Posts by Max Cryer

Superstitions and why we have them

Feet

Bernard Breslau’s  1959 hit song assured everyone that we  need  feet –  ‘to keep your sox on, and stop your legs from fraying at the ends’.  But we are assured from other quarters that we  need them for additional things, and there are superstitions to tell us:

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Max’s Dogs – Wealth

Dog JacketFrom Max Cryer’s book  Every Dog has its Day

When she died in 1991,  German born Countess Karlotta Liebenstein, left her entire  fortune to her pet German shepherd, Gunther III.  The amount she left was  sufficiently eye-watering to be  reported confusingly in  amounts ranging from  $106 million to $145 million.

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Curious words – (Out for a) duck

From Max Cryer’s  CURIOUS English words and phrases – the truth behind the expressions we use:

(Out for a) duck

 Cricket usually has a visual scoreboard and if a player leaves the field having made no runs,  a great big zero stands next to his or her name on the scoreboard.  A practice arose many years ago of referring to this  zero – because of its shape- as a duck’s egg, and this was shortened to just a duck. So if he or she was out for a duck, it means there was no score.

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“I will do thy bidding gently…”

Richard Wagner was  devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who  actually participated  in his master’s composing.

Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.

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M’aidez or Mayday?

Max

From Max Cryer‘s  book ‘Is It True?’

The distress call ‘mayday’ is English for the French term m’aidez.

 Using the word ‘mayday’ dates from 1923, when a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport was asked to think of an easily understood  word which could indicate distress.

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