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August 16, 2004

Why they call it the Grauniad: Britian

Avedon, via AIM: “It’s hopeless. They can’t even use a spill-chicken.” [09:50 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Why they call it the Grauniad::

Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:02 PM:

Nice to see that modern spool-chucking technology hasn't changed the Grauniad. :-)

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:14 PM:

And Grate Britten we'll nave air bee the say 'em.

Phill ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:25 PM:

The name Gruaniad comes from the time many years ago when the name of the paper was mis-spelt on the top of one of the pages.

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:18 AM:

The New York Smite would never do that.

Andrew Kanaber ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:48 AM:

The name Gruaniad comes from the time many years ago when the name of the paper was mis-spelt on the top of one of the pages.

As far as I know they never went that far, it was just what people joked would be next given the quality of their proofreading. I remember they once rendered the prime minister John Major as John Mayor, which suggests that perhaps they do occasionally use spell checkers.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:17 AM:

John - I think you may have meant to say, "The Monkeys Write would never do that."

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 05:14 AM:

I just went over to the MBTA (Boston mass transit) homepage, for reasons that will be apparent to Patrick and most of you, and encountered a large panel reading:

"Please visit Transit Updates for the lastest service changes."

Sic, sic, sic, as they say.

dave heasman ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 06:02 AM:

You'll notice the misprint was in a header. Back in the 70s when misprints were rife, it was assumed that it was the work of right-wing saboteurs. Or Situationists, if there's a difference. A small crew of subversive subs. It gave right-wingers an easy route to dismissing what was in the paper.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 06:53 AM:

"The Grauniad". Isn't that David Eddings' new six-book series?

Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 07:30 AM:

Riding home on the train past the Baltimore Arena last night, I noticed that their big electronic sign was advertising a concert by "Bette Milder."

Do you think it's a Bette Midler impersonator, with some of the brassiness toned down?

Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 09:37 AM:

The Boston Globe's had some great typos lately, including a headline about "isloationists".

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 11:19 AM:

This all makes me feel much better about my college newspaper, The Oberlin Review, which in one issue misspelled the college President's name (Nancy Dye) as "Die," "Dey" and "Dy" all on the front page! I deny any responsibility: I was a photographer.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 11:27 AM:

Mike, your comment reminded me of the time Gloria Steinem was taken ill while riding the T in Boston, somehow fouling up the Monday morning commute.

The headline read:

Sick Transit Gloria Monday.

(No, I didn't make this up. No, it's not true AFAIK.)

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 11:40 AM:

Xopher -- given that the story usedta be told about Gloria Swanson (and, as I recall, shows up in Isaac's joke book so referenced), I suspect it's not true.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 11:55 AM:

Mike, 2000 years from now the Asimovites will claim that it happened twice, once to each Gloria. Then someone will make a silly TV series claiming that the entire Latin language was invented by aliens or time travellers, and carefully structured just to support that joke.

One story that IS true is that Diana Ross once gave a concert in Central Park, and it was rained out. She announced from the stage that she had to end the concert, but stayed there singing while everyone left -- she was soaking wet. This action on her part was widely credited with preventing violence during the unhappy exodus of the crowd. The Post printed a big picture of her on its front page, with the headline:

Diana Rains Supreme

Needless to say, this was before the Murdocking of the Post, when there were still people there who could make a pun like that without spraining their interaural muscles.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:17 PM:

Here's one I found recently and particularly enjoyed...Prime Publishing (about whose business I know nothing), has a typically obnoxious Flash intro on the above website. The opening text (with sentimental electric keyboard chords pleading in the background) is as follows:

"Call us If you need our help. Prime Publishing Service. When You Image is Critical"

Uh-huh. I'll get right on the phone, 'cause I Image are Critical.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:36 PM:

Wow, that's outstanding. Me sign up with them right away.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:48 PM:

Wow. Speaking of the New York Smite, check out what I just got off their front page:

Now I haved seen it all.

Bad day for proofreaders, I guess...

Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:03 PM:

On any given day, the Kansas City Star can guarantee at least one error. Their most common one is homonyms, I've seen hair when they mean hare, etc. And the more technical the article, the more likely a misstep.

In fact, my mother-in-law, upon retiring from her position as a technical editor / scientific secretary at U. Kan. has taken it upon herself to write the Star every time the screw up. Good hobby.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:07 PM:

Mercury is retrograde. Take THAT, Astrology debunkers!

Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:08 PM:

Not from the press, but I must admit a fondness for an online comment I came across that said:

"I defiantly need a new thesaurus!"

