i-Plurals

A particular tech company has reclaimed the letter "i" by turning it into a prefix — you know the one. But in this game, puzzle guru Art Chung sends poor "i" to the ends of words, by quizzing contestants on irregular plurals, like "octopi."

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's say hello to our next two contestants, Mike Blejer and Anna MacEwan.

(APPLAUSE)

MIKE BLEJER: Hi.

EISENBERG: Hi to both of you. Anna, you are an elementary school nurse.

ANNA MACEWAN: I am.

EISENBERG: Who is known as the singing nurse. Because you sing all the time?

MACEWAN: Yeah. That's what they say. That's usually at the hospital that I do more of the singing, but not so much at the school.

EISENBERG: OK.

MACEWAN: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What are you singing? Are you singing, like...

MACEWAN: Yeah, R&B.

EISENBERG: R&B? Really? Welcome. That's awesome. I love that. I picture you walking around singing R&B in a hospital. That is, like, very wonderful. Mike, you're a comedian and you host a podcast called Malignant Brain Humor, but you also sing, don't you?

BLEJER: I do.

EISENBERG: What kind of stuff do you sing? R&B?

BLEJER: Mostly R&B in hospitals.

(LAUGHTER)

BLEJER: It's actually very awkward. Yeah, I used to sing classic music.

EISENBERG: This next game is called I-Plurals. It sounds like we're talking about multiple iPhones or iPads, but we're actually talking about irregular plurals. Our puzzle guru, Art Chung, here, is going to give us a big of an English lesson. What is an irregular plural, Art?

ART CHUNG: Sure. While the plural forms of most English words are forms by just adding an S at the end, some words change in different ways. For example, an accepted plural of octopus is octopi, ending in the letter I.

EISENBERG: I'm going to give you the clues to words that have a plural form that ends in I, spoken in the style of an Apple commercial. You tell us the regular plural that fits the description. Contestants, are you ready?

BLEJER: Maybe.

MACEWAN: I think so.

EISENBERG: Very good. Penicillin, yeast, blue cheese, toadstools. Now you can get them all in one simple kingdom. We're breaking the mold again.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Anna.

MACEWAN: Fungi.

EISENBERG: Fungi is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Your classes, your required books, your assigned readings, your final exam dates, all in one place.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mike.

BLEJER: Alumni.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: That is incorrect. I'm sorry. But I like the idea. Alumnus, alumni. Yes, Anna?

MACEWAN: Syllabi.

EISENBERG: Syllabi. There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Plenty of time, Mike. Plenty of time.

BLEJER: She deserved that one.

EISENBERG: She deserved them all, actually.

BLEJER: I know.

EISENBERG: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Plants. They need so much water and so much attention. But now there's plants that don't need much of either. And if you try, you might get pricked. You'll bleed with joy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Anna.

MACEWAN: Cacti.

EISENBERG: Cacti. There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Mike, did you know that one?

BLEJER: When she said it.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Very good. I'm reading you a clue, a hint, a lead, a giveaway. Whatever it is, you can find extra words for it here. They're books, indexes, lexicons.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mike.

BLEJER: Thesauri.

EISENBERG: Thesauri is correct.

BLEJER: Ha! I didn't think I was right!

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I've never seen someone more impressed with themselves. That was awesome. Well done. Joyful and happy. You are many, many shades of happy. So your economy is sluggish, unemployment, inflation, recession. Well, we've got a few trillion ways to fix that. Some call them bailouts. We call them relief. Let's get growing again.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Anna.

MACEWAN: Money-I.

EISENBERG: Money-I. Good guess.

MACEWAN: That's it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BLEJER: Econom-I.

EISENBERG: Econom-I.

BLEJER: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Incorrect as well. Well, let's see. Anyone out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MEN AND WOMEN: Stimuli!

EISENBERG: Stimuli.

MACEWAN: Oh.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

BLEJER: Yeah, for you guys it's easy.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Liquids, we'll swallow that. Chewed food? We'll swallow that. We'll move it all down to your stomach internally.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mike?

BLEJER: Esophagi.

EISENBERG: Esophagi is correct.

BLEJER: I know.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This is your last question. So you need a four-sided shape and all the sides have to be equal lengths but they don't have to form right angles. Sound complicated? Not for us. Now that's a square deal.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Anna.

MACEWAN: Rhombi?

EISENBERG: Rhombi.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: She knows her shapes. I feel like that was close.

CHUNG: It was. Mike was a fun guy but...

BLEJER: Ha!

CHUNG: ...Anna takes that round.

EISENBERG: Thank you so much, Mike. And congratulations, Anna, you'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

(APPLAUSE)

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