Thursday, June 23, 2011

All You Can Eat

My latest Bizarro gag involves an infinite beef loop:
 
Many of us have had similar thoughts when presented with a ridiculously oversized portion at a restaurant, but for this poor guy it's mathematically true.

I quite enjoy this type of wordplay, where unrelated phrases are chained together using a shared word. Many years ago, I collaborated on an ABC book whose title (Alphabet Soup Kitchen) employs the same linguistic trick. Certainly there must be a name for this device, but I've yet to find it. It's not a pun, spoonerism, or malapropism. What is it called? Scholars of English are encouraged to comment, particularly those who have names like Johnny Carson Daly or who once played in a band called Frijid Pink Floyd.

For comparison, here's my original concept sketch, which now looks a little like a self-portrait:
My next collaboration with my good friend Dan Piraro will appear on Sunday, June 26. Our previous joint works can be viewed in this blog's Bizarro archive.

15 comments:

ndavid said...

On Wheel of Fortune they call it a Before and After, one of their more common puzzle types. Another great one Wayno!

*Chris* said...

It's like "Before and After" on Wheel of Fortune. I'm not aware of what it's called, either. Maybe you could tweet the question to @oxfordwords.

Candi said...

On "Jeopardy" they call these "Before And Afters" -- a challenging category of question/answers, but a LOUSY name. Surely there's a better one out there?

HemlockMan said...

I was in a steak restaurant in Tennessee once. They had a steak on the menu that, they said, would be free if you could eat it all. I saw a guy order one. It was bigger than the platter on which they delivered it. He could not, of course, eat it all.

momjamin said...

The August 2011 issue of Games magazine has a puzzle blending facial characteristics to produce characters like "Diana Ross Perot" and "Elton John Lennon." I was hoping they'd come up with the device name, but they simply called the puzzle "Last Names First."

aw1tim said...

You would have yo use a Mobius Strip Steak Knife to cut this.......

oroboros said...

On Wordnik.com they're called "Sweet Tooth Faries" here's a list of a whole mess of 'em:

http://www.wordnik.com/lists/sweet-tooth-fairy

You can add your own too if you're interested.

Sean O'Hagan said...

I really like this comic but I'm not sure why this steak would be a problem. Cut it once across any narrow section, and you've got a normal (yet long) strip of steak. What am I missing?

Wayno said...

Sean, thanks for the comment.

Yes, in actual physical reality, if there was such a configuration, you could cut into the steak. The line about not being able to finish it played off the idea that a Möbius strip has no beginning or end.

Sean O'Hagan said...

I don't want to be a [noun that describes what I'm being (a stickler?], but wouldn't the same hold for a steak circle? A circle (or say a ring) has no beginning or end. It has 2 sides which makes it different from the Mobius strip. I can eat a ringolo very quickly (even one that was mistakenly shaped in a Mobius fashion.)
Sorry! Not trying to be a troll (does denying it make me a troll?). Just being true to my background in math.

Wayno said...

Sean, you're indeed mathematically correct. I still stand by the cartoon as a work of humor. A circle (round steak?) wouldn't be as funny!

Of course, I do appreciate readers who pay close attention!

Wayno said...

I'm going to call a string linked by common words a set of streptonyms. The prefix "strepto" means "chain" and the suffix "nym" means "word." I chose the plural since a construction of this type would always require a series of words. I searched for "streptonym" and can't find any hits, so I'm claiming it.

Wayno said...

Actually, strepto- seems to mean "twisted chain" and the actual Greek suffix is -onym, so the let's say that the "twist" refers to a humorous twist. Both parts are from the Greek language, and they overlap on the letter o, similar to the way the phrase is constructed.

Matt Fellows said...

Perhaps, like me, Sean O'Hagan hadn't ever heard of a Strip Steak? This is fundamental to finding the comic, funny ;)

Only figured out there must be a Strip steak based on the comments...

Wayno said...

Matt, Outside the US, this cut is apparently called a club steak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_steak