The Straight Dope

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The Straight Dope
Type of site
Question and answer
OwnerSun-Times / Straight Dope Publishing
Created byCecil Adams (pseudonym)
RegistrationRequired only on forum
Launched1973; 50 years ago (1973)
Current statusNo longer updated

"The Straight Dope" was a question-and-answer newspaper column written under the pseudonym Cecil Adams. Contributions were made by multiple authors, and it was illustrated (also pseudonymously) by Slug Signorino.[1] It was first published in 1973 in the Chicago Reader as well as in print syndication nationally in the United States,[2] and on a website with the same name.

Following the column of June 27, 2018, the "Straight Dope" column was placed on hiatus, with no decision made regarding its future.[3] The website and associated forum continue to be active.

Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, has purchased Sun-Times Media (STM), which owns the Straight Dope, including the SDMB (Straight Dope Message Board).

Name and tagline[edit]

The column derives its name from the American idiom meaning roughly "the true information; the full story"[4] and covers many subjects, including history, science, old wives' tales, urban legends, and inventions. The column appeared under the tagline: "Fighting ignorance since 1973. (It's taking longer than we thought.)”


Five collections of columns have been published, sometimes referred to as the Straight Dope Cyclopedia of Human Knowledge:

  • The Straight Dope (1984)
  • More of the Straight Dope (1988)
  • Return of the Straight Dope (1994)
  • The Straight Dope Tells All (1998)
  • Triumph of the Straight Dope (1999)

In addition, the 1993 collection Know It All was published for younger audiences by Cecil's "assistant" Ed Zotti.[5]


In 1996, the A&E Network briefly aired a show based on the column called The Straight Dope, hosted and co-written by comedian Mike Lukas.[6] A podcast has also been released sporadically.


  1. ^ "The Straight Dope FAQ". Chicago Reader. 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Newspapers carrying The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. 2013-06-16. Archived from the original on 2017-10-03.
  3. ^ Adams, Cecil (27 June 2018). "A note from Cecil Adams about The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. Archived from the original on 2018-06-28.
  4. ^ Spears, Richard A. (2005). McGraw-Hill's dictionary of American idioms and phrasal verbs. Chicago: McGraw-Hill. p. 652. ISBN 0-07-143578-6. OCLC 61399219.
  5. ^ "The Straight Dope Books". The Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  6. ^ "Mike Lukas". Deja Vu Comedy Club. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06.

External links[edit]