The top ten: Spoonerisms
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 02 February 2014
She was so beautiful that the two sisty uglers didn't cinderise Recognella. I am grateful to Michael Fishberg for drawing to my attention a 1962 recording of 'Cinderella', written by Jack Ross and Elmer Nemeth, in which Ross tells the story in spoonerisms. I think we should use them more. Lecund sowest hulme of former, indeed.
1. Plaster man From John Ayrton.
2. Mare in handage The prandsome hince was just about to ask for Cinderella's when the strock clarted to trike swelve.
3. Porter logged witches Nominated by John Holmes.
4. We'll have the hags flung out Philip Ardagh, from his Book of Howlers, Blunders and Random Mistakery.
5. Mean as custard Thanks again to John Ayrton.
6. 'The Lord is a shoving leopard' Attributed to William Spooner, warden of New College, Oxford, 1903-1924, but probably made up by his students.
7. Flow snurries
8. Lloyd Fraud Chris Bryant, the Labour MP, made a Freudian slip when he referred to the Work and Pensions minister, Lord Freud.
9. Shake a tower John Ayrton.
10. The weight of rages One of only two authenticated Spoonerisms uttered by Spooner himself. The other is "The Kinquering Congs their Titles Take".
Next week: Most interesting British politicians.
Coming soon: Words that used to mean the opposite (such as egregious, humbled). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to email@example.com
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