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My partner and I were working the late shift, when we got the call. We were halfway through a game of Scrabble, and I was contesting Brody's word.

" 'Coverted'? No way."

"Sure," Brody said. "Means concealed."

"That's 'covert,' bonehead."

"Mr. Bonehead to you," Brody said. We both got a chuckle out of that.

Then the call came in, and we hightailed it over to the docks. A night watchman had found $700,000 in a valise next to a guy who wasn't going anywhere, except to the morgue.

"That watchman's a saint," Brody mumbled. "Given the opportunity, I'm not so sure I'd be so overtly moral."

" 'Overtly?' " I said.

"Yeah. Out in the open. Observable, bonehead."

"Mr. Bonehead," I said. We both laughed. Having a great sense of humor was what always got Brody and me through the night.

Remember: covert -- secret, hidden

overt -- not secret, not hidden

1. When he was apprehended inside the bank, the suspect was (overtly/covertly) carrying crook's tools in his shoe.

2. When Dexter threw his accordion at his heckler, the audience suspected that was a/an (overt/covert) act of hostility.

3. Among the (overt/covert) activities the spies indulged in were rummaging through people's garbage, eavesdropping, and steaming open mail and resealing it.

1. covertly ("I wanted to make sure they really meant 'safe deposit!' " he said.

2. overt (You had to get up pretty early to put something over on those folks.

3. covert (That left little time for square dancing and welcome wagon calls.)