An allusion and a pun

🐇🐇🐇 The Mother Goose and Grimm strip from 6/30, with an allusion to an item of culture (the catchphrase “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”, quoting from sketches from the Monty Python tv shows and recordings) and perpetrating a (fairly absurd) pun on the phrase:


(#1) The bull terrier Grimm and the cat Attila confront punishment for their household misdeed

So the ostentatiously playful allusion to the Spanish Inquisition is motivated by the situation in the strip.

Allusion + pun. See my 5/18/19 posting “Ostentatiously playful allusions” (or OPAs), which are deployed in joking contexts (including jokey headers and text in publications — like the Economist and science magazines for a general audience — that you might not have thought of as ludic). OPAs are frequently packaged as puns, in what I guess we should call POPAs: punning (or paranomasiac) OPAs, as above.

Simple OPAs are fairly common, as in this Pythonesque conclusion from my 7/14/20 posting “His banana Ana and his avocados Arnold”:

You probably weren’t expecting Barcelona. Nobody expects Barcelona.

But POPAs seem t be even more common, probably because the playful effect is intensified by the pun. Here’s an earlier Spanish-Inquisition POPA on this blog, in my 1/6/16 posting “The New Year’s resolution”, about Eugene Chan stick-figure cartoons, including this one with the punch line “Nobody expects the Spanish composition” (the bolero, in this case one by Chopin):


(#2) (Also with information about the Spanish Inquisition quotation from Monty Python)

One Response to “An allusion and a pun”

  1. Powers Says:

    I didn’t think this MG&G strip was an allusion to Monty Python. Isn’t it just a reference to the actual Spanish Inquisition? Or is it the costumes and the fact that there are three Inquisitors that brings Python to mind?

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