Sunday, 11 October 2015

Mixed Metaphors and Garbled Clichés 14

Injecting a new lease of life

If this movie is a success, she could hitch her star to it! (Monumental Mysteries It’s “hitch your wagon to a star”.)

How tough this tightrope is that the EU has to walk. (BBC News A tough tightrope might be thicker, and easier to walk, than the normal kind. Walking a tightrope is always difficult – there’s no need to qualify it.)

Probe on Cliff widens (Sun headline Probes have to be long and narrow – think of a humming-bird’s beak, an anteater’s nose.)

We can’t be complacent and sit back on our laurels. (BBC Breakfast You rest on your laurels – the laurel crown given to an Olympic champion – when you think you don't have to compete any more.)

Very disappointing that sweatshop labour used to make those feminist T-shirts. But David Cameron didn't know that. He has no high ground. (@greg_jenner See “high moral ground” for “moral high ground”.)

The theft of half a dozen show-winning [guineapigs] from a breeder in Devon has cast a spotlight on the cutthroat underbelly of this seemingly genteel pursuit. (Telegraph)

The Conservative victory could inject a fresh lease of life into London's prime housing market. ITV (How are you going to get the document into the syringe?)

This whole world runs on 4 pillars 1-Religion 2-Money 3-Politics 4-Prostitution (Twitter Stands on pillars, runs on wheels.)

[Greeks should] support their country and swallow the bullet. (You bite on a bullet while your leg is being amputated without anaesthetic on an 18th century battlefield. The bullet is lead, so your teeth sink into it.)

"With all the debate brewing [...] the biggest bombshell turned out to be an explosive plot twist that no one saw coming." (NYT via Sam Leith ‏@questingvole)

And, today, in books received, "a hard-hitting rollercoaster of a debut thriller". (Sam Leith ‏@questingvole)

Londoners have to suffer views of this bloated carbuncle. (BBC Online The Walkie Talkie has won the Carbuncle Cup.)

My hand is still on the tiller, but only in a safety valve sort of way. (Lord Bath Sept 2015)

Is he the man to steer the ship over the road? (BBC sports commentator)

BBC says Brian Sewell had “currant-bun eyes”. (His face was the bun, his eyes were the currants.)

He wants to add another dinosaur to the collection, and cement his own name in the history books. (Canadian Dino Hunt)

She didn’t bat an eyebrow! (You bat your eyelashes.)

The bloom is off the rose. (The bloom is off the grape – it’s that dewy, velvety surface. A rose IS a bloom.)

From galleries to grass level projects.... (It’s “grass-roots” level – but why?)

Simmering tensions threaten to erupt.
(If tensions could simmer they would threaten to boil over.)

nail your colours to the mask, tie your colours to the mask (It’s “mast”. The “colours” are your country’s flag; you run them up the mast and then nail them there so that nobody can make you lower them in defeat.)

forge a niche, forge a path (You carve, or carve out, a niche. You beat a path. You forge horseshoes, or cast-iron gates, or swords.)

denting her coffers by... (denting her profit)

beloved of the rose-rimmed spectacle wearers (Those spex are rose-tinted – giving everything an optimistic pink glow.)

It will suit him down to a tee! (Suit him to a tee, suit him down to the ground.)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. My favourites are 'damp squid' instead of squib, and 'he's got another think coming' rather than thing... both are almost convincing, you could make an argument for them.

    1. Wrong way round! I meant, of course, that people say 'another thing coming' when they MEAN 'another think coming'