Bongo, bongo, bongo, I don’t want to leave the Congo …:
Ken Parker says he was bewildered by an Arkansas Times review that said, “Craig Wilson led a cool congo line … ”
From an article in a local publication about a local gridiron show:
“As the Gridiron producer, Circuit Judge Mary Mebill has this to say: ‘In the great tradition of Gridiron, this year’s show is in retchedly bad taste. Come see it.’ ”
The show is in such bad taste that it makes people vomit? That wouldn’t be much fun. Circuit judges don’t make mistakes, so I’m assuming it was the writer who turned wretchedly into retchedly. It could have been an intentional play on words, I suppose. But I don’t think so.
“It is true that the church is somewhat tenebrous and even speluncar in suggestion, a state of affairs attributable to the opaque quality achieved by Victorian stained glass.”
Though unfamiliar to me, tenebrous is in the Random House — “dark; gloomy; obscure.” I had to go to the Oxford English Dictionary in the library to find speluncar. Even the spell checker on my computer didn’t recognize it.
Rare as it is, you could make a pretty good guess about its meaning from the spelling and the context: “Having relation or reference to a cave.”
This is the sort of language you run into when you read British mysteries written by Oxford professors.
Drop that hench:
“A creditor involved in former Sen. Jack S. Phogbound’s bankruptcy case accuses Phogbound of using two sons as ‘henchmen’ to attack him at restaurant Tuesday night.”
We don’t hear much about henchmen any more. In the old Saturday afternoon movie serials, the villain [the Spider, the Cobra or whoever] always had henchmen who’d fight the hero in every chapter.
The first part of the word comes from an Old English word for “horse,” and at one time, a henchman was a groom. That usage died out, and henchman came to mean “an obedient or unscrupulous follower.”