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:20 PM:

Skwid - Maybe I missed something, but all I saw in that screen shot was an archaism (use of an apostrophe in S.U.V.'s to form the plural) and a word that's often believed not to be a word (normalcy).

The apostrophe is most likely an artifact of the NYT's stylebook. Normalcy is just a poor choice of words - better to duck the controversy and recast the sentence.

The Grey Lady is pretty slow to acknowledge the changing times. Remember the uproar when they adopted "Ms"? And, unlike most newspapers, they use Mr. Ms. Dr. or some other title every time they refer to someone.

Kaitiana ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:32 PM:

Larry: I think he is referring to the "Grimy Reality" that Floridians are facing, as opposed to the "Grim Reality" that most people would be facing. Though, to give them credit, I'm sure the cleanup from Charley IS going to be pretty grimy!

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:43 PM:

It must be like "Paris In The The Spring" -- some people just don't see it. The typo is "haved" for "have" in the text underneath the headline.

Having seen the edges of the damage done by Andrew in 1992, I'm sure "grimy reality" was entirely intentional.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:46 PM:

The classic example of New York Times style, of course, is the review of Paradise by the Dashboard Light in which the great newspaper referred to "Mr. Loaf."

Quite possibly apocryphal, but a perennial nonetheless.

Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:04 PM:

My favorite NYT misprint was actually fixed the next day in the corrections column: "An article in yesterday's Times contained an error. The original quote referred to poisonous snakes, not poisonous snacks."

That's a paraphrase, of course. How I wish I had kept the original!

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:05 PM:

DOH! And there was even a clue in Skwid's comment. I guess there's a reason that some people are editors and others aren't.

Kaitiana ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:34 PM:

Oh my...I feel silly now. I noticed the haved in the link but not in the story! I just thought he was being facetious. Normally I'm excellent at catching typoes and errors, but they got me this time.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:39 PM:

Kaitiana: You and their proofreader! Took me a couple tries too.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:41 PM:

For those who missed its front page appearance, the typo in question can now be found in the National News section.

PNH, amusingly, I didn't see the "Paris" typo on first scan...but I saw it out of the corner of my eye when I got to the second line.

We're coming dangerously close to a redux of the "Spelling Gifted" conversation from way back when on Making Light...

Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 03:03 PM:

The ATM at my North Carolina bank asked me to

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 03:18 PM:

Patrick, I have definitely seen a reference in the Times to Iggy Pop as "Mr. Pop," which I suppose Michael Jackson might consider -lese majeste.- The same stylebook would presumably require that a certain Roger Zelazny character be identified as "Mr. Atman."

Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 03:26 PM:

Bad day for proofreaders, I guess...

I'd rather like to see the athletes hurdling themselves. Jumping over oneself is so much more a challenge than jumping over other things.

Glen Fisher

HP ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 03:52 PM:

The Smite link is an apostrophic minefield. I'd think that in addition to S.U.V.'s (which, while ugly, could be justified by referring to the stylebook), Lil' and Olympics' could probably be argued vigorously by any two randomly selected copyeditors. IMO, Olympics functions as a proper noun, not a plural; I'd prefer either Olympics's or Olympic Games'. Lil' should propably have the apostrophe internally, in place of the tt: Li'l. But as it's an adopted proper name, I defer to Ms. Kim.

The Gloria Swanson-Steinem story obliquely reminds me of the time, back in 1959 or '60, when The Ornette Coleman Quartet was scheduled to play at the Cincinnati Gardens. Posters all over town advertised "Free Jazz Concert." The show was cancelled after police had to turn away thousands of people who insisted on being admitted without paying for a ticket.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 04:21 PM:

Thanks, HP. I collect examples of scope ambiguity, and that's a particularly nice one.

Steve ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 05:58 PM:

Wow, that's outstanding. Me sign up with them right away.

It's good to see an immigrant's business make good; I'm sure the Bizarro-American community is very proud of Prime Publishing.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 06:56 PM:

//gives world-weary sigh, yawns slightly//--You just see the ones that we proofreaders miss...

I remember DIANA RAINS SUPREME. A good one. Of course, it's still a long way from Horror House Shocker: VICTIM FED TO SEX SLAVES [the Gary Heidnick case] or DEADFELLA [a slain mobster]

erik nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 07:20 PM:

Favorite accidental headline from the papers I work for: Parks Commissioner Reviews Actions After Drowning

(I guess his life flashed before his eyes...)

Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 09:48 PM:

The classic example of New York Times style, of course, is the review of Paradise by the Dashboard Light in which the great newspaper referred to "Mr. Loaf."

