Noah Webster at 250

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 24 01:16:34 UTC 2008

What makes the clue crucial, Joel?


On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:15 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Noah Webster at 250
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> At 10/22/2008 12:00 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
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>>Dennis Baron writes:
>>"...plow, not plough ..."
>>Back in the 'Forties, there was a soap-operatic, cartoon-serial
>>entitled _The Gumps_. One day, the Gumps were expecting as dinner
>>guest an English gentleman named "Plough." Confusion reigned as to how
>>this name might be pronounced, so that introductions would not pose an
>>embarrassing problem. Various solutions were proposed. I went with
>>"Pluff," myself. It seemed obvious.
>>When Mr. Plough arrived and was forced to explain to his American
>>hosts that his name was pronounced "Plow," exactly as spelled,
>>millions of Americans, including your humble correspondent, were taken
>>completely by surprise. ...
> Earlier, there is the Sherlock Holmes tale where the crucial clue is
> a plow -- in a newspaper advertisement purporting to come from a
> constructor of agricultural equipment in Aston.  {"The Adventure of
> the Three Garridebs")
> Joel
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