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Comment from todays Rufus, we are nolonger members, too far from London, but when I first met my wife she was a member of, and got me to join the Richard III Society. The general idea being that his history was written by his enemies and therefore being largely spin of a defamatory nature.
Many of us get your comments in the manner they’re intended … provocative but fun … I’ve never found you nasty … hence my cheers from the sideline and syncophantic praise.
Take heart … if you enemies spin your history, at least you’ll be remembered … perhaps a little unfavouraboy tho … this is just a website for us crossword nerds … I’m not sure it wil amount to much in history.By the way
I agree with your comments about some of us dumbo’s wading in and asking the questions no one else was game to ask … perhaps we did lower the tone, but we made it a site people were more willing to launch into.
Thank you for those kind words, but don’t get involved kid. You’ll be next on the hit list if you do.
I’ve said this before, although no-one has used the info, not a problem, but in case anybody succedes in geting me banned there are many of you I would like to stay in touch with. So it’s d dot lazenby at ntlworld dot com. And passingidiot on the Instant Messaging. One would think my IM id would tip people off not to get too serious. Oh well, never mind.
The leg, well don’t tell the consultant but I just got back from my first walk with only one stick. The local shops are just over a furlong away so that is around a quater mile in all. The consultant would have kittens. Still it worked and I’m feeling really pleased with myself.
I’m trying to decide whether I really want to listen to day 5 of the W.Indies Test Match on the PC. It’s all gone rather sad.
My reading of the comment is that was made by someone who was simply trying to stir things up for his/her own amusement. Such things are best ignored, unless repeated, and this is the first (and will probably be the last) time I have seen this name (pseudonym?) used on this site.
OK, I can live with that. Well he succeded. I just presumed he was someone who was not a Guardian regular, as opposed to not a regular full stop.
Still, as we have found by the number of recent new faces who have indictated they’re own actions, there are many people out there who are regular readers who never post. Maybe he was that sort of regular.
Steve: I can’t remember whether this applies to the Guardian, but some of the papers advertise premium rate “phone for the answers” services next to the xwd. There’s little point in doing so if you also say “or you can go to fifteensquared.net to read most answers, with explanations, for nothing”!
Monica: the maths/science bias is by no means complete, but I think it shows that cryptic solving really depends on problem-solving technique rather than all that literary and other knowledge that many people think matters a lot.
Re young people etc, I only entered my 20s a few months back, and over the past couple of years I’ve met quite a few (low dozens?) of people my age who have been at least interested in cryptics, if not regular solvers. Have to say that the maths/science bias seems pretty complete for my generation, but this may just be due to my choice of social circles
Regarding the Independent blogs, the number of contributors is admittedly smaller, but so is the paper’s circulation. Taking the circulation into account the number of contributors is proportionately greater than the Guardian. However, the main reason for the fewer postings is that the average number of posts per contributor is much lower on the Indy blogs (and there are some posters to the Guardian blogs that greatly increase the Guardian’s average).
Until recently the majority of posts were directly related to the crossword with only the occasional bit of divergence and extraneous banter. I thought that the balance was OK but, to some, perhaps it seemed a little dry. More recently the pendulum has swung too far the other way for some. Now personally, I welcome some chat with people who share my hobby but I can also understand that we don’t want to clog up the blogs. I think that the Chat Room is a great solution and should please most parties.
A couple of weeks ago paranoia seemed to grip the site thinking that there was someone using multiple IDs to stir up controversy. Now the paranoia seems to be on the other foot and people are saying that we are victimising newbies. I don’t think it’s fair to paint the longstanding contributors to this site as unwelcoming ivory tower-dwellers. I have often begun a post by saying that I didn’t manage to complete a puzzle and had to cheat and I have never felt ridiculed (and I never felt that I was the only struggler). I have also never seen anyone get put down for asking any questions. On the contrary, I think that everyone on this site goes out of their way to be helpful and polite to people of all levels.
