June 26, 2006 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Why do many syndicated articles and press releases end with "###"? And what is it called?
posted by honorguy7 to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
See answers here.
posted by nyterrant at 8:16 AM on June 26, 2006

That explains 92, and even XXX and -30-. But why # # #? That's what we use on all of our press releases and what I learned was 'proper' in several classes in grad school.

The other 'proper' end to a press release, that we learned, was -End-.

A theory according to this website:

When newspaper stories were handwritten, X meant the end of a sentence, XX meant the end of a paragraph, and XXX meant the end of the story (XXX is of course 30 in roman numbers).

posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:32 AM on June 26, 2006

I'd have to call it a trioctothorpe.
posted by flabdablet at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2006

I've always called ### "thirty"
posted by adamrice at 8:56 AM on June 26, 2006

Once upon a time, the proper way to end a news story was -30-. When press releases do it now, it's just trying to mimick a very outdated news biz convention and seems icky.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:02 AM on June 26, 2006

Possibly ### is of pretty recent origin. It turns out that in Microsoft Word, when you type three pound signs and then hit Return, it draws a nice triple line across the page. (You must be at the start of the line when you type the pound signs. Other interesting affects if you do three tildes, three equal signs, etc.)
posted by beagle at 10:38 AM on June 26, 2006

I'd have to call it a trioctothorpe.

how about an icosikaitethorpe?
posted by nomad at 1:03 PM on June 26, 2006

I was going to post a link to the answer on my website, until I realized I was the one who asked this question a few months ago. :) I did some research after that question and it seems like the Western Union 92 Code of 1859 is the best answer.
posted by acoutu at 1:42 PM on June 26, 2006

Er, why don't I re-read your question. The # is known by several names. In editing, it is called the space sign. See Wikipedia entry on the pound symbol, aka the octothorpe. My guess is that the ### is an editor's flirtation with XXX.
posted by acoutu at 1:48 PM on June 26, 2006

If my rusty memory of high school journalism class serves, the has mark was either written once or typed three times (# # #) to mark the end of the article.

Up until the '80s, reporters used the slug -30- to signify to the typesetter that their article was done, and this is a takeoff of that.

Or, on preview, what CunningLinguist said.
posted by mewithoutyou at 3:19 PM on June 26, 2006

Hash mark. Sheesh.
posted by mewithoutyou at 3:20 PM on June 26, 2006

I do it because I know it's a viable substitute when I can't remember whether it's -30- or -60- I"m supposed to use to signal the end.
posted by wordswinker at 2:50 PM on June 29, 2006

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