Today’s Bizarro, with a Sunday pun:

A play on the noun admission, whose ambiguity tracks back to the verb admit, with two quite different senses. Then there’s the board game Clue.

On the verb admit, with relevant material from theĀ NOAD2 entry:

1 [reporting verb] confess to be true or to be the case, typically with reluctance:

[with clause]: the office finally admitted that several prisoners had been injured | I have to admit I was relieved when he left

[with obj.]: confess to (a crime or fault, or one’s responsibility for it): he was sentenced to prison after admitting 47 charges of burglary

[no obj.]: he had admitted to a long history of sexual misconduct.

2 [with obj.] allow (someone) to enter a place: senior citizens are admitted free to the museum.

In the cartoon, Professor Plum admits-1, confesses, that he was the murderer. And he does this in the college admissions office, the place where prospective students go to be admitted-2 to the college.

You can find the cartoon funny just by appreciating the pun, but then you’re missing a lot. Who is this odd-looking Professor Plum, and why does he talk in this odd way (“I did it. In the library, with a candlestick.”)? To integrate this material into your understanding of the cartoon, you need to know about the board game Clue, in which players try to determine which of six suspects (Professor Plum is one) committed a murder, in which room of the house, with which weapon. On the game, see the posting “Clueless” of 5/6/13.

2 Responses to “Admissions”

  1. Drew Smith Says:

    There’s one additional ambiguity: In the Clue game, the library is a room in a mansion, while in a university or college, the library is an academic building.

  2. Michael Vnuk Says:

    It is good to see Professor Plum speaking naturally: ‘It was me,’ rather than ‘It was I.’

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