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By a Long Shot (episode #1572)

Imagine telling someone how to get to your home, but without using the name of your street, or any other street within ten miles. Could you do it? We take street names for granted, but these words are useful for far more, like applying for a job or...

Layers to Catch Meddlers

Anna from Columbia, Mississippi, wonders about a phrase she heard as a youngster from her dad: leyores to catch meddlers or leyores to catch meddlers. Sometimes when she’d ask what he was doing, he’d respond with that cryptic saying...

Kiss the Cow (episode #1567)

An anadrome is a word that forms a whole new word when you spell it backwards. For example, the word “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.” Some people’s first names are anadromes. There’s the girl named Noel...

Ring-Tailed Tooter (episode #1563)

National Book Award winner Barry Lopez had wise advice for young writers. First, read widely and follow your curiosity. Second, travel or learn a foreign language. And third, find out what you truly believe, because if you’re not writing from...

What the Blazes? (episode #1562)

What kind of book do people ask for most often in prison? Romance novels? No. The Bible? No. The most requested books by far are … dictionaries! A number of volunteer organizations gather and distribute used dictionaries to help inmates with...

Prison Book Donation Programs

What kind of book is most often requested by people who are incarcerated? The book that prison inmates ask for the vast majority of the time is a dictionary. These books, as well as thesauruses, prove useful for mastering reading skills, writing...

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