The New York Times has a little-publicized rule that requires reporters to use, in news or feature stories, words understood only by readers who are expert solvers of their crossword puzzles. The more often such words are used the better chance for promotion to copy editor. This rule was illustrated in a story Dec. 23, 2018, about the increasing number of black surfers (the ocean wave-riding kind; not internet geeks) at the Rockaways beaches of the Queens. The first paragraph: “Three years after Hurricane Sandy lashed the Rockaways…Out on the surf, not much has changed as the bathymetry returned to normal, but the predominantly white, male crowd of surfers had.”
Bathymetry??? If you know what that means, you are a marine biologist, like George Costanza. Or a top graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Or a copy editor at the New York Times whose day was made.
OK, so you go to Merriam-Webster and find that bathymetry is “the measurement of water depth at various places in a body of water; also: the information derived from such measurements.”
File under: All the news that’s fit to bamboozle.