Sinful Song, to answer your question, I grew up in New York City where my casual observation is that “cut it with a scissors” is standard, or at least very common, usage. But if your assertion (i.e.that such a construction is confined to Ireland) is even LARGELY true [“largely true” meaning that even if the usage is not strictly confined to Ireland its presence elsewhere is very limited, and certainly it is not found over an entire REGION of the United States, like the Northeast], then I’m puzzled. Here’s why: I’ve read a number of articles in my life that have discussed idiosyncrasies of New York speech and they’ve never mentioned (to my knowledge) that we New Yorkers are weirdly inserting an “a” before scissors in phrases like “cut it with a scissors”. Instead they would chronicle at length how and why it is we say things like “standing on line” in lieu of “standing in line” as ‘normal’ Americans do. But if I’m correct and it’s standard or at least common usage in New York City, and you’re correct that it can’t be standard usage in a region significantly larger than NYC without Sinful Song knowing about it, then the articles discussing NYC usage irregularities were seriously deficient in not mentioning ‘cut it with a scissors’ as an example of distinctive New York City speech. It would be surprising that such articles would miss an example like that. But the alternative, namely that they are NOT missing an example like that, would mean that the construction ‘cut it with a scissors’ is actually common usage in a region much larger than New York City. But if THAT were the case, would the savvy and sagacious Sinful Song have failed to observe the usage and mistakenly concluded it was confined to Ireland? You can see why I’m puzzled.
Sinful Song ((better known in these parts by his Finnish moniker Syntinen Laulu—yes, after being intrigued each time I saw your nickname, I was finally galvanized into checking it out online) I may as well take this opportunity to explain to you why I said your allusion to Josephine Tey’s bit of dialogue was very clever and funny (I really did enjoy your invocation of it) but not apropos in your case. In my “rant” as you termed it, I made a very clear distinction between a)those making venomous, belittling comments about me, and exhorting others to shun me, all in an attempt to drive me from the site and b)those who were merely reading along, and watching what unfolded from the sidelines. While I did make a brief argument that those in the second group were not the innocent bystanders they felt themselves to be, not for an instant do I think they are fundamentally bad people, and nothing I said in that “rant” suggested otherwise. I simply questioned Edmund Burke’s referring to such “watchers from the sidelines” as “good men doing nothing” (yeah, yeah, I know NOW that Edmund Burke didn’t actually say it). I raised the point that if you are in the presence of evil and you CHOOSE to do nothing (we’re not talking about situations where it would be extremely dangerous to intervene), how ‘good’ are you really. But not really being ‘good’ is a very long way from being a ‘monster’ (the operative word in your Tey quote). Only those in Group A might possibly be that, and, though you may be a “regular”, you clearly were not in Group A, by virtue of your never having said a venomous, belittling word against me, or urged my ostracism. Thus, if you were, at worst, a member of Group B, the Tey quote couldn’t apply to you. Q.E.D.
P.S. It may interest you to know, Sinful Song, that I was so tickled by your excerpted snippet from The Franchise Affair that I’m reading the book right now—what an amusing creation the utterer of your quoted line of dialogue is! God, do I hope I’m not ultimately disappointed in this book, as I am virtually every time I read a mystery. The reason for my perpetual disappointment: if the book “mystifies” me throughout, as a satisfyingly clever mystery must, then almost inevitably it turns out the “mystification” was produced by absurd violation of either logic or the laws governing nature—human nature or Mother Nature. So in retrospect its mystifying properties were unearned, illegitimate and you’re left feeling disappointed, or even furious and disgusted for having wasted your time. But if it is perfectly free of the violations I just mentioned and makes perfect sense in every way, then inevitably I solve it 200 pages before the end! And so the reading experience is disappointing for that reason. It is the rare case that a mystery is both completely baffling to the very end and never violates any “natural” or logical laws. Only one mystery that I’ve read in recent years falls into that very special and laudable category: The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley. (Though I read it a few years ago, it’s actually from the 1930’s I believe.) I couldn’t recommend a mystery more highly than that one! Brilliant!