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Stair-rods: a guess

Posted by Masakim on December 02, 2003

In Reply to: Stair-rods: a guess posted by Word Camel on December 02, 2003

: : From the Guardian: "And so, while the rain may have been battering down in stair-rods yesterday from sodden skies, every eye in Redcar remained determinedly, defiantly dry." Likely raining cats and dogs, okay, but stair-rods? What are those, and what is their connection to rain? Thanks!

: I haven't heard this one before but I have two guesses: it might be the spokes that support the banister of a staircase or it might also be the long thing metal rods pinned over carpet at the crease where one stair meets the next to keep the carpet taut. Either way, the image is of rain so heavy and relentless it appears to fall in solid shafts rather than indvidual drops.

: I shall be interested to learn if anyone knows for sure or if this example is a bit of creative writing on the part of the Guardian journalist.

Here are earlier citations:
During the morning the rain came down like stair-rods. During the match it turned to a swirling drizzle. (_Times_, April 22, 1963)
The rain was falling in stair rods. (D. MacKenzie, _Raven and Ratcatcher_, 1977)