Bill Fane is the technical editor for many of my books. This week he, copy editor Stephen Dunning, and myself are putting the finishing touches on my latest book. I've posted examples before on this blog of Humour By Bill and Stephen, but this may well be the most extreme example -- no doubt brought on by the relief of Yet Another Grueling Editing Spree come to an end.
In appendix A, I wrote (and my spell checker mis-corrected) the following:
Note: *) AutoCAD flummery called it “circular” but changed to “polar” many years ago.
In the markups returned to me this morning,I found that Bill made this correction:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Flummery (from the Welsh llymru) is a sweet soft pudding that is made from stewed fruit and thickened with cornstarch. Traditional British flummeries were kind of like porridge as they were often oatmeal based and cooked to achieve a smooth and gelatinous texture; often sugar and milk was added and occasionally orange flower water. The dish is typically bland in nature. The dish gained stature in the 17th century where it was prepared in elaborate molds and served with applause from the dining audience. The writer Bill Bryson, who has covered subjects as wide as travel, science and language use, described flummery as an early form of blancmange in his book Made in America.
Flummery is also an empty compliment, unsubstantial talk or writing, mumbo jumbo, rubbish talk, meaningless and pompous ceremonies, and nonsense.
In the novel "Dodsworth" by Sinclair Lewis, one of Dodsworth's favorite interjections: "Pfui! This is flummery!"
Another example of the word is in "The Trouble With Lichen" by John Wyndham, wherein he wrote:
“This is not the age of reason, this is the age of flummery, and the day of the devious approach. Reason’s gone into the backrooms where it works to devise means by which people can be induced to emote in the desired direction.”
And this, from http://www.schools.ash.org.au/thscompst/Australia/Flummery.html
Lemon Passionfruit Flummery
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 medium lemons
2 large passionfruit
1 tablespoon gelatine
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cream, whipped
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and lemon-coloured. Grate the rind from the lemons and squeeze the juice. Stir the rind into the egg yolk mixture. Heat the juice to simmering point.
Soften the gelatine in the white wine then dissolve it in the heated lemon juice. Add the passionfruit pulp. Stir this spoonful by spoonful into the egg yolks, then stir in the whipped cream.
Lastly, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and fold through. Spoon into a pretty glass bowl and chill until set.
Mr Fane concludes:
I’m guessing you probably meant “formerly”.