The Top Ten: Zeugmas

From the Greek, 'to yoke', a figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different senses

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The Independent Culture

Hilda and Graham Heap stayed at a lodge in New Zealand where one of the guest-book entries from the 1960s was: 'Time and sand flies.' It is a zeugma, from the Greek, 'to yoke', a figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different senses.

1. 'The food was mediocre, and a long way from my hotel, so I left in a huff and a taxi'

David Lea supplied a photo of Zeugma Cafe & Restaurant, Istanbul.

2. 'We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately'

Benjamin Franklin, nominated by Xlibris1.

3. 'He scythed a catch to deep point and his chagrin'

Scyld Berry, Daily and Sunday Telegraph cricket correspondent, caught by Matt Ayre.

4. 'All I do is keep the beat and bad company'

Dire Straits, "Romeo and Juliet", kept by James.

5. 'She lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes – and his hopes'

Flanders & Swann, "Have Some Madeira M'Dear", raised by Adam Furness.

6. 'He is diverting the Alpheus as we speak,' he said, straining a metaphor and the tea'

"A Wodehouse spoof on local radio," says Mike Martin. "Probably not online. Or even accurately remembered."

7. 'Dost sometimes Counsel take – and sometimes Tea'

Alexander Pope, "The Rape of the Lock, Canto III", by which Charlotte Morgan was taken.

8. 'She blew my nose and then she blew my mind'

The Rolling Stones, "Honky Tonk Women".

9. 'Then she brought the cup to each of the Company, and bade them drink and farewell'

JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, the "she" being Galadriel.

10. 'Miss Bolo… went straight home, in a flood of tears and a sedan-chair'

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers. Thanks, Stig Abell.

Next week: Interesting numbers

Coming soon: Covers better than the original, starting with 'All Along the Watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix after Bob Dylan. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to top10@independent.co.uk

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