Blooper Patrol Settles the Score

Rob Kyff on

Eagle-eyed members of the Word Guy Blooper Patrol have detected a score of linguistic blunders in newspapers and magazines. Can you spot the blots and correct them?

1. "Rather than rant about injustice, reign in your emotions." Be the monarch of your passions! 2. "Climactic differences made sharing of technology very difficult." 3. "Both sides sited previous court rulings." 4. "Everyone waited with baited breath." Were they fish?

5. "To bowlderize Shakespeare a little bit..." Censor the Bard's gutter ball language? 6. "He alluded police by fleeing into the woods." As he fled, did he cite Javert and Barney Fife? 7. "The doctor was pedaling bad Covid advice." Was he riding a bicycle at the time? 8. "Rouge financier may need public defender." To help him "make up" an alibi?

9. "Local teams fair well." Showing good sportsmanship, no doubt. 10. "You have a tough road to hoe." Asphalt is hard! 11. "Thank you for a delightful story with an O'Henry ending." Never realized he was Irish! 12. "She had to fill out a sheath of forms." Was a cover up involved?

13. "Russell's trademark was her long main of voluptuous curls." And the secondary curls weren't bad either. 14. "It's something that has fallen by the waistside." A dieting plan perhaps? 15. "This statement does not tow the party line." 16. By confessing, he's hoping for ablution. A session on the ducking stool?

17. "Today is an opportunity to tell a risky joke or flirt with someone." 18. "(The plan) is to keep the wires taunt in hot weather, but slack when they contract in cold weather." 19. "One sage noted that idleness leads to mental illness and immortality." Which explains why I do nothing all day. 20. "It's taken three years to assess the human toll extracted in the first year of the novel coronavirus pandemic."



1. rein in 2. climatic differences 3. cited 4. bated breath 5. bowdlerize Shakespeare 6. eluded police 7. peddling 8. rogue financier 9. fare well 10. tough row to hoe 11. O. Henry 12. sheaf of forms 13. long mane 14. by the wayside 15. toe the party line 16. absolution 17. risque jokes 18. taut 19. immorality 20. human toll exacted


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. His book, "Mark My Words," is available for $9.99 on Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Copyright 2023 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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