Trent Reznor Prize nominee: Jamie Salter

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From Ben Zimmer, a nomination for the Trent Reznor Prize for Tricky Embedding.

The nominee: Jamie Salter,  CEO of Authentic Brands Group.

The source: Jacob Bogage and Ben Strauss, "Sports Illustrated shaken by major layoffs and massive reorganization", WaPo 10/3/2019 —

Reached by phone Thursday and asked about the turmoil at SI, ABG chief executive Jamie Salter described the situation at the magazine as “awesome.”

“I can only tell you that we buy troubled companies that we think there’s enormous amount of value in the intellectual property in,” he said.

Mr. Salter joins a line of  previous nominees that we thought there's an enormous amount of trickiness in the syntactic embeddings of, including:

Trent Reznor: When I look at people that I would like to feel have been a mentor or an inspiring kind of archetype of what I'd love to see my career eventually be mentioned as a footnote for in the same paragraph, it would be, like, Bowie.

Bernard-Henri Levy and his translator, Helène Breckman: And it is hard not to link this provocation, the deliberate circulation of these cartoons, the quasi-home-delivery of a Danish paper that no one could have guessed had so many readers in the Muslim world, it is hard not to link this self-inflicted blasphemy, this calculated offense (calculated, mind you, by the organizers of the distribution of the cartoons), it is hard not to link this blasphemy to a new planetary configuration, itself determined by three recent and major events.

Cartoon character Fred MacIntire: I'd hate to make payin' a man an idiotic sum of money to burn my wife into a fine powder and stick her in a $400 bowlin' trophy 'cuz she requested it into somethin' weird.

Andrew Ilachinsky: While EINSTein's rules are obviously more complicated than those of their elementary cellular automata brethren, it is nonetheless tempting to speculate about whether there exists — and, if so, what the properties are, of — a universal grammar of combat.

BBC News: A penguin chick that was hand-reared by zoo keepers in Devon who used a puppet to impersonate an adult dies.

The Daily Mirror: [H]e callously instructed his lawyers to add to her family's pain by implying the 13-year-old ran away because she was unhappy at home during days of cross examination.

Mark Steyn": I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in.

Josh Fruhlinger: Seriously, I assume that whoever hacked into servers of the market research company that's asking newspaper readers about what they want to see in Apartment 3-G and replaced all the survey responses with "PREGO PORN" is one of my readers, and I just want you to know that you're my hero.

Hob Bryan: What we have not done is to pass bill after bill after bill that was obviously unconstitutional just so we could all get on record one more time as casting another vote realizing that what was going to happen was someone would file suit the next day and the legislation would never take effect.

China Mieville: Those lapsed, busy, usually too tainted by secularism and the exhaustions of everyday life to attend with the regularity the faith they professed would prefer were all here.

Oliver Roeder: Justice Neil Gorsuch balked at the multifaceted empirical approach that the Democratic team bringing the suit is proposing be used to calculate when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far, comparing the metric to a secret recipe.

Paul Graham: It's safe to believe the people the people you believe are smart believe are smart are smart, but not safe to trust the people the people you trust trust.


  1. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 9:22 am

    Monty Python: I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not! And I'm sick and tired of being told that I am.

  2. Brett Reynolds said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 9:59 am

    How often is the prize awarded?

    [(myl) From the original post:

    Matthew suggests that Reznor deserves extra points because his sentence is "finished with a flourish of 'like.'" It surely is, even if Reznor seems to be a bit confused about where footnotes go, and so I hereby inaugurate the Trent Reznor Prize for Tricky Embedding, to be awarded intermittently.


  3. Rose Eneri said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 10:04 am

    @ Michèle Sharik Pituley

    Although I don't know who said your quote from Monty Python, I could hear John Cleese's voice the whole time I was reading it.

  4. D.O. said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 10:40 am

    Is it tricky, though
    (I can only tell you ( that we buy troubled companies( that (we think ) there's enormous amount of value (in the intellectual property in))))

    It's a lot of embeddings, but only one branching, no?

  5. D.O. said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 10:44 am

    "Branching" was a bad choice of word. I meant backtracking

  6. David Morris said,

    October 5, 2019 @ 2:59 pm

    It is made trickier by the first 'in', which seems to complete the sentence already.

    My variety of English needs "an" before "enormous" (really modifying "amount").

  7. unekdoud said,

    October 6, 2019 @ 6:48 am

    The rearranged "X in Y in Z" wording presents a complexity I do not find thrill in the consideration of.

  8. Aac said,

    October 6, 2019 @ 10:39 am

    Trent Reznor is very thoughtful and I am a big fan, but I am tired this year of hardly ever hearing anything from Trent, no interviews etc. I understand that he is a private person and I fully understand why, but I really miss Trent and his thoughtful musings and more from him

  9. Yuval said,

    October 6, 2019 @ 7:33 pm

    Could that last "in" be a phrasal particle of "buy", as in "buy-in"?

    One can hope, I guess?

  10. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    October 6, 2019 @ 9:01 pm

    @Rose: it was Graham Chapman, but either voice works. :-)

  11. rosie said,

    October 7, 2019 @ 12:47 am

    For me, the trickiness lies in the final relative clause. The "that" is a relativizer extracted from five levels deep: from within three nested noun phrases within two nested clauses.

    that [ we think [ there's [an enormous amount of [value in [the intellectual property in __ ]]] ] ]

    (I've taken the liberty of supplying the "an" that David Morris pointed out was lacking. And there's another tricky relative clause.)

    OK, I'd accept four, with "an enormous amount of" being the determiner of "value".

  12. Brett Reynolds said,

    October 7, 2019 @ 6:07 am

    But as far as I can tell it has not been awarded at all. There have only been intermittent nominations. I want a winner.

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