The sign of the relieved canine

I've just re-read Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett in which he makes a (to me) delightful reference to his days as a sub, before he introduced a grateful public to the delights of Discworld.

Interesting Times is set in a fantasy version of medieval China, complete with complex pictograms. One of his characters is puzzled by an oft repeated pictogram that seems to show a dog urinating.

As any sub of my advancing years would recognise, Mr P is sharing an in-joke with with the likes of JD and I because 'dog's cock' is time-honoured engine-room slang for an exclamation mark.

Good to see the great man hasn't forgotten his roots!


Gez said...

Oh, I get it [urinating dog] I did realise that it was meant to be an exclamation point and enjoyed the reference to Pratchett's obvious annoyance at multiple use but never having worked in copy editing I did not know the term 'dog's cock'. Now I do, I predict severe overuse.

Apus said...

Good for you Gez. Many youngsters use 'screamer' nowadays but some phrases are too good to lose!

John Hedtke said...

Oh, very good! This reference has been confusing me for the last decade or so. I couldn't figure it out and am greatly relieved to understand it at last [urinating dog][urinating dog]