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Toe vs. Tow the Line

A pair of listeners from Memphis, Tennessee, disagree about an expression that means “to conform to a standard” or “to adhere to a rule.” Is it toe the line or tow the line? The correct phrase is toe the line. Picture...

To Have Your Work Cut Out For You

To have one’s work cut out for you comes from an earlier phrase to have all one’s work cut out. Picture a tailor who’s working as fast as possible with the help of an assistant who’s cutting out the pieces to be sewn. If you...

Ignorance Gone to Seed

The phrase ignorance gone to seed invokes an agricultural metaphor. Picture a field that is so far gone it’s no longer flowering and is now beyond the point of further cultivation. This is part of a complete episode.

Academy Awards Word Puzzle

Just in time for the new movie season, Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a game involving one-word movie titles that have won Best Picture Academy Awards. For example, which Oscar-winning film is titled with a man’s middle name that means “for...

The Oxcars Quiz

In honor of the 2011 Academy Awards, Quiz Guy Greg Pliska offers his own puzzle version, The Oxcars. The trick is that the nominees for Best Picture at the Oxcars have the same titles as this year’s real nominees for the Oscar, but with one...

The Thought Plickens

If you’re inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture, you’re said to be bike-shedding. Grant talks about that modern slang term and Martha discusses a word that goes way back in time, right back to...

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