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Episode 1506

Oh, For Cute!

A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots of identical copies. • The link between tiny mythical creatures called trolls and modern-day...

VCCV Brain Stretcher

Crossword-puzzle constructors often employ words with a vowel-consonant-consonant-vowel pattern, or VCCV. That’s the cruciverbal inspiration Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s VCCV puzzle. For example, if the clue is teen woe, what’s the...

Light Bulbs Mean Ideas

In comic strips, a bright idea is symbolized by a light bulb over a character’s head. This association between an incandescent bulb and inspiration was popularized in the early 20th century by the cartoon character Felix the Cat, but the...

Charismatic Megafauna

Choosing language that helps resolve interpersonal conflict. Sometimes a question is really just a veiled form of criticism and understanding the difference between “ask culture” and “guess culture” can help you know how to...

Blind Tiger

When you pick up a book of poems, how many do you read in one sitting? Some people devour several in a row, while others savor them much more slowly. Plus, it’s a problem faced by politicians and public speakers: When you have to stand in...

Carpaccio

A new book called Ciao, Carpaccio!: An Infatuation, by veteran travel writer Jan Morris, celebrates the Venetian artist Carpaccio, who often used swaths of bright red in his paintings. His color choice is said to be the inspiration for beef or tuna...