Friday, 30 December 2011

Mississippi literacy program iss lacking

At first I thought this was a joke.


Nope. 'Fraid not.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A bit of a joke

There are 10 types of people in the world.

Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Interesting typo

Thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald for this article.


The woman's husband paid it?

Sounds like AD208 was the correct date after all.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Santas ' grottostrophe

Spotted in Burnley town centre last Christmas.


Not in the right place. Not an apostrophe. Not even a comma.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Gifts R U'S

When I was walking along the beach in Spain one evening recently, this sign jumped right off the shop front and hit me between the eyes.



The plural of cadeau (which is the French word for gift) is cadeaux, not cadeaus.

If the plural was cadeaus (and I've written it twice now so surely you would have noticed) there would be no apostrophe between the u and the s.

The mistake of inserting an apostrophe before the s in plurals is often made in written English.

But, in French, apostrophes are only ever used to replace a missing letter. There's no such thing as an apostrophe to denote possession in that language.

I wonder what letter the shop owner thinks is missing. The x perhaps?

And why is presents not written as present's? Such inconsistency.

Finally, the shop is in Spain. Why use the French word in the first place?

English, fair enough. Many English people go on holiday to the Costa del Sol. Indeed, many live there.

But it's not as if the place is teeming with French people. After all, they have their own south coast to enjoy. If anything, the word should have been the German for gifts. There were hundreds of Germans there. So Geschenke would be my choice. That would be Geschenkes, or rather Geschenke's, in the shop owner's parlance.

OK, it's beginning to sound like a rant now so I'll stop before it gets out of hand.

But how did I notice the error in the first place?

It's a gift.

Monday, 19 December 2011

No tea for Widow Twankey

Thanks to John H for pointing this one out which he read on MailOnline last week.

An unfortunate typo was published in the Whitley Bay Playhouse Aladdin pantomime programme.

The T was missing from Widow Twankey's name.

Seems like someone at the printers decided to toss it off.

Friday, 16 December 2011

'Ave a Maria

There you were last Monday, casually browsing The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila website, as you do, hoping to find a link so that you could watch the installation of the city's new Archbishop, Luis Antonio Tagle.

You came across this message.

'There will be live streaming of the Rite on www.tvmaria.com and www.quiapochurch.com'

Excellent.


Well, yes, excellent if you chose the second link.

If you chose the first link, however, probably not quite so excellent...


...depending on your inclination I suppose.

But certainly not what you were expecting.

Maria's from Liverpool, by the way, in case you were wondering, and offers hardcore transgender videos and an escort service.

Manila's Catholic leadership has yet to comment on the typo mix up between the .com and .net sites.

I guess they're too busy being enthralled by the bewildering antics of a bloke parading around in infelicitous clothing.

Nah. They're probably watching Maria.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The final cross word

I'm finishing off the current series of acrostics with this article which The Guardian published in July 2011, just after the closure of The News Of The World. It features that paper's final crossword where several hidden messages and keywords were revealed once the puzzle was solved.

The article includes several links to other acrostics, some of which I've mentioned in recent posts.



So, did you spot the hidden message? As the caption says, the message they've 'left'?

No?

Well, I'm not going to spell it out.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Aut-acrostic

Here's another hidden message, this one by the TV presenter James May. It was published in Autocar's Road Test Year Book on 23 September 1992.


If you can't make it out, the red initial letters from each consecutive page, with appropriate punctuation added, read...

So you think it's really good, yeah? You should try making the bloody thing up; it's a real pain in the arse.

Thanks are due to Sarah, aka minervamoon for taking the time and trouble to scan the individual pages and make up the final image shown above.

She says 'I really don't know how they could have missed that before they put it out for publication, though, unless they just trusted him enough not to mess with his own segment. The preceding four spreads spelled out ROAD TEST YEAR BOOK in exactly the same fashion, and even were one not aware of the trick, it just seems natural to keep on reading the red capitals.'

May was sacked as a result of his prank, but only because some eagle-eyed Autocar readers wrote in pointing out the acrostic and asking if they'd won a car for doing so.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Frank Peters 1 John Pifer 0

I'm indebted to Peter Sands for this glorious example of an acrostic and the first one I remember hearing about. Up until now I'd never actually seen the page and I was beginning to think that the story was apocryphal. I'm really pleased to find it isn't.

