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Another unfortunate crash blossom

"KOMO headline editor, your phrasing needs work," tweeted CJ Alexander regarding this deeply regrettable crash blossom (KOMO North Seattle News, July 11, 2012):

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Rare Finnish Crash Blossom

From Miika Sillanpää: A Finnish tabloid presented this beautiful crash blossom today: Disregarding the tragic subject, it can be read either as "Father kills his daughter's dog with hammer" OR "Father kills his daughter with dog's hammer" Well-tended crash blossoms such as this are exceedingly rare in the Finnish-language media, so it was a pretty […]

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The Beeb's latest crash blossom

BBC News is a reliable source for the misleading headlines we know as crash blossoms (e.g., here, here, here). The latest comes to us via a Twitter tip from Ben Lillie, who retweeted Mikko Hypponen's double-take: "What took down the US drone? Iranian TV shows did! Or maybe I'm misreading this." Here's the headline: Iranian […]

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Defining "crash blossom"

It's been suggested by some commenters that the headline discussed in this post of mine isn't really a crash blossom; see Boris, for example. What's the definition, then? Boris thinks crash blossoms must "have a possible reading with the intended meaning". But I think my case satisfies that criterion.

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Crash blossom du jour, from the Beeb

The top headline in the Business section of BBC News currently reads: Greece fears batter markets again Sean Purdy, who sent this one in to Language Log Plaza, writes, "However hard I try to parse this correctly, I cannot suppress the mental image of traders buying and selling the raw materials for Yorkshire pud – […]

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BBC signals crash blossom threat

Josh Fruhlinger sends along today's entry in the "crash blossom" sweepstakes, a headline from the BBC News website: SNP signals debate legal threat Crash blossoms (as we've discussed here and here) are infelicitously worded headlines that cause confusion due to a garden-path effect. Here we begin with SNP, which British readers at least will recognize […]

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Brit noun pile heds: "Crown" edition

While traveling in the UK, Nancy Friedman spotted the tabloid headline "CROWN DIANA CRASH OUTRAGE" on the front page of The Sun. "Crash blossoms," as we've often discussed here on Language Log, are headlines that are so ambiguously phrased that they suggest alternate (comical) readings. (The headline that gave "crash blossoms" their name appeared in […]

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Flop oil

Ruki Sayid & Ben Glaze, "Boris Johnson returns from Saudi Arabia empty handed after flop oil beg trip",  The Mirror 3/17/2022: Boris Johnson is landing back in Britain empty-handed this morning after his oil begging trip to the Gulf flopped – and Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West. Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine has […]

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Headline words

The current xkcd: The mouseover title: "Roundly-condemned headlinese initiative shuttered indefinitely."

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Tesseract Space Stone

Penny Arcade for 6/14/2021:

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Headline ambiguity of the week

This one depends on word-sense ambiguity rather than on the structural and part-of-speech issues in the ambiguous headlines we've called crash blossoms. "After 9 months, women’s body to get new head", Times of India 8/26/2020: Nine months after being headless and non-functional, the Goa State Commission for Women is set to get a new chairperson. […]

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Chris Waigl helps fire managers

Chris Waigl is a longtime friend of Language Log — among her many accomplishments is the creation of the Eggcorn Database in 2005 (with contributions from Arnold Zwicky and me). These days she conducts post-doctoral research in the Boreal Fires team of the Alaska EPSCoR Fire and Ice project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, […]

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"Hospitals named after sandwiches kill five"

Sherlocution Holmes is an entertaining UK-based Twitter presence with a bio that reads, "Consultant detective tracking down the best (and worst!) linguistics and language examples." Many of the tweets are humorous illustrations of structural or semantic ambiguity, including many examples of "crash blossoms" — those double-take headlines that are ambiguous enough to be laughably misinterpreted. […]

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