01 Aug 2022

Hot Words

Q. What are some forgotten or little-used words relevant to hot, hot weather? Asking for a A. Apricate To luxuriate in the hot sun. Caldarium The hottest room in Roman baths. Calefaction You’re getting warmer. Calid Burning, scalding hot. Canicular Steaming, muggy hot. Dankish Humid, sticky. Drouth Good clothes-drying weather.

23 Jul 2022

Ever Popular Picture Books

Q. If there is one type of book we read over and over, it’s picture books. As young children, as parents, as sentimental sorts of all ages. Which English language picture books have been consistently most popular over the last decades? . A. Tracking all sales in all modes in

16 Jul 2022

You In One Word

Q. You have one word to describe yourself. What do you choose? What would others say? . A. It can feel impossible to describe ourselves in one word. Much harder than describing others, particularly those we know at a distance. But, if pressed, what would we choose for ourselves? Last

12 Jul 2022

Deceptively Named Desserts

Q. What are some sweets that have names that are misleading and/or radically undersell their deliciousness? . A. Boston Cream Pie Sounds good enough, but two problems: it’s not pie, it’s cake. And the rounded layers of cake nestle custard, not ‘cream’. How did the official state dessert of Massachusetts

07 Jul 2022

Thor’s Big Salad

Q. What were the original, screenplay, or code names of some well-known movies? . A. Code Name X Those who live in movie towns are used to seeing ‘movie filming here’ arrows with runic symbols or odd code names. How long can they keep superfans at bay? Warner Brothers tried

29 Jun 2022

Honey Moon?

Q. How did post-wedding bliss travel come to be called a ‘honeymoon’? . A. Some say the just-wedded bliss of the ‘honeymoon’ – or the ‘hony moone’ as it was called in Olde English – gets its name from the sweetness of honey and the short-lived prominence of the moon.

24 Jun 2022

Leap Less

Q. What are some idioms that caution us to avoid being too rash or impulsive? . A. Not surprisingly – given our well-documented human impetus for action – there are lots. This, particularly, when we’re courting danger! So, the don’ts follow… • Buy a pig in a poke • Carry

21 Jun 2022

Happy Sounds

Q. Are you a ceraunophile? That is: are you deeply fond of thunder and lightning? Do ‘swinter’ (enough with the swinter) storms have you plugging your ears under a mound of blankets? Or, are you ears wide open – relaxed, inspired, loving the crack and rumble of the thunder? Most

17 Jun 2022

With This Wedding Cake

Q. We are well into wedding season now. What are some wedding cake-related superstitions? . A. This sweet embodiment of forever love is rife with superstitions. Pity the Medieval couples forced to seal the fate of their marriage with wedding cake jenga. Great piles of spice buns were piled one

11 Jun 2022

You Left This In Your Uber

Q. We’re in and out – of buses, shared cars, rentals, hotels. What are we most likely to leave behind? . A. For one look in: Uber has come out with their 2022 Lost + Found Index. What do people leave in ride hails? Let’s start with the ‘most unique’