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Word Encounters of the First Kind and the Small Talk Double-Team

Welcome to another newsletter from A Way with Words.

Over the weekend we aired our show about new words and words that are new to us. We also talked about "sketchy," "spelunker," and lectern vs. podium.


This morning we also posted our latest online-only minicast. Both of our puzzle guys, John Chaneski and Greg Pliska, joined forces with Martha and Grant in the game "Small Talk."

To play at home, divide into teams of two. Your mission is to make your partner guess random words from a list. The only catch? All of the clues have to be one syllable only. It’s tougher than you think! Listen:


Good news, Las Vegas! Public radio station KNPR will be airing trial runs of A Way with Words for five Sundays in November. We'll give you more information about this later, so stay tuned here *and* there.

On the subject we addressed last week of older folks who quit one career in order to do anything but retire, Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times yesterday about "encore careers." That might just be the term we were looking for.


Wanna see a hypothetical super-game of Scrabble? Check it out:


Unfortunately, the word worth 248 points, the separate 15-letter word, as well as the others, are all fakes. Still, for a minute it looks pretty awesome.

Last week in the New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt wrote about when and why newspapers might quote offensive or obscene language from public figures, especially in light of Jesse Jackson's comments about Barack Obama.


Radio Netherlands has a slew of language-related programming that's worth listening to.

First off is a discussion of the disappearance of Aramaic, a fight for Castilian Spanish, and the political rifts exposed by bilingualism in Belgium.


Next, are there too many people named "Wang" in China?


Finally, Penelope Bergen found out what a "skin name" is to Aboriginal Australians. It represents one's historical and social connection to a community, with obligations and rights resplendent.


That's all for this week!

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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Further reading

Do Re Meaning Quiz

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Goody Two-Shoes (episode #1543)

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...