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SIGNS OF THE TIMES; John Lloyd introduces our exclusive extract from 'Afterliff', his new "dictionary of things there should be words for' - successor to 'The Meaning of Liff', one of the most popular books ever written; Cover story.(Features)
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Byline: John Lloyd

When Douglas Adams was a schoolboy, his favourite English teacher used to play a game with his class in that happy time when exams are over but before the end of term. "What's a York?" he'd ask, or "What do you think Epping might be?" In 1978 when Douglas was trying to put off writing the first Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book, we used to play this game. It was much more fun than working and we'd soon collected quite a few. The Meaning of Liff came out in 1983 and has never been out of print since.

To mark the 30th anniversary, an all-new version, dedicated to Douglas and entitled Afterliff, comes out this week. It's written by me and Jon Canter (another of Douglas's oldest friends) and, like its predecessor, is a "dictionary of things there should be words for, but aren't" - in which all the words are recycled place names. For example, a Badlesmere (Kent) is someone who dishonestly ticks the "I have read the T&Cs box" and a Nudgee (Queensland, Australia) is a beneficiary in a will who inherits the deceased's Tesco "Bag For Life". Anyone can play - all you need is an atlas - and since Douglas's tragic death at only 49, many have: the book is partly sourced from competitions. We worry about whoever it was that defined Anthorn (Cumbria) as "a p---- so embarrassingly small that the doctor secretly takes a picture of it on his phone".


Aberdovey n. A tribute band composed mostly of pigeons. Aberglasney n. The particular kind of selfpity induced by alcohol.

Addison n. The extra time you need to allow when taking a shortcut.

Agharoo n. A larger-than-life sneeze in a Bollywood comedy, used as the basis for a dance routine.

Amazonia pl.n. Small last-minute gifts ordered online to top up a main present that the giver suspects won't be good enough on its own.

Anglesey n. Hypothetical object at which a lazy eye is looking.

Annagry adj. Infuriated by the last crossword clue.

Askamore n. An Italian waiter who keeps coming back to find out if everything's all right.

Asquith n. Person in a doctor's waiting room who appears to have absolutely nothing wrong with them.


Farleaze v. To sneeze so violently that the papers on a colleague's desk are disarranged.

Fentral adj. A long way from anywhere: in estate agents' parlance, Peterborough and King's Lynn are both in "fentral London".

Fimber v. To make yourself look good at crosswords by not admitting you did this one earlier today.

Fiskerton n. One who would wear a tie even if confined to bed.

Flappit Spring n. A fancy-dress costume no one can identify.


Tapnage n. The hand-waving and peering under the washbasin required to get the water flowing in an overly stylish bathroom.

Tatlows Folly n. A recipe containing two or more ingredients you've never heard of.

Teddington Lock adj/n. A gaze from a stranger that is held a delicious mite too long.

Te'ekiu n. A traditional tea ceremony. Having made two identical cups of tea, and sensing one is marginally better than the other, the tea maker must decide which to keep.

Thornton Heath n. An alluring patch of grass that turns prickly and stony as soon as a picnic rug is laid over it.

Thorpe Thewles pl.n. The almost inaudible noises soap makes as it slips out of your hand and you try and fail to catch it again.

Thursby n. One who remarks how quickly the week has gone.

Tidworth n. The amount of drink in your glass when you ask for "a very small one" and then are disappointed by how little you get.

Timbold adj. Very slightly and pointlessly brave, as in one who says "boo" to a distant goose.

Tootgarook n. One who retweets praise about th

Turnaspidogy n. The black art of making a television commercial appear more caring, authentic and honest by adding a regional accent.


Ebberston n. The latter part of the holiday, when time seems to speed up.

Egremont n. Naff business that has tried to transform its image by adding an "e" to the front of its name - as in eplasticgnomes.co.uk.

Enderby n. A parent absorbed in the stools of its offspring.

Erquery n. Collection of instruction manuals for electrical equipment you've forgotten you ever owned.

Espelette n. A paragraph that you can't seem to take in no matter how many times you read it.

Esquerchin n. One who enters a deserted gift shop, says hello to the hopeful owner, realises that there is nothing of interest for sale and then leaves the premises at once.

