Foregrounding forearms

Last month we had a news story whose headline suggested it was about a disembodied leg that knocked on a door for help. Following in its frisky footsteps* is a disarming report about a “Huge arsenal of forearms discovered in Otahuhu”:

Well, not really. What was meant, of course, was “firearms”. A typing lapse was followed by an editorial oversight, or several, resulting in what Stephen Bell (who brought it to my attention) described as a “spellchecker-proof typo”.

The content has been wiped from the original page, but a Google search for “huge arsenal of forearms” throws a few cached pages our way. It’s too good a typo to be allowed to disappear, and I can’t help but wonder who shouldered the blame for allowing it to elbow its way into publication.

* It actually dates from December 2009, but I didn’t see it then.

13 Responses to Foregrounding forearms

  1. Claudia says:

    Actually, I could do with a few extra forearms. Providing they’re in good conditions and selling cheap. Mine get awfully tired at times. I wonder if I would have to pay duty fees?

  2. wisewebwoman says:

    I imagine much forelock tugging by the aforementioned shoulderer.
    XO
    WWW

  3. Stan says:

    Claudia: A few extra forearms would come in very handy. I’m sure they wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    WWW: Indeed! It was an ‘armless enough mistake, but the surreal image it conjured up has given it legs.

  4. Fran says:

    Fantastic. This is the kind of thing that livens up my day something rotten.

  5. Stan says:

    Fran: I’ll be keeping an eye out (figuratively) for more examples of surreal typos.

  6. I reckon the police were tipped off about the arsenal. After a;; forewarned is forearmed…

    It’s taken me this long to think of that one. Not worth it eh?

  7. Stan says:

    That’s true Jams, and I’m glad you said it — because I was going to but didn’t! I wanted to adapt the saying into the post title, but I couldn’t do it satisfactorily. So instead I brought in foregrounding because it has a linguistic meaning, though a fairly obscure one.

  8. Yes, too good a typo to remain cached!

  9. Stan says:

    I thought so too, Welshcakes! Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Tim says:

    And this is exactly why proofreading beets automated spell checking!

  11. Stan says:

    Tim: You’ve hut the nail on the bead.

  12. Andy says:

    Got bliss the spool chucker that lot this won through.

  13. Stan says:

    Got bliss them indeed, Andy — unless they got enough bliss already.

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