I am happy for anyone to start a discussion or start a debate (and, given the various threads now available those discussions can be as on or off topic as you want) but I hope that it is not unreasonable for people to show disapproval if it seems someone wants to start an argument.
One final point. It is sometimes difficult to pick up sarcasm or how far someone’s tongue might have been in their cheek when reading their post so please don’t be surprised if people misunderstand your intentions. If you don’t say what you mean don’t get upset if we accuse you of meaning what you say (or sometimes overextrapolate meaning from it).
I sincerely hope that this comment is not taken the wrong way. My intention is not to fan the flames but to pour oil on the waters. However, Chatmeister, please feel free to hit delete if you think I it might end up pouring oil on the flames and that we should let sleeping dogs lie.
Testy, thank heavens for a little common sense. I thought that was how it was when I first joined. Then somebody came out with “why is he even doing crosswords” when I asked about something where our two general knowledges failed to intersect. That was hardly welcoming or helpful. It got worse from there.
I never wanted it to get worse, but it did.
This 15sqd.chitchat thread is great.
Something to entertain me after completing today’s Rufus.
In 10 minutes 36 seconds – NOT.
Weather in Edinburgh is better after hail y’day and snow forecast for tomorrow.
Glad you enjoy it the thread … most of us feel more comfortable here, as our comments aren’t always enjoyed in the puzzle blog … but good fun none the less.
Please indulge me here … yes, there may be a bit of paranoia on behalf of the newbies, but given we were so nastily targeted is can at least be understood. Far more so than the thought of a troll on this site.
BTW …. the weather this evening … hot and very humid … even I, who love the tropics, am ready for it to cool down a bit.
Depends on the troll.See wiki.I never Knew the meaning of ‘Troll’,til it appeared in Chat#1 and today I find it also means ;to sing heartily;pass(cup)around and is also a method of fishing.London;overcast.
I didn’t know any other meaning for troll, other than the fairy tale version, until then as well. We live and learn. One of the things which amused me about the whole thing is that my skill with computers is rather limited … blogging is about it … as for setting up a facebook page …forget about it …
OK, apathy ruled for not as long as I expected. I’ve been thinking how best to explain it. I decided to simplify the full complexity so that we could stick to the original point, which is what do you call PI. One of the most obvious things I left out is exponents. There are many others. So, can maths geniuses please bear that in mind.
First a formal definition. In it a Name indicates something composed of smaller items. Something inside ” marks is as small as items get, a building block if you like. -> means “is defined by”.  indicates an optional item. … indicates repeated zero or more times. |indicates alternatives.
OK, that is the basic language of arithmetic and simple maths. It says in a few lines what your teachers took years over.
So, PI. Let’s call a circumference C and a diameter D. Then there exists the equation
C / D = PI
Now let’s use the grammar above to parse that. This consists of the Relationship ‘=’ and two Expressions. The left hand Expression consists of two Factors (which are ‘variable’s) and a MultOperator. That type of expression is sufficently common that it has it’s own name, a Ratio. The right hand Expression consists of just a ‘number’.
Notice that all the ‘=’ does is say that the values to either side are the same. It does not say that the structure or properties of the two sides are the same.
So for example, if I looked at that Equation and tried to say that the Ratio part is a ‘number’, that would clearly be nonsense. It may be possible to evalute it to a ‘number’, but that is a completely separate issue.
Now you have to be consistent and apply the same terminology constraints to the Expression to the right of the ‘=’. It is just as meaningless to call that side a Ratio, just because a particular Ratio evalutes to it. It is also nonsense to call either side of the Equation a Relationship. The Relationship is the operator in the middle of the Equation, the ‘=’ sign.
So, does that cover the issue, or have I blinded you with science and I need to have another go?
Monica;Ditto re computers .Ilove this chat ,from Trolls to Dereks math in a morning/evening,fantastic.If you go to oldbaileyonline ,enter,troll in ‘search’ it comes up with a case of piracy and transportaion.
