Words: dial, v.

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The Independent Culture
ENQUIRE AT Cable & Wireless and one gets an "automated menu service": if the firm goes into catering, food will be stale when it gets to the table, such is this dilatory system whose voice resembles that operated by pulling the cord in a doll's back.

Dilatory could make a pun - but what does one say in this push-button age? Both BT and C&W operators say that it is dial (neither knew that it came from the Latin dies for day); except when only one figure is involved, when it is press.

In 1930, Punch noted that "I keep meeting people who are quite worn out with dialling all day"; buttons would make it easier did they not so often connect with menu services, which a churl in C&W's "customer services" insists are "modern". Yes, but slow.

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