AFTER LAST WEEK’S HINT appeared, I received the following note from Steve Andrist, Executive Director of the North Dakota Newspaper Assn.:

Ed: Thanks for your comments on headlines – short lines and hyphenations. Another of my pet peeves is abbreviations in headlines. Like short lines and hyphenations, it tells me the page designer is in too much of a hurry to do it right.

I agree. Many years ago, when I worked on the desk of The Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio, it was verboten for us to abbreviate even the longer names of area towns like Beavercreek, Bellbrook and Springfield. We always enjoyed a chuckle when our competitor, the Dayton Daily News, carried headlines containing “B’creek,” “B’brook” and “Sp’field.”

That was lazy headline writing then.

And it’s lazy headline writing now.

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