I was in stitches this week when I was pointed to Times restaurant critic Giles Coren’s letter to his subs, excoriating them for removing an indefinite article from his restaurant review. So brilliant was his prose, so spiteful was his emotion, that when I read it the first time I nearly cried from laughter.
Basically, Coren is furious with his sub-editors for removing “a” from in front of the word “nosh.” at the end of his article. To me it’s hilarious that so much anger could arise from the removal of one letter from a restaurant review, but I guess that’s where the humor of the whole piece arises in the first place.
Today however I decided to do a little digging through Giles’ previous reviews, and I’ve discovered that he has used the phrase “a nosh.” two other times (and possibly more; I’m only searching the Times‘ website). How can it be that his editors removed the indefinite article on one occasion, but let it stand these two times? Coren’s main argument is that the sexual allusions of the phrase are removed, and the point of the paragraph is diminished by this omission. Can we assume that he is re-using the joke in the two articles linked above? Well then, shame on you, Giles. It’s not as if you needed to hammer the point home that you’re sexually frustrated.