Updated with explanation from Assistant Managing Editor for Copy Desks, Library and Standards Henry Fuhrmann.
The Los Angeles Times has an excellent story in A-1 today about a legendary Las Vegas sheriff. 85-year-old Ralph Lamb, “The Cowboy Sheriff,” John M. Glionna writes, was once the most powerful man in Nevada–feared by gangsters, beloved by locals, respected by fellow lawmen.
It's a great read–made even greater by what may be the best typo to ever run in the Times.
The section in question:
Goodman called the sheriff to arrange a meeting. Lamb agreed to meet at 5 the next day. “OK, I'll see you at 5 p.m.,” Goodman recalls saying. “He said, 'No, 5 a.m.' That's the kind of guy he was. It was a Wild West town back then, and Lamb had a bunch of tough deputies who were there to do his bidding.”
Butt cracks eventually appeared in Lamb's public persona…
The mistake is corrected in the online edition.
Is it even possible that this was an accident? We reached out to Glionna, butt he declined to comment.
Update at 1:35pm After initially declining to comment, Glionna (who just landed in Colorado to cover the shooting in Aurora) did confirm that the mistake was not in the copy he submitted. He said he is not sweating the incident though, adding, copy editors “have saved my ass so many times.”
Update at 4:45pm Assistant Managing Editor for Copy Desks, Library and Standards Henry Fuhrmann explains:
This may be more detail than you need, but the mistake occurred at the final stage of production. The article had already been copy edited (and, yes, spell-checked). The copy editor decided, for reasons of appearance, to move the drop cap (i.e., large capital letter) from the paragraph in question to a position three paragraphs lower. In changing the computer coding involved, he also inadvertently changed the spelling.
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