The 37th book in the Literature/{{Discworld}} series, ''Unseen Academicals'' is about football. Well, slightly about football. Mostly it's about people, but then, aren't they all?

''Unseen Academicals'' tells the story of what happens when the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork tries to bring civilisation to the ancient and tradition-laden game of Foot-the-Ball. Since said traditions include a generous measure of mob violence both on and off the pitch, this proves a somewhat dicey project.

At the heart of the plot is the need for Unseen University to field a team (the eponymous Academicals), but as the story progresses this becomes almost [[IncrediblyLamePun academic]] as the emotional focus of the story shifts to the [[LowerDeckEpisode downstairs staff]] whose work makes the team possible.

Preceded by ''Discworld/MakingMoney'', followed by ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}''. Preceded in the Wizards series by ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'' (or ''Discworld/TheScienceOfDiscworld 3'', if you're counting those).

A SkyOne film adaptation has been in development since 2011 but has suffered repeated delays.

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!!This book features notable examples of:

* AccidentalInnuendo: (in-universe) See the VisualInnuendo example.
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: Glenda mouthing off about [[spoiler: Lady Margolotta]] to someone she thinks is her librarian. [[spoiler:The woman she thought was Lady Margolotta ''was'' the librarian.]]
* AintNoRule:
** Averted for the final gambit of the climactic game. Although it's ancient and obscure, the rule in question was [[ChekhovsGun established early on]] and there's a very good reason it exists in the first place. "The ball shall be called the ball..."
** Played straight for some of the other tactics used:
*** Since the rules are still being written and [[AlmightyJanitor Ponder]] is in charge, there is not yet [[AnimalAthleteLoophole a rule regarding player species]], as this would force the Academicals' best goalie off the team. It is implied an ObviousRulePatch will be made as soon as the game is over.
*** Ponder doesn't realize he needs to establish a rule for acceptable footwear until [[spoiler:star player Bengo is fouled with ''heavy iron cleats'' and nearly crippled.]]
*** The coaches spend almost as much time hammering out the complex offsides rules between plays as the players spend with the ball in motion.
* AllPsychologyIsFreudian: Mr. Nutt's method of psychotherapy revolves around acknowledging repressed memories and emotions (especially vis-a-vis paternal/maternal conflict), and is based entirely on Uberwaldian philosophy which comes complete with nonsensical Germanesque names. He even adopts the stock gag-Austrian accent (with "ze" for "the"), explaining that it's "soothing".
* AluminumChristmasTrees: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_football Mob football]] was the medieval precursor to the modern game, and it was about as violent as the Ankh-Morpork version.
* AlwaysCamp: Pepe the fashionista, but only when he's working.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: A widely-held belief regarding [[spoiler: orcs]], ultimately proved false. Ankh-Morpork doesn't seem to hold this against [[spoiler:Nutt]] all that much...mostly because Ankh-Morpork assumes everybody's a vicious murdering bastard deep down.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Pepe again. WordOfGod ([[ShrugOfGod Shrug]] [[WordOfGay Of Gay]]?) is "he's probably as gay as a treeful of monkeys, but you can never tell". This is especially complicated because Pepe's a "dwarf convert" who defies both dwarf and human notions about sexuality.
* AnimalAthleteLoophole: AintNoRule saying an orangutan can't play football! Since the wizards are writing the rules of football themselves as they go along, obviously there wouldn't be ...[[ObviousRulePatch until after the game]].
* AntiMagic: The (former) Dean, as referee, puts up such a field around the pitch, to ensure that the wizards don't cheat via magic. Trev notices with dismay that he included himself in this effect. It doesn't hinder ghostly or divine possession, which work on different principles.
* ArcWords: "The leopard can change his shorts."
* ArmorOfInvincibility: Micromail, which can NoSell [[GroinAttack a sledgehammer blow to the nuts]].
* AwesomeByAnalysis: Mr. Nutt knows ''exactly'' how much force it would take to tear your head off, and what muscles would give him trouble in the process. Fortunately for you, he'd much rather think about how to turn ragtag bunch of wizards into a credible football team.
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler: Happens automatically to Nutt, thanks to the "little brother" incorporated into orcs by the Igors who created them.]]
* BadassBoast: Ridcully has one near the end of the book about an assault on one of the wizards.
-->"Because if anyone has [[spoiler:poisoned our Librarian]], then, although I am not, by nature, a vindictive man, I will see to it that this university hunts down [[spoiler:the poisoner]] by every thaumic, mystic, and occult means available and makes the rest of their life not only as horrible as they can imagine it, but as horrible as I can imagine it. And you can depend on it, gentlemen, that I have already started work on it."
* BadassBookworm: [[spoiler: Mr. Nutt, who doesn't let go of his SesquipedalianLoquaciousness even when prodding serious buttock.]]
* BeatTheCurseOutOfHim: [[TokenEvilTeammate Dr. Hix]] is the only one who dares to do this when Ridcully is under the control of a haunted artifact, which is exactly why he holds that job in the first place.
