Original Word Games by David Parlett

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SILLY SIMILES


A caparison of comparisons for profligate punsters

Players Any number   Type Making puns   Equipment Verbal dexterity
Comedian Peter Sellers in his early days recorded a mock travelogue entitled "Balham - Gateway to the South" (a district of South London where, as it happens, I got my primary education, so I'll thank you not to knock it). It contained a playful perversion of John Burgon's famous line describing Petra as "A rose-red city, half as old as time" into "A rose-red city, half as gold as green" - thereby punning on the London district of Golders Green. (Which is about as far north as you can get in London without running into the Scottish border). So?...

With the point of the pun revealed, the idea of the silly simile will be easily grasped from the following additional examples:

As right as cramp
As full as earth
As prime as stoves
As dull as Texas

A fellow logophile and I, working at them on and off, took about twenty years to extend this list to about twenty examples. I then introduced them to readers of Games & Puzzles magazine, and subsequently The Logophile, in the form of a challenge to double the list. The response to both was extraordinarily enthusiastic. One writer had the effrontery to compile a list numbering over three hundred, but, regrettably, many had to be disqualified for one reason or another. For instance, a basic requirement of the exercise is that the words on either side of the second "as" should make sense. You therefore wouldn't be allowed "as pot as bar" (punning on the Hertfordshire district of Potters Bar), as "pot" doesn't really work as an adjective.

How many more Speed forward examples can you think of? When you get to six, click on the cheetah (right) to speed to page 2 for a list of about 60 examples and see how many of them have already been done. If you invent anything brilliant, do let me know.

Arthur Rhymebads (the same, only different)

Some years later I thought of the following variation on Silly Similes (with a title tortuously derived from the name of a French poet), best introduced by way of self-explanatory examples:
As daft as rafters.
As glad as adders.
As merry as terriers.
As pale as sailors.
As wide as spiders.

These being easier to construct, the task becomes more challenging if you try to get adjectives that are reasonably germane to the nouns they describe. I came up with these before losing interest.

As brash as flashers.
As damp as campers.
As fleet as cheetahs.
As glib as fibbers.
As dull as colours.
As large as barges.

That's it, then. Over to you.

Copyright © 2017 by David Parlett 
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