[Ads-l] Drama Critic Motto: Leave no turn unstoned

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 3 14:29:29 EST 2017

Thanks! I might well have been vaguely recalling the Ogden Nash (a favorite of my mother’s), and possibly some other source for the same reversal—one good tern deserves another, after all--but somehow, despite the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Kesey's Merry Pranksters being favorites of mine at the time, I didn’t retain the wonderful “No Left Turn Unstoned”. 


> On Dec 3, 2017, at 2:09 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Thanks for your response, LH. There are some fun variants.
> Ogden Nash wrote "I leave no tern unstoned" and "I leave no stern
> untoned" in a 1953 collection of poems. The QI piece included a 1953
> "Detroit Free Press" citation that mentioned the "tern" phrase. Here
> is a citation for 1962 collection with the poem. (I have to visit the
> library to verify the 1953 collection):
> [ref] 1962 First Printing, The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash by Ogden
> Nash, Poem: Everybody's Mind to Me a Kingdom Is or A Great Big
> Wonderful World It's, Start Page 38, Quote Page 39. Pocket Books: A
> Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified with scans)[/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> This I shall do because I am a conscientious man, when I throw rocks
> at sea birds I leave no tern unstoned,
> I am a meticulous man, and when I portray baboons I leave no stern untoned,
> [End excerpt]
> Tom Wolfe in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" credited Merry
> Prankster Paul Foster with the phrase "No Left Turn Unstoned".
> [ref] 1981 (1968 Copyright), The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom
> Wolfe, Chapter 12: The Bust, Quote Page 145 and 146, Bantam Books, New
> York. (Verified with scans)[/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> He also had a lot of pens, some of them felt-nib pens with colors, and
> he sat up in the tree house while the old restless Roto-rooter, the
> good god Speed, scoured puns, puns, puns, puns, puns from out of the
> walls of his skull and he fashioned signs like one he put at the
> entrance of the place, where the driveway turned in to the bridge from
> Route 84, a sign reading: "No Left Turn Unstoned."
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 12:25 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> Then there’s the joke and/or shaggy dog story with the punchline “Leave no tern unstoned”.  Wonder how far back that one goes?
>> There must be a whole inventory of these reversals, ranging from “Time wounds all heels” to the (real or faux) Dorothy Parker bon mot “Tell him I’m too fucking busy and vice versa”...
>> LH
>>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 11:45 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>> The Quote Investigator website now has an entry about the wordplay in
>>> the subject line which is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw.
>>> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/12/02/unstoned/
>>> The earliest pertinent evidence I've found is a joke containing the
>>> phrase "they left no turn unstoned" in "The Daily Northwestern" of
>>> Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 29, 1899 with an acknowledgment to the
>>> "Catholic Standard and Times". I haven't found a digital archive for
>>> the "Catholic Standard and Times".
>>> Chronicling America seems to say that University of Notre Dame in
>>> Indiana has it on microfilm, but searching would be difficult because
>>> the date above is simply an upper bound.
>>> https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn97016042/holdings/
>>> Reference works contain a 1950 citation for George Bernard Shaw and a
>>> 1946 citation for Arthur Wimperis. The QI article has 1914 citation
>>> for Wimperis but nothing earlier for Shaw.
>>> Feedback welcome
>>> Garson O'Toole
>>> QuoteInvestigator.com
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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