* TheBeautifulGame: Mr. Nutt evaluates potential rules for the new version of football based on what kind of beauty they bring to the game.
* TheBigDamnKiss: When [[spoiler:Juliet and Trev kiss at the end of the match, they float in the air and are lit with a golden glow]]. Other characters comment on this.
* BilingualBonus:
** The fashion magazine that Juliet reads is ''Bu-Bubble'' or, more likely, ''Beau Beaux Belle'' - three different words for "beautiful" in French.
** The lines from philosophical works Nutt quotes are infinitely more hilarious if you understand German. (One, for example mentions sweet, vanilla-flavoured desserts.)
* BlackAndGrayMorality (maybe GreyAndGrayMorality):
** [[spoiler:Lady Margolotta]]'s plans for Uberwald are far better than any of the alternatives but the means to the end are not necessarily nice. [[spoiler:As evidenced by her KickTheDog moments during Nutt's education.]]
--> "One day I was a young boy... when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior." -- [[spoiler: Lord Vetinari, in a rare moment of (tipsy) candor]]
* TheBlacksmith: Mr. Nutt shoes a horse for the carriage company and silvers Glenda's tins. [[IThoughtItMeant No, not like that.]]
* TheBladeAlwaysLandsPointyEndIn: Happens when Angua tosses Juliet's pin-on Dolly badge on the table next to Trev's hand. Even the narrative isn't sure if it's deliberate or not.
* BlatantLies: Glenda tells Ottomy that she and Juliet missed the game because they were cleaning the ovens, causing him to look slowly around the kitchen at the lack of grime, cloths, soap, gloves, etc.
* BloodSport: Street football is essentially this before Vetinari and UU get involved. Ponder mentions that in ancient times, losing teams could be throttled, and the painted urn that gets the story started depicts a player who's been brutally kicked by his opponent.
* BrainBleach: Glenda and those slightly-less-than-three seconds of [[spoiler:orcs]] in combat.
* BrainDrain: Pseudopolis' new Brazeneck College is trying to poach talent from Unseen University. Their Archchancellor used to be UU's Dean, and the head of their technomancy department was once Ponder Stibbons' best student. They even offered Ponder the post of Bursar, but he never even asked what the salary was. After all, even if they made him a professor, he'd probably have a lot less clout than as UU's JackOfAllTrades.
* BrainlessBeauty: Juliet, although not nearly as brainless as Glenda thinks.
* BrickJoke:
** Back in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', Vimes had an affirmative action snit in response to a bigoted complaint and said he'd accept a gorgon in the Watch. Now a NoodleIncident reveals that the Watch recently recruited a Medusa who accidentally turned three people to stone when a gust of wind knocked off her sunglasses.
** Mightily Oates' axe and ''unique'' style of spreading the light of Om reappear for the first time since ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum''.
** The longest-air-time bricks come from ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', published 21 years earlier.
*** The only earlier reference to the race of [[spoiler:orcs]].
*** Rincewind asks to be excused from play with a note from his mother. Ridcully rejects this as Rincewind himself said his mother had abandoned him before birth (Discworld. Don't ask how). Rincewind then asks to be excused to go look for her.
*** And then there's the literal Brick Joke. After the heated meeting between Ridcully and [[spoiler: Henry, Former Dean and Current Archchancellor of Brazeneck]], Ponder sees Rincewind putting one of his socks back on. [[spoiler:He once stopped an Eldrich Abomination by hitting it with half a brick in a sock. Ponder notes that it was probably the same sock.]]
** Back in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', there was a throw-away line about Ridcully wanting to get a team together for the 'Sity And Guild Match, described in the ''Discworld Companion'' as a slightly modernised version of Poor(e) Boys Fun.
** Quoth tells Susan about the profession of candle dribbler in ''Discworld/SoulMusic''. It's not until this book that we find out the raven wasn't pulling her leg.
** An earlier Discworld book describes "anti-crimes," and Hix can be said to be committing one: planting tickets for his amateur theater group's productions in people's pockets is the opposite of pickpocketing (especially since it's implied his group isn't very good).
** Madame Sharn poo-poos Glenda's insistence that Juliet should keep working in the kitchens with, "What is this? Emberella?" In ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'', even Embers herself Lampshaded the silliness of her own name and circumstances.
** At the beginning of the book, the Faculty are congratulating themselves on the successful Hunt of the Megapode. At the end of the book, when discussing the [[spoiler: [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever rampage of the Blit-Chicken in Pseudopolis]]]], Ponder and Ridcully agree that they don't need to hurry to help, as they have better things to do than [[HypocriticalHumor run around after birds]].
* BullyingADragon:
** Andy and his followers taunting Nutt about his species.
** To whomever [[spoiler:poisoned the Librarian]], congratulations. You have just angered [[spoiler:a 300 pound ape and his boss, who not just a BoisterousBruiser but also one of the most powerful wizards on the Disc]]. In a word: Run.
