Gopi Gopalan, editor of Hong Kong Business magazine, was curious to see the headlines on the reports of Sino Land's annual results this week. 'Sino Land profit tumbles 59 per cent', said Business Post. The headline in the Hong Kong Standard said, in part: '21 per cent jump in earnings'. Which was true? Both. It was those naughty 'exceptional items' that confused the issue. No doubt when Sino boss Robert Ng asks that charming wife of his how much she has spent on a shopping spree, she can reply: 'Nothing at all, dear - except for a few exceptional items.' Choosing what to put in a headline is often a challenge, since space is always tight, punctuation is rarely allowed - and sub-editors love to top each other's attempts at wordplay. Puns are found even in the economic and political news, such as this headline from an American newspaper in the 1980s: 'Reagan Wins on Budget But More Lies Ahead'. Your Humble Narrator once placed a snippet on this page about a middle-aged woman with a hangover at the Grand Hyatt. 'What can I get you?' asked the waiter. 'A bucket to be sick into,' she jokingly replied. He brought her an elegant silver champagne bucket on a stand. The headline was 'Sick bag'. Fortunately, the star of the story failed to spot the double entendre. An example of a headline given a double meaning by the lack of a hyphen or a comma is this one, seen in a British newspaper: Want a woman vicar? The headline was allegedly invented by the Guardian, which titled a report of a church fire with 'Heated one day at the organ'. Journalists love to collect headlines with intentional or unintentional double meanings, or which state the obvious. Scribbler Ed Peters of the New Territories sent this list of real headlines from American newspapers: 1. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 2. Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted 3. Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case 4. Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents 5. Farmer Bill Dies in House 6. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms 7. Is There a Ring of Debris Around Uranus? 8. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope 9. Panda Mating Fails: Veterinarian Takes Over 10. Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Coal Again 11. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands 12. Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms 13. Eye Drops Off Shelf 14. Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim 15. Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66 16. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax 17. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told 18. Miners Refuse to Work After Death 19. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant 20. Stolen Painting Found by Tree 21. Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies 22. Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years in Checkout Counter 23. Killer Sentence to Die for Second Time in 10 Years 24. Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One 25. Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in '84 26. War Dims Hopes for Peace 27. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While 28. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures 29. Enfield Couple Slain: Police Suspect Homicide 30. Red Tape Holds up New Bridge 31. Deer Kill 17,000 32. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery: Hundreds Dead 33. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge 34. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group 35. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft 36. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks 37. Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy 38. Arson Suspect is Held in Massachusetts Fire 39. British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply 40. Ban on Soliciting Dead in Trotwood 41. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half 42. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies 43. Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing 44. Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing 45. Air Head Fired 46. Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni 47. Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board 48. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors 49. Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training 50. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies. But the best headlines are those which create a startling image in the mind of the reader, who doesn't know quite what was intended. A favourite of mine, also from the US: Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff.