SYRACUSE — “Blizzard Beater.” “Salt City Express.” “Below Zero Hero.”
These are just a few of the names Syracuse slapped on its 10 new snow plows this month. And they make John Oliver “furious.” Sort of.
Oliver, the host of HBO’s hit talk show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” was a guest host on a satire-rich podcast called “The Bugle” last week. He led the hour-long show with a riff about Syracuse’s snow plow names and, specifically, how we missed the chance to name our snow-clearers with some world class puns (he must not have seen “Control Salt Delete.”)
“[The names] seemed fine, until I looked at what Scotland has been doing with its snow plow names, because it puts those names to shame,” he says on the show.
Oliver, who is British, rattles off some of the names given to snow plows in Scotland, including gems like “Han Snow-Lo” and “Snow-be-gone Kenobi.” Others include “Grit Expectations,” “Gritallica” and “Gritney Spears.” (Plows are often called gritters in the United Kingdom, named for the grit they spread on the road).
In Wilkshire, England, Oliver exclaims, they have a plow called Usain Salt. There’s one in Doncaster named David Plowie.
“Those names were so good that they rejected the name ‘Spready Mercury,’ meaning that name was technically available,” Oliver says, laughing. “So excuse me if I am now ****ing furious at what Syracuse, New York just did here. Because what they’ve done is they’ve settled for ‘Blizzard Beater’ when they could have had ‘Spready Mercury.’”
“I really think there should be an arms race for naming snow plows now,” Oliver jokes, to conclude the bit. “The bar has been raised by Scotland and various English towns.”