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Episode 1632

Bronx Cheer

What’s the best thing to say to someone who is grieving? Choosing the right words is far less important than just showing up. Also, a family from Russia shares their recipe for something they call hot tamales, that are very un-Mexican. And: if...

“Every Bird That Cuts the Airy Way”

The new book An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (Bookshop|Amazon) delightfully combines scientific writing with a literary sensibility and a gift for vivid similes. It’s by Ed Yong, who won a Pulitzer for...

Episode 1600

Go Bananas

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of...

Similar Similes

This week’s head-scratcher from Quiz Guy John Chaneski is like a puzzle about similes. In fact, it is a puzzle about similes. For example, say you’re looking for a word to complete the phrase dead as a. You might choose the name of a...

Episode 1444

Pink Slip

Politicians have to repeat themselves so often that they naturally develop a repertoire of stock phrases to fall back on. But is there any special meaning to subtler locutions, such as beginning a sentence with the words “Now, look…”...