Archive for news of the world

Acrostic Atrocities

Posted in Words with tags , , , , on July 23, 2011 by timlafferty

In the sorry affair that is the News Corp phone hacking saga there was at least a moment of humour when the News of the World (NOTW) was closed. Apparently Rebekah Brooks wanted to prevent what happened at the Daily Express when journalist Stephen Pollard hid a message in his final editorial which said “Fuck You Desmond”, aimed at the proprietor of the newspaper. Finding no such naughty messages in the final edition of NOTW it went to print but nobody noticed the hidden messages in the crossword clues, which included “woman stares wildly at calamity”. Crossword answers included “stink,” “calamity” and “we,” “are,” “sacked” and  “tomorrow”. This was all spotted by the Guardian, whose article about this and other hidden messages, known as acrostics, contained a hidden message itself.

A lot of the News Corp problems seem to be related to hidden messages, or at least emails and documents that didn’t seem to be seen by some key senior executives. I know nothing of that but I do know that apparently Homer Simpson’s hair and ear are the hidden initials of his creator’s name – Matt Groening. The Simpsons is broadcast by Fox which is owned by….News Corp.

I found acrostics very useful when trying to memorise lists of items for exams and I’ve also come across a few acrostic poems over the years. There’s even an online acrostic poem generator. I’d rather hoped it would be like predictive text – type in a few words and it would write the poem. It’s not that sophisticated but I chucked in a few words about the phone hacking scandal and this is the outcome:

Newspapers naughty
Everyone hacked off
Wendi throws punch

Shaving foam frenzy

Coppers involved
Oh dear
Rupert looks old
Pension looming