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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

The Oxcars Quiz

In honor of the 2011 Academy Awards, Quiz Guy Greg Pliska offers his own puzzle version, The Oxcars. The trick is that the nominees for Best Picture at the Oxcars have the same titles as this year’s real nominees for the Oscar, but with one...

Pardon Our French

South African English is a rich mix of Afrikaans, English, and indigenous languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. Martha and Grant discuss some favorite terms from that part of the world, including lekker, diski, and ubuntu. Also, where’d we get the...

Hurt Locker Etymology

The 2010 winner of the “Best Picture” Oscar has a Seattle woman wondering about the term hurt locker. Ben Zimmer wrote about it recently in his column at the Visual Thesaurus and we talk about it, too. Here’s the searing poem by...

Official Names Puzzle

Puzzle Dude John Chaneski has a quiz about the unofficial terms for familiar things that have less familiar official names. “The Academy Awards of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” for example, are unofficially...