I’m no Three Stooges expert, but I’m familiar enough with the canon to know there’s something funny about this New York Times headline:
Not funny ha-ha; funny peculiar. Even if you could somehow give “cointainly” a soft-C sound—violating the general rule of hard C before A, O, and U—what’s that first N doing there? What the heck does “coin-tainly” mean?
If I had written the headline, I’d have rendered that cherished Stoogeism as soitenly. That is in fact how it’s spelled on a six-DVD collection, Soitenly Stooges, and in headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle and on the CBS News website. Heck, you can even buy a “Soitenly” license plate.
I wasn’t the only one to raise an eyebrow over the Times headline. Diego Sorbara works on that paper’s national/foreign copy desk, whose long arm evidently does not stretch all the way to Arts & Leisure.
When I retweeted Diego, the response was prompt and, under the circumstances, predictable.
Read the Stooges story here. In the print edition “cointainly” appears a second time, in the headline on the jump page.