The Meaning of Louth

Have you heard of Paul Jennings? He was a British humorist*, mainly active in the 50s and 60s. I have one of his books, “Oddly Ad Lib”, which was published in 1965.

This book is mainly of interest for the piece called “Ware, Wye, Watford (1)”. As you can see, it’s a spoof dictionary of English placenames, an idea that was taken up with much success by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in their bestselling “The Meaning of Liff” (1983).

Although I can find no suggestion that they copied the idea from Jennings, the Wikipedia page about the Liff book says that Adams apologised to him.

It appears that there may be more than one version of this piece. A commenter on a BBC page mentions Jennings’ definition for Dunstable: possible. “If ’tis dunstable he’ll do’t, my lord.” (Shakespeare)

*I prefer the American spelling of this word…

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