Say it ain't so, Joe!

In Joseph McLellan's otherwise erudite discussion of recent recordings {Show, Feb. 21}, there appeared what seemed to be a reference to "Professor Doolittle" as the role established by Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady." The name "Doolittle" appears twice and can hardly be brushed aside as a mere slip of the word processor.

Nor is the writer the only culprit. There is a popular belief (now rebutted by the fact that no editor caught "Professor Doolittle") that The Post's standards for accuracy are defended by a large and able force of editors and proofreaders who look for errors, misstatements, etc., thus justifying the payroll of the news department. Was this matter simply a subliminal recognition on the part of all of them of how much they actually do?

Do we see here an intention on the part of The Post to side with Lerner vs. Shaw by accepting Eliza and Henry as spouses -- and with someone or other by implying that the husband in such case should take the surname of the wife?

It all seems to me like machinations of another professor, prominent in both that day and this: Moriarty strikes again!

-- Wayne B. Swift Hints for Terrorists Why does Jack Anderson print a "Hints From Heloise" list of tactical innovations that terrorists can use {Feb. 23}? Printing a list from a formerly secret Pentagon report can merely help terrorists, who are not above or beneath reading Jack Anderson.

-- Hortense F. Fiekowsky 'A Failed Attempt at Humor' Frank Ittner's article, ''Lowlife in the Fast Lane'' {magazine, Feb. 21} was a failed attempt at humor. In the article, Ittner lists 11 categories of lowlife. The first 10 apply to people who have made choices about the kind of car they want to drive. The last category of lowlife was anyone with Virginia license plates. The denigration of Virginians (or was that merely shorthand for people who reside in the South?) was crude and offensive.

All too often headlines in The Post are poorly chosen and convey unsupported impressions. That may have been the case here. Where are the editors?

-- Gordon Smith Baptists (Cont'd.) In his letter {Free for All, Feb. 20}, Jack Kennedy suggests that a Post story Feb. 13 displayed either bias or flawed survey techniques of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation in the references to born-again Baptists.

The Post needs no defense from me. However, The Post story displayed no bias; the survey techniques were not flawed. Neither The Post story nor the survey "lumped together" all Baptists as "born-again," as Kennedy contends.

The Williamsburg Charter Foundation, a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization concerned with the place of religion in public life, commissioned what may be the most extensive survey ever conducted on that subject. The sample size was in excess of 3,000, including subsamples of leadership and youth groups.

The term "born-again" is as old as the New Testament, but it assumed wider cultural connotations as recently as 1976, highlighted by Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign. The term is alive and well in the current election battle.

In our survey -- which included more than 60 major questions -- we used the term "born-again" only once, in a question about voting practices, and then precisely to elicit responses to questions of tolerance and bias, issues that are of interest to many of us, including Kennedy.

-- Robert G. Kramer The writer is communications director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation. A Gaggle of Women? A "gaggle of women"? A gaggle ?

Thank you, Art Harris, for referring to a group of women, including Coretta Scott King, as a "gaggle" {"In Atlanta, the Feminists' Revival," Style, Feb. 13}. The primary definition of "gaggle" is "flock" -- "especially a flock of geese when not in flight." What is Harris suggesting?

Perhaps he is one of that gaggle of men generally referred to as "male chauvinist." Well, let's be charitable.

I expect better from The Post.

-- Fran Caterini 'Ridiculous' The Feb. 17 front-page headline "With No Issues Looming Large, Winnowing Process Goes Slowly on Both Sides" was ridiculous.

The presidential campaign has been on for less than two weeks. The combined population of Iowa and New Hampshire, the only states to express a presidential opinion so far, is less than four million. Of these, fewer than a half million voted.

Winnowing process going slowly? Going much too fast for me. -- Joshua Gordon