"Sky west and crooked"

Sat Dec 1 12:07:45 UTC 2001

“Sky West and Crooked” was the title (in USA, 1966) of a film directed
and starring John Mills opposite his daughter Haley Mills.  The story
was written by John Mills' wife, Mary Hayley Bell.  The title of the
British release of the movie was “Gypsy Girl.”

The following quotation is found at [

“And everything in Maguire (named after her father) is running smoothly
under the able direction of Jake Williams, a full-fledged romantic
hero, until Cass comes to town, and turns the whole community, and
Jake, up-side-down, sky-west, and crooked.”  It appears in a
description of COURTING CASSIDY by Stephanie Bartlett reviewed by
Patricia White 4/4/97.

“Time quotes a little newspaper down in Texas and we like what it said:
¿Truly this is a world which has no regard for the established order of
things, but knocks them sky west and crooked, and lo, the upstart hath
the land and its fatness.'” “Obscenity in the Arts,” by Vardis Fisher
in _Eastern Idaho Farmer_,  May 5, 1966

>From Harold Wentworth's _American Dialect Dictionary_:

sky-western-crooked, adj. Helpless, senseless.  1908 e.Ala., w.Ga. [no

Perhaps this is related to _knock someone skywest_, a variant of _knock
someone galley west_ (in Chapman's revision of Wentworth and Flexner).
Wentworth and Flexner show _galley west_ as meaning “thoroughly; with
great force; in confusion.”  DARE shows the following in its etymology
of _galley-west_:

Varr of Engl dial. _collywest(on)_ contrarily, askew] chiefly Nth  See
Map  Cf high, west, and crooked.

At the entry for _galley-west_, HDAS (Lighter) attests knock
galley-west as early as 1833.  Mark Twain uses it in 1882 to mean

DARE shows _knock ... gally-west_ from 1875 (Twain).  The regional
information is sw Missouri and Minnesota.

Under _high, west, and crooked_, DARE gives the meaning as “In every
direction, every which way.”  The e.q. [earliest quote] is 1965.

lsparlin at ROLLANET.ORG,Net writes:
>Wondering if anyone has run across the origin of "Sky west and crooked"
>- to
>describe anything out of alignment or scattered or something moving in
>disorderly fashion.   For instance:
>A hand-drawn line
>The part in a little girl's hair
>Any hand-crafted effort that turns out less than straight.
>A road with many curves and Y's.
>Birds (or animals or people) scattering "all sky west and crooked."

>In context "It (or They) went all sky west and crooked." or It goes
>sky west and crooked."

>Commonly used 1940's to her death in 1964, by my grandmother in Tulsa,
>(her birth in 1878 was in Whitley County, KY and upbringing in Franklin
>Crawford County, AR, and eastern OK).  Later used by my mother in OK and
>greater Kansas City, MO/KS.

>Crooked is self explanatory, but where did "sky west" come from?


barnhart at highlands.com

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