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This is a word-site, so it seems natural to devote this week to terms related to word-play.
  • We are not what we seem, as the needle said to the thread.
  • It's coming back to me now, as the captain said as he spit into the wind.
  • I see, said the blind man.
  • I'm laboring under a false impression, said the die to the counterfeiter.
  • That's the spirit, said the medium, as the table began to rise.
  • Eaves dropping again, I see, as Adam said when his wife fell out of a tree.
I like to transition from one theme to the next with a word that fits both old theme and new. We have such a word today. Wordplay like the above is called a wellerism after Sam Weller, who spake many a wellerism in Dickens's The Pickwick Papers. When Sam is frustrated by talk that is slow getting to the point, he exclaims, "Out vith it, as the father said to his child, when he swallowed a farding [farthing]."

wellerism – a familiar phrase put in the mouth of one whose situation humorously brings to mind another meaning of that phrase. The double meaning may be by punning on sound, by a double-meaning of a word, or by a contrast of figurative and literal usages. [definition by Wordcrafter]

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"A man who would pun would pick pockets."
Dr. Aubrey, "Master & Commander."


RJA
 
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See also the "Swifty:"

A Tom Swifty is a Wellerism in which an adverb relates both properly and punningly to a sentence of reported speech.
"The doctor had to remove my left ventricle," said Tom half-heartedly.
"Your Honour, you're crazy!" said Tom judgementally.
http://www.fun-with-words.com/tom_swifties_history.html


RJA
 
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Another Tom Swifty -- which I hope doesn't exceed this group's risqueitude (sic) limits:

"I'd like to make love to you," said Tom indicatively.
 
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When I was growing up, one of my father's favorite sayings (especially when we were traveling) was "As the rabbi said to the little boy, 'It won't be long now!'" He never would explain it to me, and it wasn't until after I got to college that I finally had the Ah-ha! moment.
 
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A common phrase here is "as the bishop said to the actress". Used judiciously, it can endow the most commonplace of statements with a hitherto unknown level of salacity.

BTW, we've got a couple of old threads running on Tom Swifties: http://wordcraft.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4106...426012721#5426012721 and http://wordcraft.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4106...226099413#6226099413


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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There are specific names for two types of punning wellerisms.

Tom Swiftie – a wellerism based on a punning adverb
[After the Tom Swift children's books by Edward L. Stratemeyer (1862-1930). The characters rarely just 'said' something; they 'said angrily' or 'said thoughtfully' or 'said joyfully', etc.]
  • "We've had a flat tire," Tom said deflatedly.
  • "And someone stole the extra tire," added Tom, tirelessly but despairingly.
  • "Who stole the marijuana?" said Tom disjointedly.
  • "Ouch! I'm tangled up in barbed wire!" yelped Tom indefensibly.
  • "My flight leaves at 8:00" said Tom, airily.
croaker – a wellerism based on a punning verb
[term coined by Roy Bongartz]
  • "I'm dying," he croaked.
  • "The teacher changed my grade," Tom remarked.
  • There's a whale in the Thames!" Tom blubbered.
  • "I'll be wearing a mink coat," Thomasina inferred.
  • "We've overthrown the government," Tom cooed.

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    Ruth rode on my motorbike,
    Directly back of me.
    I hit a bump
    At sixty-five,
    And rode on
    Ruthlessly!

-- by I-don't-know-who.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis:
"A man who would pun would pick pockets."
Dr. Aubrey, "Master & Commander."


Was it Captain Aubrey or Dr. Maturin?
 
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Captain Aubrey made reference to the "lesser of two weevils..."

Dr. Maturin objected, as noted.


RJA
 
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Regarding pickpockets but not much else...

I liked this remark by a newspaper columnist:

"The closest thing I have to a sex life nowadays is to have my pocket picked."


