Nancy Friedman alerted me to a passage from the February 22 New York Times because of the NOOB five words from the end.
As she rose from her chair at the Calvin Klein fashion show in Midtown Manhattan the other week, Jessica Chastain was all but engulfed by an onrush of journalists and celebrity groupies imploring the lanky, flame-haired actress for a word, a glance, a nanosecond of her time.
Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W, embraced her showily as cameras clicked and whirred. Tim Blanks, the editor at large for Style.com, thrust a microphone in her face, pleading for an interview, before a pair of overzealous handlers leapt onto the catwalk to spirit her away.
Yes, Ms. Chastain can Hoover that kind of attention.
But what also caught my eye was the British leapt at the end of the second paragraph; the traditional American spelling is leaped. Sure, the -pt form is gaining ground. Sticking with the Times, it has used leaped 45,800 times since it started publishing in 1851, compared to 13,100 for leapt. But in the last twelve months, the tables have turned: there have been 793 leapts in the paper and only 301 leapeds.
The Times is ahead of the curve on this. The Lexis-Nexis database of U.S. newspapers reveals 1231 leapts in the past six months compared to 1528 leapeds. But it seems clear that leaped better enjoy its dominance now, because it won’t last much longer.