3 OCTOBER 1952, Page 6

Do you know Brewer—that invaluable work of reference, Brewer's Dictionary

of Phrase and Fable? Cassells have done a public service in producing a new and revised edition—a new brew, in fact. My immediate impulse was to test the newcomer, quite at random. " Tycoon," for example. I never really knew what tycoon meant. I know now. " A title of the Shogun (q.v.); applied in the U.S.A. to an industrial magnate." Very well. Next—Kosciuszlco. No; a blank. I discovered why. Brewer does not claim to be a biographical dictionary. You will find quite a bit about Nelson's Column, but nothing about Nelson (except that he stands on it); a nice explanation of the term, " What the dickens ? " but nothing about Dickens; such columns of phrases in which " dog" has his day—dog-latin, dogs'-eared, dog-goned, etc.—that. by the time I had got through the lot I was, as the last of them has it, dog-tired, and very much more than ready for the next entry, " dogaressa—the wife of a doge." And when you find a cross-word clue " A village in Anglesey," and at once say Llanfairpwl lgwyngyllgogerychwyrnd robwffilandyssiliogo- gogoch, do you realise that it means " The church of St. Mary in a hollow of white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and to St. Tisilio church, near to a red cave ? " This is knowledge.

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