Bringing the Text to Life
Son-of-a-bishop William Archibald Spooner (1844 -1930) was an Anglican priest and warden of New College, Oxford. He is less famous for what he did, however, than for how he did it. He's the one who gave us in his sermons and speeches such memorable lines as "a blushing crow" for "a crushing blow," or "I have a half-warmed fish in my mind" for "I have a half-formed wish in my mind."
His mind rushing faster than his tongue, Spooner would frequently reverse the initial letters or syllables of two or more words until "God Bless Our Dear Old Queen" became something quite embarrassing to everyone concerned. Here are some examples:
"Tea and flick spray" (flea and tick spray), "foon and spork" (spoon and fork).
"She was wearing a wed rig" (a red wig).
"You didn't hear a thingle sing I said" (single thing).
"When your tumb gets nongue" (tongue gets numb).
The phenomenon of spoonerisms has generated an academic cottage industry exploring "anomaly formulation" called "SLIP" ("Spoonerisms of...