The Judge Sums Up
The Judge loves language and loves to show off by writing about the tricky clues in Lovatts contest crosswords. The Judge will also point out where you went wrong! You will find the wise words of The Judge in each issue of BIG Crossword, Colossus Crosswords, MEGA! and Holiday Crossword Collection. If there are any clues you would like explained The Judge is the one to ask.
T Thompson, Rosebery, Tas.
10 x $50
N Crotty, Geraldine, NZ; M Cunningham, Somerset, Tas; Keith Decker, Beulah, Vic; Pam Harris, Bracken Ridge, Qld; Margaret Haylock, Palmwoods, Qld; J Phillis, Nowra, NSW; Jarne Revelant, Cooma, NSW; Val Stephens, Kewarra Beach, Qld; Dianne Thomas, Greystanes, NSW; Julie Thomson, Koongal, Qld.
Kindle Wi-Fi 6” eReader
Irene Cole, Hughesdale, Vic.
3 Clip-&-Go iPod Shuffles
Margaret Clarke, Gladstone, Qld; Jim Claxton, Norwood, Tas; Ulla Graham-Smith, Kariong, NSW.
Samsung Digital Camera
Shirley Cartlidge, Rochester, Vic.
5 Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionaries
A J Argent, Coorparoo, Qld; L Boughen, Yamba, NSW; Patrick O’Kane, Invercargill, NZ; E Webb, Earlville, Qld; Shirley Winters, Aramac, Qld.
in the shop
Let’s start with clue 169dn in the Stinker, which was a little ambiguous. ‘Stores’ suggests a few different answers including two that fitted the spaces on our grid; the noun SHOPS, places you buy things, or the verb STOWS, stashes away. We accepted both answers.
One of the world’s endangered animals is a Himalayan creature called a Hispid Hare. The hare is so named because of its bristly coat. Stinker clue 72ac was ‘Covered with bristles’ and needed HISPID as the answer. HISUID and HISHID were incorrect.
At 63dn the ‘Dramatist’ was ‘BERTOLT Brecht’ not BERTOIT or BERTORT. This German playwright and poet is perhaps best remembered for his collaboration with Kurt Weill on the satirical musical, The Threepenny Opera. One of the songs from the show, the murder ballad known as Mack The Knife, has been recorded many times since its creation in the 1920s.
Intrepid is a word that is quite well-known; an intrepid explorer is one who is fearless even while facing unknown dangers. The word comes from the Latin trepidus meaning alarmed or anxious and so the lesser-known TREPID was the answer to 35dn ‘Quaking’. TREVID and TREMID
‘Jot’ was the clue at 87ac and while a simple little word, it did cause some trouble. Jot means to write down quickly and briefly. By extension it means a little bit, especially in the phrase, “I don’t care a jot”. WHIT has a similar meaning and was the answer we were looking for. CHIT means a voucher for food or drink, a memorandum, or an impudent girl.
For 136dn ‘Kin’ both RELATIVES and RELATIONS seemed to be suitable, but only RELATIVES would fit with 186ac APE for ‘Tailless primate’.
At 76dn the clue ‘Do penance’ needed EXPIATE. The second part of expiate shares its Latin root word pius with pious, which we might clue as ‘devout’ or ‘reverent’. EXPLANE, is unfortunately not a word , perhaps those who opted for this were thinking of EXPLAIN.
A few simple spelling errors to note include CHARLATON, which needed to be CHARLATAN for ‘Quack’ at 15ac, INADVERTANT, which needed to be INADVERTENT for ‘Unwitting’ at 129dn and USERER, which needed to be USURER for ‘Greedy moneylender’ at 291dn.
Over in the Giant Cryptic and 61dn was ‘Centre area of club is a candy store? (5,4)’. The answer was SWEET SPOT, the clue containing two meanings. A sweet spot on a golf club, tennis racquet or bat is the centre area from where the most effective shots are made. A sweet spot could also be a place to sell ‘candy’. A couple of entries had SCENT SPOT.
