Check your colon!

Peter from San Francisco, CA writes –

“I just wanted to let you know that one of the reasons I finally got off my ass (so to speak) and got a colonoscopy was hearing Says You memorialize Richard Sher. I’m almost 51 and had put it off. In the end it wasn’t too bad (the prep is the worst) and I got a clean and reassuring bill of health (at least down there). Thanks for using your soapbox well and I too miss hearing Richard Sher on Air.”


Thank you for writing in and making the Says You! team proud! We’re so glad our message was received and hope many more listeners did the same as Peter.

A nit to pick about the coot

Kay from Austin, TX writes –

“A nit to pick re your bird related definitions/derivations from Port Washington/Chimacum. The coot isn’t bald, i.e., a featherless spot on its forehead. It simply has the appearance of baldness thanks to the white feathers there. The same rationale is why our national avian symbol is the bald eagle.”

We like nit pickers here at Says You!  It keeps us and our listeners on their toes.

“Bald” has two meanings: having white feathers/hairs on the head (e.g., the bald eagle) and actually lacking feathers/hairs on at least a portion of the head (e.g., the coot).
All of that was in the script but didn’t make it into the show.


We do thank you for your eagle eyes or perhaps in this case “ears” for catching something worth revisiting with our listeners.

Memory from listening at home

Riley from Billings, MT writes –

“I remember almost every trip we took out to my dads hometown, Big Timber MT, my dad would always tune to NPR. We would have fun listening to shows like Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk, and one of my favorites, Says You! Anytime I listened to the show I always learned something new and always had fun competing with my family over what definition was actually real! It saddened me the day I found out that Richard had passed, and am thankful for the laughs and interesting new words I’ve learned from the show. Thanks for it all.”


Thank you for reflecting on your fond memories of family and your time spent listening to Says You! We couldn’t do it without listeners like you.

Make with the lost episodes

John from Cincinnati writes –

“I am moved to write this, finally, after many happy years as a listener. Allow me to begin with this sentiment: I love Richard Sher. He lives on my stereo, as I stream old episodes daily, often more than one in an evening, always including one of his. I find his voice, and those of the regulars to be a great comfort, and even a sort of anchor in the madness of modern life. Their various wits and friendly, gentle tones return me to a wholesome, academic root, bringing back familiar feelings of growing up a professor’s kid. Yeah, whatever, dreck and nostalgia yada yada yada. You love it too.
So, soak in that, and as Richard might say, “make with the lost episodes!”. There are seasons worth of material I could be lost in. There are others like me, and we would pay actual money for the archives.
Anyway, thanks for all the good times, and great radio.”

Words do evoke so much – yours managed to touch so many of us here.  The archive has been rebuilt and is about to go up and go live.  Hang in just a little longer.


A Scallywag Who

Sam from Inland Empire, CA writes –
“The round with Richard S. discusses definitions and derivations, and specifically “carpetbagger”. Richard says “a scallywag who …” and one of the panelists asks where did that come from and somebody else says “next week’s show.” I don’t know if you ever did, but it sent me scurrying to Wikipedia, which claims ‘scallywag’ also has civil war origins. If the word has not already made it in to a round of definitions and derivations, I suggest adding it — and noting the connection back to Richard and ‘carpetbagger’!
We did locate the ‘scallywag’ round from our earlier years Show 710, Round 1, Question 3. Thank you for taking us down memory lane.
SY-710 R1 Q3

‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’

Laurie from Lebanon, NH writes –

“Why did you accept Dr. Seuss as the author of the books instead of requiring Theodore Geisel when you asked for the real name of Lemony Snicket?”

For all of you Seuss fans

Read More from NPR Here


Easton – Delivery

We received a great submission from Ed and noticed his return address, so we just had to ask: Have you lived in the Easton area long enough to know the toy store Sherwoods, which used to be downtown? That was the Sher family toy store.

The following is his response –

Hi gang!

I moved to Easton in 2004 from Cleveland, long after Sherwood’s toy store had closed. However, back in 2006, Says You! taped shows in Cleveland one weekend; my wife, son and I drove out and took my mom to the show. In the course of the show, it came up that Richard was from Easton; shortly after, a crew member handed Richard a note. “We have people who drove here from Easton for the show?” he asked. We acknowledged we did. “Stick around after the show; we’ll have to do something for that.” After the show, he very cordially invited us to join the gang for lunch at Pier W, and I spent the afternoon seated between Richard and Tony Kahn. A NPR geek’s dream!

Richard shared stories about growing up in Easton, and when he found out where we live he recalled making a delivery there for (with?) his dad. It was an absolutely delightful afternoon.

I still love the show and listen to the podcast weekly. I appreciate the Spotlight Round that gives us a chance to hear Richard again; the warmth and humor he had in person comes through on every episode. Keep up the good work!



We managed to find more of this moment – never released to air, but worth a listen here…

Did I miss something?

Gary from Littleton, CO, and a loyal listener of KQED, wrote us about a bonus question:

Back in February 2018 I attended a taping in Palo Alto, CA. One of the rounds had the following songs as answers:

I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Good Vibrations
Like A Rolling Stone
Little Old Lady From Pasadena
Glad All Over

As a bonus question, the host asked the audience what those songs had in common and said that the answer would be given on air. I don’t recall ever hearing that answer. Do you recall what the common thread was?

The common thread was that in each case, the lyrics were taken from the second verse of the song. Hence the round title: “Verse Comes Two-Verse.” We never said we would reveal the answer on air though, so we won’t blame you for missing it!

Minding our -Kees and -Ques

Chris from Monroe, WI, listens to our podcast and hits us with some local knowledge:

I was listening to the show this morning and there was a question about Waunakee being the only Waunakee in the world because the one in New Jersey – Wanaque – is spelled differently. I now live in Wisconsin, but grew up in New Jersey and actually lived in Wanaque for about 3 years. Waunakee can definitely claim that they are the only Waunakee, not just because of the spelling but because of pronunciation – Wanaque is pronounced Wana – queue not Wauna – kee.

While it seems that most people pronounce it “-cue,” we did uncover a number of sources supporting the “-key” pronunciation. Take a listen to Barry’s question in round 1 and let us know how YOU say it!

Snookered Again?

In a recent rebroadcast, a definition caught the attention of Kqed listener Michelle of Hayward, CA:

I am writing in the hopes of getting a bit more information on a word that was defined on your “A Fall Festival of Gerunds” episode. In this episode, during the “Bluff” segment of the show, the panelists were asked to define the word “blimbing.” I was quite excited when I learned that the definition of the word was “a two-rail kick in billiards” as my spouse is a master-ranked pool player part of the Billiards Congress of America (BCA) as well as Cue Sports International (CSI). Aster the show, I immediately called him and asked him about the word. To my surprise, he had never heard of it until that moment. Curious, he began asking around at some of his Bay-area pool leagues and at billiards tournaments; however, no one with whom he has spoken has heard of this word either.

We have “Googled.” We have “OED-ed.” And we have found nothing on “blimbing” as defined as a two-rail kick in billiards.

So, Says You, have you bluffed us? Or, is there a place to which you can point us to learn more about this word, its origins, and its usage?

Since another name for the game of billiards is “carambole” (from which we get “carom”), some say that “blimbing” is a play on words: the blimbing and the carambola (note the final “a”) are two closely related species of tree. Sound plausible? Let us know what you think.