Jody Baker: Puns Are the Highest Form Of Literature

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elementary, Watson, said Holmes.

On Dec. 8, 2012 Philip Jones on the Hounds of the Internet posted a classic. If there has ever been a better rendering on "Elementary, Watson," I have missed it. The posting of Mr. Jones is not just superior. It is supreme. I confess that I had to read it twice to get it.

He posted a short episode wherein Eliza Stuart assigned Dr. Watson a mission to follow someone, and not be discovered. But he was to time his surveillance so that the target not be allowed to escape. However, Watson reported to Holmes that he did, in fact, let the subject escape.    

It was there that the Jones posting played with (1) the nickname of Mr. Elizer Stuart plus (2) Watson's misunderstanding of Stuart's instruction plus (3) a synonym of the word linger. With a combination of the three, Mr. Jones presented to us the crown jewel of puns --- a three-way linked pun: Sherlock Holmes said "Ellie meant tarry, Watson."

This is solid. This is three-dimensional. I don't know about you, but for Mrs. Baynes and me this gives new meaning to the words of Alfred Hitchcock when he said: "Puns are the highest form of literature." 

Most respectfully, 
Insp. Baynes

(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at

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