* CardCarryingVillain: Professor Hix, by university statute. They need someone around who can ignore the rules a bit but still knows when to stop.
* CentipedesDilemma: Trev makes it clear that many of the amazing tricks he can do kicking a can don't work if he thinks about them.
* ChainmailBikini: Micromail is implied to be used primarily for underlayers (given how everyone talks about the lack of chafing) and is modeled complete with a false beard.
* ChangingOfTheGuard: Between Ponder's ascent to the University Council [[spoiler: (most of it, in fact; Ponder holds enough different positions to form both a quorum and a majority all by himself, so he can call meetings and hold binding votes ''without another soul present'')]], Nutt's implied future as Mightily Oats's successor, Adrian Turnipseed's professorship, and the youth of the cast in general, this book builds upon other recent Discworld novels in bringing a fresh generation of characters to the fore.
* CharacterDevelopment:
** Offscreen, Mightily Oats has become a BadassPreacher and ethnographer in some of the most remote and dangerous parts of Uberwald.
** Ponder Stibbons is shedding his NoRespectGuy tag as he proves himself a very skilled researcher who is also capable of managing all of UU's day-to-day affairs, including deftly manipulating much older and more ruthless wizards.
** Dr. Hix is considerably more confident and influential here than in ''Making Money''. [[spoiler:Insorcizing Professor Flead]] seems to have had the intended effect and let him move up in the department.
** We even learn a little more about the Patrician's secretary, Drumknott, although he has changed very little as a character since he was introduced in ''Feet of Clay''. For example, both Vimes and Vetinari take it as a price of doing business that all employees will steal small things from the workplace like leftover food or office supplies. ''Drumknott buys all his own paperclips.'' Vetinari believes a woman would have to dress up as a manila envelope to get his attention.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Glenda's favorite rule: The ball is the ball.
** The possessed whistle.
** "Come on if you think you're hard enough!"
** [[EyeScream How to get a free drink at any pub in Ankh-Morpork]].
* ChildrenAreInnocent: In this case, "innocent" can be taken in the legalistic sense of "innocent of being irredeemable psychopathic murderers until proven guilty". Even if you call them pups. Even if they are [[spoiler: infant orcs]].
* ColorCodedWizardry: Parodied with UU's late sports instructor, Evans the Striped. Presumably he wore some sort of striped rugby shirt, or even a referee's black and white striped jersey.
* ContinuityPorn: At least, by Discworld standards. The text is liberally decorated with {{Continuity Nod}}s, including to some of the EarlyInstallmentWeirdness books like ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'' that are rarely acknowledged later in the series.
* CoversAlwaysLie:
** Vetinari sadly does not referee the game.
** Glenda and Juliet are not dressed as cheerleaders, although they do watch the match.
** The Luggage is implied to be part of the team. This was ''tried'' but failed because of the CentipedesDilemma.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Pepe. [[spoiler: And Nutt.]]
* CrushingHandshake:
** Subverted when Andy tries this on Nutt, and doesn't achieve anything but to make his ''own'' hand sore.
** Played straight with Hoggett, who "to his credit, hardly winced when it was taken for a firm handshake" by Ridcully.
* DemotedToExtra: Rincewind is not a key part of the team's strategy, much to his relief. Vimes and Angua only show up as antagonists. William de Worde has a cameo as proto-announcer for the match. The [[GoingPostal Postmaster-General]] is mentioned as waiting to see Vetinari, but makes no actual appearance.
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: Inverted when Trev insists Nutt punch his arm, then admits that ''he'' didn't know Nutt's own strength while favoring his bruised biceps.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Someone throwing a banana to the Librarian while on the field is reminiscent of real-world racist insults to black football players by throwing bananas at them.
* DramaticIrony: Anyone reading Discworld books in the first place is probably GenreSavvy enough to realize that [[spoiler:Glenda is talking to Lady Margolotta in the coaching house -- if not immediately, then certainly by the third paragraph]].
* EarlyBirdCameo: The birds in question are the Sisters, whose species [[spoiler: (Furies)]] was briefly mentioned in ''Discworld/{{Eric}}''.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: Dr. Hix mentions that the Department of Post-Mortem Communications gets a pass from the "no female wizards" rule when he tries to recruit Glenda.
* TheEmpire: This is the first book to go into any kind of detail about the fallen Evil Empire of Uberwald (also called the Unholy Empire and the Dark Empire in earlier books). According to WordOfGod, it's the FantasyCounterpartCulture of the SovietUnion, combined with some fairly obvious nods to {{Mordor}}.
* EverybodyLives: Unusually for a Discworld story, Death only shows up once to tell a character he's not dead yet. Then again... some things you don't want to live through.
* ExpospeakGag: Nutt's erudite and verbose way of answering questions.
* {{Expy}}: Glenda has rather a lot in common with [[Discworld/{{Maskerade}} Agnes Nitt]], albeit with a less downtrodden main personality and a better integrated Perdita-analogue (which is also in her case released by large amounts of sherry, not innate magical ability). Her relationship with Juliet also echoes Agnes' relationship with Christine, though Juliet is a more sympathetic version of a BrainlessBeauty.