The events took place at the Darlington-based Northern Echo and they centre around Frank Peters, the night editor responsible for the arrangement of the text on the front page of the paper. I've taken the following details from Sands's blog.

In 1982 a brash Canadian called John Pifer was employed as executive editor by the Echo owners with a brief from head office to 'sort out that nest of vipers'. He managed to upset or sack just about all of the old school. His prized head though was that of night-editor Frank Peters, a martinet who ruled the subs room. Peters sported a handlebar moustache, occasionally wore a kilt, and was a stickler for accuracy and style.

Eventually even the formidable Peters was ground down by Pifer and decided to quit for a position at The Times with his old editor Harold Evans. On his last day in charge, Peters ran a leg of shorts on the front of the broadsheet as usual. But this time the first letter of each headline, when read vertically, spelled out...well, you can see for yourself.


Peters rode off on his moped for the last time, leaving instructions that whatever was changed on Page 1, the shorts had to stay. This alerted the composing room overseer to the fact that something was amiss. He spotted the offending headlines and asked the subs to change them. In support of Peters, they refused.

The fallout was amazing. Letters were sent to The Times advising that Peters was an undesirable. His official leaving party, after working for the Echo man and boy, was cancelled. Those subs who refused to change the shorts were said to have undermined the paper's editorial judgement and were forever tarnished.

Apparently advertisers had been upset and threatened to boycott the paper (although in reality it became a collector's item) and for years later the group's executives would only discuss the whole affair in hushed tones.

Frank Peters died in 2004. I can't find any reference to John Pifer.

Maybe Frank's message had the desired effect.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Hidden message

Monday's post was about the insertion of an inappropriate word into a newspaper article. In that particular case the word was clearly visible, but it reminded me of the more subtle methods that disgruntled journalists have used in order to slip messages through sub-editors' nets.

Acrostics have the advantage of being difficult to spot, especially in the high-pressure, deadline-sensitive environment of the newsroom.

One of the prime examples is Stephen Pollard's parting message to Richard Desmond, the new owner of the Daily Express, in his final, apparently innocuous, editorial in that paper about organic farming.


Difficult to spot, that is, until you've seen it. And then it stands out like a sore thumb.

I have to make it clear at this point that the emboldening of the first letter of each sentence as shown above did not appear in the original article which, unsurprisingly, doesn't appear to be available online.

Unfortunately for Pollard, his acrostic backfired. The Times, the paper for which he was leaving the Express, cancelled his contract as soon as his ploy became common knowledge.

In fact, before he started his new job.

On Friday at 6am there'll be another post. Get it first on Facebook and twitter. The links are at the top of the page.

Monday, 5 December 2011

WTF is that doing there?

For those of you with a sensitive nature, please look away now.

OK. Made you look, made you stare...

A small but significant piece of text somehow popped up in an article which was printed in last Thursday's edition of The Greenville News, South Carolina's daily morning paper.


By the way, someone else has highlighted it, not me. I think it's clear enough without.

An apology appeared on the paper's website later the same day.


So, what's the story here? A disgruntled employee? An intoxicated sub editor?

I don't suppose we'll ever find out but it certainly smacks of axe grinding to me.

I see that the report comes via The Associated Press, the organisation that produces the widely-used AP Stylebook, the reference book on standards used by broadcasters, magazines and public relations businesses the world over. It includes sections on capitalisation, abbreviation, spelling, numerals and usage.

F*ck knows if it includes a section on this issue.

At least Paul Newberry, the AP Sports Writer and innocent author of the article (without the addition), saw the funny side of it.


The next post will be at 6am this Wednesday when I'll be finding a more subtle message than this one in a newspaper article.

Join me on Facebook or twitter to be among the first to see it. The links are at the top of the page.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Men of the cloth

I had to smile when I saw this.



Unfortunately, as with so many critics of other people's typos, the author is not without error himself or herself.

The picture shows a man dressed in what appears to be a medieval tunic. Hardly a "bible times" (sic) outfit. In fact, probably about 1000 years off the mark. And not even, I think, made from muslin.

I take the point and enjoyed the piece.

But stone throwing in a glass house is always a risky business.

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