Shark Week | WBEZ
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The Allusionist

Shark Week

Today, we’re dipping into the Allusionist mailbag full of listeners’ linguistic requests, with the help of special guest Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly podcasts. 

What is the expression ‘beyond the pale’ on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does ‘testify’ have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados have anything to do with testicles? How does the phrase “It’s all Greek to me” relate to food styling? Can you have a caper with capers? Are sharks misunderstood, etymologically and morally? And finally: where do allusions come from?

Find out more about this episode at

The Allusionist live tour comes to the US, Canada, Britain and Ireland during late 2018: live show listings are at If your town is not listed, check back soon, because more gigs will soon be added!

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