Monday 29 July 2013

Mixed Metaphors 9

Slough, Morass or Mire of Despond

That hopefully will unlock the whole morass. (Lawyer on BBC Breakfast)

In March 1962, President Kennedy was mired in the arms race. (Times 2013 How can he run a race if he’s stuck in the mud?)

In the 17th and 18th centuries, as traders forged their way through the wilderness. (Telegraph March 2012 I expect they hacked their way through it.)

first out of the blocks
(Times Mar 2012 first off the blocks (running), first out of the traps (greyhounds))

bolt the stable door after the horse has, er… (It’s “shut the stable door after the horse has bolted”)

Sometimes I wish I could reign in my imagination. (rein in – horses, not kings)

He’s a legal beagle. (It’s “eagle”.)

He played it cool and collective. (imdb commenter That's cool, calm and collected.)

wives’ tale for old wives’ tale (They’re tales told by old wives, not old tales told by wives.)

His glance was almost literally riveting. (Radio4 on Rasputin)

drumming the point home for ramming or forcing (You drum a lesson into a pupil’s head; you ram home a point, like the point of a sword.)

You reap what you sew. (Web)

the proof is in the pudding ("The proof of the pudding is in the eating" is the usual cliché.)

They hissed me like the pantomime dame! (Daily Mail man on BBC breakfast September 20, 2011 You hiss the villain of the panto.)

The real Mrs Beeton was in fact a strip of a girl who could not cook. (Guardian 2006 That’s “slip” of a girl, as in young plant or sapling.)

‏In my short office career I once saw an internal ad seeking someone who could "think outside the envelope". (@xiij)

It could further inflame tensions./Tensions are combustible. (BBC News July 8, 2013 Ropes or cables under tension may snap, but are unlikely to catch fire.)

You’re batting up the wrong tree. (Dogs bark up the wrong tree where the prey isn't hiding.)

I will never step foot in that place! (set foot)

We love the idea of noble hoary handed sons of toil. (They're horny handed, from all that toil.)

It could be the final death knell in Blackpool’s coffin. (BBC News You close the coffin with nails while the death knell is rung.)

It’s higher paid males over-indexing and inflating the seven-letter bucket. ( You fill a bucket, inflate a balloon.)

They were in a hermetically sealed bubble. (Bubbles are already airtight.)

How much will inward investment feed property bubble? (Twitter What do you feed your bubble?)

At first sight, Henrietta Molinaro’s prints of flowers, tree trunks and butterflies look as if they have been excavated from the archives at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Only if they keep their archives in a flower-bed or have buried them in an archaeological dig.)

Owen Jones is a “braying jackal”. (Fox News, June 2013 They mean "jackass".)

I have to be the canary whispering in the Roman emperor's ear. (Jeremy Hunt in the Times Canaries in mines warn of vitiated air; in triumphal processions, a slave would constantly murmur in the Emperor's ear: "Remember you are mortal." )

Pandora is out of her box! (Pandora's box held all the evils of the world. They told her not to open it...)

I have a deep-seeded wish. (That's "deep-seated".)

milk the public purse

unleash a revolution (You can only unleash hounds.)

bite the bullet on the head (Speaker thinks it means “nip it in the bud”. Pre-anaesthetics, wounded soldiers on the battlefield were given a lead bullet to bite on while they underwent surgery.)

Mushrooming legal highs leave control system floundering (Fungi meet fish in a Guardian headline)

She had a chequered past. (Only if her life went from good to bad and back again, or she moved from a nurses' hostel to a witches' coven to a yoga retreat. Think of a chess board with black and white squares.)

We don’t want the heavy hand of government telling us how to do this. 

Part 8 here, and links to the rest.

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