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 Puns are for children, not groan readers!?

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 11:46

"Titter ye not" … but, further to the comments in the children’s literature thread about smutty puns, innuendo and double entendres, that once might have been "innocent", I see that Titty, the brave and resourceful little girl in Arthur Ransome’s 1930s classic, 'Swallows and Amazons', is to be renamed Tatty in the new film version. The BBC who are making the film say they changed the name to avoid, "too many sniggers".

But "tit/titty" just means little as in tittimouse (bat) or tomtit (bird) … although it does carry echoes of an older usage for teat/nipple which in the 18th century briefly meant that tit/titty became slang for a strumpet. The modern slang use of tit for a breast seems to have come in around the mid 1920s. When Arthur Ransome used Titty in the 1930s, he may have been unaware of its more modern usage, or he may have accepted that he lived, then as now, in a world full of slang for body parts but still chose to name his character Titty, as other writers continued to name theirs Dick, Nob, Gaye, Fanny etc.

It’s not as though Ransome was a naive, shrinking violet. He’d been a member of London’s bohemian theatrical, artistic and literary scene, which he candidly described in his book ‘Bohemia in London’ (1907) parts of which had to be omitted as too smutty when it was published in the US. He wrote a controversial biography of Oscar Wilde (1912) for which he was sued for libel by Lord Alfred Douglas (Ransome won the case). He spoke Russian and during the war he was correspondent for the radical newspaper, the 'Daily News' and then the 'Manchester Guardian', covering the war on the Eastern Front and then the Russian Revolution, during which time he became friendly with both Trotsky and Lenin. Back in the UK during the 1930s and the early 1940s MI5 used him for his first hand knowledge of Soviet Russia, although they were never quite sure of his true loyalties.

So to dismiss him as "innocent" seems rather patronising.

Similarly Richmal Crompton’s, 1920s (though still popular) ‘William’ books are full of slightly risqué innuendo. To take just one example: in ‘William the Fourth’ (1924), in the chapter headed "Aunt Jane’s Treat" , one of William’s respectable maiden aunts accompanies him to a fair, where she rides on a merry-go-round, mounting, as the author puts it, "a giant cock… It seemed to give her a joy that all her blameless life had so far failed to produce." This unexpected humour is usually dismissed as being just a function of a different, more innocent time, and is easily rectified if one simply changes cock to cockerel, and so be done with it. She may indeed simply not have made the connection with contemporaneous slang, but I’m not at all sure that the word-play was not deliberate, and therefore like it or not, is an integral part of the text.

Crompton, a graduate of Royal Holloway, had studied history, literature and classics, and was surely aware that "cock", as slang for the male member, had been current for hundreds of years. She had worked as a primary school teacher so had certainly encountered little boys’ smutty, sniggering humour. She had been a suffragette. She contracted polio as a child which left her with partial paralysis of the right leg, and later suffered from cancer and had a mastectomy, yet despite these disabilities, in WW2 she served as a volunteer driver for the Auxiliary Fire Service in London. She never married but was certainly no innocent.

The first 'William' book was actually not written specifically for children, but was a pot-boiler aimed at a middle class, young adult audience, and she was initially slightly irritated that it did so much better than some of her other books. It was only once the first ‘Just William’ series gained popularity with a younger readership did she slightly change the style, by simplifying the language a little. And what do little boys, whether they are 13 or 23 like? Well, hidden, slightly smutty humour seems to have gone down well ... in all she wrote 39 ‘William’ books.

Although I can understand the temptation to change words in order to avoid the distraction of silly sniggers, I feel it should always be resisted. Censorship of a published work, however well-intentioned, is a slippery slope. The occurrence in older texts of words and expressions that would not be used now (for a variety of reasons) illustrates both cultural and linguistic change. Fiction written in the past is full of situations and assumptions that are different from those in today's world: that is a big part of its attraction. Why single out the differences in the language, which are an integral part of that picture? Expose young readers to words and expressions we would not use today, even if initially they make them giggle, and then explain the linguistic and societal changes that have occurred since, so broadening their knowledge rather than restricting it.

