I can’t tell if this is a case of a journalist being rather clever, or a journalist being an idiot and backing into cleverness (‘pulling a Homer’ as it were).
Yesterday there was bit of a scare in London when a police training exercise involving an entirely fictional gunman running up and down Oxford Street somehow leaked out into the Twittersphere as warnings of a real gunman running up and down Oxford Street. An article on one of the news sites I peruse (I can’t remember which one, and frankly I don’t care enough to go back and try and track it down) reported on this situation, including a comment about “the illusive gunman”.
At first I assumed that this was a typically (typical for Australian online news sites anyway) illiterate misspelling of “elusive”. But as it turns out “illusive” is that rarest of things – an English word with which I’m unfamiliar! It means “illusionary” or “imaginary”, and is hence a perfect description of the gunman in this case.
So, did the author pick the word deliberately, or simply mean “elusive” and fall backwards into brilliance? I guess we’ll never know (and they’d hardly admit it if they did :))