Is this expression common? Example:

Less than a mansion it looked like a castle: crenelated roof, lancet windows, cylindrical towers with crosses on top.

The reason I asked is because I got 0 hits in Google.

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  • You can find other examples like this if you relax the criteria of mansion and house. – tchrist Feb 19 '15 at 4:17
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    A more common way to say it is It looked less like a mansion than like a castle, or It looked more like a castle than like a mansion. (The second like here is in each case optional, but it makes clear that you do not mean that it looked more like a castle than a mansion does.) – Drew Feb 19 '15 at 5:51
  • Not only is it not common, it's very confusing. In fact, I'd say it's nonsense. You could say either “Less/smaller than a mansion, it nonetheless looked like a castle” or “More than a mansion it looked like a castle”, but the way you have it now I just can't wrap my brain around it at all. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 20 '15 at 1:45

It's a writers discretion. Meaning: though not large it had the exterior form of a castle and then goes on the describe what the writer believes are external features of such a building.

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