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Showing posts with label Ron Weasley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ron Weasley. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Down the Elephant and Castle for a lark

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

28 June

Well, I probably have many reasons to be grateful to
Wikipedia®, some of which cannot be wisely publicized, but I am very pleased by this:

A common misconception is that the term "elephant and castle" is a corruption of "la Infanta de Castilla"

Not the sort of misconception that you would have because you dreamt it up, in the way that someone did a few well-touted (pseudo)statistics (such as inspiration v. perspiration and how much is in the words), but only because some factotum droned on, prefacing the whiffle by Of course as if it were all self evident, and wanted to get you to believe it. On some basis, there would be those who did, and who might then have passed it on to chums, family and colleagues with It's not really, you know.

The entry is an entertainining little piece, with even a Shakespearean reference, and tells you about such delights as Hannibal House (someone with a sense of humour in the planning department for Southwark? - no, I didn't mean that Hannibal!).

But forget what they tell you about the origins, and think giant chess (not necessarily in the spirit of Ron Weasley): the game was very popular in the outdoor form that we know from the seaside and the like, and this far before The Blitz, and a showman amazed onlookers with his chess-playing elephant.

Curse though I am for spoiling the story, but the elephant was just very good at following its human companion's instructions (for he was the real brains behind the outfit), and he would communicate moves to it, for execution with its trunk. The castle part came from the elephant's apparent fondness for employing the piece to get to check-mate (either that or from the sign used to advertise the attraction).

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Odd words (1)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

24 June

I happened to be thinking about Harry Potter, trying to remember the exact name of the listening-devices tellingly used by Hermione, Ron and him, and I ended up thinking about the word 'sneak' and 'to sneak':

As in 'sneaking a look', what the trio of friends do is to eavesdrop (another interesting word, I suspect) on what they should not be hearing. Likewise, creeping in somewhere, in the hope that others will be unaware, is 'sneaking in'*.

All well and good. If we turn to a person who tells others' misdeeds to those in authority, i.e. 'sneak' as a noun (also called a tell-tale), the illicit act is not (necessarily) finding out the information covertly, but in revealing what those people intended to be secret.

Which brings us back to the verb, the Peeping Tom / Lady Godiva aspect, of what was being done or discussed privately (because confidential), though, of course, the lady's act of riding a horse was rather more public. And what a shame that we remember not her civil disobedience at her husband's cruel measures, but this prurient element. In fact, whatever myth there may be, do we even know whether her opposition bore any fruit (other than the unwitting, negative one of Tom's downfall)?


* There is the US past tense 'snuck', for 'sneaked', that t.v. and film have given us.