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Episode 1533

Life of Riley

Unwrap the name of a candy bar, and you just might find a story inside. For instance, one chewy treat found in many a checkout lane is named after a family’s beloved horse. And: 50 years ago in the United States, some Latino elementary...

The Life of Riley History and Origin

Marie-Claire from Montreal, Canada, wonders why we say that someone living in carefree luxury is living the life of Riley. No one’s sure this expression’s origin, although it may be associated with a 19th-century vaudeville song about an...

Episode 1512

Bottled Sunshine

If you catch your blue jeans on a nail, you may find yourself with a winklehawk. This term, adapted into English from Dutch, means “an L-shaped tear in a piece of fabric.” And: What’s your relationship with the books on your...

Misunderstood TV Show Brain Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s puzzle features intentional misunderstandings of the names of familiar movies and TV shows. For example, if John refers to a creepy Netflix show set in the 1980s called More Unusual Objects, what’s the program he...

No Better Than She Ought to Be

If a lady is no better than she ought to be, her sexual morals may be in question. The saying, recently popularized by the BBC program Downton Abbey, is what’s known as a charientism, or a bit of sugar-coated snark. By the way, if you’d...

Coursers They Came

Sweet baby reindeer! It’s almost Christmas and we’ve got a lot of wrapping to do. Last weekend’s episode is live online and in iTunes. In it, we shared quotations about writing, talked about whether “ladies” is...