Crazy Ivan

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Conference Call Anatomy™
Crazy ivan.png

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Crazy Ivan was a Russian submarine manoeuvre in the Cold War, popularised in the The Hunt for Red October, in which a rogue Soviet sub-commander from Dundee would unexpectedly turn hard left[1] to “clear his baffles” and ascertain whether he was being followed.

Sample dialogue:

Jones: Conn, sonar! Crazy Ivan!
Capt. Mancuso: All stop! Quick quiet!
Beaumont: What’s goin’ on?
Jones: Russian captains sometime turn suddenly to see if anyone’s behind them. We call it “Crazy Ivan”. The only thing you can do is go dead. Shut everything down and make like a hole in the water.
Beaumont: So what’s the catch?
Jones: The catch is, a boat this big doesn’t exactly stop on a dime... and if we’re too close, we’ll drift right into the back of him.

The sudden, unexpected nature of the manoeuvre led to the term being popularised in the conference-calling world, especially since the advent of Skype, to denote the practice of maliciously taking another participant off mute[2] in order to reveal her “clatter signature” leaving defenceless, unwitting and broadside to any conference call ambush another participant cares to mount.

A boss but, all the same dick, move.

See also


  1. Ironic, isn’t it?
  2. A move not possible before the advent of Skype.