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Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Some of the music you hear on this show is the work of Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, a San Diego-based Afro-funk and soul-jazz band. Their keyboard player is Tim Felten, who, as it happens, is also the editor and engineer for A Way with Words. He selects...

Cheesy Pun Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a cheesy puzzle with punny answers to rival the funk of week-old Limburger (or is that another name for a plant-based burger?). For example, if you don’t trust that suspicious guy behind the cheese counter, you may...

Episode 1447

XYZ PDQ

How often do you hear the words campaign and political in the same breath? Oddly enough, 19th-century grammarians railed against using campaign to mean “an electoral contest.” Martha and Grant discuss why. And, lost in translation: a...

Fighting Artichokes

What’s in a mascot name? Maybe you’re a fan of the Banana Slugs, or you cheer for the Winged Beavers. Perhaps your loyalty lies with the Fighting Artichokes. There are some strange names for sports team out there. But what’s even...

Lie Like a Rug

The words we choose can change attitudes — and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples. He says that using words like “leader” and “follower” actually works better...

Hard Words Are Hard

The SAT is changing things up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because words like membranous are no longer in the verbal section doesn’t mean kids aren’t learning important vocabulary. And speaking of useful terms...