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Throw the House Out the Window

Buenos! In this week’s archive edition, we consider alternatives to the word “retirement.” We also discuss “swan song,” “bike-shedding,” “tohubohu,” “criteria,” and how to pronounce...

Clever Crossword Clues

Grant shares some diabolically clever crossword clues. Have at ’em: Hula hoop? (3 letters). A city in Czechoslovakia? (Four letters). Want to try more? Check out the clues at Clever Clue of the Month and The New York Times Cute Clues. This is...

Large, Obscure Vocabulary

The hosts discuss Ammon Shea’s recent New York Times Magazine column about whether a large vocabulary filled with obscure and unusual words is all that necessary. This is part of a complete episode.

Perky Advertising Language

In this downbeat economy, some advertisers are reaching for upbeat language. Take the new Quaker Oats catchphrase, “Go humans go,” or Coca-Cola’s current slogan, “Open happiness.” Martha and Grant discuss whether...

Shelf of Unwanted Books

When it comes to books, some people are pack rats; others make a point of periodically culling from the word herd. In a recent New York Times essay, Laura Miller describes her own mixed feelings about getting rid of unwanted books. A full shelf of...

necklace light

necklace light  n.— «The lights on the bridge cables, in a colorful bit of shop talk, are called “necklace lights.” The phrase, or a variation of it, appears to have been around for a couple of decades (a caption on a 1981 New York Times...

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