Do You Hear What I Hear? Contest Winner


Consulting the Wikipedia entry for mondegreen, 1Kudos to Sam Chupp for pointing me to this. we find the following:

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that yields a new meaning to the phrase.

“He played rubbery with his lips…”

When all is said and done, that phrase may not quite meet the definition of a mondegreen, but it is certainly a profoundly, incredibly incorrect interpretation of a song lyric. Just how profoundly, incredibly incorrect is the interpretation? Well, for starters, I didn’t even get the first word right. Here is the correct lyric:

“You played robbery with insolence…”

…and I played the blues in twelve bars down on Lover’s Lane. The song in question is “Your Latest Trick” by Dire Straits (as heard on the Brothers in Arms album) and, in my defense, it features plenty of lyrics that a ten-year-old boy would find unusual if not downright impenetrable. That it took me more than twenty years to correct my ten-year-old interpretation is merely a testament to the power of procrastination.

“You must have had a pasty made out of wax.”

I have eaten countless Cornish meat pies—pasties—in the past thirty-odd years; they were a staple of my diet growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the tale of how my Finnish immigrant ancestors came to adopt them is one I won’t go into here. When I was ten I knew that Dire Straits was a British rock band and that the pasty had its roots in the United Kingdom, so it didn’t seem at all unusual to me that Mark Knopfler would sing about wax pasties. Not unusual at all.

“You must’ve had a passkey made out of wax.”

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?There was a grand total of five entries in the contest, though I was sure that once the Fabulous Prize was revealed I’d see a flood of new e-mail. Every entry was correct, so everyone who entered had a 20% chance of winning the Fabulous Prize. Having cast the die 2I realize that I’m using this idiom incorrectly, but the winner was chosen by die roll and “[h]aving rolled the die” doesn’t sound as cool. Plus, misusing the idiom fits with … Continue reading I am pleased to announce that the winner of the contest is Natalie Metzger. Natalie will soon be receiving a copy of Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. If you didn’t enter the contest for some reason, leave a comment or e-mail me at to let me know how I could make future contests (if there are any) more enticing.

1 Kudos to Sam Chupp for pointing me to this.
2 I realize that I’m using this idiom incorrectly, but the winner was chosen by die roll and “[h]aving rolled the die” doesn’t sound as cool. Plus, misusing the idiom fits with the theme of the contest.




7 responses to “Do You Hear What I Hear? Contest Winner”

  1. Wesley Avatar

    There was only one thing that would have made this contest more enterable (just go with it) would be my ability to answer the question.

    So, my only advice is to make it less hard. I know you did make it less hard, but you’ll need to make it less hard than *that*.


    1. Kris Avatar

      @Wesley — I realize that the first lyric was just way too hard; I’m pretty sure it was Google-proof. I didn’t want to make it too easy, but I should have loosened up the contest requirements from the very beginning. Perhaps allowing a guess a day at just the artist or just the song or just the correct lyric.

  2. Sam Chupp Avatar

    Whew! It’s amazing, I know, but I’ve never heard this song until today. I know, I know: YES I am a child of the 80’s. I should have memorized that album. However, in my defense, I must say that for a time I was in a rock and roll blackout due to temporary incarc…I mean, attendance at a Private Christian School. So I missed key elements of pop culture for a bit.

    But, at least my faith in my own pattern recognition software is still intact: I could hardly recognize a pattern I’ve not yet heard 🙂

    1. Kris Avatar

      @Sam Chupp — Somebody get this man a copy of Brothers in Arms on CD, stat!

  3. LolaJ Avatar

    I have one of these mondegreens from my own childhood. It’s from Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”:

    Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful
    Oh Bennie, she’s really keen
    She’s got electric boots
    A mohair suit
    You know I read it in a magazine
    B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets

    I heard “she’s got electric BOOBS” — WOW!

    Still makes me giggle.

    1. Kris Avatar

      @LolaJ — Speaking as a man who is a fan of most things boob-related, I cannot support the concept of the electric boob.

  4. Auntie Benta! Benta! Benta! Avatar
    Auntie Benta! Benta! Benta!

    Did you know that for YEARS, Karen and I thought that it was “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”!?!?!?

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