We had a lot of discussion about 63ac as many different answers appeared in entries including IFS, ITS and ILS. The ins and outs of something are the intricacies or details, so INS was the answer to ‘Half of the finer details’.
In Cashwords entries we noticed quite a few blank squares. This can easily happen when you leave a letter to check the spelling in a dictionary and then forget to go back and fill it in. It’s a shame to do all the work of filling in the answers to then be disqualified for one or two blank squares. So, a friendly reminder from our judges to recheck your entries before posting.
‘Narrow river crossing’ at 1dn was FORD not FEED and ‘Unlatch’ at 157ac was UNBOLT not UNBELT.
‘Be an omen of’ at 61ac needed BODE not MODE, RODE or CODE. I could say that this didn’t bode well for the rest of the Cashwords, but that would seem a bit cruel!
There were two acceptable spellings at 132dn. ‘Car’s petrol-mixing device’ was either CARBURETTOR or CARBURETTER.
‘Soundest of mind’ at 71ac was SANEST not SAFEST and 141dn ‘Happiest’ was CHEERIEST, not CHEEKIEST. For both these answers I am reminded of that strange idiom, ‘close but no cigar’, meaning your worthy efforts unfortunately fall just short and receive no reward.
The expression, which was used in the 1935 film of Annie Oakley, apparently comes from a time in the US when cigars were given out as fairground prizes.
I’m sure you eager-beavers are all as keen as mustard to tackle the next lot of contests. May you fare well in your quest for the sweet smell of victory!
We were faced with a bit of a dilemma in the Bigcash. The usual English spelling for ‘Small handbill’ is FLYER but quite a few entries had FLIER. This is more common in American English, but as it is a variant spelling and does appear in some dictionaries, we had to accept it as correct as well at 10ac.
A couple of other acceptable alternatives should also be mentioned. For 56dn ‘Medicinal inhaler’ both VAPORIZER and VAPORISER were okay and at 93ac ‘Cruel wisecracks’ could be GIBES or JIBES.
‘Argue’ at 14dn was DEBATE not DEBASE and ‘Strain’ at 17dn needed EXERT not ELECT or ERECT.
For 24ac ‘Perplexed’ only BAFFLED was correct. BAFFLES was the wrong tense. Similarly, 28ac ‘Carved into shape’ needed HEWED and not HEWES. 29dn ‘Judges’ was DEEMS not SEEMS.
A couple of entries misspelt HUSTLE at 28dn as HUSSLE and one or two of you opted for JOCKIES instead of the correct JOCKEYS for 82dn, ‘Horse riders’. JOCKIES made 109ac incorrect as well.
The word jockey comes from the Scottish name Jock, a colloquial equivalent of John. As far back as the 16th century the name was used to mean ‘a boy or fellow’ (compare the English Jack the lad, Jack of all trades, Jack tar etc.). Like most words, the path it took to reach the usage we now know, is not clear, but Jock gained use as a word for horse dealers and trickster and jockey was adopted for a person who rode a horse in a race around 1670.
Over in The Demon both AMEND and EMEND were accepted for ‘Revise’ at 73ac. For 82dn ‘Street vendors’ we wanted PEDLARS but also had to accept the US spelling PEDLERS, which appears in dictionaries. Not surprisingly in this age of computers and global industries English and American spellings are getting closer and there is more overlap. Most so-called American spellings have a long history in English anyway, from the time before Samuel Johnson put together his prescriptive English dictionary in 1755 followed by Noah Webster’s American version in 1828.
Another unexpected alternative answer was spotted at 97dn. For ‘Stretcher’ we wanted LITTER but a few entries had LIFTER. We first considered this incorrect, but in checking various dictionaries, a lifter was defined as ‘a person or thing that lifts’ and so we had to agree that by our definition of what a clue is, we had to accept that answer as well.
