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Ken Jennings: Not-So-Trivial Pursuits

Grant interviews Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings about the grueling nature of TV quiz shows, the fine art of writing trivia questions, the special challenges of competing in European quiz contests, and how it feels to answer incorrectly.

Best Practice with Dashes

An Episcopal priest in Toledo worries that her sermons are cluttered with dashes. This works just fine when she’s preaching, but when the same text appears on her church’s website, it looks like a messy tangle of words and punctuation...

fix-it ticket

fix-it ticket  n.— «Apparently, in most states, having one headlight out is not considered a moving violation (in some states it is legal to only have one headlight working), but referred to as a “fix-it ticket.” Meaning, the police...

talk and die syndrome

talk and die syndrome  n.— «Doctors have suggested that Richardson suffered from something called “talk and die” syndrome, in which bleeding that occurs between the skull and brain stem is delayed. Patients seem fine after the...

corduroy

corduroy  n.— «For the next seven hours, John “Bish” Neuhauser and eight swing-shift co-workers chugged up and down assigned areas of this expansive Park City-area resort in snowcats. They pushed snow around and combed it into...

Borborygmic

The word borborygmic means “pertaining to rumblings in one’s tummy or intestines.” Martha explains that it comes from the Greek word borborygmus (“bor-buh-RIG-muss”), a fine example of onomatopoeia if ever there was one...