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1986: W.H.A.T.S.T.H.I.S.

Basil Boothroyd

Sir, The acronym is the darling of our age. One wonders how, compressed into their unpronounceable initials, such backward bodies as the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society (BKSTS) or the Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) get into a conversation, let alone a headline.

How many takers would there have been for the State gambling machine, trotted out at its full length of Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment? Your leader (December 13) on the new nationwide computer installation for the police, reveals an ingenious touch of official whimsy. The thing is apparently called Holmes, for Home Office Large Major Enquiry System. No news yet of any back-up from Watson (Wits Against Terrific Spate of Nefariousness).

It could be needed. Moriarty, or Malefactors Operating Ruthlessly in Arson, Rape, Theft and You Name-It, still lives.


Basil Boothroyd (author of biography and Prince Phillip, and many books)

Peelers, Church Street, Cuckfield, Sussex.

If y0u haven't read it already do read Basil Boothroyd, Cuckfield's comic genius there is a hilarious Christmas anecdote in it.

The Times, 27 December 1986

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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