Source of 'Cut to the Chase'
Frank's 'Information Clips' have in the past featured amongst other subjects, Navy slang for food, and this time, from an item in Terry Breverton's Nautical Curiosities book, Frank is expanding on the book's explanation of the now oft used idiom 'cut to the chase'.
The 'Chase' refers to a ship being pursued, and also the process of chasing it. The situation occurs when a 'chaser' and a potential 'chasee' are both anchored and in sight of each other. The 'chasee' the potential victim, might wish to depart (escape!) from its anchorage (when doing this it's said to be 'in the offing' another nautical idiom) and this preparation to raise its anchor could take up to an hour. The 'chaser' would observe this activity but to catch the victim he would have to sacrifice his own anchor (if he's successful he expects to regain one!) so by cutting the hemp cable to his anchor, he instantly releases it and by cutting the ties that kept the sails furled, his sails would drop and fill, enabling the chase to begin immediately. Hence 'cut to the chase.'
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For much of the content we need to thank Mike Hendra.