Old Groaners - some extracts

Here are some extracts from my book "Old Groaners".


Why do some persons believe the moon to be made
of green cheese?
Because of the milky whey that surrounds it.

When is a ship no ship?
When she's astern.

When is a ship like snow?
When she's adrift.

When is a ship like a painter?
When showing colours.

When is a ship like an auctioneer?
When in full sail.

When is a ship like a mad bull?
When foaming at the head.

When is a ship like a lady in distress?
When missing stays.

When is a ship like a horse?
When taken aback.

When is a ship like a lion?
When in full roar.

When is a ship like a bird?
When flying before the wind.

When is a ship like a tailor?
When sheering off.

When is a ship like a recruiting-sergeant?
When beating up.

When is a ship like a floor?
When she's boarded.

Why is a ship never alone?
Because she has always a companion.

Why is a ship mischievous?
Because she is riggish.

Why are the fourteenth and fifteenth letters of the alphabet of greater importance than the rest?
Because there's no possibility of getting on without them.

What's that which all love more than life,
Fear more than death or mortal strife;
That which contented men desire,
The poor possess, the rich require,
The miser spends, the spendthrift saves,
And all men carry to their graves?


Where is mention first made of cricket in the Bible?
When Peter stood up for the eleven and was bold (bowled).

Which is the way to make your trousers last?
To make your coat and waistcoat first.

Why is a whisper unlawful?
Because it is not allowed (aloud).

Why is a lunatic equal to two men?
He is one beside himself.

If a tree is felled, why has it no right to complain?
Because it was axed.

Why is a stupid child learning music like a lawyer?
Because he looks at a flat and plays sharp.

Why is a cow's tail like a swan's bosom?
Because it grows down.

When is a horse like a herring?
When it is hard rode (roed).

What word of five syllables is that from which, if you take one syllable away, no syllable remains?
Mono-syllable (no syllable).

Why are Cashmere shawls like deaf people?
Because we cannot make them here (hear).

Why is the Bank of England like a piano-forte?
Because it issues forth notes.

Why is a starving person like a baker?
Because they both need (knead) bread.

What measure of liquids is most useful aboard ship?
An Anchor (Anker).

Why is a newspaper never white?
Because it's always read (red).

Why is a guinea in the distance not worth a penny?
Because it's only a far-thing

When I let a glass fall the other day, why was it like malt in brewing?
Because it's mashed (it smashed).

How long does it take to measure a yard?
Three feet.

What animal is there without which none of us could live?
The h(e)art.

When is a ship like a coat?
When it wears well.

Why are two ships like a game of chess?
Because they have four castles (forecastles).

When is a cask of ale like the number 20?
When it is XX.

Why is an urn like a soldier?
Because it stands at teas.

Why is the man who has picked someone else's pocket unlike an exhibitor in the Royal Academy?
Because he has not picked yours (pictures).

When are horses like fish?
When they take a bait and are pulled up.

Why is a day in term like a lark?
It is A-lau-da.

Why, if we intended eating a game-cock at two o'clock, should it follow that we must eat a species of Plyctolophus?
It would be a cock-a-too (cock at two.)

Why is one who lends an idiot a horse like a person who brings a sum to the total?
Because he gives a full (fool) a-mount.

Why are a number of people who have had a good dinner like the list at the beginning of a book?
Because they are a table of contents.

Why is a man taking a nap like a man reading a paper?
Because he's enjoying his (s)nooze.

Why is a particular spice superior to the most famous man in the world?
Because, however great a man may be, there is always a nutmeg-grater (greater).

When is a bee like a blossom?
When its (s)mell's sweet.

Why is the sound of a bell in a steeple like a youthful artist?
Because it is a spire-ring (aspiring).

What part of chemical apparatus is like a sharp reply?
The retort.

When does a person's head become floral?
When it becomes dazy (daisy).

Why is a church clock like a little boy after receiving a beating?
Because its hands move over its face about the I's (eyes).

Why are a Catholic chapel, a poor man, a barrel of ale, and a ferry-boat alike?
Because they all have their crosses.

What painter's name may be pronounced so as to express a period of time?
Teniers (ten years).

Why is a sailor who has been in the tropics like a Highlander in full costume?
Because he is tar-tanned (tartaned).

What is the difference between an emigrating Scotchman and Robin Hood's band?
One "gangs awa," the other was a gang.

What description of time-piece is like a parrot?
A repeater.

Why is committing a theft like a certain fish?
Because it is erring (herring).

Why is a French edict like a standard pint?
Because it is an imperial measure and a pint (point) of law.

What is the difference between a sonnet on a conspicuous article at a coronation and a pile of washed clothes?
One is lines on the throne, and the other is thrown on the lines.

What woven material is geographical?
Baize (bays).

If your brother's daughter were turned into stone, of what formation would she be?
Gneiss (niece).

When is an officer in the army like the symbol of an uncertain quantity in algebra?
When he is an n-sign (ensign).

Why is "was" like a soldier's life in war-time?
Because it's past in tense (passed in tents).

Why is a belief in ghosts like an inferior assistant at a theatre plying the needle?
Because it's a super-stitchin'.

When are screws like "four by honours?"
When you give them a twist (at whist).

Why is Louis Napoleon like an undressed member of Parliament?
Because he's an M.P. - raw (emperor).

Supposing a wife beats her husband, and he runs away, why is his action like a part of some watches?
Because it is a leave-her-escapement (lever escapement).

Why is a corn warehouse like Russia?
Cos sacks are there. (Cossacks).

Why is an unkind word from a friend like two cats receiving a beating?
Because it hurts the feelings (felines).

Why is the captain of a forlorn hope, in his selection of men, like a paviour?
Because he picks the bolder (boulder).

Why is a successful swindler at a rural town like a customer at an oyster saloon?
Because he takes in the natives.

What measure of capacity is of a sorrowful nature?
Tierce (tears).

Why is the best part of many melodies like entering a ball-room with the hat on?
Because it is in-de-chorus (indecorous).

Why is a Damascus blade like a good-natured man?
Because it has a fine temper.

Why is the letter L like a priceless gem?
Because it is invaluable (in valuable).

Why is a man who asserts his right to a certain letter of the alphabet like one who calls out?
Because he x claims (exclaims).

Why is a man walking on a narrow plank over a deep river like a traveller by train?
Because a rail is necessary.

Why is a rose like silence?
Because it gives a scent (assent).

If you were skating in company with your sweetheart, and she were to fall, what curious transformation would take place?
You would turn to a sister (assist her).

Let it be granted that you are a teetotaller. Why do you break your pledge every time your young lady leans on your arm?
Because you sup porter (supporter her).

Why should you think a young clergyman without a living would make a good arithmetician?
Because he's generally accurate (a curate).

Why is every sufferer from toothache a landed proprietor?
Because he possesses at least one acher (acre).

Why does a courteous gentleman put you in mind of the dog in the manger?
Because he's a fable (affable).

If a drunken coachman were trying to drive over a precipice, what heathen deity would the horses name, supposing they were endowed with speech?
They might say "Turn" (Saturn), or, more probably "Back us!" (Bacchus).

Why does every drunken man who is summoned belong to the peerage?
Because he's made a peer (appear).

Why can't the highest municipal authority be an equestrian?
Because a mare (mayor) can't be a good horse man.

Why are poultry always necessarily dirty?
Because they are foul (fowl).

What do we know of Adam and Eve that leads us to trace our origin to a fruit-tree?
We know they were originally the first pear (pair).

Why is a rifle battalion like apples and nuts?
Because it has its corps (cores) and its colonels (kernels).

What park is it that has no trees or turf in it?
A park of artillery.

How can you drink a bottle of ginger-beer without breaking the bottle, drawing the cork, or boring it?
By pushing the cork in.

When is grass in fashion?
When its all a mowed ( la mode).

What class of people would be the most appropriate and cheapest for housing troops?
Penny tents (penitents).

What sort of ball does our Poet Laureate resemble?
A tennis 'un (A. Tennyson).

Why is a man ascending Vesuvius like an Irishman trying to kiss a pretty girl?
Because he wants to get at the crater's mouth.

Why is necessity like a great many barristers?
Because it knows no law.

Why should a novel-writer be an extraordinary-looking animal?
Because of his tale coming out of his head.

What is the difference between a billiard-marker and a market-gardener?
One minds his peas, and the other minds his cues.

Why is a marriage certificate like the Times?
Because it is a news (noose) paper.

Why is a publican's trade a profitable one to follow?
Because, by conducting it with good spirit, he has more bar-gains than most others, and all the pull is on his side.

What animal has death no effect on?
A pig, because directly you have killed him you can cure him, and save his bacon.

What is the difference between photography and the hooping cough?
One makes fac-similes, the other sick families.

Why is the water in Liverpool docks like a respite to a condemned criminal?
Because it flows from Mersey.

Why are pawnbrokers like sisters of mercy?
Because they take great interest in serving the poor.

Why is a cat on its hind legs like the great Fall of Niagara?
Because it is a cat-erect.

Why are the makers of the Armstrong gun the greatest thieves in her Majesty's service?
Because they rifle all the guns, forge the materials, and steel all the gun-breeches.

Why does a donkey prefer thistles to corn?
Because he is an ass.

When is a school-boy like a postage stamp?
When he gets licked, and put in the corner, to make him stick to his letters.

Why do pioneers walk at the head of a regiment?
To axe (ask) the way.

When is a woman not a woman?
When she is a little chili; or when she is a bell; or when she becomes a bonnet; or when she is a-bed; or when she is a deer.
What is the difference between one who walks and one who looks up-stairs?
One steps up stairs, and the other stares up steps.

In what case is it absolutely impossible to be slow and sure?
In the case of a watch.

Why is love like an Irish poplin?
Because it is three parts stuff.

In what tone should a ghost always speak?
A tombstone.

Is there any difference between a baker and a beggar?
Very little: one is in want of bread, the other kneads it.

Why are ladies the biggest thieves in existence?
Because they steel their petticoats, bone their stays, crib their babies, and hook their eyes.

Why is an adjective like a drunken man?
Because it cannot stand alone.

"Samuel, can you tell me of what parentage was Napoleon the Great?"
"Of Cors-I-can."

What is the difference between a bee and a donkey?
One has the honey, and the other has the whacks.

Why is a sow a sow?
Because as how she is (a sow she is).

If a pretty poulteress marries a pill-monger, why may she be said to make a bad bargain of it?
Because she lets him have a "duck" and gets nothing but a quack in return.

When is an arm as long as three feet?
When it's a yard-arm.

Why is my tea like my pale brandy?
Because it is stolen by my landlady.

What is the difference between Handel and the grinder of a barrel-organ?
The one was a composer, the other is a discomposer.

Why are men-haters like mice in the West Indies?
Because they are mice-an'-tropical.

When does snow look most poetical?
When it is turned into rime.

What part of Pimlico best agrees with the digestion of its inhabitants?
That part which is eaten Square (Eaton Square).

When was King John most like dirty linen?
When he went into the Wash.

What is the worth of a letter that contains ten jokes?
A ten-pun note.