Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Crash blossoms of 1943

Quick, sports fans: Identify the subject, verb, direct object and indirect object in the main hed.

(For reference, it's a follow to the case discussed below.)

You need some inside baseball for this one, but in a way, the inside baseball makes it worse. A "smearer," in Trib-speak,* is a member of the "smear press" or a follower of the New Deal "smear and purge" campaign -- in other words, anyone who raises a voice against the the colonel and his kin or otherwise looks like an ally of the craven internationalists in the White House. So my first inclination is to read "deal" as a noun modifier (downstyle would distinguish "Deal" from "deal"). And because "damages" seems an unusual way to talk about the result of the lawsuit, I sorted that one as a verb: Deal smearers damaged!

The crash blossom will be with us always. It may look perfectly clear when it leaves the desk and still leave the outside world scratching its head in disbelief.

* Informal style -- not the official stuff, like "altho" and "thru" or the unusual capitalizations in "Supreme court" and "iron cross."


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

That one is great.

2:17 PM, August 03, 2010  
Anonymous Picky said...

Oh lord, sorry, but from across the Atlantic - can you explain further?

2:46 PM, August 03, 2010  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

"Deal smearers" are people who were smearing the New Deal, FDR's package of social programs.

First reading: (Some) libel was damaging those who were smearing the New Deal ... whoops, no.

Actual reading: Damages from some libel suit have dealt another rebuff to those smearing the New Deal.

5:02 PM, August 03, 2010  
Blogger Juliette B. said...

I must spend too much time reading headlinese... This was perfectly clear to me on first reading.

But why would you read "libel" as a subject?

1:31 AM, August 04, 2010  
Anonymous Ed Latham said...

I fell for 'Libel Damages Deal' as a convincing-looking noun phrase and spent the next 30 seconds looking for a verb. That's the trouble with reading too many British headlines - you start seeing noun pile-ups even when there aren't any.

5:40 AM, August 04, 2010  

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