Where Illin' Came From

This weekend's New York Times crossword puzzle has sparked a linguistic debate: What does the word "illin'" really mean? A clue in this weekend's puzzle read "Wack, in hip-hop," for which the answer was: Illin'. Upon seeing the "right answer" for this clue, writer Julieanne Smolinski a.k.a Boobs Radley questioned puzzle editor Will Shortz, saying in an e-mail to him, reposted on Gawker, "These are not the same things, at all!" -- she actually believes the word means the exact opposite, "'Ill' in a positive sense," she clarifies in a later email. Citing two slang dictionaries and Urban Dictionary, Shortz disagrees, these sources all point to synonyms for wack. "It seems to me the clue is fine," he wrote back. The debate went unresolved, as even Gawker's own writers couldn't agree on the definition, the post prompted a "shouting match at Gawker's HQ." So, what does illin' mean?

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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