Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


Nick Clegg, Britain’s leading Lib Dem,
Has a nebulous role: DPM.
Rest assured, nothing sinister:
He’s Deputy Prime Minister—
An important position. (Ahem.)

Before Nick Clegg became DPM as part of the 2010 coalition agreement between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, the position had been filled only half of the time since World War II.

A disqualification (DQ)
Is what happens in boxing when you
Have deliberately broken
The rules, like—no jokin’—
By biting an ear fully through.

The second WBA Heavyweight Championship match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, for example.

The prospect of ending up dead
Is something a lot of us dread.
But why all the fear?
You’re clearly still here,
And possibly years lie ahead.

The borderline fascist Judge Dredd,
In 2000 AD, often said
To perps, “I am the law,”
Only moments before,
With his Lawgiver, shooting ’em dead.

Mega-City One, home of the Judges:
A place where a lawmaker’s grudges
Are evidence, drokk it.
No courtroom or dock—it
Is Judge law, and Dredd never budges.

This should all really be in future tense, because Dredd will be born in 2079, nine years after the Atomic Wars. The signature character of the British comic 2000 AD, featured from its second issue in 1977 onwards, patrols Mega-City One on the east coast of the former US, hunting down perps (criminals) on his Lawmaster bike and dispensing swift justice with his Lawmaker machine-pistol, while famously never removing his helmet. Initially a more even-handed character, Dredd turned increasingly authoritarian as he aged (in real time, from age 38 onwards), as writers began using the strip to critique contemporary politics. The strip has inspired two movies, the poorly-received Judge Dredd (1995) and the better-regarded Dredd (2012). Co-created by artist Carlos Ezquerra and writer John Wagner, its many artists and writers over the years constitute a who’s who of British comics.

When left with a bowlful of giblets,
Mum crumbed ’em and made chicken niblets.
“They’re entrails,” we cried.
“They’re delicious,” Dad lied,
As he sampled the paltriest driblets.

When there’s minimal moisture inside,
Then a foodstuff is said to be dried,
Like this strip of beef jerky.
If Christmas’s turkey
Should turn out the same, woe betide!

Without enough water to drink,
We soon find it harder to think,
As our brains shrivel up.
So let’s guzzle each cup,
Lest our cortices rapidly shrink.

Recent research suggests that prolonged reduced water intake may adversely affect visuo-spatial processing and our ability to plan.

Driving drunk in Australia’s drink-driving.
By law, and for safely arriving
And staying alive,
Stay below .05:
It’s the threshold we’ve set for surviving.

Since the 1980s, it’s been illegal to drive in Australia when your blood alcohol level is over 0.05% (point-oh-FIVE), and for some classes of drivers when it’s above zero. The introduction of random breath testing with breathalysers has seen a dramatic fall in road deaths caused by drink-driving.

I’m attempting to keep the tone civil,
But your argument’s absolute drivel.
Its content is worthless
And message is mirthless.
Be seated on this, please, and swivel.

He’s the spy who leaves no foe alive:
Secret agent James Bond’s DB5
Gives him licence to thrill
At the wheel—he can kill
Without risking his licence to drive.

Deploying the lethal gadgets in his famous Aston Martin DB5 never seems to get 007 into trouble with the DVLA, even if it sometimes does with MI6.

Some raincoats cause wearers to moan,
“Bloody thing isn’t waterproof! [Groan.]”
But we Aussies know one
That is second to none:
One that keeps us as dry as a bone.

Driza-Bone oilskin coats have been an Australian icon since the company was established in 1898; together with Akubra hats they form the classic look of the Aussie stockman. Used in a generic way, the term can imply any long oilskin coat, but it’s still closely associated with the company.

Now that everyone’s using a Kindle,
Publication on paper will dwindle.
But will book prices fall?
Or will publishers all
Lock us up in a DRM swindle?

Some publishers hope to prevent e-book piracy using digital rights management.

This base that we chaps call a drome,
With its runways and cross-sectioned dome,
Is the place where we store
Sopwith Camels before
Every dogfight: our aeroplanes’ home.

Aerodrome is still used in Britain and Australia for small airfields servicing light aircraft, but is now less often abbreviated.

I’m sorry if this is too strong,
But how didya get it so wrong?
Yer never that dense—
Ya got commonsense—
So don’t be a drongo, ya nong.

Foreign visitors suffer the shakes
At the thought of our spiders and snakes,
Our sharks and our crocs,
But the biggest of shocks
Is when drop bears attack: “Fer Chrissakes!”

Thylarctos plummetus, one of the most elusive but terrifying examples of Australian fauna, is the country’s heaviest arborial marsupial. Some days he just can’t be buggered sitting up a gum tree, and launches himself at passing prey—particularly non-native animals and tourists.

If you’re after a role model, choose a
Much better one. Jack’s someone who’s a
Sad case: unfulfilled,
Unsuccessful, unskilled.
He’s a dropkick, that bloke. What a loser.

When I was a kid, drop kicks—dropping the ball and kicking it as it touched the ground—were a regular part of Aussie Rules football, but they fell out of fashion after rule changes in the 1990s picked up the pace of the game. Even before that, though, dropkick was already a slang term in Australia for someone lazy, unsuccessful, or not fulfilling their potential.

At Adelaide Oval, fans know
That their team will put on a good show.
When the Crows drop their bundle,
They head back to Rundle
Street, chasing a place that serves crow.

Adelaide’s main shopping street is a twenty-minute walk from the Oval, which is enough time to work up an appetite after watching your AFL team—the Adelaide Crows—drop their bundle: that is, panic, lose their self-control, and give up.

Our teacher completely went nuts
When one of the boys dropped his guts.
“Right, I heard someone fart!
No, don’t laugh! Don’t you start!”
Cue a chorus of parps, brrps and phuts.

The drugs you prescribed didn’t work!
When I took them, my mind went berserk.
So were these even real? Could
It be, Doctor Feelgood,
Some little-known medical quirk?

I could tell from the way that he stunk
That my buddy was totally drunk.
“I ’ad only one bottle,”
He slurred, “Not a lot... ’ll...”
And slid from his stool with a clunk.

Drunkonyms: Words meaning “pissed”,
Which the British, it seems, can’t resist:
Battered, hammered, lashed, mashed,
Trousered, trolleyed and trashed,
And five hundred and forty I’ve missed.

The term drunkonym appears to have been coined by Georgian linguist Thea Shavladze in a 2023 paper. A subsequent paper by two German linguists, widely reported in February 2024, analyzed a list of 546 drunkonyms in British English, although their list deliberately excluded some further phrases and by some estimates there are many more. Eventually they’ll all end up here.

When there’s nary a cloud in the sky
And the landscape is totally dry,
It’s the furthest from wet
It can possibly get.
Can’t be Britain, then. Maybe Dubai?

In this underground kingdom, the throne
Is constructed from femurs alone.
Tests for moisture revealed
That the room being sealed
Left the thigh-bones as dry as a bone.

A deleted scene from Indiana Bones and the Dehumidifier of Destiny.

Should you spice up your writing? You must.
This “Cinnamon Challenge” piece just
Isn’t funny; you need
A more humorous lede.
Sad to say, it’s as dry, son, as dust.

The Cinnamon Challenge was a viral online challenge of the 2000s and early 2010s in which people posted videos of themselves eating a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon.

He dragged himself onto the sand,
Feeling thankful for reaching dry land.
“Now, find shelter? Should do so,”
Thought Robinson Crusoe.
“Let’s see who can give me a hand.”

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