Friday, February 08, 2008

Emergency clue drop request

Rough night on the hed front downtown, eh?

The fun element in the lede hed here is the deck: "His lawyer hints at extortion." What's that mean when you come to it cold? Well, what does "hint at [noun]" usually mean?

"...whenever Trond encounters the mysterious Lars, who hints at violence" (Village Voice, 7/18/07)
"Try to open a business that hints at sex, drugs and rock & roll, however - in the next county, mind you - and a full-scale e-mail meltdown ensues" (Florida Times Union, 2/17/07)
"He's a different type of runner than predecessor Kenneth Darby and seems to hint at going the distance on virtually every play" (Huntsville Times, 9/2/07)
"... futuristic staccato beats full of stuttering sound effects that hint at violence" (New York Times, 4/25/05)

So when you "hint at" something, it's something you can do, or offer, or might want to do. Not, as you might find if you hang on for the 13th graf, something you go on talk radio to hint that the other side has done.

Can it get worse? Hoo hah!
of crack
So says Mukasey:
Early outs a risk

The main hed could be one of two things. As an editorial, it'd be imperative: You should, or you must, or the Powers That Be should, do something. In what's known as a Flying Verb construction, it's a subject-free way of saying somebody or some agency has done something:
Seize Gus Hall, Vanishing Red, In Mexico*
Quiz 8 in Ax Fest
Judging from the lede:
Attorney General Michael Mukasey is to ask Congress to block the early release from prison of many of the 20,000 crack-cocaine offenders who can seek reduced sentences under a rule to take effect March 3.

... we don't know quite what to make of it. Does the deck help? Not really. "So says Mukasey" could be a slightly baroque way of trying (and failing; attribution shouldn't cross decks) to pin the opinion at top to the AG. But then whose opinion is "Early outs a risk"? The hed's trying to making two fact claims, and it only has enough attribution for one.

We could go on, but let's not.
* Yes, kiddies, we really did used to write 'em like that.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home