The Times’ spelling bee

A headline in The Times, page 49 today: “Public prosecutor can issue arrrest (sic) warrant”.  With my mild dyslexia I often have to look at the typos published in Private Eye several times to get them.  But this one just leapt off the page.

Three “r’s” in arrest? Is that coded message from the The Times to its bosses? Rebecca, Rupert and the third is…?

What happened to the page sub?

I had to rely on subs to get it right in my copy.  One of my worst as Editor was allowing “they’re” in a head rather than “their”.  One of my funniest was misspelling my own name in the application to be Editor: from then on I was known as “Shrape”.  I got the job.

We used to have subs on the magazine, readers at the typesetters who loved to catch what the subs had missed, and a reader at the printers.  It made his day if he found something that had slipped through those two checks.


You have to build compensation mechanisms if you are challenged by spelling.   Take “their” and “they’re” and “there”.  There’s an “i” in their so it’s about ownership, that’s how I remember it.

What’s your worst?

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