Since You Asked: Sunday sections are as easy as A,E,B,C,D
Each day we receive the newspaper with separate sections, A to D.
Naturally, each letter follows each other.
Why is it on Sundays that Section E is always after A and that this section holds all the advertisements. By any chance, does section E come from somewhere else?
— John Batt, via e-mail
John, you're close with your guess, but missed it by this much (picture us holding our thumbs and forefingers apart by about 2 inches).
The Sunday E section that you refer to is printed separately from the A through D sections. But it's printed here on the Mail Tribune's own printing press, which is located in a small building behind the stately Since You Asked International Headquarters.
The reason it shows up in the Sunday section out of sequence has to do with a Rube Goldberg sort of machine that puts inserts into the paper. The Sunday E section, which includes Your Money and classified ads, is printed early in the evening Saturday and then runs through the inserting machine, which drops the various inserts into the section.
Later that night, starting at about midnight, the four main sections of the paper go to press. They, too, then channel through the inserting equipment, at which time the stuffed E section is dropped in with the other four sections.
The inserting machine uses a puff of air to blow open the paper, allowing the inserts to drop in. But setting that equipment to blow open the paper at precisely the spot behind the D section is nigh impossible, even for the crafty folks in our Distribution Department. So we have to settle for blowing open the first section and depositing it there.
The disorder that it causes is unsettling for some people, but knowing that our beloved readers are educated folks, we are pretty sure most of them can figure it out and, if so moved, can grab that E section and put it immediately behind D, thus restoring order to the world.