Thinking man's/woman's crumpet
In British English, the thinking man's crumpet or thinking woman's crumpet is a humorous term for a person who is popular with the opposite sex because of their intelligence and their physical attractiveness.
The first person to be called "the thinking man's crumpet" was Joan Bakewell, by humourist Frank Muir, following her appearances in highbrow 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, Kate Bush and Felicity Kendal, and, more recently, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Saunders, Lucy Worsley 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".
Actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Bill Nighy have been repeatedly called by the press "the thinking woman's crumpet". But even before them, Michael Kitchen was acclaimed as "the thinking woman's crumpet" in a review in The Mail in November 2003. A decade earlier still, following his commentaries for Channel 4 television on the 1993 The Times World Chess Championship Match between Gary Kasparov and Nigel Short, Grandmaster Daniel King (who commented alongside the future runner-up in the 2003 Radio Times poll for the title of "thinking man´s crumpet", Carol Vorderman) was dubbed "the thinking woman´s crumpet".
- 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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