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Short is sweet

Christopher Ricks, 3 February 1983

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs 
edited by J.A. Simpson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 19 866131 2
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A World of Proverbs 
by Patricia Houghton.
Blandford, 152 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 0 7137 1114 0
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... proverb that says: ‘There is an exception to every rule.’ The editor of this dictionary, J.A. Simpson, does well to introduce the caveat by which he speaks of ‘seemingly contradictory proverbs’. For ‘Many hands make light work’ is not countered by any proverb which says ‘Many hands do not make light work,’ but by ‘Too many cooks spoil the ...

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