Posts Tagged ‘puns’
June 28, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review and a copy of Dylan’s new novel, Amateurs. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to email@example.com. The deadline is Friday, July 1, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!
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May 31, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: last week’s puzzle contest is officially over—thanks to all who entered. Our winner this time is Jonathan Harkey, who got twenty-five out of thirty malapropisms. He gets a free subscription to the Review and a copy of Dylan’s new novel, Amateurs. Congratulations, Jonathan! Below, the solutions. Read More »
May 23, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review and a copy of Dylan’s new novel, Amateurs. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Thursday, May 26, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!
Mrs. Malaprop is the pompous aunt in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy, The Rivals, and the eponym for the word malapropism. As one of her relations puts it in the play, she’s known for her use of “words so ingeniously misapplied, without being mispronounced.” Repeatedly and obliviously, she reaches for a high-flown word but comes out with a similar sounding, contextually nonsensical or ludicrous one—appellation, for example, becomes compilation; alligator morphs into allegory.
Each sentence in this month’s puzzle contains a malapropism. Your task is to identify the misapplied and intended words. As in The Rivals, the confused words are occasionally out-and-out rhymes, but most are more subtly alike in sound. For illustration, we’ll quote two of Mrs. Malaprop’s lines:
- But the point we would request of you is, that you will promise to forget this fellow—to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
- He is the very pine-apple of politeness.
Were those quotations part of our puzzle, correct answers would read something like this:
- Illiterate should be obliterate.
- Pine-apple should be pinnacle.
Or you might right “illiterate = obliterate,” or “Not ‘pine-apple, you silly, ‘pinnacle!’ ”—unlike Alex Trebek, we’re not sticklers about how you phrase your answers, though you do need to include both words in each answer. As always, the first person to submit a complete set of correct answers—or, in the event that no one achieves that, the person who submits the most correct answers—wins a free Paris Review conscription. Read More »
February 16, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
“The only thing harder than crafting a good pun,” wrote Ted Trautman in these pages, “is finding someone to appreciate it.” But as Trautman makes clear, those people who love puns really love puns. They’re the Peeps eaters of the wordplay world: few, proud, and defiant.
The stronghold of the pun -- besides our own ingenious puzzles, I mean -- is, of course, the UK: if not king there, the pun is certainly a minor entry in Debrett’s. And so it should come as no shock that from across the pond comes—wait for it—a history of the world in visual puns. You didn’t know you needed that in your life, did you? You didn’t know you needed, say, a list of ten puns on the assassination of Julius Caesar. And maybe you hear, Why did Julius Caesar buy crayons? He wanted to mark Antony, and think, Wow, that’s really lame. But then, Peeps lovers always do claim that they’re better stale.
May 12, 2015 | by Sadie Stein
It’s galling to reach adulthood and realize how many things have gone over your head. That, in a single e-mail thread, you can learn both that “Staples” is a pun and that Chips Ahoy! is an allusion to “Ship ahoy.” I mean, you like to think that if someone had forced you to consider the matter for five seconds, you would have realized. But the point is that I had not realized—and I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the definition of stupidity.
That night, I tried to comfort myself by thinking of the plays on words I had recognized in the course of my thirty-plus years of relative sentience. U-Haul. The Beatles. Central Perk from Friends. That fish and chips shop, A Salt and Battery. Read More »
December 1, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Don DeLillo rereads his own opus, Underworld, seventeen years after its publication. (“Great fucking line,” he’s written next to “The subway seals you durably in the stone of the moment.”)
- In the thirties, William Mortensen was one of the most celebrated photographers in the nation—his pictures were “unabashedly theatrical, bizarre, and often louche.” What sank his reputation: a critical tiff with Ansel Adams.
- The Chinese State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has moved to ban wordplay “on the grounds that it breaches the law on standard spoken and written Chinese, makes promoting cultural heritage harder and may mislead the public—especially children.” (An example of the now forbidden fruit: “replacing a single character in ke bu rong huan has turned ‘brook no delay’ into ‘coughing must not linger’ for a medicine ad.”)
- While we’re on censorship: In the quest for G-rated moon landings, NASA used to go to great lengths to scrub astronauts’ profanity from its transcripts. In the case of one particularly salty spaceman, they went further—they had him hypnotized. “A psychiatrist put the idea in his head that he would rather hum when his mind wandered.”
- On the history of fairy tales: “In the coded language of symbol and metaphor they chart the journey from childhood to adulthood. The Russian commentator Eleaser Meletinksji wrote, ‘It is even possible to say that the fairy tale begins with the break-up of one family and ends with the creation of a new one.’”