Q. I recently read an article about a con artist who was described as “running a fine wine scam.” The ambiguity—is it a fine scam with wine or a scam with fine wine?—is driving me to drink. Is it acceptable in this situation to write finewine as one word to resolve the ambiguity? Please uncork me a good answer.
A. A hyphen will create the perfect pairing: a fine-wine scam. If in actuality it was a fine scam involving plonk, rewording will produce a less flabby finish.