The Antonym Puzzler... Explained

The Puzzler


New Puzzler: Antonym


RAY: Ha! We're back. You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to discuss cars, car repair and the new Puzzler.

TOM: I can hardly wait. You said this was like a season-ending thing?

RAY: This is season-ending, but never-ending.

TOM: Ahh! Because you don't know the answer!

RAY: Well, you'll see that there isn't one answer, necessarily.

TOM: Oh! That's very good!

RAY: Well, I don't know about very good, but it's different.

TOM: So, thousands of people could win.

RAY: I've known this Puzzler for years, and I used to know one of the answers to it. But I believe there's more than one answer. There may be many. There may be hundreds, and you, our listeners, will find that out. And I was reminded of it recently when I received an e-mail from a guy named Claude Warren from...I don't know...who the hell knows where he comes from.

TOM: Cyberspace.

RAY: Anyplace.

TOM: Alien.

RAY: He says, as you probably know, there are words that are opposites and they're called antonyms; for example, hot and cold, up and down, Click and Clack. Even spelled antonyms out phonetically for us, in case we were complete...

TOM: Too stupid.

RAY: Complete dimwits.

TOM: Yeah, well what would make him think that?

RAY: He says, can you think of two words that are their own antonyms? Well, I've known these two words for a long time.

TOM: The two are easy. The two are easy.

RAY: Well, they ain't that easy, and I don't think the vast majority of people would come up with even these two. But I'm going to give you these two, because I know there are more. The first one is cleave. I'll give you a sentence: You cleave things apart with a cleaver...meat cleaver; or, Your lug nuts may cleave to your studs, making them impossible to remove without a very hot torch. Right?

TOM: Or...

RAY: So, cleave means to...

TOM: The cleavage you are looking at...No, no, never mind. I'll leave that part out.

RAY: Oh, God.

TOM: Are we in trouble again? Yeah. I know.

RAY: It's always you! The other word is sanction.

TOM: Yeah!

RAY: And here's a sentence that Claude Warren gave to us: NASCAR sanctions stock-car races, but a driver who runs another into a wall may be sanctioned by NASCAR.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: It's clear that in these two instances, cleave has two meanings which are diametrically opposed, and so does sanction. The question very simply is: Are there other words like this?

TOM: And, if there are, what are they?

RAY: Sure.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

[ Really hard puzzlers ]

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