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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lipogram – a composition excluding words containing some selected certain letter or letters

Here is a familiar verse written without any s. Credit Ross Eckler. An exercise to the reader is to write this verse, as Mr. Eckler did, with no e, or no a (changing Mary's name), or no t, or no h.
    Mary had a little lamb,
    With fleece a pale white hue,
    And everywhere that Mary went
    The lamb kept her in view;
    To academe he went with her,
    Illegal, and quite rare;
    It made the children laugh and play
    To view a lamb in there.
Poems, dramas, and even novels have been written as lipograms, particularly by the French. Ernest Vincent Wright used not a single e in his full length English novel Gadsby, which begins, "If youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn’t constantly run across folks today who claim that 'a child don’t know anything.'”

It is said that in the fifteenth century an inferior Persian poet proudly presented, to the great poet Jami, verses the inferior had written without the letter alif. Jami pondered and commented, "It would be better if you had left out the other letters too."
 
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You're link's busted, wordcrafter.

My favorite, and, unfortunately, lost lipogrammatical works are:

a. L. Septimius Nestor. Iliad.

b. Tryphiodorus. Odyssey.

Each poem was rewritten from Homer's Greek with each chapter leaving out the Greek letter that stood for the number of the chapter: e.g., alpha for the first, beta for the second, etc., through the alphabet. (The Greeks, as did the Ancient Hebrews, used their alphabet both for words and numbers.)

[Typos fixed.]

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Try this link instead.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I have to say, being a nurse and all, lipogram sounds like an x-ray of one's fatty tissue. Wink
 
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ludic – relating to undirected, spontaneous playfulness (pronounced as in 'ludicrous')
Apparently a technical word for what I think of as childlike, spontaneous fun

Today's excerpts (ellipses omitted) are from the first pages of Language Play by David Crystal, which I commend to you.
    Everyone plays with language or responds to language play. The aim of this book is to ask why the playful (or "ludic") function of language is important. Ludic language has be a badly neglected subject of linguistic enquiry, yet it should be at the heart of any thinking we do about linguistic issues. The rules of ludic language are different from those which govern other uses of language. There are special ways of speaking. Ludic language exists in hundreds of different genres. Any aspect of linguistic structure is available to become the focus.
 
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Man has been called Homo ludens 'playing man'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by zmjezhd:
Man has been called Homo ludens 'playing man'.


In fact there's a book by that name by Johan Huizinga, a Dutch historian, that addresses the play element in culture. (He also wrote The Waning of the Middle Ages, a very readable book that is less about kings and wars and more about people and daily life.)

Another book that comes to mind is Hesse's Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game), which is sometimes subtitled "Magister Ludi".

Hold on, I feel a limerick coming on ...

I had to read Magister Ludi
In grad school -- a most pleasant duty.
The hero, Joe Knecht,
Once visited Pesht
And had a brief fling with Frau Trudi.

No he didn't, the tyranny of the rhyme made me make that part up. Roll Eyes

David
 
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Got this in the morning email, thought the group might get a chuckle or two:

The following were the winners of a New York magazine contest in which contestants were to take a well-known expression in a foreign language, change a single letter, and provide a definition for the new expression. [You'll note a couple of violations of this rule -- DMF]

=========
HARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS: Can you drive a French motorcycle?
IDIOS AMIGOS: We're wild and crazy guys!
VENI, VIPI, VICI: I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered.
VENI, VIDI, VICE: l came, I saw, I partied.
VENI, VIDI, VELCRO: I came, I saw, I stuck around.
COGITO EGGO SUM: I think; therefore I waffle.
COGITO, ERGO SPUD: I think, therefore I yam.
RIGOR MORRIS: The cat is dead.
RESPONDEZ S'IL VOUS PLAID: Honk if you're Scottish.
QUE SERA SERF: Life is feudal.
LE ROI EST MORT, JIVE LE ROI: The king is dead, no kidding.
POSH MORTEM: Death styles of the rich and famous.
PRO BOZO PUBLICO: Support your local clown (or politician - your call).
MONAGE A TROIS: I am three years old.
FELIX NAVIDAD: Our cat has a boat.
HASTE CUISINE: Fast French food
QUIP PRO QUO: Fast retort.
ALOHA OY: Love; greetings; farewell; from such a pain you would never know.
MAZEL TON: Tons of luck.
VISA LA FRANCE: Don't leave your chateau without it.
AMICUS PURIAE: Platonic friend.
L'ETAT, C'EST MOO: I'm bossy around here.
ICH BIT EIN BERLINER: He deserved it.
ZIT GEIST: The Clearasil doesn't quite cover it up.
E PLURIBUS ANUM: Out of any group, there's always one a-hole.
NOMO ARIGATO: No thanks to you.
VIVE LE DUFFERENCE: Long live golfing
=========

