02 October 2012

Crash Blossom

A 'crash blossom' is a headline which is hard to parse because of the syntax. (For the origin of the term, see Wikipedia.)

I just saw a crash blossom on the BBC World site of 3 October 2012:

Initially, it seems that the Nigerian government, for some reason, is planning to attack a town that is subjected to a curfew.

Actually, 'Nigeria attack town' is a complex noun-phrase, referring to a town in Nigeria that has recently been attacked. And now (the report tells us) that town has been placed under a curfew.

I wonder whether headline writers ever think carefully about what they write. Perhaps they deliberately make their headlines obscure in order to tempt us to read more.