Mystery Drawer (Rebroadcast) - 15 November 2021

Mystery Drawer (Rebroadcast) - 15 November 2021

Update: 2021-11-151


Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis. Plus, the story behind the slang interjection word!, meaning “believe me!” The original version involved the idea that a person’s word was their bond. And the expression empty wagons make the most noise suggests that the person who boasts the loudest may actually be the least knowledgeable. It’s a phrase that’s had many versions over the centuries — including one that goes all the way back to ancient Rome! All that, and nebbybeat-feetingred-headed stepchildcorotoleunderminefankle, a wacky puzzle about Greek names, and more.

Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Comments (1)


My son says “crowns” for wax coloring devices even now, at 35YO. I think he just couldn’t pronounce cray-ons (the way I always said it) when he was little but it stuck, and I am tickled to hear saying “crowns” is a thing. I never knew any of the other versions y’all mentioned in the episode. I am from TX, OK, CA and CO. I will go tell my son he has a tribe. LOL

Nov 16th








Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

Mystery Drawer (Rebroadcast) - 15 November 2021

Mystery Drawer (Rebroadcast) - 15 November 2021

Hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett. Produced by Stefanie Levine.