I reckon myself fairly competent as an interpreter of American newspaper headlines, but the Washington correspondent of the Morning Post sends one which, even with his translation as a guide, I still find baffling at points. It reads
‘MIDWAY SIGNS LIMEY PROF TO DOPE YANK TALK’
and its purport appears to be that the University of Chicago has invited an Oxford professor to supervise the production of a dictionary of American English. Most of it, of course, crystal clear. But—Midway? And Limey?
‘A Spectator’s Notebook’ (by ‘Janus’), 1 January 1937, p. 6
There was a follow-up the next week:
Thanks are due to correspondents who have explained satisfactorily the American terms, “Midway” and “Limey.” “Midway,” as I rather suspected, is the University of Chicago, and for fairly obvious reasons. “Limey” is more interesting. In old sailing-ship days the Board of Trade required the crews of British vessels to be served with a ration of lime-juice when ten days out of port as a preventive against scurvy. Hence “lime-juicer” or “limey,”=(1) a British ship, (2) a British sailor, (3) any Britisher.I would have thought that 'Limey' would have been better known back then, but perhaps not. (It was commonly known in my household growing up, but then again it was half-Limey.)
‘A Spectator’s Notebook’ (by ‘Janus’), 8 January 1937, p. 38
What threw me a bit was the use of the word 'dope' as a verb...