Jun

14

I see your colleagues are trying out a new verb this morning –"quicken"

BN 8:30 *TREASURIES DROP AS PRODUCER PRICES QUICKEN

It has a nice Elizabethan feel to it, as if the newswire were running in 1580 — "Horseshoe prices quicken in early London trading."

Nigel Davies remarks:

Nothing could have prepared them for…the quickening.

George Zachar extends:

 Headline composition is the only widely used form of constrained writing I'm aware of. You specifically write to space, not word count, syllables, etc.

In the days of hot type you had to remember arcane counts corresponding to the width of each character, both upper and lower case. The mark of a great headwriter was the ability to hit the exact length needed, with something catchy and relevant.

Writing headlines on deadline at newspapers trained me to cycle through my mental thesaurus efficiently. This makes composing ordinary prose a relatively easy task.

Headline writing as a vocabulary drill for kids? I may try this at home. 


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