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#102919 - 05/09/03 09:33 PM Re: etaion shrdlu  
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Faldage Offline
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It *was the most common letters, in order, once. It was also the order of letters on a linotype machine, the device that they used to use to set type for newspapers. The story is that if the type setter discovered some gross error that the proofreader had missed, he'd run his finger across that row and etaionshrdlu would appear in the copy. He'd send it back and it would get fixed. Only sometimes it wouldn't get fixed and the newspaper would go out onto the street with a line like:

President Hoover today announced that he etaoinshrdlu…


#102920 - 05/09/03 11:15 PM Re: etaion shrdlu  
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Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Buffalo Shrdlu  Offline
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Vermont
thought I heard my ears ringing...





formerly known as etaoin...
#102921 - 05/10/03 04:58 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Jackie Offline
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Louisville, Kentucky
President Hoover today announced that he etaoinshrdlu
Augh--reading this made me realize that I now think of etaoin as a person!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
empathy of purportion.
Oh, musick--I love you! What a wonderful word!


#102922 - 05/10/03 05:10 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Augh--... I now think of etaoin as a person!

sorry, Jackie... [pout]


formerly known as etaoin...
#102923 - 05/10/03 06:06 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Jackie Offline
Jackie  Offline

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Hey, you chose the screen name! I can't help that I've personalized it! To me, etaoin is now you, not a line o' type!


#102924 - 05/10/03 06:09 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah
Capfka  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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Posts: 1,624
Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
As Faldo the Great (doesn't that just make you think of a circus clown?) points out, the letters etaoin are the five most common in the alphabet. Subsequent research has cast doubt on everything following that, so shurdlu may or may not be the right order (or letters) for the second five most used. Depends who's counting, I guess. Mergenthaler fell for it hook, line and sinker anyway, and I, as a machine typographer (i.e. linotype operator) had to live with that for ten years on linos.

On the linotype machine (hear that soap-box scraping across the floor to the front of the room), the first two columns on the left-hand and right-hand keyboard sections consisted of those letters, ie:

    e s c v x
S t h m b z
P a r f g fi
A o d w k fl
C i l y q ffi
E n u - - - ? Memory lapse after 20 years!

constitutes the first section of the keyboard. The right-hand section of the board had more or less the same layout, but in capital letters, and the middle keypad had 25 "other" characters, the exact mixture depending on the font that was being used.

As was pointed out above (prolly Faldo the Great again) you would sometimes see a line of type in a column that had something like "and the weatetaoin shrdlu shurdlu etaion". What would happen would be that the operator (comme moi) would have either typed the wrong words first or for some other reason decided that the line wasn't worth completing.

Rather than take the matrices out of the assembler by hand and putting them back on the distributor bar (which was called "dissing the mats" and took time and effort), you'd just complete the line by running a finger down the first two columns of the left hand keyboard, pressing the spacebar in between. The spacebar caused something called a spaceband to fall down between the two sets of matrices.

The spaceband was two pieces of high tensile steel joined together by a tongue and groove arrangement. One was short, and sat between the matrices in the assembler, the other was tapered from very thin to about quarter of an inch wide. This was pushed up on the slide (the thin piece) in the mould to force the matrices that formed the words together, and to provide proportional spacing.

The operator (moi, encore) SHOULD have thrown the line back into the pot when it was dropped into the stick. Failing that, the proof readers SHOULD have noted the etaoin/shrdlu lines in the stick of type on the proof and marked them for removal. The stone hand (compositor) SHOULD have removed the line. But sometimes that didn't happen, et voila! etaoin shrdlu's your uncle!

HTH!



#102925 - 05/10/03 08:55 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Faldage Offline
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Faldo the Great (doesn't that just make you think of a circus clown?)

You'll think I'm a circus clown when I saw you in two.


#102926 - 05/10/03 09:44 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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websafe Offline
newbie
websafe  Offline
newbie

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Dear Capfka:

dissing the mats

That would be a cool title!

When I saw:

---e s c v x
S--t h m b z
P--a r f g fi
A--o d w k fl
C--i l y q ffi
E--n u - - -


I thought it was going to be an acrostic poem, but then it wasn't. Or is it?


#102927 - 05/10/03 10:32 PM Re: acrostic poems  
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Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah
Capfka  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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Posts: 1,624
Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
You'll think I'm a circus clown when I saw you in two.

Do clowns do magic tricks now, or are you thinking about doing a remake of the "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"?


#102928 - 05/10/03 10:34 PM Re: etaoin shrdlu  
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websafe Offline
newbie
websafe  Offline
newbie

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Some years back, I read a wonderful book on codes and cryptography, but can't recall its name just now. I believe they listed "etaonirsh" as the nine most common letters in the English language, in that order.


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