The Saturday Miscellany: How to do the cryptic crossword; football phrases; David Bowie
How to: Do the cryptic
By Oscar Quine
Furious with Peruvian ancestry (12)? Well pick up a pen: ’tis the season to tackle that cryptic crossword head-on. Use these three tips from Alan Connor, author of ‘Two Girls, One on Each Knee (7)’, a how to guide for the budding solver:
"Cross-examine each word in the clue. A ‘flower’ may well be a river, and a ‘wicked thing’ is probably a candle. If you think you understand a cryptic clue on first reading, you’ve likely been hoodwinked."
"And remember the battle is unfair. But this is good news: it's weighted in your favour. The cryptic setter wants to lose: partly through a sense of fair play; partly to avoid their boss receiving hundreds of letters of complaint."
"Solve with a loved one. The solitary commuter with furrowed brow is a poor ambassador for crosswording. Share the delights of wordplay. Take your time, under a blanket on the sofa."
Rotating column: Team talk
By Larry Ryan
I like to talk about my clothes as if they are a football team. Wearing different shirts is squad rotating. Choosing what to take on holiday is like picking a World Cup squad: the black jeans have made it on the plane.
For me, there is a distinct joy in using football phrases and clichés on the playing fields of everyday life – as opposed to when talking about football: that’s torrid.
Recently, at a wedding, I described it as having a cup-tie atmosphere. Alas the person I was speaking to was not a football watcher and responded with confused silence.
At work, if a colleague responds aggressively to a situation, I note they’ve come in with a two-footed tackle.
After a long spell in charge, I should probably change the formation of my phrases, lest things turn stale, but for now, I have the backing of the board.
(Larry Ryan has the full backing of the board – ED )
Micro extract: Quitting talk
"Kiplagat would prefer to have a job that would allow him to continue training, but he is content to stop running tomorrow if someone offers him a decent living."
From ‘The Sports Gene’ by David Epstein (£8.99 Yellow Jersey)
Four play: Things from Iowa*
1. Herbert Hoover
2. The world’s largest truck stop
3. Bill Bryson
4. Deep-fried butter on a stick
*Iowa became 29th US state, this day 1846
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
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Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE over 'religious mistakes'
Marilyn Manson breaks silence on Lana Del Rey rape clip: 'I wouldn't make a video of that nature'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg