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Tweet, Tweet! Polly Wanna Cracker?

Hey, hey, hey! It's another fat newsletter from "A Way with Words"!

We never run out of things to talk about. Take this past weekend's show, for example.


We tracked down the history of "Polly wanna cracker." It turns out people have been tiresomely saying that to parrots for more than 150 years. You can stop now!

We pounded home the point that it is totally, completely, absolutely just fine to end a sentence with a preposition with of to at. (Kidding! You should do it only when you need to.)

We talked about the new language that comes along with using the short-message site Twitter. (You can now follow us there: <http://twitter.com/wayword>.)

We took on "toward" vs. "towards."

We explained the jumbles of punctuation used in comics to represent cursing.

And we came up with a list of words for that blackish icy junk that accretes in wheel wells. (Send us some more words for it, eh?)

You can listen to this finely crafted episode, as well as find a cartoon featuring a parrot, links to Twitter glossaries, more about punctuation-cursing, and even more, here:


We almost forgot to mention that March 4th is "National Grammar Day." Here's how we're celebrating:

--We're biting our tongues when someone uses a word incorrectly.

--We're writing letters to the editor about "enormity" and "irregardless" but we're deleting them before sending.

--We're trying to answer all 2000 messages in our email box. There would be more in there, but messages over 2000 are automatically archived. We love how prolific you are, dear listeners, but we could do a program every day with the material you suggest. Keep it coming!

See how dozens of other organizations are celebrating it here:


John McIntyre, copy editor for the Baltimore Sun, has written charming fiction about National Grammar Day. There are three parts so far:





Ben Zimmer of Visual Thesaurus has a superb rundown of the stunning finals at this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which happened this past weekend:


Grant did drop by the tournament for a while with his family. GAB sez: "It was great to see everyone!" Props to Tyler Hinman, Trip Payne, and Francis Heaney, the three finalists.

Also, a tip of the hat to Amy Reynaldo, Friend of the Program, a top-ten finisher, and hostess of "Diary of a Crossword Fiend," <http://crosswordfiend.blogspot.com/>. Dear Universe: we need more like her.

Here's an interview with Amy at the New York Times crossword blog "Wordplay":


Wordplay also has a crossword tournament rundown. Read it from the bottom up.


Next week in this space we'll run through some of the books we've been sent.

Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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