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28th November 2012, 13:42
Put the cart before the horse

Reverse the accepted order of things.

The first reference to this phrase in English comes in George Puttenham's The arte of English poesie, 1589:
How can something be, at one, before (pre) and after (post)? preposterous!
"We call it in English prouerbe, the cart before the horse, the Greeks call it Histeron proteron, we name it the Preposterous."

He was probably referring back to, or possibly translating directly from, a work by Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC) - On Friendship:

"We put the cart before the horse, and shut the stable door when the steed is stolen, in defiance of the old proverb."

The hysteron proteron that Puttenham noted relates to similar phrases from Greek authors. In grammatical terms a hysteron proteron is a figure of speech in which the thing that should come second is put first; for example, 'putting on one's shoes and socks'. This may be done for literary effect of simply without thought. This form is extended into more general use in phrases like the 2nd century Greek satirist Lucian's 'the cart draws the ox', or Theocritus' 'the hind hunts the dogs'.

Various other phrases that refer to things being the opposite of what they rightfully should be are found in English, notably "the tail is wagging the dog".

The Dutch have a similar proverb - "het paard achter de wagen spannen", i.e. "harness the horse after the wagon".
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28th November 2012, 13:51
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29th November 2012, 03:48
Nicely put, mamya, by the way, nice picture box.
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mrs trellis

1st December 2012, 07:40
Hi folks, I've come to this a bit late this week and haven't finished yet (not being as clever as genehunt) but will plod on. In common with genehunt, I find people take part in things which I don't see the sense of - like modern-day angling: throwing out some bait by way of a forum post, then sitting waiting by the computer line to see who he reels in. Then re-casting later, but still no-one takes the bait. Bad luck gene, but at least it's warmer than a riverbank :-)
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1st December 2012, 12:12
Greetings to all our regulars. Help needed, yet again,

1D Deciding on a knight etc etc (9)
12A A young traveller etc etc (12)

And of course no clue for 21 down. At first I wondered if the RT compiler was giving us an extra little puzzle to solve!!
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1st December 2012, 12:25
Hello Mondrian
The "young traveller" is a youngster who rides around on a wooden base with wheels. The first 5 letters is a type of fish. HOpe this helps.
1d is a word for "having kittens" or getting worked up over something. A "N"(chess abbr. for Knight) in the middle of a word for "choosing"
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1st December 2012, 12:26
Hi mondrian
How are you?
1d and 21d have been thoroughly discussed already on this thread - have a look back, then ask again if you are still puzzled.
12a It's a form a transport that only a fool (especially a young one) would attempt. It's made up of the name of a fish, followed by a term for someone getting on to a transport (of whatever sort).
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1st December 2012, 14:45
Not able to get the RT till either Thursday/Friday now so rather late again and will be in the future. All done except I'm stuck on 16A. Had campari but couldn't connect it to the clue so presume it's wrong. Some help please but not the answer!
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1st December 2012, 14:48
Just looked at it again and think I've got it now. I was barking up the wrong tree - more to do with 'bond' than 'drink' - I think!
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1st December 2012, 14:52
Hello Butterfly. That`s the one I was stuck on. First three letters - to tap (or a kind of music). Next four - a drink. Maags.
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