The Former Editor of the 'Times' Remembers William Safire
September 29, 2009
A few years back, I chided Bill Safire via Times e-mail that he had erred in writing that "the best team" had won the World Series. He shot back that the comparative, my preference, was improper in this case because dozens of teams had started out the season. Anyway, he said, "Usage rules." The triumph of idiom was one of his core principles in regard to language. It always amused me that this conservative Eastern elitist was a deep-dyed populist when it came to grammar and usage, while I, liberal to radical on most issues, was a traditionalist in such matters.