View previous topic | View next topic

The "Great" Train Robbers

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

663652.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:53 pm Reply with quote

On tonight's episode they said the train robbers weren't that great and featured it as a misconception (the point of all questions on the show).

Qi do know that the word "Great" in the "The Great Train Robbery" relates to the size of the bounty and not the efficiency of the operation.

As Stephen Fry well knows, the original meaning of the word "Great" is large/big and that is how it is meant in the title.

Last edited by estebanrey69 on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:09 pm; edited 4 times in total

Rudolph Hucker
663656.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:01 pm Reply with quote

Well observed but I rather fancy that his Fryness was aware and that this was what is commonly known as a play on words.

663661.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:05 pm Reply with quote

But the question implied that 'Great' meant 'good' with the misconception being that people thought they were good train robbers, when in fact they weren't.

If the show is about explaining misconceptions the answer should have been that the word 'great' only describes the size of the haul.

Fry could have at least mentioned it when he was summing up.

Rudolph Hucker
663670.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:24 pm Reply with quote

The whole show is directed towards an anticipated level of intelligence in its audience which is expected to understand simple wordplay.

Do try to keep up old chap.

663685.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:48 pm Reply with quote

estebanrey - thanks for your comment. On a trivial point, this business of explaining misconceptions is only one thing we do - lots of our questions actually don't have that purpose.

More interestingly, perhaps: I think you'll find that the journalistic coinage "The Great Train Robbery" didn't refer either to the quality or the size of the robbery, so much as it did to various other incidents in history. In other words, the expression "Great Train Robbery" was already in circulation, waiting to be attached to something suitable when it came along.

663716.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:23 pm Reply with quote

And of course, The Great Train Robbery - a 1903 movie made by the Edison organization - had been well known half a century earlier.

It's on YouTube, inevitably.

663725.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:32 pm Reply with quote

Yes - and there's even a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy with that title.

663737.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:57 pm Reply with quote

SO are we being overly rigid with our definitition of the category "great"?


663751.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:47 pm Reply with quote

There was also a point about them leaving their fingerprints all over Greenslade Farm - but didn't they pay someone to clear up the place (which seems sensible) and that person didn't do the job properly?

663902.  Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:02 am Reply with quote

And I always have to smile when I hear some jingoite say' let's put the Great back into Britain'.
In the context of Britain the word great is a contraction of greater, a geographical refererence tho the whole island of Britain rather than just the smaller bit that the Romans conquered.
If it were not so would anyone for one moment suppose that the French would use the term 'Grande Bretagne'.
Of course that could refer to the large bit across the Channel as opposed to the smaller region of 'Bretagne'.
Either way, I'm sure they don't mean it is a terrifically brilliant country.

664340.  Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:58 am Reply with quote

BondiTram wrote:
And I always have to smile when I hear some jingoite say' let's put the Great back into Britain'.

Does anyone remember the advertising campaign from a well know brand of tea that graced the airwaves a few years ago?

Typhoo! Putting the "T" in Britain!

So, what they're saying is that if it wasn't for them we'd all be living in Dara O'Briain?

hassan el kebir
664441.  Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:15 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
but didn't they pay someone to clear up the place (which seems sensible) and that person didn't do the job properly?

That was the solicitor's clerk, Brian Field, who, on release, changed his name to Brian Carlton and, as far as I can remember, died in a traffic accident a few years ago.

876336.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:05 am Reply with quote

Brian Carlton worked for the Children's Book Centre in Kensington in the late 1970s. He and his wife were a very glamorous, charming couple who travelled Europe running book exhibitions in schools. Nobody (perhaps not even his wife) knew of his previous life.

The freak car accident that killed both Brian and his wife, on their way down the M4 to his wife's parents' home in Wales in 1979, was quite big news at the time. Not (initially) because of the Carlton/Field connection but because the car which flipped over the crash barrier, landing on their Porsche, was carrying members of the family of 1950s celebrity hairdresser Teasy Weasy.

It was only because of his death that his former identity was discovered.

876363.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:01 am Reply with quote

Welcome to Qi fayfran an interesting fact.

876484.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:03 pm Reply with quote

Welcome fayfran :-)


Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group