[Ads-l] a cute expression that, unfortunately, died quickly

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 18 19:35:46 EST 2021


Fun topic, George. I broadened the search to include "lawn billiards"
which led me to a Wikipedia article about "Ground billiards" which
employed mallets, wooden balls, and hoops. Apparently, croquet is a
descendant.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_billiards

The OED has "lawn billiards" with an initial citation in 1873.

[Begin excerpt]
lawn billiards n. = troco n.

1873   Young Englishwoman Nov. 572/2   Jean would feel obliged if the
Editor would tell her..if lawn billiards can be played on a croquet
lawn?.. Is there a book of rules on lawn billiards?
[End excerpt]

Here is a citation for "lawn billiards" in a London newspaper in 1834,
but this type of "lawn billiards" may differ from the version in the
1873 citation.

Date: May 12, 1834
Newspaper: The Observer
Newspaper Location: London, Greater London, England
Article: The Stadium, Or School Of Sports, At Chelsea
Quote Page 3, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
That the next general Meeting of the Committee take place at the
Stadium, Chelsea, on Tuesday next, at three o'clock precisely, when
the different postures of archery, lawn billiards, carousel, and other
equestrian practice, gymnastics, fencing, &c. ...
[End excerpt]

In 1857 "The Morning Post" printed an advertisement indicating that
croquet and lawn billiards were distinct games:

Date: April 27, 1857
Newspaper: The Morning Post
Newspaper Location: London, Greater London, England
Article: Croquet.—Spratts New Game
Quote Page 1, Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
CROQUET.—SPRATTS NEW GAME of CROQUET, also Lawn Billiards, Archery,
and all the new outdoor Games. Superior Cricket Bats.—1, Brook-street,
Hanover-square, W.
[End excerpt]

References to "lawn billiards" have continued to the present day. Here
is a 2006 article with the creative phrase "Vampire Lawn Billiards".

Date: June 25, 2006
Newspaper: The Palm Beach Post
Newspaper Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Article: A ruthless, cunning game of croquet
Author: Ron Wiggins
Quote Page 4D, Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Croquet is a bad name. A better name would be Vampire Lawn Billiards.
I say vampire because to stay alive in the game, the ball that is
struck must be made to hit another ball so that it sucks two more
life-sustaining shots and sets the player up to go through a wicket,
earning yet another bonus shot.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 8:23 PM George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
>
>             It is nearly time to get out the croquet sets and renew the
> front yard billiards>
> <https://infoweb-newsbank-com.proxy.library.nyu.edu/apps/readex/publication-browse?p=EANX&t=pubname%3A163D3E5ACB0D8936%21Providence%2BMorning%2BStar>
>
>             Providence Morning Star (Providence, Rhode Island), April 13,
> 1875
> <https://infoweb-newsbank-com.proxy.library.nyu.edu/apps/readex/publication-browse?p=EANX&t=pubname%3A163D3E5ACB0D8936%21Providence%2BMorning%2BStar>
>
>
>
>             Hunt up your croquet sets, and prepare for another season
> of ‘‘front
> yard billiards.”
>
>             Rockland County Messenger (Haverstraw, N. Y.), April 15, 1875
>
> 1875-04-15 -- Rockland County Messenger (Haverstraw, N. Y.)
>
>
>
>             "Front yard billiards" will soon be the rage.
>
>             Rockland County Journal (Nyack, N. Y.), April 15, 1875
>
> 1875-04-15 -- Rockland County Journal (Nyack, N. Y.)
>
>
>
> I started with the 2nd and 3rd of these, from the HRVH Historical
> Newspapers file.  I looked for other appearances in the America's
> Historical Newspapers file, the American Periodicals file, Gale's
> Nineteenth Century Newspapers and Proquest's Historical Newspapers file.
> Only the first item turned up.
>
>
>
> *GAT *
>
> --
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
>
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
>
> The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
> picture of his great-grandfather.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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