step to me

Beloved listeners, would you be willing to contribute your thoughts to an upcoming Allusionist episode?

I want to know if you have Feelings, positive or negative, about the term 'step' regarding your step-parents or -children; or if there are epithets you prefer to use to avoid any step-terms.

If so, please divulge them in a voice memo and send to me at; you don't need to use your name if you'd rather not.

Much obliged to you,



In response to the puns episode, Seth in Hong Kong writes:

I just wondered if you were familiar with a recent pun in Hong Kong that was at the center of the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history: Lufsig.

SEE HOW EVIL PUNS ARE! No wonder China banned them.

The IKEA toy wolf named Lufsig is an impressively complex pun, combining crudity, political satire and linguistic dissent. Read more about it from the Guardian, or below (click on the images to enlarge):


The Mailchimp randomly chosen word of Episode 4, 'maskinonge' or 'muskellunge', was already familiar to listeners of the Great Lakes regions. Or at least they were acquainted with the fish formally named muskellunge, but better known as a musky.

Greggers tweeted this picture of a musky:


It's a bit bigger than I expected.

Fun fact: the word 'muskellunge' derived from the indigenous Algonquin term for 'ugly pike'.

Listeners, reveal yourselves!

Listeners, could you do me and Radiotopia a favour? We're keen to find out more about you* - how you listen to podcasts, which are your favourite shows, what you like and dislike about podcasts - so we can try to make our shows more delightful to your ears. So if you have a few minutes to spare, please fill in the survey at; you'd not only be helping us out, but you also stand to win a sweet pair of Tivoli headphones. They're made from wood! Look!

*Nothing sinister: be assured we're not harvesting your data for Evildoing, and we're not spying on you to find out all your improper thoughts about vicars, or how infrequently you remember to change your bedsheets.

Ancient Greeks have news too

In response to Allusionist 4: Latin Lives, Eush writes:

My Classics nerd self leapt with joy when I saw that your latest episode was about Nuntii Latini. But because I am a Hellenist at heart, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there's also Ancient Greek news out there, though it's written instead of spoken.

Also, should you want to listen to Latin doo-wop, here is 'De Brevitate Vitae/Gaudeamus Igitur' sung in such a way:

Elvis in Latin

There was lots of interesting stuff about Nuntii Latini that I couldn't fit into the Latin Lives! episode, but to learn more about the bulletins and the people who lovingly make them, here's a good article.

My interest was particularly piqued by the mention of Dr Jukka Ammondt, whose painful divorce compelled him to start singing Latin covers of Elvis songs.

Thank goodness there is video of this. Here's Dr Ammondt singing 'Don't Be Cruel':

Here's a whole album of Dr Ammondt's Latin versions of Elvis songs. 'Love Me Tender' is sounding pretty good.


Listener Ella wrote to say:

Listening to the c-bomb episode and thought you might enjoy my "as offensive as possible" inner lip tattoo (if you can even decipher it). Contrary to this photo, I'm actually a rather upstanding citizen with a professional job.

Bold! And the clever thing is, if you ever grow weary of having a Category A swear word inside your mouth, it's only a few prods of the pen to turn it into 'Aunt'. A touching tribute to a beloved female relative. (Though if it had been my own aunt, the transformation would have been the other way round.)

Swearing in English: a foreigner's handbook

In response to the C-Bomb episode, Paul writes:

I thought the attached might be of interest. They are pages from a 1980 edition of a book called Practical English Usage designed to help learners of English as a foreign language navigate the usage of our language. These pages cover the topic of taboo words.

Thanks Paul! Now nobody has an excuse for not swearing as the Queen intended.