Laura Moyer is a compulsive copy editor who reads the AP Stylebook for fun.
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Pins that are kings

Possibly the weirdest clip art image ever. I had to share.

“An early morning drug raid led to charges against a female kingpin and 11 other residents of the Northern Neck, police said.”

So I wondered, why would a “female kingpin” not be a “queenpin”? Turns out that a kingpin is 1) an axle 2) the front pin in bowling or 3) any person who is the head of something.

Then I wondered why it was worth pointing out in the lead that it’s a “female kingpin,” instead of just a kingpin. If the suspected kingpin were a man, would we say he’s a “male kingpin”? Kind of doubt it. I guess even in these enlightened times it’s still unusual for a woman to be suspected of running a meth ring.

On the other hand, I do think the suspect’s first name (Tonia) is pretty much a dead giveaway that she’s female.