The Bullshit (from the 9/10th of October)

22 across: Skipping task after a third of booze (3)

I’m not exactly sure of the explanation, but it goes something like this: task after a third of booze = mission after a third of booze = mission after o = omission = skipping.

The problem: skipping and omission don’t match.

Sure, skipping and omission are both nouns, but they’re different types of nouns. Skipping is a mass noun, while omission a count noun. That means you can have five or many omissions, but only much skipping.

Thus and therefore, bullshit.

10 thoughts on “The Bullshit (from the 9/10th of October)

  1. this issue caused me to query 22a in the comments of the post two back, as i figured yes, skipping is a mass noun, omission is a count noun. but then i realised that omission can be a mass noun as well. so i have no problem with it.

    19A on the other hand…
    (i’m not swayed by the comments on the post two back thus far…)

  2. “Completeness demands no omission(s)”

    this sentence works whether the ‘s’ is there or not. if it is there, then it works as a count noun, if it is not, it works as a mass noun

  3. English is a slippery beast, and I think that’s a slippery example.

    The sentence’s pithiness I think glides over what grammatical rules would normally apply.

    I could say, for instance, “Perfection admits of no mistake”, but “mistake” is definitely not a mass noun.

    You can’t say “I love mistake” or “I love omission” as you can “I like skipping”, or even “I love chicken” (“chicken” can be act as either mass or count noun), so I would attribute the soundness of “Perfection admits of no mistake” and other expressions of similar ilk to poetic licence rather than grammatical multiplicity.

  4. Sheesh! The discussion above sent me scurrying to Wikipedia to find out about mass vs count nouns. And now my brain is hurting! Up until now, I was comfortable with the thought that skipping could be a noun and omission certainly was a noun, so what’s the problem? Now I find I have to consider mass vs count! Help!!

    I’ll just make an observation about MF’s last example. You can say “the room contains no chairs” or “the room contains no chair”. Does this mean “chair” is a mass noun in the latter case?

  5. AS, i think you CAN say “i love omission”, gramatically at least, whereas you cannot say “i love mistake”
    In fact, my OED says that omission can be a mass noun:
    “[mass noun] the action of excluding or leaving out someone or something”

    I am still confused with 19A though
    ‘rural’ is an adjective
    ‘the sticks’ is a noun
    alternatively, ‘to the sticks’ is an adverb, or perhaps a bucolic toast (“To the sticks!”)

  6. Hmmm, you’re right!

    “The sin of omission” makes “omission” a mass noun.

    And I’m beginning to lean to your way of thinking on 19A as bullshit too.

  7. I am sticking to my guns in maintaining that the phrase “to the sticks” can perform exactly the same function as an adjective, i.e. a noun modifier (rather than an adverb which is a verb modifier), as in “a rural train” = ” a train to the sticks”.

  8. I see now why DA sticks a question mark on so many clues. They get him out of all sorts of jail, semantics wise.

  9. I’m still thinking “to the sticks” is a prepositional phrase that acts as an adverb rather than an adjective.

    I think “a train to the sticks” leaves out “going” or “that goes”, much like we might say “a train home”.

    Further, you can say “I’m running to the sticks” but not “I’m running to rural”, which implies to me “to the sticks” is a prepositional phrase acting as an adverb rather than an adjective.

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