An evil dilator
mantle for mantel: In the name of curiosity, family heirlooms were dug out of closets and taken off the mantle for a night of discovery of the monetary value of antique items. (A mantle is a cloak; a mantel is a shelf above a fireplace.)
marred for dogged: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness that affects many people. It has been marred by controversy… (Nature, Aug 2011)
maunder for meander: maunder through significant wreckage (Guardian, Aug 25 11 To maunder is to witter on; a meandering river wanders through the landscape.)
metered out for meted out: You mete out a metered dose.
mille feuilles for millefiori – “It means little flowers.” (Flog It! A mille-feuilles is layers of pastry, jam and cream; millefiori glass looks like a thousand flowers.)
misnomer for misapprehension, myth, misunderstanding, error (If you call something by the wrong name, that’s a misnomer.)
mop cap for mob cap (Mimi Spencer, Times Aug 2011)
nebbish used as an adjective: It’s a noun, the adjective is nebbishy (The revelations about [Woody Allen’s] behaviour exposed his lovable, nebbish persona as a sham. (Toby Young) As has been the custom in many Woody Allen films, many of the actors deliver their lines in very nebbish, Allen-like fashion... qwipster.net)
Nobody’s quite sure what quixotic means: The Archbishop of York, who had chaired the day in a jovial and quixotic fashion. (Ann Treneman at the Synod, Times, Nov 2012 Relaxed?)//She seems to have had a quixotic need for solitude and sometimes hung up on friends who telephoned. (Guardian Dec 2012 Eccentric?) “…is pulled aside for what is quixotically known as ‘random screening’” (Pico Iyer, Guardian, August 29 2011 Euphemistically?)
nonplussed for nonchalant (New Scientist: They were quite nonplussed about it.”)
nostrum for dictum: Nasa has had to fall back on “gauzy nostrums” about inspiring people (Joshua Green, The Atlantic July 10 A nostrum is a quack remedy, a dictum is a platitude.)
overarching priority: top priority (You’d use “overarching” where you might use “umbrella”.)
pack for pact: Tories offering a pack to UKIP.
patissière for patisserie: A patissière makes pastries.
pawn myself off as for palm off or pass off
peruse for examine: peruse the expensive tat by the exit (It means “read”.)
pilfer for pick: Thieves must look elsewhere to pilfer pockets. (Miami Herald, May 2010 Thieves must look elsewhere to pick pockets; pickpockets must look elsewhere for stuff to pilfer.)
pilloried for pillared: With great pilloried mansions next to old farm shacks. (Simon Hoggart, Sept 2012 Grand mansions have pillars; criminals used to be put in pillories and pelted with rotten vegetables.)
pointillist for pointed: The stories on the Occupy movement’s website provide a “stark pointillist portrayal of the grinding misery” of the recession, said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com (The Pointillists painted pictures made up of dots.)
Principal arbiter for prime mover (Times June 10 An arbiter is a judge.)
r.e. for re: It doesn’t stand for anything, it’s Latin for “about”.
rackety for rickety: Le Carré makes up in atmosphere for what he hasn’t got in suspense, and creates a whole rackety secret world, a place where English public school boys gang up with con men and racketeers around the world to keep Britain safe. (London Review of Books, Sept 2011 A triple divorcee who drinks like a fish has had a rackety life; her broken-down furniture is merely rickety.)
ramifications for implications: Ramifications branch out – they’re complications.
repartee for rapport: build a repartee (Marie O’Riordan, Times Feb 2012)
replete for complete: [The boys] attached the plastic figurine replete with maple leaf flag to a helium balloon. (Guardian, 2012 He’d only be replete or stuffed with a maple-leaf flag if he’d eaten it.)
reticent for diffident: People brought up in difficult circumstances tend to be reticent about parenthood. (Times, Sept 17 2011 Reticent people are good at keeping secrets.)
seeped in for steeped in: Water seeps slowly through walls into your cellar; you steep fruit in water by leaving it to soak for days.
Self-styled doesn’t mean you designed your own clothes, or that you like to call yourself a socialist/gourmet/connoisseur (but nobody else does). Your “style” is your handle – Mr, Miss, Mrs, Lord, Rev.
She looked up at him, staring dough-eyed at her as he sheepishly sipped on his Singha. (stickmanweekly.com That’s “doe-eyed” as in female deer.)
slither for sliver: To slither means to wriggle along the ground like a snake; a sliver is a small slice of cake.)
slow-eyed for sloe-eyed: Andrew Billen describes Eddie Redmayne as “slow-eyed”. ER’s eyes are green.
solve for alleviate: You solve a puzzle, you alleviate a situation.
stable for staple: It was a stable of Saturday-morning film shows. (A horse lives in a stable; if it doesn’t fall down it’s a stable stable. Rice is a staple food in Asian countries.)
succour for support: He found succour for his views. (Observer, July 31 11)
surfeit for lack or absence: There is a complete surfeit of story, the film feels more like a handful of sketches (imdb commenter A surfeit is a glut.)
tamper for temper: She ought to tamper her views with reality. (Guardian commenter 2012 If you tamper with something you interfere with it; when you temper something you moderate it.)
tempura paint for tempera (Fortean Times, Aug 2011 Tempura is batter, tempera is paint.)
tenant for tenet: Eating guacamole is a core tenant of my personal beliefs. (Sir Thomas Browne wrote it tenent.)
tenuous: The authors make tenuous leaps from biological norms to dubious social explanations and historical reconstructions, consciously avoiding more direct conclusions, in order to confirm their pre-existing biases. (They make tenuous connections. A tenuous connection can be easily snapped.)
the Treens, under their evil dilator, the Mekon… (probably spellchecker)
torchpaper for touchpaper: “Light the blue touchpaper and retire” used to be printed on fireworks for home use.
tromphe d’oeil for trompe l’oeil (estate agent)
trussed up for done up: If you marched into work with your hair all trussed up like Dusty Springield… (Guardian, August 13 11 Trussed up means tied up. Dusty wore her hair in a back-combed beehive.)
tumultuous for rocky: “The road to Wall Street has been tumultuous.” (A tumultuous road would be crowded with people.)
Turin Test for Turing Test: A test for sentience called after scientist Alan Turing, not the Italian city.
US tries to ease tensions on Korean peninsular (peninsula) as Kerry appeals to China (Times)
We’ve got to mould with the times! (Farmer on BBC)
wile for while: So to pass the time demonstrators outside St Paul's Cathedral have acquired a giant Monopoly board to help them wile away the hours. (Daily Mail, October 28, 2011 Wiles are stratagems used by Wile E. Coyote; you while away time.)
willful for willing: Would someone on £30,000 wilfully give up some of their salary? (Sathnam Sanghera, DT Oct 2011 Wilful means impulsive, not deliberate.)
wode for woad: It’s not all wode and pickled onions in the north (Times pullquote)
Workers are standing up to arrogant authorities: What do people think “arrogant” means? Adamant?
Part 7 here
More howlers here. And here, here, here, here and here.