* FamedInStory: Trev's father, Dave Likely.
* FoodPorn: Just read those descriptions of Glenda's pies.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** The ActuallyThatsMyAssistant scene is hinted at early, when the woman Glenda identifies as Lady Margolotta [[spoiler: who is actually her librarian]] complains that it's too noisy in the coaching house.
** Ponder asks what Brazeneck is using to power Pex, and reacts with just a hint of unholy glee.
* AFriendInNeed: Glenda, Juliet, Mr Nutt, and Trev swap around bailing each other out in the course of the plot.
* GeniusBruiser: [[spoiler: Again, Mr. Nutt. He's a member of a race of specially-bred super soldiers, and also read and memorized most of Lady Margolotta's library. Which means he can tell you just how much force [[note]] "three-to-five [=kiloBunns=]"[[/note]] it will take to snap your neck, and which muscles will get in the way.]]
* GirlsLoveStuffedAnimals: Even the three-eyed ones, who are [[WesternAnimation/YogiBear more enlightened than the average bear]].
* GoodOldWays: Changing the rules of football? Unthinkable! [[spoiler:Glenda's description of it has enough innate magic to cause false memories in every wizard listening.]]
* GoodShepherd: Mightily Oats from ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'' appears only in the {{backstory}}, but he appears to have grown into this role, bringing [[ICallItVera Forgiveness]] with him wherever he travels.
* GroinAttack: Andy tries this on Trev, but runs into Pepe's gift.
* HatOfAuthority: The Archchancellor's Hat, valued perhaps even more for its conferred status than its magical abilities, is hotly contested between the rival wizard universities.
* HenchmenRace: [[spoiler:The orcs were designed purely to serve as weapons, and most people assumed that they weren't capable of functioning without someone to give them orders]].
* [[AnimalsHateHim Horses Hate Him]]: Mr. Nutt's aroma is distressing to horses; even the Horseman's Word only compels them to comply very, very unhappily.
* HumansAreBastards: People believe that [[spoiler: orcs]] were created by magically and/or eugenically altering goblins. [[spoiler: At the end, Vetinari reveals that, no, orcs are descended from humans. Goblins aren't ''vicious'' enough (an assessment borne out by ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'').]]
* ICallItVera: We find out that the double-headed battle-axe carried by [[GoodShepherd Mightily Oats]] at the end of ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'' now has a name: Forgiveness.
* IDontPayYouToThink: Smeems tells Mr. Nutt this. Unfortunately, when he gets stuck on top of the Emperor candle, he needs Nutt to figure out how to get him down. Nutt does it, but still says, "[[DeadpanSnarker I thought I wasn't paid to think, sir.]]"
* IDrankWhat: Madame Sharn may or may not have actually drunk from the bottle in which Pepe relieved himself.
* IGaveMyWord: Trev promised his Mum he'd never play football.
* IllTakeTwoBeersToo: After the wizards catch the Megapode, one of the maids asks them what they want to eat. Ridcully gives an impressive list of food (including "cheese boards one through five") and then says "Anyone else want to add anything?"
* ImMelting: Not shown, but Evans the Striped reportedly expired in a Type E example, i.e. he ''evaporated''.
* ImplausibleDeniability: The giant ever-burning candle known as the Emperor [[BlatantLies did not go out]], even if Nutt's vision tricked him into thinking it did. This must be so, because Smeems insists as much... just like he did on the prior two occasions it's [[YouDidntSeeThat not gone out]] on his watch.
* IndestructibleEdible: Professor Macarona's dehydrated pasta, the equivalent of Roundworld ramen.
* InherentlyFunnyWords: '''Gloing.'''
* InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike: Various bits of dwarfish fall victim to this here.
* InsistentTerminology: Professor Bengo Macarona, after scoring the first goal for the Academicals, insists that any chanting of his name also includes his full name and list of honours. Since this in its entirety is "Professor Macarona D.Thau (Bug), D.Maus (Chubb), Magistaludorum (QIS), Octavium (Hons), PHGK (Blit), DMSK, Mack, D.Thau (Bra), Visiting Professor in Chickens (Jahn the Conqueror University (Floor 2, Shrimp Packers Building, Genua)), Primo Octo (Deux), Visiting Professor of Blit/Slood Exchanges (Al Khali), [=KCbfJ=], Reciprocating Professor of Blit Theory (Unki), D.Thau (Unki), Didimus Supremius (Unki), Emeritus Professor in Blit Substrate Determinations (Chubb), Chair of Blit and Music Studies (Quirm College for Young Ladies)" and the crowd actually ''agrees to go along with it,'' this turns the football chant "One Makaronah, there's only one Makaronah, there's only one Makaronah, one Makaro-naah" into an OverlyLongGag of absolutely ''EPIC'' proportions.
