That hot potato is a total banana skin

Recently I was reminded of the brilliant comedy writing in two TV shows from my formative years: Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. The genius of the writers, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, was particularly clever in the way they blended idioms, mixed metaphors, and interspersed malapropisms. The memory prompted me to begin a list of my favourite word play combinations, some from these shows, some I’ve genuinely heard used, and others I’ve stumbled across in writing:

  • … like a stampeding herd of vultures
  • You don’t put the cart before the horse if you want to lead it to water because that would be like locking the stable door
  • I wouldn’t eat that with a ten-foot pole
  • We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it
  • It’s not rocket surgery
  • Leopards don’t change their stripes
  • It’s like shooting fish off a ducks back
  • I hate all generalizations
  • Half of one, six dozen of the other
  • We don’t want to have the dog wagging the cart
  • Time is fun when you’re having flies
  • I‘m not a negative person
  • You say potato, I say whatever
  • Let’s not jump at straws
  • Enter your names in numerical order
  • They broke the mould before they made you
  • Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice… can’t get fooled again
  • We’ve climbed to new depths
  • There is only one way to eat an elephant and that’s by starting with the low hanging fruit

… and then the one I’ve never heard:

I’ll need this later rather than sooner


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