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Episode 1536

The Black Dog

Books were rare treasures in the Middle Ages, painstakingly copied out by hand. So how to protect them from theft? Scribes sometimes added a curse to the first page of those books that was supposed to keep thieves away — and some were as vicious as...

“Tang” Mystery is Solved!

There have been three brand-new episodes broadcast recently. Did you catch them? • Three weeks ago, it was Shank of the Evening, in which we talked about sports nicknames, flounder vs. founder, Laundromats vs. washaterias, Black Dutch...

A Noisome Victual

This past weekend we aired one of our most popular episodes from last year, in which we talked about sailing close to the wind, the language of Downton Abbey, the color orange, busman’s holiday, the pronunciation of forte and more. Check it...

Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It!

Which came first, orange the color or orange the fruit? And what’s a busman’s holiday? Martha and Grant talk about bumbershoots, brollies, nursery rhymes, and alternatives to the word unicycle. Plus, an app-inspired quiz, favorite...

Brobdingnagian and Unabridged

Why do spelling bees use such strange words — often foreign words that almost nobody uses? Like cymotrichous, stromuhr, Laodicean, guerdon, serrefine, and Ursprache? We answered that question in last week’s episode — it’s what happens...

Feast on Three New Episodes

Hey, look: there are three brand-new episodes to tell you about! Each includes a few rounds of devious word puzzles cooked up by our quiz guy John Chaneski, as well as: Last weekend, “Secret Gibberish”: piggyback gibberish the...