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Re: The “Spoiler” debate apropos bloggers preambles.
Although I think, in general, that bloggers should be dissuaded from revealing themes and specific answers in their preambles, I would not wish to constrain the obvious enhancement they provide for cross-word solving. Indeed, I would welcome an opportunity for bloggers to provide a robust “digest”, perhaps after, rather than before, their list of annotated solutions.
I`m sure that solvers use 15sqd. in many different ways (I know I do!) so getting a format that suits everyone is extremely difficult.
I think I may well regret joining in this but I can’t resist it!
Having taught English Language for a number of years and battled endlessly with the superfluous use of the apostrophe, particularly in ‘it’s’ and various other instances, including straightforward plurals and even verbs, I have to say that I have never, ever, come across any discussion regarding its use in the personal pronoun ‘one’s’ to indicate possession, which I would never have dreamed of omitting!
Jan’s comment sent me to ‘Fowler’s Modern English Usage’ where the only discussion of the possessive ‘one’s’ [sic] was about whether one would say e.g. ‘One doesn’t like to have one’s word doubted’ or ‘One doesn’t like to have his word doubted’.
I have found the following on-line sources, all of which confirm the apostrophe in the possessive pronoun ‘one’s', ‘anyone’s', ‘someone’s', ‘everyone’s’. – not to be confused with the incorrect use in ‘her’s', ‘their’s’ etc.
You are of course absolutely correct. I didn’t read Jan’s original comment carefully enough before replying and only the its/it’s in her example actually registered.
One (or at least I) must be more careful in future to mind one’s p’s and q’s (Chambers or Ps & Qs COED), in the Chambers sense (to be watchfully accurate and punctilious) rather than the COED sense (be careful to be polite and avoid giving offence). Now I wonder which is the correct definition? Brewer seems to confirm both but it has ‘P’s and ‘Q’s.
I think that’s enough apostrophes for one comment.
Regarding your query: there was one grammar book where I taught that gave p’s and q’s but I think, as you suggest, the jury’s out on this. I prefer Ps and Qs – straightforward plurals: the meaning is perfectly clear [unlike with ps and qs - or PS and QS] without any need for apostrophes, of which, as you say, we’ve now had quite enough!
I just can’t accept the use of “do’s and don’ts”. My reasoning is that the apostrophe in the first word has a different function from the apostrophe in the second word.
If “do’s” takes an apostrophe (as in the expression “mind your p’s and q’s” ), shouldn’t we have “don’t's” for the sake of consistency?
“Dos and don’ts” too may be right. One might argue that this is consistent. But I am a little uncomfortable with this because the first word seems to be from the computer world. And I have a feeling that I proceeded to write the term for the South Indian delicacy dosa and I stopped short.
How about DOs and DON’Ts? I prefer this. (We can use small capitals.)
What do others think?
Derek: I have as much concern as you about the vanishing hyphen.
Gaufrid has kindly agreed that I can place a little ad here…
I have compiled a Summer Quiz to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Care. It consists of 140 cryptic clues to British placenames, and the prize is a magnum of Champagne. The closing date for entries is 26th August.
Some sad news I’m afraid. Shirley O’Brien (no relation) known to Guardian solvers as Auster, passed away at her home in Stafford Heights, Brisbane on Tuesday. Her funeral is to be held tomorrow (Friday).
Recently had this in an e mail from a young friend.I thought it might be of interest as,I think most posters here are,like me,quite fussy about speliing.
Perhaps we make too much of it?
“I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.”
‘cos if one say works around a rectangle one has directions up/down (top to bottom) left/right (side to side), and I don’t know whether you noticed it, but a grid is a rectangle, not a body. Anyway, everybody and their dog moans about which words should only be used in which direction of clue, so it’s my turn!
Many thanks for all the discussions. I was away so I missed the request for the source, but it is of course as stated Araucaria back in the day. I would never have got this however long I tried, and I’m not even sure I understand it fully now. As for the best clue ever, I think not!! My vote for that is, String from the thound of muthic (5). Any other all time greats??
I don’t know if this has been raised before, but is there any demand for a blog on the “i” crossword. As far as I can see. it uses the same stable of compilers as the Indie although each day the 2 crosswords are different. I appreciate that there are restraints on how many crosswords this site can cover, but the crosswords here are of a standard equivalent to the Indie.
9d in AZED 2048 surprised me but I wouldn’t regard it as offensive unlike the other, appalling, ‘N’ word.
On a US forum I once mentioned that my butt (meaning my water butt) was empty after a long spell without rain. I was mercilessly teased! As for my mention of Cornish pasties – how am I to know what other pasties there are.
“Also, can a word that cannot fly in a country pass in another country?
The answer must be yes but can you ever be sure what is acceptable and what isn’t?
Rishi @138 (and following Jan’s helpful comments @140):
I offer the following without claiming any special authority but intended as constructive. (Indeed, that goes for everything I say on this website.)
If it is not too late, I would advise trying to find an alternative clue. To me, the risk of causing offence and possibly losing regular solvers outweighs any special merits in the clue itself.
As Jan has said, things vary between countries. I would add that they also vary within countries. I would expect the Guardian and Independent to be more accepting of “rude words”, but less tolerant of anything that smacks of racism, compared to the Telegraph and Times. And, of course, your clue would be perfect for Private Eye.
Further to the discussion started by Rishi @138: I originally included this in a single reply together with the remarks made at 141, but it got lost when I tried to submit the whole thing in one go (I had not filled in my name) so I am playing safe by putting this bit in a separate reply.
This relates to the way that views on words change over time. The actual word used by Azed was marked “sometimes derog.” in Chambers 1988 (p. 961). By 1998 (p. 1083) it had become “usu considered to be offensive or derog“. The masculine form was not marked as special at all in 1988, but had become “sometimes considered to be derog or offensive” by 1998. I do not have my 2008 edition to hand as I am typing this, but I checked it yesterday, and from memory “sometimes” had become “usu“, even for the masculine form.
I’d be interested to hear whether people feel that the words ‘Cockney’ or ‘East-ender’ are the only acceptable indicator of the use of rhyming slang in a cryptic clue, e.g. ‘Cockney plates’ for ‘MEAT’. Do you think ‘Londoner’, ‘Capital man’, or any similar reference to London as a whole would be fair to use?
Maybe someone from London can put us right, but I think ‘Londoner’ is not sufficient because the rhyming slang, dropping aitches etc, is not associated with London as a whole – just with certain parts of it.