We did not accept TONG in answer to 36dn ‘Chinese dynasty’. You needed TANG. TONG is a word but describes a Chinese secret society.
Your Goliathon entries were almost error-free. Congratulations!
The few small errors noticed by our judges included INCER at 13dn instead of the correct INCUR for ‘Become liable for’ and TEEMED at 106dn instead of TEAMED for ‘Combined forces, … up’.
One of my favourite tales from Ancient Greece is that of the wooden horse. Devised by Odysseus after years of unsuccessful attempts to enter Troy, Greek soldiers hid inside a large wooden horse while the rest of their army pretended to give up and sail away. The Trojans were persuaded to drag the gift into the city and after dark the Greek soldiers emerged, opened the gates to their comrades and the city was taken.
This tale has become part of our language. A Trojan horse is a devious ploy against one’s enemies. In business it is an offer that seems, and indeed is, too good to be true and in computer speak, it is a program that appears legitimate but is in fact destructive. We also get the expression ‘beware Greeks bearing gifts’ meaning ‘don’t trust your enemies’ from this myth.
After the destruction of Troy, Odysseus had a long and arduous journey home, as described in Homer’s The Odyssey. He faced the one-eyed Cyclops and sea monsters, encountered storms and was shipwrecked before returning after ten years to his wife, Penelope, who awaited at home in Ithaca, where Odysseus was king.
In the Mega Stinker 72 the most common error was at 128ac. ‘Odysseus’ home in Greece’ was ITHACA not ITHICA. This ancient epic was written in the 8th century BC and is still very much part of our culture. I wonder which modern tales will stand such a test of time. Odyssey is a word that also appears in our crosswords, clued as ‘Epic journey’ or ‘Lengthy adventure’.
A PYRRHIC victory is one at too great a cost. King Pyrrhus of Epirus sustained such devastating losses while defeating the Romans in 279BC that the victory was seen as fairly hollow.
A couple of entries had CYRRHIC for ‘Hollow (victory)’ at 85dn and COLEMIC at 85ac. POLEMIC, the answer to ‘Doctrinal dispute’ at 85ac, also comes from Greek, from the word for ‘war’. If you put PALEMIC for 85ac, 69dn was also incorrect. ‘Ballroom dance, … doble’ was PASO not PASA. The name of this Spanish dance translates as ‘double step’.
The ‘German diacritic’ at 56ac was an UMLAUT not UMALUT. This is the two dots placed above a vowel to alter its sound (e.g. like the difference between mice/mouse or man/men). Führer is an example, which without the umlaut is sometimes seen as Fuehrer.
Finally for the Stinker 69ac ‘Hunts, … upon’ was PREYS not PRAYS.
ATTILA the Hun appeared in the Mighty Mega at 56ac, unfortunately for some of you ATILLA is incorrect. Known as the Scourge of God, Attila and his army overran much of Roman Europe in the 5th century and have gone down in history remembered for their barbarity. Attila died on his wedding night in 453, perhaps at the hand of his new bride.
The NAPA (not NAFA, BAJA or TAPA) Valley is the ‘California wine valley’ (Mega Mix 38ac) famous for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and other varieties of wine.
‘A person between the ages of 50 and 59’ (23dn) is a QUINQUAGENARIAN, not QUINQUAGINARIAN. For 54dn ‘Title of the wife of the Aga Khan’ both BEGUM and BEGAM were acceptable. Begum Inaara Aga Khan was the second wife of Prince Karim, His Highness The Aga Khan IV, until they divorced in October 2011.
So many interesting bits of information hiding in our clues! Enjoy the next batch of contests and see what you can learn.
for a Stinker
A simple spelling mistake caught out some Stinker-lovers at 1dn. ‘Prophetess’ needed SIBYL not SYBIL. Sibyl’s were depicted as old women who lived in caves making prophecies. The most famous was the one who assisted Aeneas in his journey to the underworld.
