It’s Follow-Up Friday: So Long, Yogi edition

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today I’d like to return to the subject of wordplay!

There are certain names that are instantly associated with wordplay:

  • William Archibald Spooner and his spoonerisms, like “Is the bean dizzy?” instead of “Is the dean busy?”
  • Sam Weller and his Wellerisms, like “‘Simply remarkable,'” said the teacher when asked his opinion about the new dry-erase board.” (Quite similar to Tom Swifty and his puns.)
  • Sylvia Wright and her mondegreens, like “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” for “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”

From authors Lewis Carroll and Jasper Fforde to poet Shel Silverstein and YouTuber Hannah Hart, from characters like Officer Dogberry and Mrs. Malaprop to comedians like George Carlin, Steven Wright, Bo Burnham, and Mitch Hedberg, these names are synonymous with puns, wordplay, and the magic of language.

Sadly, this week, we lost someone noted for his unintentional and hilarious wordplay. This week, Yogi Berra passed away.

You’ve most likely heard at least one of his famous lines:

  • Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • I knew the record would stand until it was broken.
  • Ninety percent of this game is half-mental.
  • We made too many wrong mistakes.

Joe Garagiola captured Yogi’s legacy of memorable quotes perfectly when he said, “Fans have labeled Yogi Berra ‘Mr. Malaprop,’ but I don’t think that’s accurate. He doesn’t use the wrong words. He just puts words together in ways nobody else would ever do.”

And apparently it was a family trait. In The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!, there’s a page that features Yogi-isms from every member of his family, proving that nobody is immune to delightful word fumbles from time to time.

Yogi, thanks for all the laughs and all the times you made us look at words differently.

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