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Hot enough for you?

It’s above 90 degrees in Baltimore today, with humidity approaching a like level, and we have been warned to expect two more days of the same.

Naturally, The Sun will be informing its readers that it is hot outside, a service we provide every summer. The reporter who gets this coveted assignment labors under the obligation to say something fresh on the topic, which usually amounts to a description of how hot it is.

My own favorite hot-weather metaphor comes not from the paper but from a fellow parishioner at the un-air-conditioned Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill.

Josephine DeButts, daughter and granddaughter of rectors of the parish, is in her 90s and has been accustomed for many years to voice vigorous opinions.

Her description of the interior of Memorial Church on a midsummer morning is that it is “hotter than the hinges of Hell.”

I doubt that your newspaper will be as picturesque, but feel free to post comments below on what your journalists say about hot weather.



Posted by John McIntyre at 3:08 PM | | Comments (4)


"Ice and fans were in short supply yesterday as temperatures soared into the low 80s downtown and at the beaches."

Sorry. We don't really have weather here in San Diego, so I guess I'm not very good at this.

“hotter than the hinges of Hell.”

An irritating cliche; Stephen King, among others, has used it in his books for at least the last 30 years.

Here in Washington state, we're going through an anomalous extended period of cold temperatures, overcast skies and heavy rainfall. That prompted a snappy headline writer at another daily to use hammer: "JUNE-UARY." It's caught on with radio and TV.

Since Mrs. DeButts is well into her 90s, her enthusiasm for the phrase probably antedates Mr. King's.

More malaprop than metaphor: I worked as a radio news broadcaster for a few years in the '70s and always took somewhat supercilious pleasure at the weatherman who predicted that the day would be "veritably cloudy."

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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