David
 
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rebus – a puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and letters.
[Latin ‘by mean of things’. It's not clear why this Latin word was applied to this sort of puzzle. The theory I find most convincing notes the Latin phrase non verbis sed rebus – not words but things.]

Here are three rebuses for you to puzzle over. Answers will be provided in a few days.


Wood
John
Mass.


timing tim ing


. . . . . . . . . .B
fault man quarrels wife fault
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Wood
John
Mass


This is an address, put on an envelope in those halcyon days before zip codes and postal employees going, well, postal, when evidently some postmaster had time to puzzle out where to deliver this.

I'll not include the answer here, becuz I'm guessing that wouldn't be kosher, i.e. until wordcrafter puts it up.

David
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:



Wood
John
Mass.


timing tim ing


. . . . . . . . . .B
fault man quarrels wife fault


I just want to go on record at this early date to say I got the first two figured out.....What?? O.K., O.K. My big boy Andrew interrupts to remind me that HE figured out number one...But I'm still working on the last one....I'm SURE that the B is somehow strategically placed. Hmmmmm.......I'll get back to you...
 
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Originally posted by zmjezhd:
Man has been called Homo ludens 'playing man'.

Perhaps that should be Homo ludicrous.

Tinman
 
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Homo ludicrous

No, I'm pretty sure Huizinga's book is called Homo Ludens, and Frisch's is called Homo Faber.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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cruciverbalist – a composer of crossword puzzles; an enthusiast at solving those puzzles
The first crossword puzzle appeared in the New York World on December 1, 1913. Its creator, the first cruciverbalist, was Arthur Wynne, an English-born American journalist. This new sort of puzzle spread quickly and internationally. Booksellers discovered that dictionary sales were at an all-time high.

The term cruciverbalist was coined much later. The secondary sources trace it to 1981, but I have found it used in 1980 by Tom Schwendler in the Nov. 30 Syracuse Herald-Journal.
    Tipsy actor? Marlon Brandy. Tipsy southern novel? Tequila Mockingbird. Drives the D.A. to drink? Bourbon of proof. And the definition of 19 Down was Oriental nurse, which every cruciverbalist in the universe knows is amah.
    – Stephen King, Bag of Bones
 
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Originally posted by zmjezhd:
Homo ludicrous

No, I'm pretty sure Huizinga's book is called Homo Ludens, and Frisch's is called Homo Faber.

I wasn't questioning the term Huizinga used. I only meant that Homo ludicrous seemed more appropriate.

Tinman
 
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rhopalic – a "growing" verse, sentence, or series of words, with each item longer than the one before (typically one element longer)
[Greek rhopalon, a club that grows thicker at one end]

In sentences, "grow" the words one letter at a time.
    I do not know where family doctors acquired illegally perplexing handwriting.
In verses, grow the words. Or grow each line by one metric foot.

With words, grow by adding a letter and then rearranging to form a new word: a at tan rant train rating darting drafting. Or play the last game in reverse, starting with the longest word. Many words can be shortened one letter at a time, always rearranging to get a new word, until you end with a single letter. Here are some. Try it! Answers sometime during the coming week.
    destruction
    desperate
    transpires
    flattering
    importance
    persevering
    decorated
    shortness
 
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Answers to rebuses are here.
 
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