A recent tweet (10.41 pm a few days ago) will tell you how this is going:
Tomorrow me: Go to bed!
Now me: But crosswords . . .
I have finished the first of the “Challenging” crosswords in my book. Like the “Easy Peasy” ones, they are 13×13 squares rather than 15×15, and have fewer anagram clues than the easy ones (which had a lot). I’ve now completed 18 of the 25 easy crosswords and most of the ones I have left have only two or three clues that I can’t get.
I’ve cheated on a couple and peeked at the solution to make sure the intersecting words are correct and in a couple of cases they haven’t been, which has been why I haven’t been able to solve the clues. I’m also finding an online thesaurus to be invaluable.
Here’s a couple of clues I’m pleased with myself for working out this week:
- “Credit in bus, going north to the bush (5)” = SCRUB – Bus going north = ‘bus’ reversed (sub); credit = CR inserted into ‘sub’ meaning “bush”.
- And in a similar vein: “Backwards elf gets around sailor’s moral tale (5)” = FABLE – the letters of ‘elf’ spelled backwards (fle) around a symbol for sailor, which in this case is AB (Able Seaman).
- “Whiskey, as well as a magic stick (4)” = WAND – whiskey (W) + as well as (AND) = a magic stick (WAND).
It’s like learning another language, where words don’t always mean what you might initially think they do. I’m sometimes getting frustrated because I’m not familiar with many of the tricks used in the clues and end up looking at them in blank despair, ready to throw my pencil across the room. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m a beginner and this is all new to me and I’m not supposed to be able to get everything right first time. It’s a real challenge to my perfectionist thinking.
I think I need to make a handy reference chart of all the sneaky little abbreviations and words that are used in other ways to the way I expect.
Here are some new words I learned this week:
- eft = a newt in its juvenile terrestrial form
- nacre = mother-of-pearl
- lucre = money that is sordid or distasteful, or obtained dishonestly
- sepal = each of the parts of the calyx of a flower, enclosing the petals
- aver = maintain, assert, state
- glabella = the the triangle between your eyebrows and nose (this was a quiz show answer, not a crossword)
I also got to use some knowledge I picked up from a quiz show a few weeks ago, that the capital of Latvia is Riga, to solve another clue.
What I’m loving a lot about this challenge is I can do it anywhere, anyhow. If I have a few spare minutes I can simply pick up the book and look for a clue that I can solve. Now all I have to do is force myself to put it back down again when it’s bedtime.
I also retook the photo of my Midori and my new Moleskine book so you can see how nicely they will play together 🙂