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Pun Demon I Am! (Pandemonium)

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In his foreword to Pun Demon I Am! well-known wordsmith Gyles Brandreth declares that "Alan Lewis is someone who needs no introduction; he is beyond compθre," setting the punning tone for the whole book. He is absolutely right. This is a punster's compendium of witty delights.

They are not the sort of puns that come out of cheap Christmas crackers. They don't make you groan. Or, at least, if you do groan at them, you do so with the sort of jealousy that says you wish you'd come up with that particular verbal play first.

How better to introduce Pun Demon I Am! than to present a few choice pickings from its pages? Here's a sample:

  • Erminaduke and Marmtrude
    Are pen-friends.
    They've been exchanging letters
    For some time
  • He has 150 cattle.
    He thought there were 147
    Til he rounded them up
  • I've just realised
    Why your face
    Reminds me of a clock:
    Your lips tick
  • Goblin your food
    Is bad for your elf
  • My boss said
    I should be fired with enthusiasm
    And because I wasn't
    I was
  • If his new secretary
    Isn't sweet in the daytime
    And a little tart at night
    He'll saccharin the morning
  • Most pop fans
    Are star-craving mad
  • At the restaurant
    I changed South Korean money
    Into Kuwaiti
    So it was Dinar for Won

It was back in 1971 that Lewis began sending puns to The Sunday Times under the name AFGL. Soon, one of his was chosen for publication: Telling bulls from cows is easy; If it's not one thing it's the udder. He was soon addicted to punning, and after two years he had gathered more than enough original material to produce a calendar: Weakly Through 1973.

He produced similar calendars for the following three years, and eventually a book: A Pun My Soul. In Pun Demon I Am! you will find six hundred of Lewis's best puns. Here's another sprinkling of the gems:

  • She was a gas
    But I turned her down
    Now she's an old flame
  • "All of me!
    Why not take all of me?"
    I asked, as she moved in.
    "No thanks," she replied,
    "I just want free quarters."
  • I odour
    A flavour
    So I scent her
    Some perfume
    From an olfactory
  • If I told you
    I'd been asked for a pun
    To celebrate an anniversary
    Would jubilee fit?
  • If the police come round
    Asking how I came to a choir
    The goods
    I will refrain from replying.
    I chant say anything
    Or pass the canon to psalmbody else.
    Whatever the catch
    I won't sing.
  • Soupηon
    Is French for a small amount
    Only morceau
  • Having brought the house down
    He said he didn't know
    It was liable to claps
    (Which seemed applausible storey)
  • Crosswords are infuriating
    They're always putting
    1 across
    Which tends to get 1 down
  • They've changed
    The sandwich course in Spanish
    To a pancake course
    And put up a notice saying
    "Spanish tortilla"
  • When the examiner asked me
    What Armageddon meant
    I thought it was the end of the world

The puns are presented in ten chapters, each with a punning title: Confusion He Say, Trying for Sighs, Before and Dafter, GrAFGLitti, Suture Self, Cores and Defect, Idle Thwarts, Packaged Eels, Mores Fewer Wise, and Groan Ups.

The volume is spiced up with the fun line-drawings of Quanda (aka Frank Holmes). Almost 50 of his illustrations bring Lewis's witticisms to life and add visual interest to the book. To conclude, here is a particularly apt pun from the book:

  • People who indulge
    In word play
    Certainly get up to

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