Etting ptcpl.v. Struggling to remember in the middle of an anecdote why you started telling it.

Evercreech n. The sensation of toenails on nylon sheets.

Eworthy adj. Of a person: worth emailing but not calling or meeting.

Exmoor n. A moor you've gone right off.


Rathcrogue n. A small girl who is all sweetness and light when adults are around, but a nasty little beast when they're not looking.

Rhughasinish n. Ancient gestural language used by Mongolian elk wranglers and bookies on a racecourse.

Rhydding ptcpl.v. Nodding and smiling when you can't hear what someone's saying because of the music.

Rhyl n. A used roll of film in a drawer that's never been developed and is now never going to be.

Rickmansworth n. The percentage of a nation's GDP wasted on gym membership.

Rissington n. The bar suspended from a kitchen ceiling on which pans are hung. Hence Little

Rissington, Upper Rissington, Great Rissington.

Ringaskiddy adj. So excited by good news that you bound up the stairs two at a time.

Rockness n. Leathery exterior common to lizards and members of the Rolling Stones.

Ruddle v. To mime quotation marks with your fingers.

Ruswarp v. To deliberately write a word unclearly when you don't know how to spell it.


Largs pl.n. The improbable number of crumbs that fall out of a toaster when you move it.

Letchworth n. The door charge at a lapdancing club.

Lewisham n. The brief moment of panic between realising your car keys aren't in your pocket and remembering that's because you're driving.

Lizard Siding ptcpl.v. Taking a circuitous route to avoid charity muggers and Big Issue vendors.

Ljubljana interj. What people say to the dentist on the way out.

Llandrillo n. One who swaggers about in a tool belt.

Lostock Junction n. The point in the evening after which you will drink absolutely anything.

Lostwithiel n. The feeling that you have no idea where you are, but nor does anyone else.

Lunning ptcpl.v. Hovering on the edge of a circle of people you don't know.

Lydiard Millicent n. In the novels of Jane Austen, any character who is mentioned but has no dialogue.


Illies pl.n People who scour the internet searching for new diseases that they might perhaps be suffering from.

Ings pl.n Things that don't start, won't start or haven't started yet.

Inverarish adj. Immune to being tickled.

Inverlune v. To glare at the morons who applaud any silence in a symphony.

Inverness n. The loneliness of garden chairs in winter.

Inworth n. One who puts their face too close to you when they talk.

Isbister n. One who nods sagely while you're talking, to indicate they already know what you're about to say.


Flothers pl.n. The frock-coated servants who agitate Sir Elton John's bubble bath with golden egg whisks.

Flyford Flavell n. The jet of scalding coffee that surges from a cafetiere when it is zealously over-plunged.

Fomperron n. The red bobble on top of a French sailor's hat.

Fowey adj. Filled with self-loathing and despair after six hours surfing the internet.

Frinkle Green n. Something frilly left on the side of the plate at the end of Christmas lunch, because you're not entirely sure if it's parsley or a bit of decoration from the ceiling.

Frisby on the Wreake interj. Warning cry in a nudist camp.

Frognal n. A phone that stops ringing just as you get to it.

Fryerning ptcpl.v. Making brown marks on your clothes with an iron.

Fugglestone St Peter n. The little pointy tool set into the cap of a tube of paste or ointment to enable you to break the seal.

Furneux Pelham n. A suavely charming man who never fails to apologise for coming out without his wallet.

Fylingdales pl.n. An adolescent male's first attempt at sideburns. ?1/2

Afterliff by John Lloyd and Jon Canter (Faber & Faber, rrp [pounds sterling]9.99) is available from books.telegraph.co.uk (tel 0844 871 1515) for [pounds sterling]8.99 plus [pounds sterling]1.10 P&P

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2013 Daily Telegraph
Source Citation
Lloyd, John. "SIGNS OF THE TIMES; John Lloyd introduces our exclusive extract from 'Afterliff', his new 'dictionary of things there should be words for' - successor to 'The Meaning of Liff', one of the most popular books ever written; Cover story." Daily Telegraph [London, England] 10 Aug. 2013: 1. Global Issues In Context. Web. 24 July 2016.
Gale Document Number: CJ339226771