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Back with me?

I suppose if you were off to the Hamptons or the Vineyard for the holiday weekend, you may not have kept up with this site.

You may have missed, for example, word that the new edition of Bryan Garner’s admirable dictionary of legal usage has been published. You may have missed yesterday’s joke of the week. And, since I neglected to mention it yesterday, the word of the week this week is boustrophedon. Think of it the next time you mow the grass.

I was at the paragraph factory last night chronicling an old-fashioned Baltimore July Fourth celebration: fireworks, a fatal stabbing, and a four-year-old hit by a stray bullet.

Today the work week begins in earnest. Glad to have you back.



Posted by John McIntyre at 9:53 AM | | Comments (2)


Hmm........ "boustrophedon", to my tinny ear sounds rather clunky, or ungainly, and frankly smacks of official dinosaur nomenclature.

Say a large Brontosaurus-like ancient creature that perhaps once wandered our Great Plains, or Badlands swamps eons ago that perhaps strode repeatedly from right-to-left, and then left-to-right. HA!

A rather benign beastie, no doubt------a herbivore w/ a relatively tiny head, pea-brain, long neck, hulking body equipped w/ shortish stocky legs, and a massive tail that seemed to go on forever.

Prof. McI., when you typed "right-to-left" and left-to-write" in your defining "boustrophedon", did you type "left-to-write" intentionally (a little play on words), or were you, in fact, merely getting a little ahead of yourself w/ the word "writing" coming up in short order? No biggie.


Lessee, boustrophedon.


“The Common Council Monday night approved new parkland mowing schedules following boustrophedon arguments by East Side and West Side aldermen on the . . . “

No, I think my old copy desk would have used the city desk as a gibbet for me if I tried that one.

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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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