Friday - - MIND GAMES -

This week let’s take a look at some mis­cel­la­neous odd­i­ties and in­no­va­tions de­vised by word puz­zlers.

Malaproverbs: Take a fa­mil­iar proverb (“One good turn de­serves another”), re­move a phrase (“de­serves another”), in­sert a new one (“gets most of the blan­ket”), and what do you get? A malaproverb. Here are some more: – Many hands make house­work. – Let sleep­ing bags lie. – A pic­ture is worth a thou­sand dol­lars. – Penny wise, pound cake. – If at first you don’t suc­ceed, quit. – Taste makes waist. – Make hay while the iron is hot. Celebri­ties have con­trib­uted their share. In his eight­ies, Grou­cho Marx be­moaned his doc­tor’s in­struc­tions to eat fru­gally: “One swal­low does not a sup­per make”. He also added a sec­ond sim­ile to “Time flies like the wind”: “Fruit flies like a banana”. And, to the line “Be­hind ev­ery suc­cess­ful man stands a woman”, he added “and be­hind her stands his wife”.

A sim­ple swap-around of phrases can yield in­ter­est­ing re­sults. When small chil­dren ask em­bar­rass­ing ques­tions, it is said that “invention is the ne­ces­sity of mother”.

“Fa­mil­iar­ity breeds at­tempt” is funny and yet has a ring of truth to it, but sim­ply ab­bre­vi­ated, is the soul of wit: “Fa­mil­iar­ity breeds”.

And fi­nally, some well­known proverbs rewrit­ten in grandiose style. How many can you rec­og­nize (the an­swers are below)? – No re­mit­tance is given for ac­tions which are taken counter to the cod­i­fied body of ju­rispru­dence. – Those with­out suf­fi­cient in­ter­nal bi­o­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms to fos­ter one’s courage to take on dif­fi­cult and ar­du­ous tasks will nary re­ceive se­ri­ous ac­co­lades. – The person pre­sent­ing the ul­ti­mate cachin­na­tion pos­sesses thereby the op­ti­mum cachin­na­tion. – It is fruit­less to be­come lachry­mose of pre­ci­pately de­parted lacteal fluid.

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