Richard Lederer is known to American logophiles as a puzzle maker, gamesman, and columnist. To the poker world, he is Annie Duke and Howard Lederer’s dad.
In the former role, he is a great expounded of the oddities of the English language. Lederer served The San Diego Union Tribune as history quizmaster as well as writing a regular column on grammar and etymology. Even now he maintains a blog called Verbivore in which he deals with these and related topics. His previous show — part stand-up routine, part grammar lecture called “Amazing Words” — did well enough that this year he is taking his new show, “Dr. Grammar Guy,” on the road.
Along the way, he is stopping at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. While there, he is also running a charity auction to raise funds for the theatre.
The evening will begin with a show that sets out to “illuminate essential grammar, usage, and punctuation, including the terminal preposition, split infinitive, they as a third-person singular pronoun, and the utility of the serial comma.”
After that, the auction will feature two lessons with Lederer.
Going, going, gone
The first will be a session of language-related instruction delivered either as an after-dinner speech, school lesson, sermon, or office team building session. The second is going to be a poker lesson in which he “will instruct you in the fundamentals of the great American game of Texas Hold’em.”
The credentials provided to sell buyers on the latter purchase are his role as sire to Annie and Howard. Mr. Mizrachi may have something to say about Lederer’s claim to be “the most successful breeder of world-class poker players in history.” This remains true no matter how many times Annie Duke uses the term “poker champion” on her book covers.
Whether Lederer the Elder’s poker pitch convinces you will probably depend heavily on just how much cash you had in your account with Full Tilt when the DOJ booted the hinges off the doors at Tiltware.
That said, one probably shouldn’t visit the sins of the offspring on the father, and Lederer is mostly well-liked in his field. He is funny, smart, and only slightly too prone to Anglophone exceptionalism (the great pitfall for all English-speaking logolepts).
If you want to catch the show and are in the right part of California at 7:30 on March 7, 2022, then tickets will cost you $25 a seat. The auction may cost you rather more depending on how it goes.