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Blog Excerpts

Are You Mad About "Mad Men"?

Sunday, at long last, marks the return of the acclaimed television series "Mad Men." We're big fans of the show, but we also enjoy nitpicking about it. Read Ben Zimmer's Word Routes column about an anachronistic dictionary prop here, and about the historical accuracy of the dialogue here.
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Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, has been musing on a dilemma involving clichés. Though they are often disparaged by writers of English, clichés are nonetheless "part of the bread and butter of speech, and thus we would be doing a disserve to our students if we didn't encourage their fluency with a significant number."  Continue reading...
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In his new book The Story of English in 100 Words, the absurdly prolific David Crystal provides a unique answer to a question he poses: "How can we tell the story of the English language?"  Continue reading...
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You've read the advice to writers: Strive for clarity! Make your meaning transparent! Your sentences should be lucid and understandable, your paragraphs logically constructed, your meaning readily accessible to your readers. Who could quarrel with that?  Continue reading...
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Early on in this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, it seemed that Dan Feyer's stranglehold on the competition would finally come to an end. Instead, he mounted an unbelievable comeback to notch his third consecutive victory. Puzzlemaster Brendan Emmett Quigley joins us again with his wrap-up of the action from Brooklyn.  Continue reading...
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Live from Brooklyn, puzzlemaster Brendan Emmett Quigley is providing exclusive commentary from the 2012 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Brendan's got the scoop on all the action at the end of the first day of competition.  Continue reading...
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This weekend, puzzlers will come together in Brooklyn for the 35th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, organized by New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz. The reigning champ, Dan Feyer, has been described as a crossword-solving machine. But he better look out, because this time there will be competition from an actual crossword-solving machine.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 26 Articles