Simon Heffer: a much-ignored iconic figure at Telegraph

Keen Simon Heffer watchers will have greatly enjoyed reading the Daily Telegraph associate editor’s angry email to staff castigating them for a series of embarrassing spelling, style and grammatical errors.

But Axegrinder is surprised that Heffer hasn’t picked up on another example of his paper’s reporters and subs blatantly ignoring the Telegraph‘s Style Book (author, Mr S Heffer).

The section covering ‘banned words’includes ‘iconic”, yet this appears almost daily, often several times each day each day. In the month of November alone ‘iconic’has been used to describe the following:

Sydney Opera House

Mumbai landmarks

Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel

Little Chef

Rugby League player Ian Roberts

Chanel No.5 perfume

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres

Luke Skywalker’s lightsabre

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

Guy Peellaert’s images of the rock and roll stars

the hotel Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise

Trafalgar Square

BBC Television Centre

Maradona

Maradona’a Hand of God goal

Trevor Brooking

the QE2 liner (three times)

QE2’s red funnel

a motorbike’s Smiths Chronometric speedo

Picos de Europa National Park in Spain

Lego brick

Beijing’s aquatics centre and Bird’s Nest stadium

a Bentley V8 engine

Cascades development in London’s Dpocklands

General Motors

Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and images by American photographer Steven Meisel (both used by Telegraph fashion director Hilary Alexander on November 11)

Life magazine photo of sailor in Times Square kissing a nurse on VJ Day 1945

Lloyds bank

Lech Walesa

Alton Towers’ Corkscrew ride

fashion designer Adriana Degreas’ men’s swimming trunks, women’s bikinis and one-piece costumes, gold and sepia silk kaftan printed with a life-size image of Christ the redeemer (yes, it’s Hilary Alexander again)

the iPod

New York’s Plaza building

the Tetley Brewery in Leeds

the Matterhorn

Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles

Hamilton Hall overlooking the 18th green of St Andrews Golf Club’s Old Course

photohrapher Karsh’s image of Winston Churchill

the red telephone box

Porsche 911 sports car and VW Beetle (in the same article, by Louise Armitstead)

Hillary Clinton crying in New Hampshire.

The Guardian took much pleasure in revealing Heffer’s email so perhaps now is the time to point out that the subs and writers at Farringdon Road are far from perfect. Let’s take the words ‘icon’and ‘iconic”. The Guardian style guide reminds staff that, as a result of overuse, these are ‘in danger of losing all meaning”.

The guide points out that the these words have been ’employed to describe anything vaguely memorable or well-known – from Weetabix, Dr Martens boots and the Ferrero Rocher TV ads to Jimi Hendrix’s final gigs, a plinth in Trafalgar Square and drains”.

Despite the warning, the words keep appearing, ‘icon’popping up 38 times in November and ‘iconic’35 times.

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