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Homophonics

[17 June 2014] With the same sound but different spelling, homophones – and their linguistic relatives – can be a rich source of fun for wordsmiths, from Frank Muir’s mock surprise at a restaurant menu’s ‘four quennelles’, to Ronnie Barker’s ‘four candles/fork handles’ sketch, to the racehorse trainer who tried to register a nag with the British Horseracing Authority as ‘Norfolk and Chance’.

Sadly, there was nothing so amusing in the Daily Telegraph obituary of pin-up model and photographer Bunny Yeager, but its double heterographic error should not go unremarked:

  • ‘Bunny gave [Bettie Page] a wholesome makeover and the pair made pop culture history in 1955 when men across America peaked into the Christmas issue of Playboy...’.
  • ‘her buxom young women peaked out from behind ferns, kicked up their heels on sofas and covered their dignity with soap suds’.

So that would be ‘peeked’ in both cases. Peaked/peeked/piqued is that rare thing, a triple homophone.

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