Fun with phrases: "crackle to life"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 20 00:26:28 UTC 2013

On Mar 19, 2013, at 7:38 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Mostly radios do this.
> ["1930" Franklin W. Dixon _The Great Airport Mystery_ (N.Y.: Grosset)
> [unp.] [GB]: One of the radio speakers crackled to life.]
> 1934 _New Castle [Pa.] News_  (Sept. 22) 1: Amazing developments...fairly
> crackled into life today as New York police hammered away at the Teutonic
> stolidity of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, alleged receiver of the Lindbergh
> ransom.
> 1936 _Arizona Republic_ (Dec. 20) 3 : The police radio crackled to life at
> 7:35 o'clock last night.
> "1930" is a Hardy Boys adventure. It's bracketed because it's a modern
> edition, and at least some of the language seems to have been updated
> (e.g., "Alfa" is used in radio communications for the letter "A"!). The
> original edition isn't in GB.
I grew up hooked on the Hardy Boys, and it was with some disappointment that I later met someone who described her career updating those stories (and others, possibly Nancy Drew, but none that would have burst my bubble like the Hardy Boys, which I had considered sacrosanct).  Who knows whether the "1930" date means on this; I'm sure that grain of salt is warranted for the life-crackling radio speakers.  (But most of the Hardy Boys stories I recall were of the form _The Case of (the)…_)


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