Friday, May 13, 2011

"Don't say Christmas dinner... we're not the Daily Star"

With the news that the Heffmeister is leaving the Daily Telegraph, will this mean a slackening of standards? Simon Heffer's style notes are required reading for anyone who, like me, gets a bit cross at poor grammar and dodgy spelling.

As a tribute, the Guardian has linked to Heffer's huffiest email to Telegraph staffers. Some of his comments are delicious, including...

There have been so many literals this week that I suspect some of you either never could spell, or have given up trying. Perhaps my favourite was "hocky mom", followed by "plumb compote" (bring on the lead poisoning). While it is good to provide the customers with amusement, it should be intentional.
The style book also reminds us that our readers tend to eat Christmas lunch, not Christmas dinner; this is not the Daily Star. Unless we are referring to a repast that is specifically to be held in the evening, be careful to refer to Christmas lunch in all those mouth-watering articles you are preparing about festive food.
Somebody actually allowed a piece of copy through this week with the adjective "posh" in it (it was not a reference to Mrs Beckham, and nor was it being used satirically). It was lucky this was spotted and removed before a nasty accident occurred. I repeat: we are not the Daily Star.
If we are setting quizzes for our readers, do try to ensure the right answers really are right. A test for would-be immigrants managed to get the voltage figure for this country wrong. It also said that one had to be 16 to enter the lottery which, as several readers pointed out, appeared to be hard on those aged 17 or more. The answer "16 or over" would have been better.


Brian Carpenter said...

A man after my own heart. Well, where grammar is concerned, anyway.
I eat Christmas dinner and I don't read the Daily Star (or the Telegraph for that matter).

I saw Heffer in the Warner Stand a few years ago. He, of course, was wearing his full MCC regalia, but he had a young lad with him(presumably his son) who was wearing the England one-day shirt of the time. Heffer was giving off a vague air of disdain as if he'd rather the boy had been wearing an egg and bacon tie.

You too will be able to sample such delights as this now you have your little red book, Patrick.

Paddy said...

I can't believe any offspring of Heffer would be allowed to wear sportswear, particularly in the Warner Stand. Perhaps it was just a catamite

Brian Carpenter said...

A mischievous thought, although presumably Heffer would be just as reluctant to have a 'relationship' with someone wearing 'sportswear' as he would be to have a son allowed to wear it.