Regarding my post below on the admissions scandal, a reader asks about “agate.” Sometimes, I forget that my little obsessions are not shared by everybody, and that the finer points of typography are becoming lost lore.
“Agate” is a typographical unit and, more commonly, the typeface based on that unit. In newspapers, it was long used for tabular material — stock tables, sports scores, etc. — because it is legible but compact. The idea of something being “in agate” suggests that it isn’t thought to be important enough to have a story written about it.