Thinking man's/woman's crumpet
In British English, the term the thinking man's/woman's crumpet is a way of describing a man or a woman who is popular with the opposite sex primarily because of their intelligence but also due to their physical attractiveness.
The first person to be called "the thinking man's crumpet" was Joan Bakewell, by humorist Frank Muir, following her appearances in high-brow television discussion programmes such as BBC2's Late Night Line-Up. Bakewell is still synonymous with the phrase, but it has subsequently been applied to other high-profile women such as Anne Gregg, Joanna Lumley, and Felicity Kendal, and, more recently, Helen Mirren Jennifer Saunders and Gillian Anderson. Trumpeter Alison Balsom is sometimes referred to as the "trumpet crumpet". In a poll in the Radio Times in 2003, Nigella Lawson received the most votes to be the readers' "thinking man's crumpet", with Carol Vorderman in second place.
Almost half a century after Muir deployed the term, Bakewell (by then Baroness Bakewell and a Dame of the British Empire) remarked that "it has taken me a lifetime to live it down. It was meant as a compliment I suppose, but it was a little bit of a put-down".
- the thinking woman's/man's crumpet - definition in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online
- Crumpet, from World Wide Words.
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- See, for example, Daily Mail, 10 September 2009 and 3 June 2011
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- Quoted in The Oldie, June 2014
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- Mather, Victoria (1998-01-25). "Tom checks into his new starry home". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-02-12.