Mutilated currency examiners

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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.


  1. davep said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    "Mutilated-currency examiners"

    I have no idea why hyphens are eschewed by headline writers.

  2. Y said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    The dog eschewed the hyphens.

  3. Ellen K. said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    If I follow right, "mutilated currency examiners" was in the article, not the headline.

  4. Sarah Thomason said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Right, Ellen K, in the body of the article, not in the headline. But/and still no disambiguating hyphen.

  5. Rodger C said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    Are mutilated currency examiners something like harem eunuchs?

  6. David Morris said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    Would saying "an experienced examiner of mutilated currency" help?

  7. davep said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    Ellen K.:"If I follow right, "mutilated currency examiners" was in the article, not the headline."

    True. It means there is less excuse. My statement is still (it appears) valid.

    David Morris: "Would saying an experienced examiner of mutilated currency' help?"

    Yes (but I'd suggest that the hyphen would be good enough and shorter).

  8. Bobbie said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    My dog ate part of my passport. I guess the guy who called and asked me to explain why I had applied to another one was a "mutilated passport examiner". He laughed when I told me what had happened and said I didn't need to send back the gnawed passport.

  9. maidhc said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

    How do mutilated-currency examiners become experienced if only the already experienced ones can examine mutilated currency?

    Anyway, I thought the rule was that both serial numbers have to be present.

  10. Jonathan Gress-Wright said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

    I didn't read it as implying non-mutilated currency examiners didn't get experience, but that non-mutilated currency examiners wouldn't be consulted, regardless of their experience.

  11. Faldone said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    Still, it takes more work to misunderstand than to understand.

  12. Faldone said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    And, as I remember it. the rule is that if you have one serial number you get half the value. You only need both to get the full value.

  13. dainichi said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

    If "experienced" and "mutilated" modify the same thing ("currency examiner"), I'd like an "and", a "but", or at least a comma between them. Since there's not, the most natural parse to me is that "mutilated" modifies "currency".

    I guess if they're allowed to modify the same thing, we could also be talking about examiners of experienced mutilated currency.

  14. Richard said,

    April 8, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

    It's not about serial numbers; if you have clearly more than 50% of the bill, you can get the full value back (at a bank). That doesn't count as "mutilated currency".

  15. CNN Reader said,

    April 9, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    The other notable news story is this one:

    What in the world does "gusting" mean in this context?

  16. Mr Punch said,

    April 9, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    Agree with dainichi – and that's why what's happened to commas is so unfortunate. There should (continue to) be a difference between an experienced mutilated currency examiner and an experienced, mutilated currency examiner. I was taught that a comma between a pair of adjectives indicates that the order could be changed, no comma no change; but today I often see things like "little, red schoolhouse." There was considerable outcry some years ago when a new edition of Robert Frost's poems had "lovely, dark and deep," which a lot of people thought was not the same as "lovely dark and deep."

  17. Jeremy Wheeler said,

    April 9, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    Oh! My first thought on reading this was that the man was eaten by his dog…

  18. KevinM said,

    April 9, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    @Jeremy Wheeler. But that wouldn't be news …

  19. Teddy Snyder said,

    April 9, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    At the other extreme, I had an editor who apparently didn't know what an adjective was and placed a hyphen between every adjective and adjoining noun. I, the book author, had to go through the whole book and remove them. Could not believe publisher paid money to this person, whose identity– thank goodness for him/her– I never learned.

  20. JQ said,

    April 10, 2013 @ 2:24 am

    Maybe one way for blind people to tell the difference between US bills is by taste…

  21. davep said,

    April 10, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    CNN Reader: "What in the world does "gusting" mean in this context."

    The article you linked-to doesn't appear to have a clue what it is intended to mean (it just quotes it). Google doesn't come up with anything that seems to help.

  22. Faldone said,

    April 10, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    @CNN Reader:

    Urban Dictionary lists only "Interesting, and/or attractive."

    A) This doesn't seem to fit the context of the article


    2) it gets 17 thumbs up and 28 thumbs down.

  23. Ellen K. said,

    April 11, 2013 @ 12:42 pm


    "gust" would be the word to look up, not gusting. One of the entries in the Urban dictionary for "gust" seems to fit.

  24. RamusT said,

    December 30, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    @CNN Reader:

    "Battery charges" is another fun one, especially with that URL. Her face's battery charges?

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