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The Thought Plickens

Greetings from Martha, Grant, and our old friend, Tom Swifty!

This week we’d like to welcome new listeners who hear us on CKIC 92.9 FM (KICK-FM) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Our latest episode features tech writer David Pogue taking the slang quiz, a question about the pronunciation of “crayon” (there are at least three in the US), a word puzzle, talk about bike-shedding, swan song, OK, and more.


We’ve been enjoying the Tom Swifties you’ve been sending in since the quiz two weeks ago, which featured those funny final adverbs:

“Pass the shellfish,” Tom said crabbily.

“I got the first three wrong,” he said forthrightly.

“I got the drain unclogged by using a vacuum cleaner,” Tom said succinctly.

Keep ’em coming! You never know when yours might end up on the show.

You can hear John Chaneski’s quiz about Tom Swifties in the episode titled “A Whole Nother”:


It also features conversation about silly names for subdivisions and apartments, the difference between the words “naturalist” and “biologist,” and the meaning of the slang term “zaprudering.”

Also, in the recent episode “Down a Chimney Up,” you’ll hear the joys of reading poetry aloud, what it means to “redd up” a table, the oddball expression “out like Lottie’s eye,” and a discussion about whether a married woman who keeps her own name should use “Mrs.” or “Ms.”


Also out there in Language Land:

If you’re a fan of phrases like “to boldly go,” you’ll enjoy John McIntyre’s take on mumpsismus, sumpsimus, and the split infinitive.


Remember when we talked on an earlier show about “crash blossoms”? They’re those unfortunate headlines like “Lingerie Shipment Hijacked; Thief Gives Police the Slip” and “Child’s Stool Great for Use in Garden.”

Well, Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Visual Thesaurus, expanded on crash blossoms recently in the New York Times:


Our discussion of “crash blossoms” is here:


Finally, don’t forget: AWWW is independently produced and distributed each week by our little Grant-and-Martha operation here. So if you can, drop a little something in our open guitar case.


That way, we’ll keep this show and podcast free to word lovers and English language learners worldwide. Your contribution’s fully tax-deductible. Thank you!

Until next week, “So long from Martha, Grant, and Tom,” they said serially. 🙂

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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