Do not tamper with the text!

Your thoughts, anyone?


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 12 Sep 2015, 14:37; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : An important but misplaced comma - moved twice.)
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 13:55

Pippi Longstocking's father is problematic here in Scandinavia. Some publishers have stuck with him being a "negerkonge" (negro king) while others now prefer "sydhavskonge" (South Seas king), including the TV company NRK. This has led to criticism from the leaders of both the Authors Association and the Critics Association (Norway has these things) who both went on record as saying that not a single word in an "åndsverk" (no good translation for "spirit work" but "literary masterpiece" applies here) should ever be changed.

In Sweden they persist unashamedly with "negerkung" in all new editions, though with a forward by Astrid Lindgren's daughter Karin Nymann that some expressions in the context of their time were never intended to be offensive and were often quite the opposite in intent. However the Swedish translators of a 1997 film of Pippi showed less resolve and managed, if anything, to make matters even worse. They replaced the negro king with the "king of Kurre Kurre Dot Ön". You won't find that translated satisfactorily in most Swedish-English dictionaries, and indeed there's probably good reason for this.

Astrid Lindgren was still alive at the time and - it was reported in Denmark - actually gave her approval to the name change from "negro king" to king of "the Currie Currie Spinners" (kind translation). But then the Danes never miss an opportunity to have a dig at their neighbours up north.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 17:01

MM wrote:

Although I can understand the temptation to change words in order to avoid the distraction of silly sniggers, I feel it should always be resisted. Censorship of a published work, however well-intentioned, is a slippery slope. The occurrence in older texts of words and expressions that would not be used now (for a variety of reasons) illustrates both cultural and linguistic change. Fiction written in the past is full of situations and assumptions that are different from those in today's world: that is a big part of its attraction. Why single out the differences in the language, which are an integral part of that picture? Expose young readers to words and expressions we would not use today, even if initially they make them giggle, and then explain the linguistic and societal changes that have occurred since, so broadening their knowledge rather than restricting it.

Do not tamper with the text!


I agree, although the inevitable sniggers about Jane Eyre's frozen fingers "buried in her muff", Sir Thomas Bertram's delight when he looked at  "his sweet little Fanny" and Sherlock Holmes's all-too-frequent "ejaculations" did get rather tedious.

But all these examples - in my experience at least - provoked good-natured mirth rather than real embarrassment. The latter emotion, however, sometimes obviously excruciating, was always evident when reading one of William Golding's particularly striking and effective similes in Lord of the Flies: "relief came like an orgasm".  Stunned silence always greeted this - no comments or sniggers - 15-year-olds were always glad to hasten on to the next paragraph. I always dreaded that some innocent (female) soul (in the days when such existed) would ask: "What's an orgasm?" but no one ever did. Puns are clearly one thing - real sexual significance or comparison, quite another.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 17:14






I'm saying nothing.............
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 17:25

That explains this one then ...

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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 17:33

"I said, stop sniggering at the back! ... I might just decide to set an exam question about this, so you'd all be well advised to pay attention!

Oh, and George .... don't do that."
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 12 Sep 2015, 18:07

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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 08:54

Shakespeare, of course, is full of double entendres. Romeo and Juliet, a work so often offered to teenagers as a play entirely "suitable" for adolescent study, is very rude indeed. A Midsummer Night's Dream - which I performed in when I was twelve - also includes  many references which are not what you might call "appropriate" for nice young gals.

From the article/link given below:


“Shakespeare realised sexual jokes, especially double entendres, put the twinkle in the performance,” says John Basil, artistic director of the American Globe Theatre.  “He’s never crude but he always reminds us of our humanity on every level.” ... Shakespeare used his gift for wordplay to weave some clever sexual imagery and naughty puns into every play…and I do mean every play.

“The plays are absolutely packed with filth,” says Héloïse Sénéchal, editor of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s edition of the Complete Works. “I’ve found more than a hundred terms for vagina alone.”  

So, how did you, a great admirer of a finely crafted sex joke, miss all this in Shakespeare?  Due to the constant evolution of language and culture, Elizabethan euphemisms are mostly unrecognizable to the casual contemporary reader.


