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To Have Not a Scooby Doo

On The Great British Baking Show (its US name; it’s called the Great British Bake Off in the UK, but bake-off is trademarked in the US), a contestant confessed he had not a Scooby Doo about how to make a particular recipe. By that he meant he...

Butter My Biscuits

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s another newsletter from A Way with Words. Given how often we talk about food words, we should write a cookbook. For example, this past weekend’s show was a leftover — a rebroadcast, a rerun, a re...

Slang This with Jack Lynch

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant is literary historian Jack Lynch, author of The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of ‘Proper’ English, from Shakespeare to South Park. He tries to guess the meaning of...

Slang This! with Beagle-Chased

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant from the National Puzzlers’ League tries to pick out the real slang terms from a puzzle that includes the expressions beagle-chased, green-shifted, kiln-fired, and shovel-ready. This is...