** Also, continuing a gag from ''Discworld/MakingMoney'', it's "Post-Mortem Communications", ''not'' "necromancy".
* InstantExpert: Averted. Trev's skill with a can does not transfer to a football.
* InterspeciesRomance: Subverted, inverted, averted and every other kind of '"ted" you can think of with Pepe and Madame Sharn, as neither one of them gives a figgin for species, gender, or sexuality labels, so you can make what you want of their relationship. The trope is also played damn well straight with [[spoiler:Glenda and Nutt]]... [[BioPunk sort]] [[WhatMeasureIsANonhuman of]]. There's also the ambiguously romantic relationship between Lady Margolotta and Vetinari.
* IWasToldThereWouldBeCake: "There will be cake."
* {{Kaiju}}: [[spoiler: An accident at Brazeneck's Higher Energy Magic building unleashes a seventy-foot chicken onto the streets of Pseudopolis.]] And it's foreshadowed too. Early on, Ponder asks what Brazeneck is using to power their knockoff of Hex; the answer is [[spoiler: chickens]]. Ponder's initial reaction is [[spoiler:mildly alarm, and then smugness: he knows what will happen, and clearly has no interest in telling Adrian how to fix it.]] But then, they ''did'' steal the design for Hex [[spoiler: (not to mention the Dean)]] - he isn't really fond of them.
* KarmaHoudini: Defied. [[spoiler: It looks like Andy Shank is going to get away virtually unscathed, but then the CampGay Pepe decides to make sure he gets what's coming to him.]]
* KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Nutt's upbringing combines this with PetTheDog in the most warped way.]]
* LargeHam: Ridcully, as always, feels the need to declare to no one in particular "Change and decay! I am surrounded by traitors! They thwart me at every turn" when he sees the housekeeper's raided all his secret food stashes.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRules: Part of Vetinari's attempt to control the game, as trying to outwit a game of complex rules is less likely to end in bloodshed. Like Round World soccer, the offsides rules in particular seem to be extremely complex and hotly disputed.
* LongList / OverlyLongGag:
** Professor Macarona's full list of titles and honors goes on for about a full hardcover page. In reality it's only about an eight-line paragraph, but ''repeated'' so many times that it covers nearly two softcover pages - and audiobook readers may start to wonder if their file is stuck in a loop.
** Ridcully asks Ponder what the Academicals' problem is. The list of ways they are failing to grasp football takes up roughly the same space as the one above. Without repetition.
* LowerDeckEpisode: Many Discworld books have focused on the faculty of Unseen University and ''Discworld/EqualRites'' filled in several details about the household staff but this is the first book in which the staff become the main characters.
* MamaBear: Glenda. According to Vetinari, it's InTheBlood.
* MeaningfulName: Juliet, obviously. There's also Andy Shank; "shank" can mean a stabbing weapon. Also see Stealth Pun below for Trev Likely.
* MemeticBadass:
** Vimes, in-universe; as discussed in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', coppers in Ankh-Morpork (and the surrounding cities) are called "Sammies" or "Old Sam" for a reason. (On [[TruthInTelevision Roundworld]], it's why British cops are "bobbies," or "Old Bill.")
** Mrs. Whitlow has an in-universe Memetic Domestic Badass reputation among the UU staff, which Glenda eventually sees through and subverts.
* MisappliedPhlebotinum: [[spoiler:''Orcs''. The Evil Empire created a race of GeniusBruiser {{Super Soldier}}s capable of excelling in every field of warfare... and then drove them into battle in poorly-armed waves with men with whips to goad them on. Considering that Uberwald is the old and much-beloved home of MadScience, they were probably built by Igors to drastically exceed their intended purpose. And that intended purpose seems to have been "an easy-to-breed humanoid lifeform with extremely rapid physical and mental development that allows for minimum time between birth and ZergRush use in battle". Most of them probably died long before their real potential began to show.]]
* MistakenIdentity: Courtesy of Glenda's total lack of useful cynicism in some areas.
* MotivationOnAStick: There's a scene with the wizards riding on the backs of the university porters and motivating them with a bottle of beer on the end of a stick.
* MuggingTheMonster: Ponder recalls how his wizardry first manifested when he set fire to the trousers of a schoolyard bully who'd been giving him a wedgie.
* MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch: Played with in several instances.
** [[spoiler:Nutt is an orc, but largely rejects violence. His PlanetOfHats' hat get deconstructed by the end, though, showing that the orcs' bloodthirstiness had been an in-universe DeadUnicornTrope.]]
** Pepe and Madame Sharn are both exceptions to OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame. In fact, they bring up some very interesting questions about how dwarves think about sex, gender, and sexuality. All dwarves look male by human standards, even clearly feminine-gendered dwarfs wear so many layers of leather and metal that it's impossible to guess anatomical sex, and it's not polite to ''ask'' what sex another dwarf is unless you're engaged to them. So do dwarves have any concept of sexual orientation, or of gender arising from anatomical sex?
