Evidence that Fran's husband may need to ask her for a more specific Christmas list

A crossword book travels with me everywhere now. It's a hobby that's developed into an addiction over the past couple of years. If I'm stuck at a bus stop, waiting - a daily occurrence, and sometimes twice or thrice-daily - I'll whip my crossword book out, turn to a new puzzle, and while the time away filling in the clues.

I've nearly missed my bus many times. Buses sneak up on people with their heads buried in books, then hurtle past to punish you for not staying alert. There are some bus drivers around here who probably keep a joyful tally of the number of people they've outwitted this way.

Never mind missing buses, though. My bigger problem, currently, is that the book I'm carrying around is filled with general knowledge crosswords. My husband bought me this for Christmas, forgetting that I do not possess General Knowledge.

I possess only Generally Forgotten Knowledge and it's so far down, at the very ends of my brain neurons, or wherever knowledge resides, that I would need major surgery to retrieve any of it. It may even be in my pancreas, having slipped down my body through neglect. Some may be in my little toe. It may ALL be in my little toe. I stubbed my little toe on a door jamb last week, so even the knowledge I do have may all be dead now.

The least I can do is to keep my knowledge warm


I am good at crosswords which ask questions about words and meanings and synonyms and metaphors. This is just as well. I get paid a monthly salary for knowing about these things and teaching them to others.

So, I enjoy clues such as 'Very angry (7)' and happily write in 'furious'.

I can do 'Very angry (6)' - 'raging'.

I can even do 'Very angry (12) - 'incandescent'.

But, at the moment, my crossword daily experience is causing me serious anguish.

The bus is late. I open the book to a new crossword, and frown for a while over 3 Down 'Small spiny fish (12)'

Not having taken much notice of nature for 55 years now, this question is not in my skill set.

My eyes shift to 40 Down 'Province of South Africa (9)'.

Having been thrown out of most of my Geography lessons at school, I pick another. 51 Down 'Malayan dagger (4)'.

I didn't pay attention in 'Foreign Weaponry' either, so I try again. 47 Across 'Author of Ode to Joy (8)'.

I think Ode to Joy is a musical piece but the word 'author' confuses me. I leave that one for the time being. I might ask my musician husband later ... if I can humble myself that far down.

It's a good thing it's a book of jumbo crosswords. I still have about 70 more chances in this crossword for the knowledge that isn't dead in my little toe to make its way back up. 

Here goes. Surely I can do 'Edicts of tsars (6)'. 

Maybe 'Container for melting metals (8)'

I'll try 'Relating to Greek political union (11)'.

Or perhaps I won't.

'One of the Furies (7)?'

'Roman name for York (8)?'

'Seraglio (5)?'

'Former football field position (7,4)?'

'State capital of Georgia (7)?'

By now, I feel like one of those poor people on Mastermind whose mind goes into whiteout and who keeps saying 'Pass', 'Pass', 'Pass', 'Pass' to every question, knowing that the watching public feels sorry for them on the one hand and spectacularly entertained by their tragic fall on the other.

The number of times each of them wanted to die during questioning


I go back to 'Seraglio (5)'.  Is it a type of pasta? A dance? A disease? A type of adhesive? A Spanish form of greeting?

There are 60 jumbo puzzles in the book, each with 100 or so clues. 

I have a lot of serious anguish still to come.










Comments

  1. You can do seraglio ... harem .
    But I'm intrigued by the former football field position, how are they supposed to have arranged themselves formerly? Something Roger de Coverley-ish, perhaps. Strip the Willow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can do seraglio now, yes! Thank you ... I think I have hit on a way of filling in the answers and still being able to say, quite honestly, that I didn't look them up in the back of the book.

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    2. Thanks, dinahmow :) Who knew? (Well, you clearly did!)

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  2. lol I always thought the reason for the answers being at the back of the book is so you could cheat legitimately.
    Take care
    Cathy

    Cathy @ Still Waters





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are, but I still feel a huge sense of failure if I have to look. I keep a tally at the bottom of each puzzle, noting down the number I had to look up. If I ever manage a crossword without looking up, I write YAY! at the bottom.

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  3. a Malayan dagger is a Kris, for the rest I'd be dragging out the mini thesaurus I used to drag around with me.

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    Replies
    1. A Kris? How did you know that, though? Where does one learn such things?

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    2. From crosswords and novels.

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  4. I usually buy books with easy crosswords and rip out the pages with the answers to remove temptation. I shove them in a drawer in case I get really stuck on some clues, but find I retain new answers better if I have to look them up via a thesaurus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've started writing out a couple of the clues I didn't know in order to try and remember them. But it seems I have only to turn a page and my mind has pressed 'Delete'. (Or, 'Send Down to Little Toe')

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    2. I've typed out the list of Archangels, and three lists of Hebrew, Arabic and Greek alphabets and taped them to the back page of my biggest dictionary. Every now and then I find an obscure answer and add it, with its clue, to the list. There is also a list of classical and foreign words and phrases that I kept from a mini thesaurus that fell apart from too much use.

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  5. Just to help you out, Fran: The Roman name for York: Eboracum. So are the ones you like called "Quick Crosswords", as opposed to the General Knowledge sort? Or how about the Cryptic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I swear I have never heard that Eboracum thing mentioned anywhere, ever, by anyone. Or perhaps my History teacher did and I wasn't listening ..... Yes, I like the Quick crosswords, the ones in the Times' T2 supplement - that type. As for cryptic, I can do 'Cryptic for Dummies' but not the Times Cryptic. No chance.

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    2. Now I remember that my parents used to do those Times T2 Quick crosswords every day for years. And as for Eboracum, I guess that's down to those of us who had to do years of Latin at school... :-)

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  6. Roman name for York - Eboracum (just spent two days there, or rather the modern version ). Container for melting metals crucible - can't do geography ones or cryptic clues at all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, I should have known crucible. Arrggh.

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    2. Crucible! I should have known that too. I've written it down now and will probably never forget it.

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  7. Your Little Toe will soon need bigger shoes x

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha! That made me smile! I'm going to look very out of proportion if my little toe becomes like a big toe or gets bigger than my big toe. I'll be buying shoes online rather than letting anyone in a shoe shop catch a glimpse.

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  8. Is 'Container for melting metals (8)' cauldron?

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  9. Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" was set to music by Beethoven. No, I'm not clever. I looked it up in Wikipedia!

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  10. My husband is the champion crossword and Sudoku puzzle person in our household (of two people). I'm hard to please - too easy a puzzle and I feel like I've wasted my time; too hard and I'm frustrated I couldn't finish! And I can NEVER remember an answer for the next time (because those puzzle creators are a lazy sort and often use the same words again and again)(and I'm clearly a lazy sort who doesn't learn from experience) . . .

    Yes, start writing your Christmas list now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've definitely noticed the same clues coming up several times in one book, yes, and, like you, I still don't know the answers!! I just 'vaguely remember' seeing the clue.

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  11. for the province in South Africa - husband says we have one called North-West.
    New to me!

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