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Da Vinci Riddle

In Leonardo da Vinci, biographer Walter Isaacson notes that da Vinci was fond of riddles, including this one: Winged creatures will support people with their feathers. This is part of a complete episode.

Get the Goody Out

Amelia in Arlington, Virginia, was surprised to hear her wife, who is from Iowa, use the phrase getting the goody out to describe someone sporting a well-worn pair of sweatpants, indicating that they were continuing to get the most out of that...

Have to Eat a Peck of Dirt

Andrew from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, recalls a phrase his grandmother used: You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die. A peck is a unit of dry measure equal to a quarter of a bushel. Peck is also a term of approximate measure, as in to...

Why Are Some Competitions “Heats”?

Why do we use the word heat to denote a preliminary qualifying race? Hundreds of years ago, a single instance of heating something such as a piece of metal over a fire for metalworking was called a heat. Later that term was applied to “a round...