Arts & Culture

Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
4:15 am
Sat December 21, 2013

The Crossword Turns 100 (Across): Celebrate By Playing Our Puzzle

John Chaneski

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:46 am

  • Hear Will Shortz Prove His Anagram Prowess On Ask Me Another

The first published crossword puzzle was printed on December 21, 1913, in the The New York World. It was written by Arthur Wynne, a British journalist who moved to the United States at age 19 and wound up in New York City. His puzzle, diamond-shaped and identified as a "Word-Cross," first appeared in the "Fun" section of the Sunday paper.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:58 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

'Queen Of Memphis Soul' Carla Thomas Plays Not My Job

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 1:14 pm

We recorded our show in Memphis, Tenn., this week, where Carla Thomas is a soul legend. Born in Memphis, Thomas scored her first hit single for Stax Records at the age of 18, and had many more, including duets with Otis Redding and other stars.

We've invited her to play a game called "Thomas, meet Thomas." Three questions about other people who are also named Thomas.

Read more
5:49 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Say Cheese! Nine Picks for Your Party Plate

Beehive's Barely Buzzed cheese is infused with coffee and lavender.
Credit Beehive Barely Buzzed

Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci interviews cheese writer Jeanette Hurt.

If you're planning a holiday or New Year's party in Wisconsin, chances are a cheese plate is in order. But what to put on it?

Read more
Book Reviews
5:34 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

This British Spy Thriller Shows How Thrill-Less Spying Can Be

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte walks the hallways of the Threat Operations Center inside the National Security Agency in 2006.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Thanks to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, a panel appointed by President Obama, the practice of spying has been thrust back into headlines this week. The panel recommended that the NSA should stop collecting nearly all phone records, suggesting that a third party take responsibility instead for the database of records.

Tapping phones, searching records, international intrigue — these acts are not new events unfolding with the NSA. In fact, all this espionage has been a staple in novel and film for the better part of a century.

Read more
World Cafe
5:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Oscar Isaac On World Cafe

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in the upcoming Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Before Guatemalan actor and singer Oscar Isaac auditioned with the Coen Brothers for the title role in their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, his friends told him that he would love the brothers — and that he wouldn't get the part or ever hear back from them. They were right about him loving the filmmakers, but not so much when it came to Isaac getting a call.

Read more
World Cafe
4:52 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Carey Mulligan On World Cafe

Carey Mulligan (left) and Justin Timberlake in a scene from the upcoming Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

British actress Carey Mulligan plays a tough-skinned woman by the name of Jean Berkey in the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. In the movie, she sings alongside Justin Timberlake in the duo Jim and Jean, but has issues with the film's title character.

On Friday's episode of World Cafe, Mulligan talks with host David Dye about how playing the part was liberating, and how the challenge to sing live proved to be an enjoyable experience.

Read more
World Cafe
4:48 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Dave Van Ronk Biographer Elijah Wald On World Cafe

Elijah Wald.
Sandrine Sheon Courtesy of the artist

Back in 2005, we talked with Elijah Wald about his biography of folksinger Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of MacDougal Street. Wald was Van Ronk's guitar student and finished the book after the influential musician died in 2002.

Read more
Movie Interviews
4:42 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Ben Stiller, Spinning Daydreams In 'Walter Mitty'

Ben Stiller stars as a man who escapes his humdrum life by daydreaming in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which he also directed.
Wilson Webb Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — originally a two-page James Thurber story published in The New Yorker in 1939 — is about the reveries of a henpecked husband who became transformed, in his imagination, into an intrepid fighter pilot or a world-famous surgeon.

Read more
World Cafe
4:33 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Pretty Lights On World Cafe

EDM DJ Pretty Lights.
Courtesy of the artist

Pretty Lights is the stage name of Derek Vincent Smith, who describes his sample-based music as "electro hip-hop soul." Smith, an EDM DJ, has built up a large live following for his music, which he's given away on the Internet.

Read more
4:19 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

PHOTOS: Christmas Mystery Novel Reveals Norwegian Holiday Traditions

Julebukking is a Norwegian tradition in which revelers dress up and conceal their identities, and sing Christmas carols. Once their identities have been guessed, the singers are given treats. Ernst's character Chloe has a fear of julebukkers.
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews author Kathleen Ernst about her new mystery novel.

Wisconsin novelist Kathleen Ernst has written numerous historical books for children, but it’s a series of more modern-day mysteries that has adults anxiously awaiting new installments.

Read more