Another often misspelt name caught out others of you at 103ac. ‘Othello plotter’ needed IAGO not LAGO.
Interestingly a sibyl appears in Shakespeare’s play. Othello gives Desdemona a handkerchief which he says was woven by a 200-year-old sibyl. The handkerchief is a symbol of loyalty, but Iago uses it to convince Othello of Desdemona’s infidelity.
The conniving Iago could perhaps be described as a roué, but not as a roux! ROUX not ROUÉ was the answer to 49dn ‘White sauce base’. Roux comes, like many cooking terms, from French and is related to the word russet, coming from the Latin russus, meaning ‘brownish’.
Our clue at 42dn was ‘Box-shaped solid’, but what is a box-shape? Our compiler was thinking of a regular cube-shaped box, but surely a box can have other than six sides. This was something we had to consider when faced with the answer DECAHEDRON instead of the expected HEXAHEDRON. Should we allow it? So back to maths class we went.
Hedron is a suffix meaning a solid with a specific number of faces. A polyhedron is a solid bounded by polygons, that is, closed planes of at least three sides (e.g. triangles, squares, rectangles). So far so good. A hexahedron has six faces, i.e. is a cube when those faces are squares. But a tetrahedron is 3-sided, a pentahedron is 5-sided and a heptahedron is 7-sided. Are they not still boxes? None of these fitted the space in our grid but DECAHEDRON did, and as it can be argued that you can have a 10-sided box, after due deliberation we accepted it as an alternative answer to our clue.
Imminent, coming from the Latin for ‘project over’ means ‘impending’. Immanent, coming from the Latin for ‘remain in’ means ‘existing within’. Our clue at 139dn ‘Inherent’ needed IMMANENT not IMMINENT. One little letter, but a whole world of difference!
The answer to 167dn, while perhaps not immediately obvious, was a ‘light bulb’ moment once realised. ‘Southerly’ was AUSTRAL. DUSTPAN and QUETZAL fitted the space but can only be described as wild guesses.
The Greeks used the word australis to mean the southern part of the world and terra australis incognita was the ‘unknown southern land’ that became Australia.
Austral is used for things relating to, or from the south, so an austral breeze or austral summer. It is used quite a lot by southern hemisphere businesses; Austral Gold, Austral Bricks, Air Austral are examples.
Now I feel in need of some refreshment, how about you? Look no further than 177dn where you’ll find ‘Drink, mint …’. A mint JULEP (not JULIP) originated in Kentucky as a mix of bourbon, ice, sugar syrup and mint. According to Oxford the word julep comes from the Persian gulab or ‘rose water’. A similar drink is a mojito, which has the addition of lime.
In the Mega Mix ‘Ireland’s new PM since March 2011’ (70ac) proved hard to find for some. One reader even told us she rang the Irish Consulate and was told Brian Cowen, who was in fact the previous leader. ENDA KENNY leads the Finn Gael party and heads a coalition government formed on March 9, 2011.
It is no surprise that Iran and Iraq are often mistaken, as they are neighbours and differ in English by just one letter. The ‘Gulf War nation’ was IRAQ at 55dn in the Mighty Mega, not IRAN. The United States invaded Iraq in 1991 following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. This is sometimes called the First Gulf War because of the coalition invasion in 2003, usually known as the Iraq War. Just to confuse things further, both are sometimes referred to as Desert Storm. And if that wasn’t enough confusion, there was also a conflict in the 1980s between the two nations known as the Iran-Iraq War.
Not much else to mention from the Mighty Mega I’m pleased to say. Just a couple of AVIARIES instead of APIARIES for 72ac ‘Bee farms’ and one or two ABASE instead of ABATE for 12dn ‘Diminish’.
I would like to wish you all the best for the festive season and I look forward to joining you in 2012 to make it the best puzzling year yet.