On PI=relation/relationship. If you’re an expert on any subject, it seems to me possible to find fault with dictionary definitions related to that subject. That’s just life. Crosswords are not authoratitive treatises on any subject, but a game in need of some rules about what word in the clue you can reasonably equate with some other word or abbreviation in the answer. Forgetting the joys of literary characters, place names and famous people, the rule is surely: if the puzzle’s reference dictionary implies that the words mean the same, it’s OK. Checking the entries for ‘pi’, ‘ratio’ and ‘relation(ship)’, not in Chambers but the Concise Oxford, using ‘relation’ or ‘relationship’ to define PI in a cryptic crossword clue seems perfectly reasonable. There are some clues that perpetrate scientific nonsense, such as “charge” for ION, which is not supported by the dictionaries. Those are the ones to moan about.
As for “sloppy” meanings of words like “cusp”: they can only arise if people have been exposed to the concept in the first place. Worry more about the words that still mean precisely what they were intended to – because not enough people are using them for any other meanings to develop!
Who said maths is a programming language? Just because a small part of it is amenable to being represented by the same notation that is commonly used to define programming languages does not make any such statement. You are jumping too far.
So, um, according to you then, all rational numbers are ratios or relationships, given that any rational number can be defined by a ratio and ratio is what you are happy to call a relationship? That rather makes some of the words number, ratio and relationship spurious. Only one of them is needed on that way of thinking.
In any case, as a mathematician you should be aware that there are other ways to define PI. Should we cease calling PI a number and call it an infinite series? If it is valid to call a number something other than a number based on the evaluation of one expression, then it is only consistent that any other definition of that number can be used as a name.
Also, as you well know, PI is an irrational number, which by the very definition of the term means there is no ratio which can define it. Any real values for C and D lead to an approximation. So the progression in names from number to ratio to relationship is somewhat suspect.
Or are you saying it is actually valid to wander around saying “that well known infinite series PI”? Or how about “that well known relationship 1.8″? (as in the scaling of degrees C to degrees F). You wouldn’t do it would you? So, PI is just another number, why should it have different rules as to what it is called to all the other numbers?
P.S. I keep me happy, but thanks for the concern LOL.
Peter, I was typing at the same time. As ever what you say sounds reasonable. But suppose there were crosswords around the time of Columbus. Everyone would be happy to see “shape of the earth” leading to flat. Well, all except a handful of souls, and the handful of souls would be right. A few years later and any dictionary that gave “Flat, the shape of the earth” would have to be corrected. And all prior claims that the definition was reasonable because it was in common usage would go up in flames.
But, ah, which words to defend? That is a very good question. Can there ever be any agreement on that? I would be more inclined to take the view that if you wish to defend certain words that are important to you, then if those words just happened to be of less importance to me I wouldn’t try to stop you defending them, nor would I say your priorities in which words to defend was wrong. That choice just has to be too personal.
But, tell us what words you seek to defend and why and there will be at least some us who will join the good fight, because although we are all different, there are always those we overlap with.
Dave, I didn’t define those because it seemed like it would an unnecessary complication. Most mathematicians would want to see short names for variables and would be unhappy with the long names programmers prefer, and vica versa. And numbers just don’t bear thinking about, which representations go in and which don’t? None of that would have helped because the discussion is based at the levels above those definitions. So a vague definition that most people have some idea what it is seemed preferable.
If you think that means somethigwas missed, please say.
If dictionary definitions change, the crosswords simply change with them. So what? As long as you use a dictionary printed in the last couple of decades, the chance of this mattering is pretty slim. If you were solving just after the end of the general belief in a flat world, whenever that actually was, you wouldn’t suddenty have completely forgotten about it, any more than people in the 70s or 80s solving puzzles written before 15/2/1971 would suddenly forget all about bob=shilling.
Word defence: if you think there’s a good fight to be fought, in which we tell setters what mistakes in the dictionary they should avoid repeating, you’ve entirely misunderstood my point, which I’ll try restating: the dictionary’s version of ‘truth’ is like Churchill’s description of democracy – far from perfect, but the best realistic system on offer. All that needs saying to the setters/editors is to exhort them to make sure that the dictionary confirms the “synonyms” they want to use, or to copy from someone else (which I’m sure is the process by which the occasional bit of nonsense like charge=ION is usually perpetuated).
