The Corner

The Ten Commandments…

…are like an examination paper — six only to be attempted. (Said Bertrand Russell.)

A couple of years ago on NRO I asked if anyone could improve on the not-very-satisfactory mnemonic I have always used for the Commandments:

“One idle damn Sunday, Dad killed cheating thief and lied to cover it.”

(Unsatisfactory because it mixes mnemonic devices: “idle” for “idol,” and “cover it” for “covet” are phonetic clues, while the other eight are


Nobody came up with anything that stuck in my mind better than that one, though.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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