Never a Cross Word

Gosh! I didn’t expect my passing reference to a crossword clue yesterday to spark so many comments,

To make it clear – it isn’t my fault, it’s whoever set the Independent crossword that day (unlike many crosswords, the Indie one is set by a different setter each day on a rota, so you don’t get too used to how they think). The answer is “anagram”, because “Game Bird” is an anagram of “Ambridge”, and it’s actually quite typical of some of the Indie’s clues: It looks like a “sepcial knowledge” question, and as an “Archers” listener1 I was thinking through all the Ambridge residents trying to think which one could best be described as a game bird.

Eventually I solved that one by getting all the ones that intersected with it, and going through all the words that fitted the available letters, trying each one to see if it fit the clue. Once I got it, I really thought it was a sublime clue, one of those that comes along once in a blue moon to elevate the whole crossword-doing experience to a new level.

You occasionally come across such joyous experiences in books too: One of my favourites is where Deric Longden is talking about his cat Thermal, stalking a cornflake across the table: Suddenly he realises “My cat’s a cereal killer”2. But the king of these gems has to be Terry Pratchett, responsible for these, both from “Soul Music”:

So who do you think is the greatest horn player of all time?
“It must be the brother of the religious order, who stole the temple gold and melted it down to make a trumpet: They say he was incapable of playing a wrong note”
Exactly – but if you ask the crowd out there who’s the greatest horn player, do you think they’ll remember some felonius monk?

and for all you Kirsty MacColl fans…

“There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s elvish”

Doctors tomorrow for the last blood-pressure check-up, after which I have to phone the rubbish hospital and see what latest rubbish excuse they come up with for delaying my operation.

1 And member of the “Archers Addicts” fan club
2 In “Lost for Words”, I think.

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