The phrase, curate's egg, meaning something that is partly good and partly bad, is an allusion to a famous cartoon published in Punch1 in 1895, showing a bishop entertaining a curate to breakfast. The bishop apologises that the curate's egg is bad; the curate humbly replies that 'parts of it are excellent'. As a bad egg is, of course, bad all the way through, the curate's reply owes more to courtesy than good sense, and the cartoon was making fun of over-dutiful (or self-serving) deference.
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