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Episode 1584

Sleepy Winks

It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly...

flitillary

flitillary  n.— «The erratic, zigzagging flight of courting and songbird-evading fritillaries prompt some people to refer to them as “flitillaries.” Actually, the genus name probably derives from fritillus, a cylindrical cup used by the...

underperforming asphalt

underperforming asphalt  n.— «In auto-dependent suburbs that were built without a traditional center, shopping malls offer the chance to create downtowns without destroying existing infrastructure, by recycling what’s known as...

flipping

flipping  n.— «Those wetlands that remained were often tracts of infertile, troublesome land such as the West Coast pakihi swamps. Yet today even these are under pressure. Mechanical diggers are now used to smash the buried, impervious...

snow-cone

snow-cone  v.— «But how many close plays at first are there? How many near catches in the outfield that are called as a catch when they are “snow-coned?”» —“MLB: Rekindle the Instant Replay Controversy” by...