“Where’s the Rest of Me?”

If you’re flying on American Airlines in early March, be sure to reach into the seat pocket in front of you and pull out a copy of their inflight magazine, American Way. There’s an article by Jenna Schnuer about our public-radio show, “A Way with Words.” Grant and I also put our heads together to more…

Thinking Inside the Box

Greetings from American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New York City, where Grant and I will be presenting awards after the finals this year. We’re having a fine old time, as is everyone else here. And after trying a few brain-busting puzzles this evening, I have a world of respect for what these die-hard cruciverbalists manage more…

The Bloody Origin of “Shambles”

Chicago Tribune language columnist Nathan Bierma writes about the curious word “shambles.”Its etymology is kind of grisly — rather like that of dreary.

Correction of the Day

From the corrections section in London’s Guardian newspaper on Feb. 6, 2008: Whether the romance of the French president and Carla Bruni was very pubic only they can say. We meant to say it was very public (Sarkozy marries royally with Versailles wedding night, page 15, February 4). Oops.

Calling All Cruciverbalists

As NPR Puzzlemaster and New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz mentioned yesterday on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” my co-host Grant Barrett and I will be appearing at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the nation’s oldest and largest crossword competition. If you’re going to be there, please do make a point of saying hello! We more…

The Great Japanese Cellphone Novel?

Check out this mind-boggling piece in today’s New York Times about the rise of the “cellphone novel” in Japan! OMG! And to think I was waxing nostalgic on the air a couple weeks ago about old-fashioned manual typewriters. The story notes that one cellphone novel written by a high school senior was turned into a more…

Famous for What, Again??

You may recall my little Gallery of Regrettable Punctuation. Here’s another to add to the list: I was nosing around on eBay just now, and happened across this doozy. Surely these Barnettes aren’t related to ME????? (On the other hand, might I have long-lost relatives who are heirs to a huge brewing fortune? In which more…

Word Sandwich

Now here’s a workout for your brain! Try to guess the five-letter word. If your guess starts too far down in the alphabet, the graphic lets you know. If it’s too far up, it lets you know that, too. Trying to zero in on the right word is downright addictive — not to mention maddening!

The Year in Words

Mom job? Nose bidet? Wide stance? Grant discusses some of the quirky, strange, and otherwise telling expressions making the rounds in 2007. His article in today’s New York Times is a fascinating way of looking back at the year.

Facebook “is” isn’t

A campaign of 182,015 people to stomp out a specific use of the word “is” on Facebook is successful.