Jul 10, 1999

RAY: Hi, we're back. You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to talk about cars, car repair and the solution to the "cleave-sanction" Puzzler. We amassed all of the responses. There was a mass.

TOM: Well, repeat the question, if you would?

RAY: I would. I'll repeat the question because it was, what? Ten weeks ago.

TOM:Ten! It seems like it was 10 years ago!

RAY: We said that there were at least two words in the English language...

TOM: That we knew.

RAY: That are their own antonyms. That we knew about.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: We knew there was one more but we couldn't remember it, and Stanley Zadonick couldn't remember it either, and he's the one that gave us this damned Puzzler 10 years ago. And we mentioned the two that the three of us remembered, which are "cleave"...

TOM: Which means to hold onto and to separate from.

RAY: To separate. And to "sanction."

TOM: Which means to give approval.

RAY: Or disapproval.

TOM: Right.

RAY: Exactly. OK, now, and there was a third one, which we couldn't remember, and we said if there's a third one, there must be a hundred and third ones. Maybe.


RAY: So, we asked you, our listeners, to come up with a list, and we got many, many responses. Some of which were one or two words, and we were hoping to find that one word that we remembered from the past. And I believe we did get it.

TOM: It was the last one we looked at today.

RAY: It was indeed. And there were people that sent in dozens and dozens of words. So, what we've done is, we picked the five or six or seven words that we think are indisputably their own antonyms.

TOM: Yeah. Because there were lots of them that didn't quite qualify. Because we actually had rules here. We said...

RAY: We made them up as well!

TOM: It's gotta really mean the opposite, and it can't mean the opposite if it's not the same part of speech.

RAY: Gotta be the same part of speech.

TOM: So, you can't have a noun and then come up with some bogus, far-off definition which is an adjective. That doesn't work. So, it's gotta be the same part of speech.

RAY: And these are the ones we picked. The first one is "dust." OK? I'm gonna dust the furniture. That is, remove dust, or I'm gonna dust for fingerprints, which means you're going to add dust.

TOM: Yeah, and we researched some of these because the two definitions do say to remove dust and to add dust.

RAY: Go by my definition.

TOM: That's pretty much opposite.

RAY: Right.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: "Raveled," which means to tangle or to untangle.

TOM: The raveled sleeve of care.

RAY: "Terrific"!

TOM: Now, that one was terrific. I didn't realize.

RAY: Now, terrific means either awesome or terrible! Like, I got a terrific headache!

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: I often hear someone sa...

TOM: Or she's got a...

RAY: No.

TOM: I won't go there.

RAY: Get Joanne on line two!

TOM: I was talking about Joanne!

RAY: Oh, yeah! Now, you hear people all the time say, "Oh, I have a terrific headache," and you say, "That's not right," but it's right.

TOM: Yeah. It is right, yeah.

RAY: OK, the other word is "seed."

TOM: Seed, the verb.

RAY: The verb. For example, I seeded my lawn.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: I put new seeds, or I seeded...

TOM: The pomegranate.

RAY: The pomegranate, exactly. Remove seeds or add seeds. And then there were a couple of others, like "skin."

TOM: To skin, yeah.

RAY: Put skin on or remove skin.

TOM: How many ways are there?

RAY: When you skin a cat, are you adding skin or removing skin?

TOM: All right, I might buy "skin" then. Yeah. I might.

RAY: How about "root"?

TOM: Root? Root? I'm not sure I buy that one.

RAY: Like to root a plant, to get a plant to root or to root. Like uproot.

TOM: Like a rout for the Yankees?

RAY: Well, those anyway, those were the ones that we came up with.

TOM: You introduced these as being indisputable, and what are we doing?

RAY: I thought we only agreed to them before we went on the air, and he's fighting with me now. Jeez, I can't win.

TOM: I still like "cleave" the best.

RAY: Cleavage! And here are the three winners we came up with. These three people are gonna receive something, and they're gonna have to share it.

TOM: You mean out of the 10,000 people who wrote to us, we're gonna give three stinking little prizes?

RAY: Yeah. Well, none of these people came up with the same ones.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: And they all came up with a bunch of bogus ones, but they're the ones that have the longest list with the fewest bogus entries.

TOM: Oh! Well, that's true, that's good.


TOM: And we will put all of this up, by the way--much of it, at least--on our site. The Car Talk site.

RAY: We'll put every damned word, and you can send in more stuff, and you can fight with us just like my brother's fighting with me.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: All right, winner number one is Arlene Wolinsky from Mesa College in San Diego, California. Ivy Kaminsky is winner number two, from San Leone, Texas.

TOM: What? Your name has to end in "sky" or you can't win?

RAY: You gotta be Polish.

TOM: What is that? Oh, did we mention that? We didn't mention that.

RAY: And Charles Elisky...oh no, Ellis. Charles Ellis from Ann Arbor, MI.

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