Over on his blog, John McIntye posted a little while back (December 6) on editing slip-ups in various newspapers, including this one from the NYT:
It is the breakfast hour, the day before Thanksgiving and the lobby is busy with clean-looking families who are up and Adam, ready to set off in their varsity-letter jackets and Rockports for some holiday shopping, maybe a show. (link)
Eggcorn Forum contributor Jill caught this one too. And it turned out that there already was a thread there on up and Adam for up and at ‘em, focusing on whether the expression was an eggcorn. Certainly, you can google up lots of hits for it, and some of them look like intentional puns, but many do not. For the latter, the question is whether up and Adam is just a demi-eggorn (in which an opaque expression is interpreted as containing some familiar material, even if that doesn’t make full sense) or a straightforward eggcorn (with Adam contributing meaning to the whole).
It’s probably a demi-eggcorn for many people who use it, but some of the forum contributors reported having rationalized it as involving a reference to be biblical Adam, as in this commen from charsnyder:
There was imagery for me. I didn’t know much about Adam and Eve but I’d seen the Michelangelo painting segment where God’s finger is sort of commanding Adam to “get up”. I wasn’t sure about Adam and didn’t think “up and Adam” meant it was an exhortation to DO anything, but just to sort of “spring forth” into the world. So that made some sense in terms of my Mom wanting me to get out of bed.
The impulse is fairly strong not only to see meaningful elements in partially opaque expressions, but also to make the whole expression meaningful. So one person’s demi-eggcorn can be another person’s full eggcorn. Chris Waigl reported on ADS-L on August 16 about another case:
I was mentioning B-line [for bee-line] as a very questionable eggcorn to an interested friend a while ago, and she surprisingly said she used to think it came from the letter B, thinking of the vertical line in it as the very image of a straight line. So this is just to show (once more, after many times) the subjective nature of making sense of some lexical item.
(There are also hits for up and atom, not all of them plays on words. I am of course reminded of the 1960s television cartoon The Atom Ant Show, the motto for which was “up and at ‘em, Atom Ant”. There was also a later computer game Up and Atom, Atom Ant.)