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Episode 1627

Takes All Kinds

Crossword puzzles are a marvelous mental workout. A delightful new book about them shares plenty of crossword lore and puzzle-solving tips. Also, performers who tell each other break a leg aren’t really hoping someone gets hurt. The phrase...

Into the Mouth of the Wolf!

Michelle in Pembroke Pines, Florida wonders why performers wish each other luck with the admonition Break a leg! This practice of wishing the opposite of what you really mean appears across a wide range of theatrical traditions. German performers...

Selling Wolf Tickets

If you’re selling wolf tickets (or woof tickets), you’re not being truthful. The expression may arise from the old story about the boy who cried Wolf! when in fact there was none around. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1540

Tiger Tail

You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for “God willing.” In Trinidad, if you want to ask...

Have a Wolf by the Ears

Stephanie in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was puzzled when a colleague used the expression like grabbing a wolf by the ears to describe an impossible task. Like the idiom to have a tiger by the tail, it suggests the paralyzing difficulty of having hold of...

Episode 1437

Wolf Whistle

Gifts for book lovers: Martha recommends one for lovers of libraries and another for students of Spanish. Grant suggests some enchanting novels for young readers. When it comes to books, though, you can’t always judge them by their original...