Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brookmyre pro, Brookmyre con

Pro:

I want to shake Christopher Brookmyre's hand for this, from A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away:

"`They're already in briefings down there. Look, you've done a hell of a job. Lexington asked me to ...'

"Angelique stopped listening when he slipped into autopatronise ..."
Con:

Brookmyre, the book's copy editor or both should have consulted a dictionary before letting the following go to press:

"Mitigating against that was the fact that they had comped him three grammes of uncut smack ... "
The correct word is militating.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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19 Comments:

Blogger seanag said...

You know, this is one of those words that still sounds right, even after you've learned it's wrong.

April 08, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Oh--I forgot to say that I love 'autopatronize'.

April 08, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It does, and mitigate for militate is a common mistake. I hope no one has the unmitigated gall to argue otherwise.

I once heard a professor at the University of Pennsylvania make this error. She may have had tenure, which meant it would have been difficult to fire her for this.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, that word does a nice job of capturing the vacuous insincerity of inept managers. (Competent managers, of course, do a better job of faking it.)

April 09, 2009  
Blogger petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Oops!

Have a wonderful holiday, Peter! :))

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks,and no oops necessary.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Er, and happy Easter or spring solstice to you, and sorry for being late on the latter.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Here's a hint - the matza is in the bookcase. I'm not going to say where but its in a mystery novel (just to narrow it down).

Its all over for us of course. Next year in Jerusalem, maybe, although I doubt that.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I want to form a band called the Four Questions. Or maybe I'll form a solo act called the Son Who Hath Not the Capacity to Ask.

I don't know how much of a clue "hidden in a mystery novel" is. That's like Declan Burke looking for the afikoman in a Raymond Chandler novel.

True story: We have a reporter at my newspaper named Michael Matza. One night I had a question for him on one of his stories, but he was away from his desk. When he returned, I called him Afikoman -- because I had been unable to find him. He said he had never been called that before.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Afikoman nice! Five bucks each was the going rate last night BTW, which I think was pretty fair.

I want to know why there's not a pub on the upper west side called Bar Mitzvah.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

And why not an establishment selling batting-cage time calling itself Bat Mitzvah?

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That might draw in lots of girls' softball teams for off-season practice.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And Adrian, was that five Australian dollars? If so, I'd say you got a good deal.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

five oz dollars yes. they dont know how to haggle. yet.

April 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My nephews screwed up and told me where they hid the matzah. But they'll get their money anyway.

April 10, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

those crazy fools, you should have punished them by giving them nothing. its the only way they'll learn.

BTW I'm pretty relaxed about word misusage on the whole, but one that drives me insane is disintereted - being disinterested is a good thing I keep telling people to no avail.

April 10, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, if I were negotiating to have a kidnap victim released, I'd want those guys across the table from me.

Are publishers and readers uninterested in misused word?

April 10, 2009  
Blogger Lauren said...

There was never any money involved in our matzah/afikomen related transactions when I was growing up. Not even in Australian dollars. I feel ripped off!

This year, alas, I'm mostly on my own, and it's rather hard to hide the stuff from myself.

I also like your nickname for your co-worker. I'm reminded of one of my father's worst puns from a while ago, relating to a Miss Marple tale - The Matzah Crack'd from Side to Side.

April 10, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, if I'd known, I'd have invited you to Canada for our seder -- a mitzvah, after all.

And I've heard worse puns than that, I'm sure.

April 10, 2009  

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