I was listening to the Today programme on Monday morning, the day after Rafael Nadal had won his record-breaking eighth French Open title. Evan Davies described how in his ecstasy Nadal had collapsed to the floor. “He was lying prostate on the clay of Roland Garros,” he said.
“I’m sorry, that should of course be prostrate.”
It’s childish, I know, but I love these accidental rudenesses. Davis’s colleague Jim Naughtie once memorably Spoonerised “Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary” (Hunt was on Monday’s show shortly after the “prostate” event: “Don’t make the mistake that you’ve made before, Jim,” he warned, not unreasonably.)
Perhaps oddly it’s usually in print that these things happen. The LA Times once added an extra T to a “But” at the beginning of the sentence, which in itself is only slightly funny, but when the whole sentence is “Butt cracks appeared in Lamb’s public persona“, it becomes much better.
It’s not just newspapers, of course. The author Susan Andersen once apologised to readers of her novel Baby, I’m Yours, thus: “I apologise to anyone who bought my on-sale ebook of Baby, I’m Yours and read on pg 293: ‘He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he sh**ted on the ground’.” That should, of course, have read “shifted”.
Sometimes it’s not the typos but the type itself: if you don’t know what “kerning” is, you really should, because doing it badly it leads to problems like this, which my graphic-designer sister pointed out to me:
I should admit that we, even here at the august Daily Telegraph, are not immune. It was my sad duty once to have to correct the headline on a story about the Large Hadron Collider:
Anyway. There’s absolutely no point to this blog post, except that I’ve been gently chuckling about a couple of them for a while and I wanted to write them down. As ever, add your favourites below, etc. Oh, and because of Muphry’s Law, it is a racing certainty that I’ve made at least one hilarious mistake in here somewhere, so please do point it/them out.
• AND THE ERROR HAS BEEN SPOTTED: It was Evan Davis, not Jim Naughtie, who got the prostate/prostrate thing wrong. Sorry Jim.