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Episode 1543

Goody Two-Shoes

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...

Episode 1507

Sundog

A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase “the last straw” refers to an old fable about too many items in a load, but it takes on a whole new meaning in a public-awareness campaign about...

Double Meanings in Ads

An ad campaign featuring the phrase the last straw to urge people not to use plastic straws has Allie in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wondering about double meanings in advertising. Research shows that such punning can be effective. This is part of a...

Copacetic

Brand names, children’s games, and the etiquette of phone conversations. Those clever plastic PEZ dispensers come in all shapes and sizes—but where did the word PEZ come from? The popular candy’s name is the product of wordplay involving...

Pez Name Origins

When an Austrian candy maker needed a name for his new line of mints, he took the first, middle, and last letters of the German word pfefferminz, or “peppermint,” to form the brand name PEZ. He later marketed the candies as an...