Beer and skittles

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Owen Gerald Bjornstad:

    I am one of those annoying people who believe that “from whence” is incorrect. I also find the snippet “who someday you may have the misfortune of encountering” to be illuminating, since it shows that the author has not been taught the proper use of “whom”, as in “whom someday you may have the misfortune of encountering”. I would submit that in considering the latter point, I can safely disregard the author’s authority in dismissing my concerns about the proper use of “whence”. Quod erat demonstrandum.

  2. Sam R.:

    Funny, that. I feel safe in assuming that anyone who spells out common abbreviations (e.g. e.g., Q.E.D., etc.) is a hopeless pedant.

  3. Will:

    One reference I found to the game itself (also called 9 pins) goes back to the 17th Century.

    Skittles, also known as Ninepins, which was the pre-cursor to ten-pin bowling, has been a popular English pub game since the 17th century. The pins are set up in a square pattern and players attempt to knock them down with a ball. It is still played but not so much as previously.

    The game was referred to in Footman’s History of the Parish Church of Chipping Lambourn, 1894, which reprints a piece from 1634:

    “William Gyde… for playing at skittolles on Sunday.”

  4. Tony:

    I’ve always equated “beer and skittles” with “cakes and ale” which I believe is Shakespeare — “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” (Twelfth Night)

    To me this means a life of ease. Probably an unearned and undeserved life of ease, which reinforces the current author’s implication of an unjustified tax grab. I believe the term “beer and skittles” was current in the 19th century with exactly the same meaning.

    And yes skittles is the British equivalent of 10-pin bowling. With the difference that the balls are quite small and the pins are heavy and widely spaced and you can even fire a ball right through the middle without hitting anything at all. I know – I’ve done it! Ten-pin bowlers would find it hard!

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