 For further reading on William Shakespeare’s double entendres and rude jokes, check out Shakespeare’s Bawdy by Eric Partridge and A Dictionary of Shakespeare’s Sexual Puns and Their Significance by Frankie Rubinstein.


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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 09:39

PS  Thomas Bowdler - bless him:



I believe this upright gentleman also did an expurgated version of Gibbon's Decline and Fall:

From Amazon site:

History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire For The Use Of Families And Young Persons: Reprinted From The Original Text, With The Careful Omission Of All Passagers (sic)Of An Irreligious Tendency, Volume 5 Paperback  – August 16, 2011

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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 19 Sep 2015, 14:41

@Temperance wrote:
Shakespeare, of course, is full of double entendres. Romeo and Juliet, a work so often offered to teenagers as a play entirely "suitable" for adolescent study, is very rude indeed. 

I did Romeo and Juliet for O level English Lit. So aged 14 years, while we were doing the first read through of the text, I well remember (probably during the Romeo/Mercutio dialogue ... Queen Mab and all that) there was a general snigger at the repeated use of the word "prick", but then one anonymous wag, sotto vocce but audible for all, whispered a mildly smutty, mildly amusing knob joke  ... to which someone else immediately responded with a spontaneous, very rude, very clever, and very, very witty play on words .. a real "f’nurr, f’nurr, guffaw" comment, which resulted in the collapse of the whole class.

Unperturbed Mr Smith, our po-faced English teacher, continued to draw our attention to the footnote describing a "prick clock" as a sundial or something like that ... although I suspect even he was secretly pleased that we'd got the puns (or at least some of them). And I feel sure Shakespeare would also have been very content if he learned that a group of adolescents would still understand the jokes, and get some harmless pleasure, just by reading the bare script over 370 years after he’d first penned the words. Of course our sniggering at every bit of bawdy innuendo was fully justified when later we saw the play performed at the Theatre Royal in Brighton, when more sexual innuendo than either we'd deduced ourselves or had been explained by the authorised school text, was made abundantly clear and explicit! Sadly the exam never required us to explain all the bawdy sexual references ... we'd probably all have got A grades if it had.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Mon 21 Sep 2015, 13:47

from Chapter 14, In London, War of the Worlds by HG Wells;

"He heard footsteps running to and fro in the rooms, and up and down stairs behind him. His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating."
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Mon 21 Sep 2015, 15:21

@Triceratops wrote:
from Chapter 14, In London, War of the Worlds by HG Wells;

"He heard footsteps running to and fro in the rooms, and up and down stairs behind him. His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating."

Sherlock Holmes was forever doing it, Trike - see my post above.

PS Glad you are back!
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 09:04

Possibly the worst pun ever:



Q. How does Voltaire like his fruit?


A. Candied.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 09:28

Thanks Temp.

Q. What would you find in Charles Dickens' kitchen?

A. The best of Thymes, the worst of Thymes.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 09:40

Too much Thyme on one's hands can lead to Great Expectorations. Unless of course one can give it a Jamie Oliver Twist.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 26 Sep 2015, 13:08

Deleted ... sorry posted on wrong thread, and I can't even think of a suitable pun, innuendo nor double entendre, to explain away my error. Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 14:57

Stolen from the Mustardland board:

The Famous Five escape the Fall of Troy
by Aenid Blyton

Little Jack Horner
sat in the corner,
playing Grand Theft Auto.

Reimagined Nursery Rhymes etc
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 17:52

Reimagined Nursery Rhymes, eh ... was that a challenge Trike? How about...


Jack and Jill went up the hill
To get some crisps and sweeties.
Now Jack's got high cholesterol,
And Jill's got diabetes.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 20:22

I agree, MM. Why have we never thought of this before?


