Lay down the gauntlet

This was spoken on June 6 by New York Times’ reporter Maggie Haberman, appearing on CNN’s Inside Politics.  It is a subtle mashup of “throw down the gauntlet” (to issue a challenge) and “lay down the law” (to give a directive or order sternly).  I suppose one could lay down the gauntlet but throwing it seems much more appropriate. This expression alludes to the medieval practice of a knight throwing down his gauntlet, or metal glove, as a challenge to combat. Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1700s.  A big thanks once again to Frank King for hearing this one and throwing it my way. @MaggieNYT


I think it’s time he laid down the torch

English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mi...

English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mitchell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was uttered near the end of the first half of the Steelers/Lions game, and was directed at Dick LeBeau, the Steelers’ defensive coach.  Considering the context (Steelers blowing a lead and the defense not playing well), I believe this is a mash up of “lay down the law” (to scold someone)  and “carry the torch” (to lead or participate).  “Throw down the gauntlet” (to challenge someone) might also be in the mix.  Thanks to Kevin Hatfield for hearing this one and sending it in!