Allusionist 91. Bonus 2018

Live Allusionist alert!

I'll be debuting a new Allusionist-based stage show at SF Sketchfest, 10pm on 25 January 2019 at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.
Tickets are on sale now HERE.

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Throughout the year, the people who appear on the Allusionist tell me a lot of interesting stuff. Not all of which is relevant to the episode they initially appeared in, so I stash it away in preparation for this moment: the annual bonus episode!


  • Paul Anthony Jones, AKA Haggard Hawks, on some gory 19th century slang terms. (Hear Paul talking about more word origins on the Triumph/Trumpet/Top/Fart episode.)

  • Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, on the origins and demise of superheroes’ capes. (Hear Glen track the evolution of superhero names in the Supername! episode.)

  • Academic Guy Cuthbertson on how the First World begat a trend for getting back to nature…and getting into naturism. (Hear Guy talk about the literature of convalescence in the Novel Remedy episode.)

  • Clinical psychologist Jane Gregory on how Charlotte’s Web can be used in treatment for arachnophobia. (Hear Jane explain why she sometimes prescribes fiction to her patients in the Novel Remedy episode.)

  • Tobin Low of Nancy Podcast on getting the “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” question and responding with…cross stitch?? (Hear Tobin and his Nancy co-host Kathy Tu consider the word ‘queer’ in the Queer episode.)

  • Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder and the West Wing Weekly podcasts on how musicians call any job a ‘gig’, and what that has to do with carts, boats and flighty women. (Hear Hrishi deal with listeners’ word queries in the Shark Week episode.)

Previous years’ bonus episodes have included gaslighting, nemeses, zazzification and the history of roller skates.

Note: there is one swear in this episode.

The transcript of this episode is at


  1. SQUARESPACE. Design and run a website with ease using Squarespace. Go to for a free trial, and for 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain, use the code ALLUSION.

  2. MYTHOLOGIES. Subscribe to the new Mythologies podcast from Parcast in your podblaster of choice, or find it at

It’s Radiotopia’s fundraiser. Help us keep our shows going by making a donation at


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Thank you so much for listening this year! The Allusionist returns on 23 January 2019. But…be alert for a very special Allusionoise in your podfeeds rather soon, with information about another very special new Allusiothing that you might enjoy.

- HZ

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