Silly Questions: I before E except after K. See?
Thursday 23 June 1994
Stuart Cockerill traces it further back, from ancient Sumerian to Egypt, where hieroglyphs followed the rule: 'Scarab foraging on unidentified carcass before Phoenix with scarab in beak, except after man with shotgun.'
Christopher Bamford says:'This is a dialect reminiscence of the wedding ceremony, in which the husband addresses his wife, proclaiming his right to walk in front of her on every occasion except on leaving the church.'
Why do men have their money ready in supermarkets when women don't? Two theories predominate. The first, offered by male correspondents, maintains that men are more efficient than women; the second, proclaimed generally by females, is that you get out of the shop more quickly, and cause less delay to others, if you keep both hands free to pack the goods before paying.
Richard Crowe further comments: 'A woman's subconscious is reluctant to spend the fruits of the toil of her hard-working husband and provider, who sweats all day over computer or machine tool to supply the meagre offerings that are her housekeeping money.'
Len Clarke says it's because 'the poor, innocent creatures think that all men are still gentlemen, and if they appear helpless enough, the nearest chap in the queue will offer to pay the bill for them'. Chris Bray points out: 'Most cash-desk people are girls. Having one's money ready is a primitive courtship ritual.'
Which brings us to backward planning (as opposed to forward planning). Ms J Darling 'looks forward with hindsight to an impressive history of regression'. She will reveal her secrets at a seminar last March, entitled 'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back'. Fees payable in arrears.
Even more lucidly, Jane Carpanini says: 'Backward planning is what happens tomorrow when you've allowed your front- log of work to get out of hand.'
Next week: cars and condoms. Meanwhile, try the following: Why do they always talk about a Cabinet re-shuffle? When was the original shuffle? (C W Morton). Why is it a pig's breakfast and a dog's dinner, but no animal seems to have lunch? (Richard G Hunt). Why don't you ever see baby pigeons? (Craig Moore). Why do some people use their middle initials? (James T Kirk).
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke