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Dipping into the well of English

In the posting on the Middle East, I wrote: "Our predictions have materialized in spades (I used that colloquialism to encourage someone to explain its origin)". John Wonder responded; "I assume the expression arose because spades trump any other suit" I asked "In what game?" John replied: ""In bridge, and poker. In hearts, I suppose hearts are trump, but its been so long I've forgotten. To answer completely, I would have to go back to Hoyle".

"According to Hoyle". Whence come? This common expression is a tribute to Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), who laid down the rules for card games. The eighteenth century was the great age of games of cards and gambling in England. I had never heard of Ed, but we all know about a living Britisher, Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the world's leading cosmologists. Don't confuse Ed and Fred.

Ronald Hilton - 1/31/02