Friday 13 February 2015

Mixed Metaphors and Garbled Clichés 13

45 mins at Regulo 6

pre-cooked hatchet job (UKIP’s Roger Helmer on critics, May 2014 First cook your axe...)

"We have to revive small builders," says Tony Pidgley. "Cut the red tape which saps the small builder." (‏@createstreets)

kneejerk soundbites
Joy Reidenberg is a hive of information. (It's usually "mine". Hives are full of busy bees.)

It’s just adding fuel to the enemy. ( the fire.)

Shopgirls are the beating heart of today’s vibrant world.
(Programme on shopgirls exaggerates slightly.)

Commenting on the files that have been "destroyed, lost or simply not found", someone promised on the radio that every stone would be unturned. (JP)

The Surrey village of Westcott pushes this thatch-topped envelope by adding a thatched dovecote bearing a weather vane on top to the mix. (There’s a thatched dovecote next to a thatched bus-stop.)

In a nice full-circle twist... (Time, July 2014)

Sometimes tensions boil over. (New Scientist, Aug 2014 Tensions can slacken, or snap.)

Batting down the hatches in lieu of hurricane Bertha. (Daisy Ashcroft ‏@dashcroftx Battening down the hatches in preparation for, in expectation of, anticipation of. "In the wake of" means "after"; "in lieu of" means "in the place of". And you close a hatch with a batten.)

the window of opportunity fades (Steve Backshall Windows open or close.)

"With scientists a bit befuddled, it's no surprise the public has begun to wonder whether the Antarctic sea ice situation reveals a chink in the climate change story." (flaw in the story, chink in the armour)

Later, the vengeful Mrs Pepys literally seized the iron while it was hot: "She came to my side of the bed and drew the curtain open, and with the tongs red hot at the end made as if she did design to pinch me with them." (If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley A blacksmith strikes the iron when it is hot because that’s when it's malleable.)

It was the tip of the icing. (iceberg)

My personal favourite remains the branding consultant who told me: "Well, yes, that is the spanner in the ointment." (Mike Smyth ‏@M1ke5myth Spanner in the works, fly in the ointment.)

Elvis films “have the consistency of week-old candy floss”. (Ian Penman, LRB Sept 2014 Elvis’s films are “candy-floss” – figuratively pink and fluffy. Week-old candy-floss would be a small pool of pink syrup – the fluff goes fast.)

He does Elvis and his family/culture the due compliment of taking them altogether seriously. (Ian Penman LRB Sept 2014 on Elvis biographies. Does them the honour, pays them the compliment.)

Those in public life who deny climate science have long had a free reign in the media. ( It's "free rein", nothing to do with kings.)

Gender pay gap rises. (Gaps widen, numbers rise, lists lengthen.)

We’ll start to iron out teething troubles.
No alarm bells rang until the whistleblower intervened.

It was quite a guttural kind of feeling, just an instinct. (Beautiful Gardens from Above Language can be guttural, gut feelings are instinctual.)

This world is as big as our oyster! (The cliché "the world is your oyster" means that there are pearls everywhere if you will just go and look for them.)

a notch below the pecking order ( on Posh People. They mean “a notch below IN the pecking order”. Do they think the pecking order is an order of people who are allowed to peck the rest of us?)

Oil prices fall sparks market bloodbath (Times, paraphrase)

Last day duelling the high street gauntlet? (spotify)

This is a monumental step forward. (Only if the statue comes to life.)

He wasn’t really a task master about it; he was pretty easy going. (It’s “hard task master”.)

"It was all taken in good fun but then we did have to appreciate that it was blurring the waters for everyone else on the page." (Notts County’s head of media Jan 2015 Taken in good part, muddying the waters.)

More here, and links to the rest.

1 comment:

  1. I like noticing a mixed metaphor, but I do also quite enjoy them - there are worse linguistic crimes. 'Free rein' is almost a lost cause I think, you see 'reign' everywhere. Along with manner born/manor born, the reality lost because the other version can just about fit.