I had to look that one up. Don't read further if you don't want to know.

William Safire tracked it down in his Nov. 12, 1995 On Language column. He says:

The editor who speaks for The New York Times in these matters is Allan M. Siegal. "I'm reminded of the legend," he says, "about our reference to Meat Loaf, the rock singer, as 'Mr. Loaf.' When I first heard it, my reaction was that it was too good to check. But I checked, and it turns out that we were only kidding around."

I dug a further and found a July 17, 1991 Stephen Holden review of Dead Ringer titled, "Is He Called Just Plain Meat Or Should It Be Mr. Loaf?" The beginning of the article would seem to suggest the source of the legend:

"May I call you Meat?" asks an unctuous interviewer who pops up periodically throughout "Dead Ringer," a movie about the travails of being the rock star Meat Loaf. "Yes, if I can call you Ernie," the star replies and goes on to regale the credulous reporter with the first of several bogus stories about his past.
James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 11:53 PM:

It isn't a typo. The baby's name is 'Britian.'

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 12:17 AM:

If so, then the Guardian has a lot to answer for, having changed the spelling to "Britain" roughly an hour after the Electrolite post went up.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 10:27 AM:

So, now, he wonders, is "Americas Revolution" is correct?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 10:44 AM:

Erik, it is if it's a noun phrase consisting of plural noun-modifier followed by common noun (the capitalization is dubious), and used to mean a revolution occurring simultaneously in North and South America.

But you duped the word 'is' in your post.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 11:35 AM:

You see, simple transpositions, unless they make an amusing new word, are not enough for typo junkies. No, the things to savor are when "greek type" makes it into the final printout ("Headline goes here"), or even better, as the NY Post's police blotter did a month or two ago, a note gets set:--something like: "(jr--leave this in for now. We're checking to see if it's the right unit)"

Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 11:39 AM:

I vaguely remember seeing a concert review in a British newspaper that referred to Mr Loaf, but it was fairly obvious from context that the reviewer was being arch. I imagine that it's a joke that's just too good to resist.

Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 02:59 PM:

A few years ago the Edinburgh Evening News carried a story about splitting the Hospital for Sick Children (locally known as the Sick Kids) between two sites. The front-page headline read:


Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 04:39 PM:

Ken MacLeod: The spirit of King Solomon lives!

Alan ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 05:26 PM:

The name "Grauniad" was invented by the satirical weekly Private Eye in an era when the Guardian had a deserved reputation for lax typo control. Like The Daily Telegraph became the Daily Torygraph.

Private Eye had a wonderful cartoon during one of the Provisional IRA bombing campaigns where a Fleet Street newspaper press room is alerted to a bombing outside the window, (a cartoon cloud and the word "BAGN!", and one of the journalists in the room says "My God, they hit the Guardian!"

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 04:24 AM:

Our local newspaper, the Weirton Daily Times, is also sometimes notorious for its typos and other errors. They've had the wrong date on their masthead, and the right date but wrong year on inside pages. They frequently refer to one of the local Catholic churches as "Scared Heart." I used to write a weekly column of library-related news, and one week the heading for my column was over an article about a restaurant, which was just to the right of the headline for the restaurant article which, naturally, was over my column.

And in publishing the 1992 sample ballot, which I found a few weeks ago while looking up something else, they notified the voters of our county that:


But I think my favorite WDT error is this headline which I came across in that same search. From page 1, October 24, 1992:

"Backround checks delaying appoval of race track deal"

Peter ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 08:08 AM:

Whether or not the baby was called Britian, Google shows us that this is hardly a solitary case:
look at all these search results!

Kinda astounding.

Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2004, 08:52 PM:

The Guardian has a 'Corrections and Clarifications' column which can be compelling reading. But my favourite correction of all time was one read out on the News Quiz a few months ago, from a local paper: "Last week we reported that long-service award winners who had completed five years at Legoland had received a large five-figure sum. In fact, they received a large figure 'five' made out of Lego".

german ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 07:42 PM:

The New York Smite would never do that....

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 08:13 PM:

My favorite recent headline disaster was from one of the two Seattle papers last week:

Pitch Hits Ichiro, Gets Concussion

Now that's having a hard head.

Kevin Purcell ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 04:51 PM:

Right-wing situationists or crappy union hot-type setters? You decide. After all The Grauniad was the last of the broadsheets to go "electronic".

I suspect most of the typos were at the (manual) typesetting stage after the editing. Perhaps the 'setters were inhaling too much lead vapour?

Julia Jones finds spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 11:55 AM:

Oh look, the pedo spammer strikes again...