Nut Graph

Listening to Marketplace this morning on the way into work with the kids. Kai Ryssdal was talking about the Federal Reserve not raising interest rates, and I swear here said “For those of you in a hurry, here’s the nut grab, the Fed is not raising rates now.”

Huh? Did he just say ‘nut grab?’ While that would certainly get my attention, I have never heard that turn of phrase before, let alone coming from a broadcast radio announcer on public radio for chrissakes. Doesn’t seem like something that would get past the censors.

Well a little investigation – basically downloading the mp3 file and listening again and again – I think I just misheard him and he really said ‘nut graph.’ And while I still have never heard of nut graph before, Wikipedia does tell me this is actually a term used by journalists. It is a contraction of ‘nutshell paragraph,’ the leading paragraph of a story that encapsulates the essential information in a short sentence or two. Okay, that makes much more sense.

Still I like ‘nut grab.’ Seems more visceral and on point. Actually reminds me of another malaprop I had back in 2004 or so, when I heard about the governor of Iowa was running for president or might be a vice presidental candidate. I swear I heard his name was Tom Ballsack the first couple times it was mentioned on the radio.

Hmm, nut grab, ballsack… I sense a certain Freudian trend in my malaprops.

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