* NamesTheSame: An in-universe example in Bledlow Nobbs (no relation). Anyone who might be mistaken for a relative of Nobby Nobbs is going to include the "(no relation)" every time.
* NeverGetsDrunk: Subverted by Lord Vetinari. He matches a hall full of heavy drinkers twice his size mug-for-mug and most of them end up passing out. Vetinari only appears slightly tipsy, but then he stubs his toe on a stair, takes an extra 50 seconds to solve the ''Times'' crossword the next morning (even resorting to the dictionary) and Drumknott notes that he seems unusually talkative, though no less cogent. For him, that's the equivalent of getting married in Vegas.
* NiceToTheWaiter: Ridcully and Lord Vetinari are both willing to hear and consider Glenda's thoughts on football and mob rule.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever happened on Tuesday. Ridcully's latest anti-Dean rant is still better than Tuesday.
* NoSocialSkills: Nutt, initially. He's read a lot in books, but applying that to the real world is something else.
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore: For the first time since ''Discworld/MovingPictures'', UU has been shaken up by [[spoiler:the departure of the Dean - and, not coincidentally, we finally learn his name, or at least his first name]].
* OddJobGods: Pedestriana, the Goddess of Football.
* OffingTheMouth: The intellectual but totally unstreetwise Orc Mr Nutt gets this treatment from a gang of proto-football hooligans. His mistake was to try to engage them in debate on mob psychology and the sociopathology of overcrowded juvenile male rats. Nutt gets stabbed and left for dead by the gang.
* OurNudityIsDifferent: The wizards are adamant they can't wear shorts that expose their knees, for fear of the effect this might have on women. The one woman who hears this has trouble keeping a straight face.
* [[spoiler:OurOrcsAreDifferent: Mr. Nutt. They were made from humans, not from elves or goblins, and they are ''not'' AlwaysChaoticEvil.]]
* PassiveAggressiveKombat: It's noted that high-ranking wizards cannot get into fights in public, because that could have dire magical consequences. Therefore Ridcully and [[spoiler:Henry]] butt heads in a very masculine form of PolitenessJudo.
* PickedLast: Referenced several times. Ponder is explicitly described as having been picked last for every game he couldn't make up an excuse to avoid. He's ''thrilled'' that this time around he can appoint himself scorekeeper and stay out of the action.
--> '''Ridcully:''' Now we all understand this! It's a boy thing! It's like little girls and the colour pink! You know how to do this! Pick the teams alternately so one of you ends up with the weird kid and the other with the fat kid. Some of the fastest mathematics of all time have been achieved by team captains trying not to end up with the weird kid - stay where you are, Rincewind!
* PlayingCyrano: Amusingly subverted, as Nutt ghost-writes a love letter to Juliet for Trev, who can't think of anything better to say than "I think you are really fit, want to go out? No hanky-panky, promise." This is, [[StrangeMindsThinkAlike word for word]], exactly how Glenda summarizes Nutt's poetic missive when Juliet asks her what all "Trev's" fancy words mean.
* PosthumousCharacter: Dave Likely. Trev lives forever in his father's shadow [[spoiler:until he manages to outdo him with the final goal]].
* PowderKegCrowd: The Shove. Always. Vetinari's willing to stake his reputation on rewriting the rules because The Shove is so likely to spill over into riot.
* PrinceCharming: Referenced; Glenda thinks Juliet ''deserves'' a handsome prince, which is why she disapproves of her hanging around with Trev Likely. [[spoiler:Later Glenda realizes this isn't the whole truth: she's gotten too used to "crab-bucket" thinking to see the real potential in Trev...''and'' in Juliet]].
* PunchClockVillain: A somewhat unusual version with Dr. Hix, of the Department of Necromancy... Er, [[InsistentTerminology Post-Mortem Communications]], who is professionally obligated to be ''slightly'' evil from time to time, albeit within "[[AffablyEvil acceptable]] [[PokeThePoodle levels]]" set by university regulations. Normally, he fulfills this obligation through minor mischief such as slipping people tickets to his community theater group. But it should also be noted that as the ''official'' Post-Mortem Communicator, Dr. Hix is also responsible for dealing with ''[[EvilSorceror unofficial]]'' [[EvilSorceror Post-Mortem Communicators]]. [[KillItWithFire With fireballs]], if necessary.
* RealMenWearPink: The Dimwell colors. Do ''you'' want to question a football hooligan's manhood? Didn't think so. Nutt suggests the pink is deliberately chosen to be provoke confrontation.
* RescueRomance: Trev doesn't really get Juliet's interest until after he saves her from being beaned during a football match (the old-fashioned footballs are made of wood and ''very'' heavy).
-->'''Juliet:''' He saved my life!\\
'''Glenda:''' That's no basis for a relationship! A polite thank you would have sufficed.
* {{Roboteching}}: Trev can do this with ''tin cans''. It's all about the spin.
* RunningGag:
** "It doesn't chafe!"
** "Skull ring, remember?"
** "Hanky panky".
** "Bledlow Alf Nobbs (no relation)."
** The whistle of former university sports master, Evans the Striped.
* SeriousBusiness: Football. Starts out as a subversion, as the only thing on the line seems to be a large portion of the University's food budget, and the wizards don't even need to ''win'' the game to retain that. Then the Archchancellor's Hat is wagered on the result. And then Vetinari commits to reforming the rules and it becomes a fight for the spirit of the game and for reason containing the mob. A loss for the Academicals ''could'' actually damage the Patrician's authority.
* SeveredHeadSports: There is a rule explicitly stating that during a match any object that has been kicked by at least three players in succession is to be considered the ball. Guess what kind of impromptu ball created this rule...
* ShapedLikeItself: "Mostly they're just pies, sir. Made of... pie."
* ShootTheDog: It's important that [[spoiler: Mr. Nutt does not harm anyone, and publicly refrains from harming Andy when he'd be quite justified in doing so]]. However it's ''also'' important that [[spoiler: Andy gets his just deserts, so Pepe obliges]].
* ShoutOut:
** Most of the early plot of the book is a direct copy of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', when it is not a ShoutOut to "Literature/{{Cinderella}}" or ''MyFairLady''.
** Juliet ("Jules"), a woman in dressed in golden-shining chainmail, is supported after the game by the whole Ankh-Morpork team in red shirts -- this is clearly meant to resemble the '''Jules''' Rimet Trophy, awarded for the Football World Cup (up to 1970). [[http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/03/06/article-1160022-049568020000044D-623_312x524.jpg]]
** Professor Bengo Macarona is evidently a nod to Diego Maradona, a famous football (soccer for Americans) player. There was also a player named Macarone in Genoa, which is the right city, give or take a letter.
** The RunningGag of the celebrity press asking about "your favourite spoon" is from ''PrivateEye''.
** The reference to ''RomeoAndJuliet'' gets {{lampshaded}} near the end of the book, when [[spoiler:Glenda]] comments about how an in-universe play (named ''[[StarCrossedLovers Starcrossed]]'') is [[ThisIsReality unrealistic]]. (The play in question has been written by Hwel, [[Discworld/WyrdSisters a character from an earlier book]] who is the Disc's Creator/WilliamShakespeare.)
** The first few pages are an extended ShoutOut[=/=]parody of DanBrown.
--->It occurred to new employee Rudolph Scattering...
** And when Hex is asked to find a football, he responds by asking whether they meant a spherical or oval ball, a shout out to [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball those]] [[RugbyUnion other]] [[UsefulNotes/AustralianRulesFootball games]].
** Similarly, Hex now has a [[ReBoot white mask]] through which he can be addressed, and from which his responses appear to come.
** The epilogue, beginning "You think it's over?" and ending "It is now!", is a shout out to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_think_it%27s_all_over a famous piece of football commentary]].
** Glenda's private thoughts about how to deal with Ottomy -- and how to dispose of the evidence -- are a tip of the hat to ''SweeneyTodd''.
** ''Franchise/{{Bioshock}}'': Beings called 'Little Sisters' who aren't seen at their best when eating.
** Nutt's indecipherable philosophy of football recalls Eric Cantona at his most Dadaesque.
** One of Juliet's brothers is named Algernon. Mr. Nutt describes to him a theory that football players were very similar to lab rats. He promptly attacks Mr. Nutt. [[Literature/FlowersForAlgernon Algernon still likes rats and dislikes experiments on them.]]
** The fact that the [[spoiler:Orcs]] make their debut in a football story is probably a nod to Creator/GamesWorkshop's famous characterization of them as a parody of rioting British football hooligans.
** The "One Macarona" chant is obviously a nod to how the song "Guantanamera" is regularly re-written to praise various sports and other figures.
* SmugSnake: Andy Shank. He's an evil-minded little git who carries himself like Carcer Dun. [[spoiler: Pepe educates him in why this shouldn't be so.]]
* SophisticatedAsHell: Asked what makes a good football trainer, Nutt [[CrowningMomentOfFunny gives a long answer]] that takes in psychology, metaphysics and quantum physics, concluding with:
--> It is my job to reduce this metaphysical overhead, as it were, and to give my lads some acceptable paradigm, such as, it might be, whack it right down the middle, my son, and at least if the goalie stops it you will have given him a hot handful he won't forget in a hurry.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Nutt. No S, two T's. Singular, '''not''' plural.
--> "Do you think the second T helps?"
--> "Probably not, sir."
* SpockSpeak: Nutt, most of the time.
* StealthPun: Trev works in the university dribbling candles for wizardly pursuits. By the end of the book, he's dribbling footballs instead.
** He's also "Dave Likely's son"... or Likely's lad; a "likely lad" being either a skilled sportsman or a known troublemaker - and Trev's ''both''.
*** Un-stealthed in the back-cover copy, which calls him "a likely lad with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can". (The pre-release blurb had much the same phrase, but called him an "urchin".)
** The three-eyed teddy, described as "more enlightened than the average bear" is an obvious reference to both the "third eye" of Eastern mysticism and WesternAnimation/YogiBear. Now think about where the title "yogi" comes from...
** Hix is Unseen University's Token Black Magician.
* StraightGay: Professor Bengo Macarona of Genua, star football player, with 13 doctorates from Unki, QIS, and Chubb and a visiting professorship at Bugarup, cited in two hundred and thirty-six papers... and one divorce petition.
-->'''Ridcully:''' Angry husband?\\
'''Stibbons:''' Angry wife, as I heard it.\\
'''Ridcully:''' Oh, he was married, was he?\\
'''Stibbons:''' Not to my knowledge, Archchancellor.
* SuperSoldier: [[spoiler: Orcs. Super-strong, fast, can come BackFromTheDead, super ''smart'' and with a natural teamwork instinct.]]
* SupremeChef: Glenda. Her grandmother was the cook at the Assassins' Guild when Vetinari was a student; he ''still'' remembers the pies fondly, and practically (for Vetinari) salivates when he learns that the recipes were passed down. He's also the one to realize that Glenda would never even think of poisoning a pie because of the almost religious importance she places on food. He mentions at the end that he had been planning on offering her a job if things had turned out differently.
* TallPoppySyndrome: Referred to here as the "crab bucket". Not getting ideas above one's station is a huge part of the working class culture of Dolly Sisters, and much of Glenda's CharacterDevelopment is learning to let go of the crab bucket mindset.
* TokenEvilTeammate: Dr. Hix, again. It's in his job description.
* TooDumbToFool: Juliet can often tear down Glenda's white lies or deceptions, because she's too unimaginative to fill in the gaps on her own.
* TooDumbToLive: UU's Mr. Floribunda apparently thought that using the Cabinet of Curiosity as a snack pantry was a good idea. Unfortunately for him, the rule that anything organic automatically returns to it within 14.14 hours ''did'' apply to bacon sandwiches ... even already-digested ones. Fortunately, he did live through [[NoodleIncident whatever it was that happened to him]].
* TryToFitThatOnABusinessCard: The aforementioned Professor Macarona D.Thau (Bug), D.Maus (Chubb), Magistaludorum (QIS), Octavium (Hons), PHGK (Blit), DMSK, Mack, D.Thau (Bra), Visiting Professor in Chickens (Jahn the Conqueror University (Floor 2, Shrimp Packers Building, Genua)), Primo Octo (Deux), Visiting Professor of Blit/Slood Exchanges (Al Khali), [=KCbfJ=], Reciprocating Professor of Blit Theory (Unki), D.Thau (Unki), Didimus Supremius (Unki), Emeritus Professor in Blit Substrate Determinations (Chubb), Chair of Blit and Music Studies (Quirm College for Young Ladies)
* TurnOutLikeHisFather: A touching version, once Trev comes to grips with [[spoiler:pride in his father's achievements versus anger over his ignoble death]].
-->'''Juliet:''' They said Dave Likely was your father.\\
'''Trev:''' Well, yes, that's true.\\
'''Juliet:''' Yes, but they used to say you were his son.
* TyopOnTheCover: One dust jacket has a synopsis that spells Vetinari as "Ventinari."
* VerbalTic: Juliet's habit of ending every sentence with "Din't it?" or "Didn't I?" or something similar, innit.
* VisualInnuendo: Glenda points out that the proposed uniform design with "UU" on the front resembles breasts. (Especially since wizards are usually rather fat to begin with.)
* WhamLine: Wham ''Word'', in fact. A word most Discworld readers never expected to see in the books: [[spoiler: ORC]].
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Juliet is described as pretty enough to make goddesses weep with jealousy.
* WorthyOpponent: Mr. Hoggett, captain of Ankh-Morpork United. Despite the fact that his team contains a number of jerks, cheats, and Andy Shank, he tries to play a fair game, ''apologizes'' to the ref for his team's illegal moves, and [[spoiler:punches out Andy Shank for mucking up what would otherwise have been a fair and square game in a personal CrowningMomentOfAwesome.]]
* WrittenByTheWinners: The war against the Evil Empire is often referred to as this. For a start, calling it the "Evil Empire" implies that [[WarIsHell there were any good guys in that particular conflict]]. [[spoiler: ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'' demonstrates that even the universally-maligned goblins are subject to this trope, as they're ''always'' at the losing end of history.]]
* WrongGenreSavvy: Glenda knows trashy romance novel tropes backwards and forwards, and doesn't really get a handle on events until she ''stops'' thinking in those terms and starts working with EarnYourHappyEnding instead.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: Dr. Hix was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, but "any man who wears a black robe and a skull ring isn't going to pass up the chance to have an X in his name".
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: [[spoiler:'''"You think it's over?"''' Done ''three times''.]] A reference to a famous remark by the commentator at the end of the 1966 World Cup final: "They think it's all over..." ''(Whistle blows)'' "It is now!"
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