I was actually thinking in much wider terms than crosswords, just word mis-use in general. A crossword is of course not a good place to find such.
You keep refering to charge and ION. Luckily for me I haven’t seen one of those, maybe the setters I like don’t do it, or haven’t done it recently. Given that an ion is of course a charged particle, I would guess it comes down to whether they try to use it as an actual synonym or merely a related or suggestive word.
The situation is less clear-cut for hydrogen. If you ionize hydrogen you are left with a single proton, which carries the smallest unit of charge. That is then in effect a charge, but I can’t recall ever seeing a proton refered to as a charge. So I think I’d agree with you, but that one scanario gives me a nagging doubt. As soon as someone who is into that sort of thing says they haven’t heard that either then that’s end of story, it’s wrong.
ION/charge: “actual synonym” is the one that bugs me when it happens. The good setters don’t do it. I have heard from someone that in scientific slang, a charged particle sometimes IS called a “charge”. But that’s not something other people can be expected to know or be able to verify, so not an excuse.
I find it quite odd that anybody needs to resort to one particular dictionary when, via the internet, there are vast resources to choose from. If you are a contributer to this delightful forum you must have access to same. The merits of one dictionary or another then become irrelevant. Whether or not you have heard of a word, person, place etc is hardly of any great importance to the setter. (I speak here as a former compiler.) As Eileen & others have said it’s often a learning experience, something new to chew on.
My main aim in doing crosswords & other puzzles is to keep my aging brain active, not so easy now I work from home & have only my husband to bounce off (verbally that is). The daily stimulation one gets from interaction with work colleagues was one of the hardest things to cope with on retirement, however mundane some of it was. End of rant.
It depends on what sort of game you think cryptic xwds are. If they’re a verbal and factual treasure hunt, with words liketaghairm a source of delight no matter how obscure, and anything on the web fair game as knowable knowledge, your system applies.
But the aim of most daily paper puzzles seems to be something like: “a puzzle which reasonably intelligent and educated solvers (typical Times readers in fact) can hope to compete in a half-hour-or-so train journey without needing to annoy their fellow-travellers in the quiet carriage by beeping into the electronic aids on their mobiles.” I’m quoting the current Times xwd editor and I can’t find you public statements from all the others, but I’ve yet to hear of one (in the UK at least) whose stated aim for their daily puzzle is to have you hunting down definitions in OneLook or factoids in Wikipedia.
When the weekend comes and we’re on the sofa with Chambers instead of the train, the barred-grid puzzles and some of the Saturday blocked ones can stretch things much further. But even then, the vocab range is normally the content of one dictionary, not the combination of dictionaries and other sources pulled together by sites like OneLook. That gives the setters some limits – ones that rarely prevent them from coming up with puzzles that are plenty hard enough.
For me, as stated, cryptic crosswords are an intellectual stimulus. I get very cross (no pun intended) when I can’t get one out completely, hence the use of whatever resources are to hand. Since I spend most of my days at home & on the internet (mainly work related) I am probably in a better position than most solvers to take advantage of the vast treasury of knowledge available. I also find myself wandering off in some odd byways too, especially when trying to find local (British) references to obscure villages or districts, or “well-known” Brit pollies or telly stars; a bit of a problem here in Australia.
I see some people were saying yesterdays Brendan blog was a social club. Hmm.
Some of that debate undoubtedly belonged under General Crossword Discusion and at some point we should have transfered. Mia Culpa, grovel, sorry, etc. We need to try harder about using that section chaps.
But honestly, oh carping ones, if you see someone saying something with which you disagree, do you supinely roll over and play dead or do you answer? Where do you put the answer? Where the answer will be seen, or where it may be missed? Get real. Real life is full of contrary opinion, no matter how rose tinted you may wish things to be. Crosswords, no matter how esoteric, are still part of real life, they are not exempt, disputes will happen.
