Now there’s a name for the phenomenon of ambiguously or bizarrely worded headlines: “crash blossoms,” as suggested by a poster at the Testy Copy Editors site in response to the headline “Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms.”… Crash blossoms are a variation of “garden path sentences,” a type of sentence that leads the reader into grammatical or logical sinkholes that were not intended.
For someone who loves a good pun, crash blossoms, also known as garden path headlines, might just beat out the old standbys. While I might not laugh out loud that easily, these had me chuckling at my desk a few moments ago, and so I just couldn’t resist passing them along. Enjoy!
From whence the term came:
- “Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms” (“If this seems a bit opaque, and it should, the story is about a young violinist whose career has prospered since the death of her father in a Japan Airlines crash in 1985.” John McIntyre @ “You Don’t Say”)
- “McDonald’s fries the holy grail for potato farmers” (image above)
- “Scientists Are at Loss Due to Brain-eating Amoeba”
- “Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim”
- “Child’s Stool Great for Use in Garden”
- “Lawmen from Mexico Barbecue Guests”
- “Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant”
- “Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case”
- “Eye Drops Off Shelf”
- “Kids Make Nutritious Snacks”
- “Stolen Painting Found By Tree”
- “Complaints About NBA Referees Growing Ugly”
For more chuckles, see here and here. Oh, what a little punctuation couldn’t solve!