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Episode 1608

In the Ballpark

Novelist Charles Dickens and the musician Prince were very different types of artists, but they also had a lot in common. A new book chronicling their extraordinary careers becomes a larger meditation on perfectionism and creativity itself. Plus...

In Minnesota, It’s Duck, Duck, Gray Duck

Pam in Buford, South Carolina, grew up playing Duck Duck Goose, but her Minnesota-born husband knew this children’s game as Duck Duck Gray Duck. The game her husband played is described in an early edition of Education in the Kindergarten...

Alligator Arms

Our conversation about slang terms in various countries to denote someone who’s a tightwad prompts a Minnesota listener to leave a message with his favorite term along these lines. He likes to say that stingy people have alligator arms that...

The Expression “Uff-Da!”

If you need an expressive, multipurpose word means much the same as Wow! or Gee whiz! or Oy vey!, there’s always Uff-da! This exclamation, often used to express surprise or disgust or exasperation started out as Norwegian uff da, meaning the...

Episode 1548

Yak Shaving

There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin. A new book argues that this rigorous curriculum actually nurtured the creativity that later flourished...