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Tony Grist

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Cryptics [Jan. 18th, 2010|11:08 am]
Tony Grist
I've been doing the Telegraph's Cryptic crossword for several months now. I've learned the ropes- the tricks of the trade- and now I can usually complete it in an hour or two. Yesterday I found a website devoted to it- which, among other things, reviews each puzzle and hosts discussions about the wit, poetic neatness and fairness of the clues. I was glad to find that a clue that defeated me in the puzzle I was doing yesterday was widely held to be badly-worded and a little unfair. I had thought that crosswords were an innocent, trivial pleasure; I hadn't realized there was a whole subculture out there waiting to suck me in.

One post contained a link to the Guardian cryptics which are- for those that know- the ultimate challenge. If the Telegraph cryptic is Mont Blanc, the Guardian cryptic is the Matterhorn. I downloaded one of them and gave it a whirl. It had a whole extra layer of deviousness built in. I struggled. I solved eight clues. Then I gave up and went to a dedicated site to have it explained to me. Ah, so that's what  was going on- the thing was themed to the life and works of W. E. Gladstone- greatest of all British prime ministers- and the GS repeatedly referred to in the clues was him. I'd thought it might be George Stubbs- the animal painter- which threw me right off track.

The Telegraph is getting to be too easy; I may have to cross over. "The fascination of what's difficult" and all that...
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-18 01:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, I like crosswords, but I don't think I want to become a crossword obsessive.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2010-01-18 03:51 pm (UTC)
One of my friends retired and started constructing crosswords. He gets published in the NY Times fairly frequently, though not on Friday AFAIK. He really enjoys it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-18 04:49 pm (UTC)
How splendid. I think constructing crosswords would be enormous fun.
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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2010-01-18 07:50 pm (UTC)
Gladstone - I'm teaching my Twelves about him at present. Amazing man.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-18 08:56 pm (UTC)
They don't make 'em like that any more.
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[User Picture]From: nineweaving
2010-01-19 12:57 am (UTC)
The Guardian crosswords are amazing! I love Azed's cryptics and Araucaria's monkey puzzles.

Nine
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-19 09:18 am (UTC)
I need to explore further...
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2010-01-21 11:58 am (UTC)
Oh, my... you put me to shame. I can't even complete an LA Times crossword. And that's, like, dude.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-21 08:29 pm (UTC)
The thing about cryptics is you have to learn certain basic rules- after that things become relatively straightforward. Mind you, I'm struggling over the one I'm doing today.
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