In today's Observer, columnist Jonathan Bouquet mentions Jon Snow on Channel 4 News while interviewing Jacob Rees Mogg, having used the expression to queer the pudding. Bouquet refers to it as a "new phrase", to which Rees Mogg is said to have "cocked an eyebrow".

I am quite certain I have heard it, and that it means "to introduce unnecessary complications and confusion to an issue". But I cannot find a reference to it anywhere on line. The only response Google gives me is a reference back to Bouquet's article.

Please would someone confirm that I am not imagining things when I say it is a well-known saying, perhaps dated, but certainly in 20th century use.

  • 3
    I have heard "queer the deal", but... Jun 23, 2019 at 19:55
  • 2
    @Cascabel Yes, and the proof is in the pudding. This particular phrase seems like a confused hybrid of the two. Jun 23, 2019 at 20:04
  • 1
    @JasonBassford The proof of the pudding is in the eating is, I am sure, the original form here. "Queer the deal" has a slightly different meaning - I think it has been discussed on this site in the last few years.
    – WS2
    Jun 23, 2019 at 20:08
  • @WS2 That's the original form of the idiom. It's not the phrasing most commonly used today. Jun 23, 2019 at 20:13
  • 1
    "...he reacted with a deliciously cocked eyebrow at this thought-provoking coinage." Jun 23, 2019 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


I think this is almost certainly a brain fart, if you like, on Jon Snow's part.

In the heat of the moment, I believe it's entirely possible he corrupted the phrases 'to queer the deal' or possibly 'queer the pitch' and 'the proof of the pudding'

I can only assume this hybridism was sub-conscious/unintentional.

To queer the pudding is almost definitely not an existing term; I can't find a mention of it anyway (except for the interview) and it's not a quote in any books.

To back this up, I quote, from the Guardian's Linguistics column:

I'm not quite sure what came over Jon Snow ... Interviewing Jacob Rees-Mogg, he introduced a new phrase to the English canon – to queer the pudding.
...[Rees-Mogg] reacted with a deliciously cocked eyebrow at this thought-provoking coinage.

The Observer (© The Guardian)

  • Cf the complete works of Yogi Berra, American sage.
    – David M
    Oct 21, 2019 at 18:16

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