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Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Some of the music you hear on this show is the work of Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, a San Diego-based Afro-funk and soul-jazz band. Their keyboard player is Tim Felten, who, as it happens, is also the editor and engineer for A Way with Words. He selects...

Egg-Tapping

Marian from Schroon Lake, New York, says her family plays an egg-tapping game after every Easter egg hunt. Each player takes an egg and taps it against someone else’s, hoping that their own egg won’t crack. The egg that survives a round...

Episode 1527

Had the Radish

Your first name is very personal, but what if you don’t like it? For some people, changing their name works out great but for others it may create more problems than it solves. And: at least three towns in the U.S. were christened with names...

English on a Ball

Marco from San Diego, California, is curious about why sportscasters speak of a player who put English on a ball. The expression appears to have begun with British players of billiards and snooker, who first figured out how to give a ball some extra...

Football Jargon

Football, like most sports, brings its own set of idioms and jargon that ride the line between cleverness and cliche. The adjective multiple describes a player, an offense or defense, or even a whole team that has multiple threats or talents. And a...

Beast Mode

If something’s “the bee’s knees,” you can bet that it’s also beast. A sixth grade teacher wonders about the term beast being thrown around by her students. This synonym for “cool” or “good” is...