Trivia Teaser

Had he been alive, who would have celebrated his 80th birthday on May 14th 2008?

Charlton Heston
Boris Yeltsin
Che Guervara
John F Kennedy



By Christine Lovatt

Did you know that an expression like sixty is the new thirty has a name? It’s called a snowclone, which is a type of cliché that uses an old idiom in a new context – the key words change and you have a new expression with a familiar rhythm. Sixty is the new thirty was Lauren Hutton’s catchcry when she turned 60 and looked considerably younger.

An early snowclone was pink is the new black, first used in 1962 by Diana Vreeland. She found pink fabric was more popular in India than the ubiquitous black favoured elsewhere. This phrase has been used in countless contexts, with different key words.

Star Wars has given us May the Force be With You which has many versions, eg the song, May the Horse be with you or May the 4th be with you, etc.

The name snowclone was coined with reference to the belief that there are over 200 Eskimo words for snow. People became fascinated with the idea that snow appeared differently to those who saw it every day.

But it’s not quite so straightforward. Firstly, there are not one but five different Eskimo languages. The best-known is Inuit, spoken in a series of dialects. So that accounts for several different words.

Secondly, what do you define as a snow word? In our language we have snowball, snowflake, snowdrop, snowfall, snowfield and snowman – combining prefixes or suffixes to make compound words.

In Eskimo-Aleut languages, words are formed by combining roots and affixes so that the number of words for snow is practically limitless, at least in theory.

Snowclones are phrases that are fun to make up and have been described as multi-use, instantly recognisable, time-worn phrases that can be recycled in any flavour. However, journalists and writers have also been accused of being lazy when they overuse them, or avoid ever inventing original phrases.

I’m sure you’ve heard the snowclones Old magicians don’t die, they just disappear or Old fishermen never die, they just smell that way.

Other snowclones include Have Passport – Will Travel, which comes from the TV western title 'Have Gun – Will Travel', and If I had a Pound for every time I’ve heard Another Version of this Snowclone, I’d be a Lot Better Off.

Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it – make up a new snowclone from an existing catchphrase and post it in the Comments section for this blog. The first 25 entrants will receive a copy of my latest Cryptic Crossword Collection!

Happy puzzling!

Christine Lovatt


13 Responses to


axolotl said:
January 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

My favourite is "The Minute of Living Dangerously", which I used when people were rude to me at work.

January 19, 2012 at 3:16 AM

"The Good, the Bad and the Dysmorphic". "Dysmorphic" was Christine's Word of the Day on Facebook, so here's my chance to use it!

synergy said:
January 19, 2012 at 4:34 AM

Eat drink and be weary

Frin05 said:
January 19, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes……… experience blisters if shoes are the wrong size.

kragzy said:
January 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Possibly the best at snowcloning was Mae West. Unfortunately most of hers were rather ribald. She had a naughty twist on "a good man is hard to find" which I'll let you work out for yourself.

kragzy said:
January 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Absence makes the heart grow fonder... or Absence makes the fond heart wander.

carol383 said:
January 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Way to go-but not too far.

mommyscat said:
January 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

You can't teach an old man to pick up his clothes

January 21, 2012 at 6:26 PM

If you've eaten one chocolate, you've eaten them all.

January 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Shakespeare," to be or not to be " becomes " to see or not to see "

tezza1551 said:
January 23, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Then there was the Yamaha executive visiting France and drinking absinthe. After several days, he noticed that the sound of his "wind emissions" was changing, and were sounding like another breed of motorbike. He consulted a doctor who advised him to change drinks: Absinthe makes the farts go Honda".

kragzy said:
January 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Good one tezza!

January 25, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Attention YouPlayers! All members who posted a comment above THIS post please send an email (using your YouPlay email account) to 'Jessie' with your full name and address details so I can send out your copy of the latest Christine's Cryptic Collection!