Archive for Crash blossoms

Newsworthy crash blossoms

The current BBC home page has some breaking news about Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond:

My first thought on reading this was that it's rather late in the day for Salmond to be going after the No vote, considering No already won handily. Then I realized it's not go after as in "pursue," but rather go + after — he's going (resigning) subsequent to the No vote on the referendum.

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The most awkward crash blossom ever?

This:

[h.t. Omri Ceren]

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The case of the persevering pedestrian

Calvin Men, "Police investigate Santa Cruz pedestrian's death", Santa Cruz Sentinel 4/4/2014:

A 49-year-old Santa Cruz man died late Thursday night while crossing Mission Street after being struck by a car.

G.A., who sent me the link, added "Pretty plucky of him to cross the street after he had been hit, I thought".

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A zeugmatic crash blossom to torment Mets fans

As if New York Mets fans don't have to suffer enough, what with the five straight losing seasons and the embarrassing bullpen meltdown in yesterday's home opener, this headline (tweeted by Mark Fishkin) appeared in today's Wall Street Journal:

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Another way to misunderstand headlines

MedPage Today is an excellent source for medical news — but recently their email service has started juxtaposing headline-fragments in a way that takes me aback:

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Whales from space

Jonathan Amos, "Scientists count whales from space", BBC News 2/12/2014.

It's amazing how sensitive the measurement and modeling of gravitational perturbations of exoplanet systems has become, but detecting the effects of whales is a whole new level.  Anyhow, apparently, whales are Out There…

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EU gets tough with mean kids

"EU rules ‘mean children can't get life-saving cancer drugs’", Euractive 2/11/2014. Death panels in the Nanny State? As Ali G said to Sir Rhodes Boyson, "Wikkid, man."

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Noun pile of the week

Well, almost: Mark Kinver, "Citizen science charts horse chestnut tree pest spread", BBC News 1/24/2014. Though charts might have been a plural noun, it's clearly a verb in this case, alas. The headline writer missed the chance for a genuine 8-element noun pile, e.g. "Citizen science horse chestnut tree pest spread tally".

Still, British headline interpretation continues to be good practice for reading classical Chinese poetry.

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Sweat dance plugs noun pile

Katia Dmitrieva, "Madonna addicted to sweat dance plugs Toronto condos: Mortgages", Bloomberg News 1/10/2014 — Reader CD, a hardened journalistic veteran, calls this "a rare American noun pile headline":

It’s a spectacular garden path which turns out to be a noun pile. I’m pretty good at parsing headlinese but I had no idea what the story was supposed to be about, or even what the syntax was supposed to be, until I clicked through. I suppose it would have helped if I’d known the name of the song beforehand. I’m quite impressed by the flimsiness of the connection between the lead and the content of the story too, but that’s another matter.  

On the nationality question, it’s a Canadian story and possibly a Canadian writer, but Bloomberg has a very strict style guide for headlines regardless of jurisdiction, so I’m comfortable calling it American.

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Cutter stalks

Allen G. Breed, "Corn maze cutter stalks fall fun across country", AP 9/5/2013:


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Giant Bomb E3 Set Porn Bears

Noun pile? Crash Blossom?  We report, you decide… Rollin Bishop, "Quest for Giant Bomb E3 Set Porn Bears Fruit", 6/24/2013:

The Electronic Entertainment Expo — E3 for short — is held in Los Angeles every year, typically in June, and it means that a lot of journalists descend upon the area in short order. This year was no different, and popular gaming site Giant Bomb rented a “professional studio” for some of their coverage. Things got weird, though, and it quickly became apparent that what they were renting was actually the set for a bunch of pornography. Yeah.

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Why Is The Tornado Angry?

I was a couple of sentences into the story by Ker Than ("More Midwest Twisters: Why Is Oklahoma Tornado Vexed?", National Geographic 6/1/2013) before I figured it out:

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Parsing entertainment headlines

Here are two entertainment news headlines that are difficult to parse without knowing in advance what they're reporting on. First up, from TIME, a headline on a May 31 piece by TV critic James Poniewozik:

Fox's Megyn Kelly Alpha-Dogs Working-Mom Critic Erick Erickson

Second, from Cinema Blend, a headline on a post earlier today by Mack Rawden:

After Earth Lost To Both Fast & Furious And Now You See Me At Friday Box Office

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Offensive crash blossom

Steve Kleinedler spotted this crash blossom on the home page of the New York Times today: "G.O.P. Critics of Immigration Bill Plan Offensive." Screenshotted for posterity:

The article itself has the less interesting headline, "G.O.P. Opponents Plan Immigration Bill Attack."

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Mutilated currency examiners

I love reading Montana newspapers.   Today's Missoulian has an article entitled "Helena man reassembles five $100 bills eaten by dog".  (The article notes that the dog ignored a $1 bill; apparently it didn't taste so good.) The man reassembled the bills after picking the pieces out of subsequent piles of dog poop.   Local banks refused to accept the washed, reassembled, and taped-together bills, and eventually he was told to submit them to the government, where, according to (for instance) the website of the Bureau of Engraving, US Department of the Treasury, each case of damaged currency "is carefully examined by an experienced mutilated currency examiner".   I infer that non-mutilated people don't get any experience as currency examiners.

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