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Episode 1478

Frozen Rope

Where would you find a sports commentator talking about high cheese and ducks on a pond? Here’s a hint: both terms are part of what makes America’s pastime so colorful. • A government official in New Zealand proposes a new, more...

Fly off the Handle

A listener in Quebec, Canada, wonders about the origin of to fly off the handle, meaning “to lose control.” It refers to the image of the head of an axe becoming loose and flying through the air. This is part of a complete episode.

Flee Fly Flo

Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well as an increasingly popular Danish word that means “cozy.” Also, Quiz Guy John Chaneski sums up the year in...

Flee Fly Flo Camp Song

Flee Fly Flo is a camp song, and like other songs passed along orally, it has lots of variations, and often includes rhythmic hand-clapping. In her book Camp Songs, Folk Songs, Patricia Averill suggests the roots of this camp favorite may be in scat...

Episode 1396

Brown as a Berry

It used to be that you called any mixed-breed dog a mutt. But at today’s dog parks, you’re just as likely to run into schnugs, bassadors, and dalmadoodles. Also, if someone has a suntan, you might say he’s brown as a berry. But...

Writers’ Quotes About Writing

Writers always seem to come up with brilliant quotes about writing, and why shouldn’t they? Douglas Adams has noted, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” And Gloria Steinem once quipped: “I...

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