"Chop of the Pops"... "Woe de Cologne"... "Swede and Sour"... some of today's classics - but is the punning headline an endangered species? It works fine in a newspaper, but as Peter Preston warned in the Guardian this week, the search engine has no sense of humour.
If you were looking for a story on the demise of TOTP, or England v Sweden, those heads would be as much use as a stale current pun, writes Mick Hodgkin.
In the world of More 4 and Channel 4 news, our headlines already have to be more of a factual tease, but we subs and editors unleash the frustrated gag-writer in us all on the "precomm" - that little two or three-word tease ahead of the commercial break. "Loitering within tents" heralded a recent piece on England fans camping in germany; "Rooney Tunes" was the precomm for one of our England football songs features; "Scanned by your man" promised more on that man's foot scan.
There's no immediate threat to the precomm, of course - as long as advertisers still regard TV as a viable medium - but I think it would be a shame to lose this vein of humour from online journalism. Maybe some future "sentient" web will learn to laugh at our jokes, but what is to be done meanwhile? Do we ghettoise the news pun in special pun-sites - or even a whole network of their own - the punnet?
Or maybe we just need to relocate them elsewhere in the copy, where it doesn't screw up the search engines - intersperse them between paragraphs (subheads), stick them at the bottom (footlines?) or run them in a bar down the side (sidelines?). But joking apart, please don't let the Googles of this world search and destroy the pun.