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GRAMMAR GURU

COVERT/OVERT
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

Quiz
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.

Answers
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.)