Queridos amigos, we have two brand-new episodes to share!
On the air this past weekend we debated, among many other things, whether there was a difference in meaning between gray and grey.
Martha insists that there is and she’s not the only one. Grant, on the other hand, agrees with this curious note from the Oxford English Dictionary:
Many correspondents said that they used the two forms with a difference of meaning or application: the distinction most generally recognized being that grey denotes a more delicate or a lighter tint than gray. Others considered the difference to be that gray is a ‘warmer’ colour, or that it has a mixture of red or brown. […] As the word is both etymologically and phonetically one, it is undesirable to treat its graphic forms as differing in signification.
Two weekends ago, we talked about the wide variety of terms for a heavy downpour, as in raining cats and dogs, pitchforks, hoe handles, bullfrogs, chair legs, ropes, husbands, and we don’t know what all.
Here’s a tiny screenshot of our new website, which should be launching by the end of June. That’s all until you get our email next week!
Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin
• Ray Bradbury’s touching note about how a library made a difference for him. “You can imagine how exciting it was to do a book about book burning in the very presence of the hundreds of my beloveds on the shelves.”
• Iftah, yaa simsim! @melizzamartinez asked on Twitter about “open sesame.” We pointed her to Magic Words: A Dictionary by Craig Conley, who writes about the possibilities. The best seems to be that sesame seeds were associated with magic and power simply because of the value of their natural oil.
“As a pass phrase the words may qualify as the ‘worst-kept secret,’ but their power has not diminished. […] The literature attests that open sesame demands respect. It is simply the thing one says when faced with an obstacle.”
Here’s an 1895 version of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, from which open sesame comes.
And, finally, check out our “open sesame” inquirer’s baking blog. Yum!
Peace and love,
Martha and Grant
Clearly Ambiguous. Used under a Creative Commons license.