It’s hard to keep track these days of all those bells, hoops, whistles, and hurdles. This gem was written in an email expressing frustration. It is a mash up of “jumping through hoops” (having to do extra things in order to do something you want) and “bells and whistles” (fancy add-ons or gadgets). Both phrases refer to “extra things” which I think is the cause of the conflation. Also, perhaps the writer had an image of a dog jumping through a hoop, and being trained by a whistle? A tip of the hat to Paula Fow Atchison, who saw this one and passed it on.
This gem was heard on the PBS Antiques Road Show (Cleveland show). The appraiser was discussing an item that was perfect, and that “hit all the bells.” This is a mash up of “hit all the right notes” (suitable and has a good effect) and “all the bells and whistles” (extra, fancy gadgets and add-ons). “Hit the spot” and “hit the bulls-eye” also may be in play. The malaphor may conjure up the image of a person hitting a glockenspiel or bells in an orchestra, but as a Steeler fan all I can see is the brutal hit on LeVeon Bell last fall. A big thank you to John Hatfield for hearing this one and sending it in!