Mary had a little lamb
She bought from Tesco's deli
And now, though little does she know,
She's horse meat in her belly



Little Boy Blue has blown his horn
I'd warned him about all that internet porn



Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toon
Up stairs an' doon stairs, in his nicht goon
Screamin' at the windoos; "Ae'm a poor wee juvenile,
Fur fook's sake someain help me, ae'm bein' chased by paedophiles!"
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 21:14

Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any cash?
Yes sir, yes sir, you should see my stash.
Some for the maitre de, some for the whore,
But none for the taxman, I've got it all offshore.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 21:50

Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with his trousers on;
One shoe off, and the other shoe on,
Piddling, piddling, dumping ...

... that's him grounded for EVER!
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 22:04

Half a pound of tuppeny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
That's the choice the foodbank has
Pop goes the diet
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 22:09

Hee hee - we're on a roll!

Grumpy Trumpy stood in a poll
Grumpy Trumpy talked out of his hole
All the land's asses and trailer park residents
Conspired to make Trumpy their very own president




I loved little pussy,
So soft and so warm,
And though not quite legal
I thought "What's the harm?"
But then came a Yewtree,
Which put me away,
So now with my wobble board
Alone I must play
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 22:42

Three blind mice, three blind mice
See how they run, see how they run
They all ran after the farmer's wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
And sold them in the farmers' market as locally foraged, organic, low fat souris a l'ancienne at £15 each.


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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 22:52


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Won a TV talent show
10 minutes fame then off you go
Splutter, vanish, little star
How I wonder where you are.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 07:00

Hey diddle-diddle,
The fat-cats are on the fiddle,
And their lawyers are over the moon.
The system's lax
And they pay no tax,
Just an occasional Panamanian dubloon.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 08:41

Humpty Dumpty sprayed on a wall
Foul obscenities three feet tall.
All the Met's horses and all the Met's men
Couldn't do a thing to stop the little sod.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 11:13

Ding dong bell
The country's gone to hell.
Who put her in the pits?
Euro-loving twits.
Who'll save this land?
Dear Nigel and his band.
What a naughty bunch were they
Who gave GB away.
They just couldn't see the worth
Of God's paradise in earth.
Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 13:27

Here we go round the benefits bush,
The benefits bush,
The benefits bush.
Here we go round the benefits bush
So early in the morning.

This is our claim for a gammy knee,
Gammy knee,
Gammy knee.
Though skiing each winter in Alpes-Chamonix
So early in the morning.

This is our claim as a single mum,
Single mum,
Single mum.
While shacked up with three other benefit-bums
So early in the morning.

This is our claim to be refugee,
Refugee,
Refugee.
When fronting for dealers in Maiduguri
So early in the morning.

This our claim for a rent-free home,
Rent-free home,
Rent-free home.
It's dear running time-shares in Brussels and Rome
So early in the morning.

This is our claim for child support,
Child support,
Child support.
For kids that we've trafficked through European ports
So early in the morning

Here we go round the benefits bush,
The benefits bush,
The benefits bush.
To those who pay taxes - Thanks Ever So Much!
So early in the morning.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 18:20

Temp(le) Bells

Logic is lemons
Say the bells of St Clemens

I think you are barking
Say the bells of St Martins

No good you a-wailing
Say the bells of Old Bailey

I'll still make my pitch
Say the bells of Shoreditch

Just you wait and you'll see
Say the bells of Stepney

What's the truth.  you don't know
Says the great bell of Bow

Here comes my topic I know I'll be roast
Post.... post......post

With apologies...... P.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 21:59

I do not like thee, Dr Dawkins
And the logic that you're talking.
My brain's washed clean by dumb old doctrines
I do not like thee, Dr Dawkins!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There was a crooked man a crooked fortune did amass.
In the crooked land of Russia from some crooked oil of gas.
When some crooked Panamanians revealed the size of this
Putin answered with a crooked smile , "Not me, I use the Swiss!".


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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 22:12

Twinkle, twinkle little star
I don't wonder what you are.
Through spectroscopy it has been 
Found you're made of hydrogen.
And you'd shine as bright as day
If you weren't so far away.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 22:27

Simpering Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair
Said Simpering Simon to the pieman
"Good sir, are you aware
That with such talent you could be
The next big British Idol?
The great unwashed will fall for this
With eagerness unbridled!"

Gushed the pieman to Simpering Simon
"You mean I made the cut?"
Sneered Simpering Simon to the pieman
"Not you, you klutz. Your mutt!"

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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sun 17 Apr 2016, 08:28

Little Miss Muffet
Sat in the buffet
Eating her cares away.
Packing junk food inside her,
She grew ever wider:
"I'm not fat! It's mi big bones wot weigh."
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Sun 17 Apr 2016, 20:40

Quinoa hot
Quinoa cold
Quinoa in the pot
Helps break down visceral fat so we're told
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 19 Apr 2016, 08:36

There was a young woman who loved buying shoes,
She had so many she didn't know what to do.
In the wardrobe, in boxes, and under the bed,
All bought on credit so she's now in the red.
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 19 Apr 2016, 13:26

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Aye, and back again.
If your feet are nimble and light,
You might just avoid being blown to shite!
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 19 Apr 2016, 13:47

I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea.
And, oh, but it was laden
With many refugees.

There were Syrians in the cabins,
Iraqis in the hold;
Afghanis hung upon the sides
(They'd paid with hash, not gold).

The so-called Libyan "sailors"
This ship of woe who steered,
Transferred them all to rubber rafts
When coastguard craft appeared.

The "captain" was a shit
With a price upon his head,
So reckoned as the poor souls drowned;
"Less hassle, now they're dead."
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 19 Apr 2016, 20:06

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of joy,
Four and twenty toffee balls,
For any girl or boy.

When the poke was opened,
The kids would smile with glee.
The sweets were stuck together
But still would last till tea.

Don't sing a song of six pence,
Today that won't go far.
Now it's damn near fifteen bob,
For a crappy chocolate bar.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Tue 19 Apr 2016, 23:34

@Meles meles wrote:
"Titter ye not" … but, further to the comments in the children’s literature thread about smutty puns, innuendo and double entendres, that once might have been "innocent", I see that Titty, the brave and resourceful little girl in Arthur Ransome’s 1930s classic, 'Swallows and Amazons', is to be renamed Tatty in the new film version. The BBC who are making the film say they changed the name to avoid, "too many sniggers".
Why not use the real name of the girl she was based on? Mavis Altounyan, who was nicknamed "Titty". The Beeb have form on this - in the past they renamed her Kitty, whilst in one radio version the actress playing her (narrator of the story in old age) actually states that her name was Mavis, and Titty was a nickname.
It appears that the name came from Joseph Jacobs' children's story, Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Wed 20 Apr 2016, 10:46

To New York a travelling circus came,
They brought a very stupid elephant
And Donald was his name...

...oh...

Donald the Elephant packed his trunk
And tried to take over the circus;
Here he comes with a trumpety trump,
Trump! Trump! Trump!

Wish Donald the Elephant would pack his trunk
And **** off back to the jungle.
God help us all,
They're hearing his call
Now that's what you call a real bungle.*


*Last line really weak, but only bungle and fungal rhyme with jungle.

Apologies to Nellie of whom I am very fond.






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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Wed 20 Apr 2016, 12:16

I had a little nutcase,
Most all I knew I taught her,
And those who met her had no doubt
She was her father's daughter;

Marine (for so I named her)
With me no longer hearty,
In 2010 did follow me
As leader of our party.

The King of Spain's daughter
May not be squeaky clean,
But Cristina's in the ha'penny place
Compared to my Marine.

Her views on immigration,
May end with her on trial,
Just like her nutcase pappa
And his Holocaust denial.

The Euro she despises
All Muslims, even Brits,
Except of course for those like her,
The right-wing fascist shits.

She knows that fraud is justified
In any circumstance
That gets her re-elected
And in that way helps all France.

When she ends up as "la-führice"
Of all the Frankish race
The rest of you will learn to love
My darling nut-de-case.
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Puns are for children, not groan readers!?   Wed 20 Apr 2016, 12:35

Hey diddle diddle
the cat and the fiddle
the cow jumped over the moon
the little dog laughed to see such fun
and the dish ran away with the spoon


and that is the last time I'm using LSD.
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