One more thing, we who were debating were still more or less on topic. Apart from one sad post late on, the only posters who totally broke the rules and who were totally off topic were the ones commenting about the number of posts. Those comments should have been made here. So before people complain about others breaking the rules, perhaps they would have the decency to learn those rules themselves.
Derek, I must say, that’s nice and clear. And I agree.
I only send in comments (or questions) every now and then, and my starting point is always the daily crossword itself.
When someone, like yesterday, thinks that Brendan missed some opportunies to link themed clues, and is referring to musical clues, then why am I not allowed to give my opinion on that. It is nearly impossible to switch from the crossword blog to the chat room which we are in at this very moment.
Of course, you should stop the discussion at some point.
Moreover, when I ask for the explanation of “TON=100″, I don’t like to be treated as an unintelligent person who should have known – as I could read between the lines in one of yesterday’s contributions which was ridiculising my “C=about” query of some weeks ago (of course, I know that C=about, but I just overlooked it then).
I am not British, and English is not my first language, but I am trying to become part of the cryptic world, but it’s obvious that I still have to learn a lot.
And by reading the daily blog, I do learn a lot about crossword rules and conventions, and about the way people “think”.
The fact that there is a kind of social clique doen’t bother me at all. They all have a love for crosswords, and just want to share the joy of solving the daily crossword with others (who they probably don’t even know as a person, but communicate with as a kind of friend).
As long as the crossword itself is the heart of the comments (and for example, not domestic life) – and this is nearly always the case – then everything’s fine by me.
I don’t have the worlds best memory or even a smooth running recall of what I do remember. So, when I get that problem and ask I too sometimes get panned by the intolerant. But the fact that the people responsible are so incompetent that they can’t realise from your name that you have good reason to be asking makes me ashamed to be English. I can only hope they realise they have an itchy trigger finger and appologise.
In any case, itchy trigger finger is my job, perhaps I should sue?
Good afternoon Neil.I hope the weather in Devon is better than the overcast and chilly London.
Sil Van Den Hoek; nothing wrong with questions no matter how basic.I think the intelligent thing to do if you don’t know something is ask someone who does. That it should happen at 15/2 isn’t a problem. Intellectual snobbery does sometimes rear its ugly head but isn’t much of a problem cos its laughable. Some of the threads here are well over my head and I have no idea what they’re talking about. But I love trying to work it out even when I fail to work it out. The world is a diverse place and so is 15/2. Its not only that English isn’t your native tongue that you might want basic questions answered it could be any number of reasons.
Once spent 3 months working near Hillegom on the flowers.Very nice part of the world.
And no one is going to stop me from asking questions about crosswords.
And to get back to Brendan’s ETON clue.
My point was not: why is century 100? (obvious, even more when you write century as just a c). And I do understand (now) that TON can be seen as 100 (as it is sometimes in Holland, and in cars, but for a different reason).
But: even for me, as a mathematician, this doesn’t automatically imply that: century=TON.
Another example: female=F , loud=F, so “female” in a clue can be replaced in the solution by “loud” ??
I find this cumulative kind of construction quite elaborate.
See, that was my real comment.
But nobody seems to have noticed these underlying (deeper) thoughts.
Anyway, new day – new opportunities.
Sil, I take it you have seen other slang names for numbers? More generally, looking up “Cockney Slang” and or “Cockney Rhyming Slang” can be illuminating. I’m not sure why other regional slang isn’t popular for clues.
I think if anyone tried substituting loud for female the Women’s Lib people would give them a severe mauling!
Hi everyone – like a lot of people, I’m a journeyman crossworder who reads this a lot but rarely posts.
To answer Sil Van Den Hoek’s question a bit more specifically, I’d refer him to cricket. ‘Century’ and ‘ton’ are both specifically used for scoring 100 runs, so that’s where I’d consider them direct synonyms. I guess you’re not that familiar with cricket, but it’s considered allowed to use most cricket terms in crosswords.