This year, The Globe and Mail has published more than 450 corrections for errors made either online or in print. It's certainly a lot, but noticeably fewer than in either of the previous two years.
Why the improvement? I can't really say whether editors are catching more mistakes or writers are making fewer of them. But, on average, there is still more than one miscue a day, many of them brought to my attention (or that of other editors) by our clever and ever-vigilant readers.
How obvious are the mistakes Globe journalists make? Several were reported by more than one reader, but would you pick up on them?
Test your mettle with the following quiz based on just a few of this year's slip-ups. Some are painfully obvious – but anyone who gets them all right deserves a medal, or perhaps a job as a Globe editor.
1. Which is correct: (a) ruffed grouse or (b) ruffled grouse?
Answer: It's (a); the Globe published (b).
2. In Thomas Hardy's book Tess of the d'Urbervilles, where was the character Tess Durbeyfield hanged – (a) Stonehenge, (b) Wintonchester prison, (c) the Tower of London or (d) Talbothays?
Answer: It was (b), although The Globe said Stonehenge, which is where she was arrested.
3. How old was Jacqueline Kennedy when she led a televised tour of the White House: (a) 28 (b) 31 (c) 32 or (d) 35?
Answer: It was (c); we said (b).
4. Which royal had "alleged Nazi sympathies": (a) King George VI or (b) his brother the Duke of Windsor?
Answer: It was the Duke, but The Globe accused the King, even though the only suggestion of such sympathies came when, in 1939, he asked the government's foreign secretary to "encourage the German government to check the unauthorized emigration of Jews" to Palestine, then administered by Britain.
5. In styling your hair, do you comb your (a) tresses or (b) trusses?
Answer: It's (a) of course, although a Globe story confused steel with hair.
6. Who captained the first circumnavigation of the world: (a) Francis Drake (b) Ferdinand Magellan (c) Juan Sebastian Elcano?
Answer: It's complicated, but not (a), as The Globe said. Magellan led the first voyage of circumnavigation, which was completed after his death by Elcano, who led the surviving members and one ship of Magellan's (just 18 sailors from the original 200 and one ship from the original five) and he returned to Spain. Drake was the first to lead a circumnavigation from start to finish – half a century later.
7. The Pennine Way is a national walking trail through England to the Scottish Borders. How long is it: (a) 198 miles (b) 256 miles or (c) 268 miles?
Answer: It's (c). When a Globe book review said (b), several readers knew it was wrong, perhaps from personal experience.
8. What is the highest mountain in Switzerland? Is it (a) the Matterhorn (b) Dom (c) Monte Rosa or (d) Nordend.
Answer: It's (c) – but we said (b), which ranks fifth.
9. What was the first film since 1976's The Front in which Woody Allen performed but neither wrote nor directed? Was it (a) Fading Gigolo, (b) Scenes from a Mall (c) The Imposters or (d) Antz?
Answer: Scenes from a Mall. (The Globe went with Fading Gigolo.)
10. Who first performed the song Don't Stop Believin'? Was it (a) the cast of Glee (b) Cheap Trick (c) Journey or (d) Neil Young.
Answer: (c) – but the Globe said (b).
11. Canadian tennis phenom Eugenie Bouchard and her twin sister, Beatrice, were named after a famous royal's daughters. Was it (a) the Duchess of Cambridge (b) the Duchess of Kent (c) the Duchess of York or (d) the Countess of Wessex?
Answer: It's York. (The Globe said Kent.)
12. Is Inuvik in (a) Yukon (b) the Northwest Territories (c) Nunavut or (d) Alaska?
Answer: (b), although The Globe said (c).
13. Which one sponsors Canadian tennis ace Milos Raonic – (a) Rolex or (b) Rolodex?
Answer: Of course, it's (a), unless, like The Globe, you have a slip of the fingers.
14. What was Ucluelet, B.C., known as years ago: (a) Long Beach (b) Tofino (c) Ucluelet or (d) Terrace Beach?
Answer: It's (c) – the name has always been Ucluelet, even if a Globe story said (a).
15. When was the country now called Yugoslavia born – (a) 1918 (b) 1925 (c) 1945 or (d) 1950?
Answer: (a) – not (c), as The Globe reported.