Archive for Crash blossoms
Reader K.N. comments on a WSJ headline "Indiana Poll Bears Good News for Trump":
Stephen Bullon sent a link to an article in the Guardian — Ian Sample, "Most threats to humans come from science and technology, warns Hawking", 1/18/2016 — and pointed to a picture caption that reads "Stephen Hawking reflects on the Earth’s chances of sustaining life at the Sydney Opera House / earlier last year".
Seems to me that if you can't sustain life at the Sydney Opera House, the rest of Australia has got no chance.
Readers have recently sent in some examples of crash blossoms in headlines about tragic events.
Melissa Chan, "Man Left Brain Dead After French Drug Trial Dies", Time Magazine 1/17/2016.
Kim Willsher, "Man left brain-dead after French drug trial dies in hospital", The Guardian 1/17/2016.
Will Worley, "France clinical trial: Man left brain-dead after drug test dies", The Independent 1/18/2016.
Of course it was the man who really died, although the "drug trial" or "drug test" also metaphorically died.
From Andrea Comiskey, a crash blossom on the National Weather Service's site: "Major to record flooding continues over portions of Mississippi River Valley".
Faith Jones writes:
I live in Canada, where even our Prime Minister goes canoeing and snowshoeing and stuff, so when I saw this headline on the CBC:
… I assumed the Finance Minister was hiking down an actual mountain somewhere in or around Ottawa. Then I got to "payment" and, because of my previous confusion, I still had it in my mind that the verb was "hikes down" but now I thought it was meant metaphorically, and tried to figure out what these "payment rules" were and what "hiking down" such a rule would entail.
Yeah. Minister Morneau has increased the minimum DOWN PAYMENT needed on houses over $500,000. Took me a good minute and a half to get there.
Sue-lin Wong, "China Nov inflation edges up, but deflation risks dog economy", Reuters 12/9/2015. When I saw that headline, I wondered whether dog economy was a Chinese idiom for "recession". Or could the story really be about the economic sector dealing with dogs?
Of course what's really going on is that risks is a plural noun and dog is a verb, meaning "to bother or pester persistently".
But there really is a dog economy, even if Chinese deflation isn't risking it: Teresa Bradley and Ritchie King, "The Dog Economy Is Global—but What Is the World's True Canine Capital?", The Atlantic 11/13/2015.
David Donnell writes:
My initial thought was that there was a climate-related "cloud conversation" that the French were oppposing — Michele Kelemen, "Paris Attacks Cloud Conversation At Summit Of World Powers", NPR 11/15/2015.
Brendan Mohler, "Donald Trump fights to break wind farm in Scotland", Golf Magazine 10/9/2015.
And what sort of factory? That's what Stephen B. wondered when he read the Guardian headline, "German factory orders slide unexpectedly".
Initially baffled by this BBC headline. Thought "ship" was a noun and "rolls" a verb. pic.twitter.com/otnLWElvui
— Ralph Harrington (@ralphharrington) October 3, 2015
[h/t Ian Preston]
Several people sent me links to this headline. One submitter wrote "I’ve enjoyed many ambiguous headlines in my few years of following Language Log. Today I ran across this one, which I read entirely wrong at first (how does a baby track down a nurse?):"
"Woman burned as a baby tracks down nurse who cared for her", Chicago Tribune 9/30/2015.
J.C. send a link to Justin Hyde, "Chevy Unveils The Restored 1 Millionth Corvette Pulled From A Kentucky Sinkhole", Yahoo! Autos 9/3/2015, with the comment "This must be some big ass sinkhole".