CLOSE

How Did You Know? - {day 4}

We're back with another 5-day trivia hunt!

To remind you of the rules: Every day this week, I'll be presenting a specific challenge. Your job: come up with the answers and hold onto them! Why? Because on Friday, you'll need them to solve a short puzzle. The first person to email in the correct answers and successfully show how you arrived at them (thus the title: How Did You Know?) wins a choice of any t-shirt and book from our store.

As with last month, we're also adding some special prizes this time around for those who come really close, but don't get all the answers in time. We've previously awarded some shirts and books to a couple contestants who impressed us with charts, diagrams, and other complex methods of recording and organizing the clues/answers. So we'll be on the lookout for the creative among you, as well. This is all to say: it pays to play whether you nab the grand prize or not. And remember, we're also giving away a really big, sa-weeet prize to any winning contestant who can defend the title three months in a row. Details on that as they develop, if they develop. (Chan Stevens is our current champion. You can read about him here.)

As with previous How Did You Know? posts, comments have been turned off, but I definitely encourage you to work in teams. Write your friends, send around each daily challenge, conspire, work together, whatever it takes to make sure you're armed with the right answers going into Friday's puzzle.

If you missed Day 1, check that out here. Meanwhile, Day 2 is right over here and Day 3 right over here.

Today we're playing Camouflage. On the next page you'll find 6 hidden names, each the name of a past or present SNL player. Your job is to unearth the players' names camouflaged by the other letters/words. Remember: the letters of each answer are in order from left to right. You just need to clear away the unneeded letters in the row in order to see the correct words.

Remember: Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the final puzzle, going up at 2pm ET, 11 PT.

hdyk_0.jpg

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
language
How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
iStock
iStock

Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
TAKWest, Youtube
arrow
entertainment
Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
TAKWest, Youtube
TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios