"If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all." Good advice. But in business, we are often put in situations where this is just not possible. We come across backstabbers, thieves, liars, jerks, jackasses, fools, clowns, and twits all the time. A passing comment at lunch about a former collegue. A request for a reference. Situations that place you in an uncomfortable position. Do you lie and say something nice? Do you say nothing at all? Enter the backhanded compliment. It is an artform, using the 500,000 words of our elegant and complex language to craft a true statement disguised as a compliment, with the transparency of the disguise adjusted as necessary. One particularly unfavored former collegue put me to the test. "He is a great person to have as a passing acquaintance." Admittedly not very disguised, but take out the word "passing" and Bob's Your Uncle. With that background, I would love to collect other phrases from SFers to keep in my back pocket.