Reader Letters

Get Your Whistles Correct

No big deal, but a Brit would never say “…spend the night with Brown’s flutes.” It would be “Brown’s whistles.” Whistles and flutes = suits, but the short version is whistles. In rhyming slang, every rule has an exception, but generally it’s the first word that’s the abbreviation.

This is the reason that my British husband falls about laughing when we drive past the restaurant “J. Arthur’s.” J. Arthur Bank = wank, you see.


TMN responds: Excellent news. We have updated the headline. Thank you.

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of 2017). His articles and essays appear in a variety of magazines, including GQ, Travel + Leisure and The Paris Review, and he’s written opinion pieces for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian. More information can be found at his website. More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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