clues
Crazy crossword clues, Round 2: “Letters from your parents”? (3 letters) and “Sound elicited by an electric can opener” (5 letters).

An officer from Camp Pendleton is curious about gyrene, a slang term for “Marine.” Grant says it may derive from the Greek word for “tadpole.”

 A Little Hoarse
Martha relates a story from a listener in Valdosta, Georgia, about her four-year-old’s misunderstanding of a homophone in her expression “a little hoarse.”

 Unicode 6
Need to type something in Linear B or Mayan? Want to make Japanese emoticons? Now you can. Grant explains why the release of Unicode 6 has many typescript aficionados doing the happy dance.

 Non-Native Speaker Idioms
When speakers of foreign languages try to adapt their own idioms into English, the results can be poetic, if not downright puzzling. A Dallas listener shares some favorite examples from his Italian-born wife, including “I can put my hand to the fire,” and “The watermelon isn’t always red on the inside.”

 Two Crazy Crossword Clues
Crazy crossword clues, Round 3: Cover of the Bible? (2 words). Source of relief? (7 letters).

When did the word slick become a positive word meaning “cool” or “excellent”?

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by Scott Anderson. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Sock Monkey The Sugarman 3 Sugar’s Boogaloo Desco Records
Hippy Skippy Moon Strut Mighty Show Stoppers Hippy Skippy Moon Strut Freestyle Records
Three Little Words Willis Jackson and Jack McDuff Together Again! Prestige Records, Inc
Coffee Provider The New Mastersounds Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds One Note Records
Insurrection The Soul Jazz Orchestra Freedom No Go Die Funk Manchu Records
Be Yourself The New Mastersounds Be Yourself One Note Records
To’ Gether Willis Jackson and Jack McDuff Together Again! Prestige Records, Inc
65 Bars and a Taste of Soul The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band Together Warner Brothers
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book Verve
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