Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Howlers 11

Taking on the mantel...
When I took on the mantel of children’s laureate... (Malorie Blackman, Guardian July 2014 She means mantle, as in "ceremonial cloak".)

One publication, only one, the Dorchester Chronicle, celebrated [women workers] mid-war as “the dawning of a new eve of womankind, and therefore the human race”. Big chops to the Chronicle, but it had jumped too many guns. (Guardian Aug 2014 (Dorchester Chronicle: An evening can hardly dawn. Perhaps you originally wrote "era"? Guardian: Chops are skills, you mean “props” (congratulations). You jump a gun by starting to run before the starting pistol is fired, you don’t vault over several cannons. “It had jumped the gun” would do.)

a bursting prison population (BBC News) The prisons are bursting, the population is rising.

Diana Rigg and her elk are the reason we are in penury! (Person complaining about the cost of awards ceremonies. He means “ilk”.)

Beverley Brook: London’s only river whose name sounds like a Hollywood film star. It’s actually a corruption of beaver brook, after the toothsome mammals that once frolicked in its waters.  (Beavers are toothy, but probably not toothsome – tasty.) Londonist

The Imperial War Museum stands reassuringly near the Oval cricket grounds. (BBC News Does the comma go before or after “reassuringly”? Why is the Imp War Mus reassuring? Why does it need to be near the Oval?)

We had hit upon a raw nerve. (If the dentist hits a nerve when he’s drilling your teeth – ow! “Hit upon” means “find”. It hurts when you hit a nerve, though you might say that your feelings were still raw, or that your nerves were still raw after events were over. “We had hit a nerve.”)

In our unhealthy system politicians can ignore their constituents or behave disgracefully yet can still feel impregnable (Time subhed June 2014 Unimpugnable? How about “safe”?)

Chuck it up to experience. (American – It's chalk.)

The noodlier bits belie the project’s origins in the respective artists’ post-album creative hangovers. ( on Royskopp and Robyn. They mean “reveal”.)

Far from the maddening crowd (Shakespeare wrote “madding” – means the same.)

The actress had picture-picture looks to begin with. (Originally “picture-postcard perfect” [visuals] and “pitch-perfect” [sound].)

menage (An outdoor horse-training ring is a “manège”, but why fight it?)

It had lay hidden for 1000 years… new abbeys and churches sprung up… (TV presenter Nina Ramirez Lain hidden... churches sprang up.)

arts officionados (aficionados It’s nearer to “affection” than official or officious.)

Normcore has transgressed from a trend to a phenomenon. ( – progressed)

Oy Vey! He’s a nebbish boy from Queens, New York, who loves his Aunt May but feels the weight of the world on his shoulders – of course Spider-Man is Jewish. (Independent April 2014 "Nebbish" is a noun. It doesn’t mean “a bit neb”.)

not much chop (It's "not much cop".)

pall into insignificance (pale)

Nissan huts (Nissen)

Racism is strife in football. (rife)

This book is a mighty tomb. (Galway Advertiser A book is a "tome".)

CREATIVE SPELLINGA large number of tiny flies are in my garden hovering around my grass there are hundreds ist discusting i have just recently had my grass re turfted and it has been fine until last week. (
They seem to be amune to everything! (
To me Fiona Bruce is the appitamy of a lady.
Is Wall Street teaming with psychopaths? (huffpost)
dressed from head-to-tow in black (Daily Mail)
It’s a mute point.
(disgusting, turfed, immune, epitome, teeming, head-to-toe, moot)

Construed in the 60s, a flay within waling distance of the fashionable immunities of Church Street, in this sort after location, converted in this vicarage, in a quite residential neighbourhood, comprimises of carpet flooring, everything is separated from a central hallway, leaving room contains kitchen. Live in harmony with your environment in the shape of a long rear garden, we are delighted to offer to the market this two bedroom split level marionette. Double glaze windoe to rear, plummed for washing machine, communial car park area to front of the property, recently renovated within the last three months, carpeated throughout. Concrete ground and first floors: illiminating sound transfer. This lovely home is stooped in character. Readymade tenant in situ!

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Euphemisms for "Gay" (in quotes)

Calling someone epicene is a nice way of saying a pouf. (Kenneth Williams, Diaries. He also complained that people were always calling him "outrageous".)

He never married: He was gay.
Well turned out: He's gay.
(From Robert Hutton's Romps, Tots and Boffins)

flamboyant: Drag artist Danny La Rue is auctioning off part of his flamboyant collection of antiques later this month. (BBC, 13 Jan 04) Flamboyant Nicky is extremely popular with all the new Russians in town.” (Evening Standard, December 6, 2006) Liberace is “the flamboyant piano showman” in The Times, April 13 2013.

flowing: clothes worn by gay men, especially when applied to a garment that can’t possibly flow. “Flamboyant Anja, dancing in a micro-mini and a flowing handkerchief-style top on the stage, is a former first team rugby player and deputy head boy of his school.” (Sunday Times of South Africa 28 Oct 2001) “Take a flat character and make him gay, and all you have are the stereotypical attributes: loose, flowing garments; a somewhat insulting code name; unlikely speech patterns.” ( on Truly Awful Comics and a gay character called Extraño)

lavender: Despite all the progress, Ireland is still no lavender-scented utopia in which to be gay. (

perfumed: “It had once decorated the perfumed house shared by Saint Laurent and his partner… on the rue de Babylone.” (Evening Standard magazine, January 8 2010)

sashay: Peter Mandelson has “sashayed” back into the cabinet. (The Daily Telegraph, Oct 08)

screamingly: “This is more like early Almodóvar, outrageous, flashy fun, often with screamingly loud colour schemes...” (The Guardian, Feb 4 2005)

sibilant: “Kenneth Halliwell, taller and older than [Joe] Orton, with sibilant, affected speech...” (Born Brilliant, Christopher Stevens) “My face apparently looks effeminate, and people say that I speak sibilantly.” (Kenneth Williams, diary)

waspish: See any reference to fine actor Clifton Webb (1889-1966). “In 1984 [Denholm Elliott] was unforgettably waspish as the dying social lion who dictates his own death notice in The Razor's Edge” [the role played by Clifton Webb in the 1946 version]. ( “Webb used a sharp tongue and a waspish manner” “Cathcart's waspish art-collector husband (Clifton Webb)” video.tvguide “A waspish journalist who maintained an ambivalent relationship with Laura.” “Webb tended to play the familiar waspish character over and over. ( “He was subsequently typecast as a waspish, acidulous, pedantic bachelor” (

More euphemisms here, and links to the rest.