Errors and Omissions: Can you only be stabbed in a frenzied attack?

Our legendary pedant on hunting in and outdoors, the art of not giving everything away, and Boris Johnson's sporting achievements

Share
Related Topics

Vladimir Putin, according to a news story published on Monday, “has over the years been shown horse riding, swimming, scuba-diving, playing ice hockey and indulging in outdoor hunting”.

Eh? What is “outdoor hunting”? Would that be as opposed to indoor hunting? The latter, I suppose, is what the Russian President does when he has mislaid his cufflinks. You can understand that he wouldn’t want TV cameras present at such moments of domestic omnishambles.

Cliché of the week

When someone suffers several wounds from a knife, what sort of attack is that? Why, frenzied, of course. So it was in a news headline published on Tuesday: “British football coach stabbed to death in frenzied New York attack.” In this case, it was only the opinion of the headline writer that the attacker was in a frenzy (“The rage or excitement of a paroxysm of mania” – Oxford English Dictionary). The story below made no mention of it. Had the unfortunate man fallen victim to a blunt instrument, the attack would of course have been “brutal” rather than “frenzied”.

Good shot

One of the great Westerns, John Ford’s late masterpiece The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, pops up from time to time on television. Some months ago, it featured in this column, when somebody had written a TV preview item which disclosed a crucial plot twist.

It is only fair, then, to record that last Saturday’s Radar supplement carried a spoiler-free summary that artfully managed to give a good idea of what the film is like without telling the reader anything that a first-time viewer would not want to know. Errors and Omissions Gold Star, First Class.

Down the sewerage

I am grateful to Jeff Baldock for pointing out this, from a commentary on the John Terry racism saga, published last Saturday: “You speculate at what point, if ever, the swill of sewerage will abate.” The stuff that runs through sewers is called sewage. “Sewerage” is a piece of town hall jargon that has no place in a news report: it means the provision of sewers, or a system of sewers. The Shorter Oxford admits that “sewerage” can also mean “sewage”, but dictionaries don’t prescribe; they only describe the words people use. We should aspire to the best usage.

Tough toff

Thursday’s sketch from the Tory conference referred to “Eton fives, a terrifyingly pointless means of getting up close and personal with other boys while trying to scrape their skin off with a brick wall (one at which Boris, unsurprisingly, is said to have excelled)”.

Eton fives is not like that. It is not totally unlike squash, played in a court that supposedly reproduces some historic corner of the Eton College buildings. (I know all about this depressing game, having been made to play it at school.) The game at which Boris Johnson excelled is the Eton wall game, which is not totally unlike rugby (and is played nowhere but Eton, on a strip of ground about 5m wide and 110m long). Wikipedia informs me that Boris was Keeper of the College Wall, no less.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Etch, a Sketch

Jane Merrick
 

Something wrong with the Conservative Party’s game plan

John Rentoul
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing