Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25348 – Bonxie

Posted by Uncle Yap on June 14th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Didn’t quite enjoy this as much as I usually enjoy a Guardian puzzle.

And much had to do with a most depressing theme of aging and its not-so-pleasant or pretty effects. No wonder some crossword editors discourage, if not prohibit negative words like diseases and pestilence; if only to emphasise that crosswords is supposed to be a pleasant pursuit for entertainment and amusement and not an exercise wallowing in human miseries, anguish and pain.

8 FACE MASK Self-evident cd to hide the signs of ageing
9 ORNATE *(ARE NOT) Chambers Thesaurus supports ornate as busy (which I find a tad stretched) Can someone construct a sentence using busy/ornate interchangeably?
10 SIGN dd to sign/initial an agreement ; first sign/clue to the arrival of spring
11 BINGO WINGS Oh dear … I will just let Wikipedia explain this . BINGO WINGS  is a slang term used to describe the build-up of fat and/or extra skin that hangs from the underside of the upper arms (i.e. over the triceps). It occurs most frequently in elderly and overweight people. The problem may also occur after significant weight loss, with flaps of loose skin remaining. The term apparently originated from the bingo hall custom of raising one’s arm aloft and bellowing “House!”.
12 CONDOR Cha of CONDO (condominium or apartment) R (right)
14 WRINKLES W (with) RINK (sheet of ice) LES (Leslie, boy)
15 NELUMBO *(BLUE MONday) plant of the Nelumbo genus of water lilies including the Egyptian bean of Pythagoras, and the sacred lotus.
17 SEABASS I hope someone can help parse this … I wanna get out of this place
20 LOBLOLLY Cha of LOB (throw) LOLLY (money)
22 AGEING A GELDING (horse that has been castrated) minus LD (Lord)
23 STOCK-STILL STOCKS (supplies) TILL (drawer)
24,25 MOOD INDIGO Cha of MOO (low, bovine sound) DIN (noise) D (Duke) I GO (try) “Mood Indigo” (1930) is a jazz composition and song, with music by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard with lyrics by Irving Mills.
One of the few rays of sunshine in today’s lot
26 DEMENTIA DE (half DEad) MEN (soldiers) TIA (rev of AIT (key as in island)

1,2 VARICOSE VEIN VARIC *(VICAR) O (ring) + ins of I (one) in SEVEN
3 CAMBER CLAMBER (climb) minus L
4 OKINAWA O (ring again?) KIN (relatines) A W (west) A (American)
5 COLONISE COLON (sneaky use of the punctuation mark) ISE (first letters of Invade, Settle and Educate … my COD
6 UNSINKABLE Ins of SINK (Belfast is a kind of butler’s sink) in UNABLE (lacking power)
7 STOGIE *(EGOIST) a long cheap cigar
13 DOUBLE CHIN *(Dublin Echo)
16 BALD SPOT BAL (rev of LABour Party) DESPOT (Stalin) minus East
19 MYRIADS Ins of YRIAD (rev of DAIRY, milk products) in MS (Miss)
21 OUTING dd
22 AFLAME A F (fine) LAME (fabric in which metallic, usually gold or silver threads are interwoven)
24 MINE dd

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

50 Responses to “Guardian 25348 – Bonxie”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    At my age(81)I fortunately have not yet developed any of the features described by Bonxie,so I did not mind the theme.
    Thanks Uncle Yap for a good blog. Does ‘bas’ mean down in French?

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. I agree with you that this was oddly joyless. Some clever clues but it all felt a bit strained.

    I liked 9 – I think it’s fair enough – “I don’t like the decor in this restaurant: it’s far to busy/ORNATE for my liking.”

    17 – SE “bearing” ABAS “down with French” S “head of state”

    19 – not sure that MS is really the same as Miss but just quibbling…

  3. NeilW says:

    Hi, Dr Gurmukh. The phrase is “A BAS” as in “A BAS le Roi” – down with the King!

  4. caretman says:

    Thanks UY. I agree the clues didn’t bring a lot of smiles to the face; maybe it’s because I’m getting to that age myself. It took me a while to get the theme because I quickly and confidently put LEAD in at 10a. In my defense, for ‘initial clue’ I think LEAD is at least as good, maybe a tad better, than SIGN. It was a long time before I realized the error. I agree that 5d, with its sneaky use of the colon, was the top clue. But now that I’ve finished it, I’d like to say ‘a bas to signs of ageing.’

  5. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Bonxie and Uncle Yap. Although I am 11 years younger than Dr G, I already have 11ac,14ac,13d,16d and an important reason I do crosswords is to ward off 26ac. NELUMBO and SINFONIA were new words for me.


  6. NeilW says:

    Sorry, I meant “far too busy” of course!

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, esp for parsing the themeword at 22a: I saw earlyish that it had to be that but only now know why. There were a number of good clues here, like 5d and 17a, as noted by you and others. A few to quibble over: 24d’s mine=vein is a stretch, I don’t know if 18d is equivalent to ‘players’ and is a sally a 21d? The unknowns (STOGIE, NELUMBO and BINGO WINGS were fairly gettable.

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap for explaining the otherwise inexplicable.

    At first I again overlooked the colon in 5d. Maybe I should get some glasses? Otherwise, having been born in 1932, I’m still far too young to be offended by the theme.

    It was indeed a totally joyless exercise and, even though I guessed BINGO, the WINGS flew right over my head.

    I’d never heard of NELUMBO or LOBLOLLY.

    However, I did like MOOD INDIGO.

    I’m sure glad that I didn’t persevere any further with this.

  9. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I too found parts of this a little impenetrable. But I did enjoy 5d, after I decided I had to take notice of everything there. And I learned butler’s sinks come in varieties, not to mention water lilies. I wasted far too much time looking for a Robert Plant song! I had MOOD INDIGO early and thought that might be the theme. Fortunately nothing fitted so I was forced to look for real plants.

    I also enjoyed 19d but also take issue with the MS v MISS. And the pine tree tickled my fancy. A lovely name for a tree. So thanks also to Bonxie, for occupying the odd hour. It was preferable to listening to earthquake news.

  10. MikeC says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Bonxie. I got there, more or less, but without understanding how, on some occasions. I also liked 5d – very neat. I was less keen on the NW corner, where I was held up for a while by thinking that 10a (initial clue) was first light = DAWN. Varicose vein sorted that one out. However, for 8a I had FACE PACK, which my online Chambers gives as synonymous with FACE MASK. It’s probably a 10 22a that I can’t really see what’s wrong with that!

  11. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

    My first thought for 8ac was FACE LIFT but it doesn’t fit the clue, which is a charade FACE [front] + MASK [cover] rather than a cd, I think, so your PACK doesn’t work, either, MikeC –
    but I liked your DAWN idea! :-)

    I liked the clue for 6dn, with its clever reference to Belfast, where the ship was built.

  12. Martin H says:

    Morning (hereabouts) UY – Thanks for the parsing of 22, and for the meaning of a ‘Belfast’. I only find the subject matter of themed puzzles depressing if I have to trawl through lists of song-titles or tennis players and so on. The pleasure lies in unravelling the wordplay. I certainly didn’t feel I was wallowing in anything today – in fact I thought it was imaginatively and quite wittily done.

    One or two clues were a bit of a stretch – MS for Miss; vein for mine; and I don’t think ‘key’ and ‘ait’ refer to the same sort of feature: one is part of a tropical reef and the other a rocky northern island – a bit like clueing ‘loch’ as ‘lagoon’.

    I agree with caretman that LEAD is just as good as SIGN at 10a. It’s annoying when that happens – clues should really be unambiguous, but I can see that it is not easy for the setter to spot all possible alternatives every time.

    Generally a clever and enjoyable puzzle, with a few new words thrown in as a bonus.

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Bonxie.

    There were a few new words for me here, but I personally think “lotus” sounds prettier than NELUMBO.

    Hi Molonglo@7; a sally is in fact an OUTING, in the sense of besieged forces springing an attack on their enemies through a special exit. It derives from Old French, and is related to Spanish “salir”, to go out.

    I missed the colon, too. Very crafty.

  14. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. I too ran into a couple of strangers today (Messrs. NELUMBO & LOBLOLLY) who introduced themselves, we had a little chat and then parted, our paths never likely to cross again. A pity really, they sounded fun. Standstill might of worked at 23a but for the hyphen !

    Am away to do battle on the allotment which will hopefully be rather less depressing.

  15. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Despite being emphatically ‘nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita’ myself, I really enjoyed this puzzle and its various references to bodily disintegration!

    COLON in 5d raised a smile, as did DOUBLE CHIN = *(DUBLIN ECHO) and the wordplay for 16a.

    I was more fortunate than most in being able to haul both LOBLOLLY and NELUMBO out of a dusty corner of the mental lumber room, after a lot of head scratching and several crossing letters.

  16. Robi says:

    A difficult puzzle but fair cluing in general, I thought. I didn’t mind the theme – we’re all getting older!

    Thanks UY; although I was left with COLON in 5, I failed to notice it! MikeC @10; I also thought of FACE PACK. Eileen @11; my Chambers Xword dic. has pack=cover, so I think it does work also. It also has miss=Ms, although I realise the Ms was to try to get away from the Miss/Mrs identity issue. STOGIE, LOBLOLLY, NELUMBO & BINGO WINGS all new to me. Along with the bodily references, I thought of MIND for 24, but MINE is better.

    I did like the clue for AGEING although I was, while I tried to figure out the answer.

  17. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap and sorry you found the puzzle a bit of a downer.

    Like others, I only arrived at the correct answer to 8ac after trying LIFT and then PACK.

    My COD (again, like others) has to be 5dn, which was a lovely Aha moment!

    NELUMBO was new to me and required heavy check button use, as did 18dn, my last to go in — I didn’t twig the wordplay for this one.

  18. molonglo says:

    Hi Stella @13. I saw the ‘sally forth’ notion but wasn’t thrilled with it’s equalling ‘outing’ except as a word-mangling. But it’s a mild quibble since word-mangling is integral to the whole game we’re playing here, stretching meanings to their outer limits.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    That was much better, a good challenge. A few new (to me) terms eg bingo wings and some clever clues (5d).
    Back to 11ac: I am sure I have heard that body part called —— wings but ‘bingo’ rang no bells at all. Is there another term used?

  20. MattD says:

    Loved this. Found it tough to get going but ultimately completed it (at my third attempt) – fortunately got “wrinkles” quite early and so derived the theme.

    Any crossword with “bingo wings” has to be good. I also know them as “dinner lady arms” which is probably a bit harsh thinking about it.

    No Shakespeare or nautical references (except maybe 6d…) and other than loblolly and nelumbo all words I knew. Heaven.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much UY, but thanks for the blog, and many thanks Bonxie for the crossword.

    For the record, I think “Face Mask” is a marginally better answer in terms of the term “cover”, but “Face Pack” also valid and a slightly more common phrase.

  21. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and MattD. I now see the error of my ways in 8a – I had thought of it as a relatively simple cryptic definition, seeing “front cover” as meaning “face”. It makes much more sense to count these words separately, in which case cover=mask stands out as the better answer. Thoughtful contributions like yours are a large part of what makes 225 such a great site.

  22. MikeC says:

    Re my last comment – thanks also Robi@16. While in the end I think Eileen and MattD’s view is the right one, it’s always nice to have some support!

  23. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap and Bonxie. For what it is worth, I enjoyed this crossword. Geoff@15 ” It’s only words!” (Sorry, Dante!)

    This is my first visit but I have been enjoying all your comments for some time.I particularly enjoyed loblolly, which evoked memories of Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful seafaring books – even though the context is different!

    Between you all you are helping me to take a more scientific approach to solving, rather than relying on flashes of inspiration.


  24. KenJ says:

    Bingo wings also known as bat wings

  25. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Bonxie
    Late arrival – started and interrupted by trip out.
    I found this hard but well clued except for 8a.
    I plumped for face pack, myself having decided it and face mask were the same (see Robi) – a face pack or e.g. a mud pack is plastered over the face etc as far as I understand it.

    I had to check stogie and do a little hunting for loblolly and bingo wings. As I understand it bingo is also called ‘house’ and (?) ‘housey-housey’.

    I rather liked 22a, 23, 24,25, 1, 2, 5!, 13 and 19.

    A bit too taxing to be altogether enjoyable when under time pressure. But a clever puzzle.

  26. Carrots says:

    Bonxie got me smack between the eyes with this one, because I did most of it in the waiting room of a consultant, to whom my GP had referred me for A SIGN OF AGEING! The news, when it came just before NELUMBO, was good: no arthritis!

    Boyed up by this, I hit the pub running, slung it in with a flourish and sought confirmation from Chambers when I got home. Never heard of BINGO WINGS either, but it had to be, hadn`t it?

    Welcome Giovanna….but I hope that you will find empiricism and serendipity just as much fun.

  27. walruss says:

    A disgrace in the Guardian today for me, and I thoroughly agree with Uncle Yap and the many contributors who found this distatseful. It just seemed really immature to me or even idiotic.

  28. MattD says:

    MikeC@22 – I was agreeing with you. I think both are valid, it depends on how you read the clue – it’s just that “mask” makes a marginally better use of “cover” although I prefer the answer “face pack.”

    Having said that, I had “Face Lift” for a very long time as I read “front cover” as just meaning the face as you did.

    Giovanna@23 – In using this site, I’ve become a more consistent solver too. Still need inspiration a lot, but there’s slightly less perspiration than there once was.

  29. Carrots says:

    Uncle Yap: many thanks for your blog…and your tortured perseverence. But, I must disagree with you about banning the downsides of life from crosswordland: where would you stop? For me, crosswords are far more than diverting confections, they are (as I think I have said before) one of the cornerstones of civilisation, (second only to cricket, of course).

    May our setters long enjoy the right to roam anywhere they like in English-Language-Land, secure in the knowledge that their currency is words and not necessarily the concept they represent.

  30. Geoff says:

    Bravo, Carrots – my sentiments entirely. Most of us operate across a range of ‘registers’ of the English language, and those of us that have the interest in word games and a large enough vocabulary to tackle the cryptics in the quality newspapers are perfectly well aware of shades of meaning, connotations, and what is acceptable or not in different contexts.

    The setters of these puzzles should be able to use as wide as possible a range of words, and not limit themselves to some form of Newspeak. Those that don’t like this can always stick to Sudoku.

    E brava, Giovanna! Benvenuto a ‘quindicialquadrato’!

  31. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I put LEAD in 10a then did not manage to get 1,2 so never realised it was wrong. That also prevented me getting the theme.

    A themed crossword is fine if you can solve the theme but is a total disaster if you cannot.

    I had heard of loblolly but did not remember it before coming to this website. I kept on trying to force Araucaria (as a type of pine) into 20a but no joy!

  32. RCWhiting says:

    Geoff & Carrots
    I agree:
    “The setters of these puzzles should be able to use as wide as possible a range of words”
    including ‘bipolar disorder’.

  33. Simon Jarvis says:

    I took this puzzle personally as it is my 53rd birthday today :-(

  34. otter says:

    Hmm. Found it quite a struggle to get into much of this, after rattling off three answers. Like some others, found much of this brought not much joy, although for me it was because of the somewhat (in my opinion) pedestrian clueing rather than the theme, which caused me no offence at all. My situation ain’t great – long-term serious illness which prevents me from doing much at all, and the crossword is one of the things which I use to lighten my day, as well as to attempt to stave off brain cell death. I certainly don’t find that ‘negative words’ spoil my day. Indeed, ‘bingo wings’ today brought a rare smile, because it’s a phrase which I’ve always found funny (if a little cruel) and I was surprised to find it used here. Another rare bright spark was the use of the colon in 5d.

    My issues with this puzzle, apart from the relative lack of ‘aha!’ moments, were:
    – 17a: ‘a bas’. I got this eventually, and know this French phrase, but certainly wouldn’t expect to see it in a crossword and thought it was rather cheeky. I think non-English phrases should only be used if they can be expected to be in the vocabulary of yer average reasonably intelligent and reasonably well educated English speaker. This phrase I think would only be known by people who speak French. I can’t think of any instance of it being used outside of a French context – perhaps someone could enlighten me if I’m wrong.
    – 19d: MYRIADS. I’ve always understood myriad to be a term without a plural form, at least in proper usage. The Greek originally meant ten thousand, but in English it is used as an adjective to mean ‘innumerable’, so is not proper to use a plural form. I’ve just checked two dictionaries, including the full OED, which seem to support this. Even if it might be some obscure form, it seems a bit too obscure for inclusion to me. It’s the kind of thing that my English teacher would have rapped my knuckles for.
    – 23a: I don’t like a homophone used as the definition, in this case ‘stationery, say’. What do other people feel about this? (I’m sure it’s been discussed many times before.)

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, especially for explanations of ‘ait’ = key; assume it’s related to ‘eyot’ &c. Also didn’t know LOBLOLLY, but eventually got it from the straightforward clueing, so no issues with that. Eventually gave up with NELUMBO unsolved, and glad I didn’t waste any more time on it.

    Ah well – bits of it were good, as the curate said. Hopefully I’ll enjoy tomorrow’s puzzle more.

  35. Martin H says:

    hi otter – I was happy with ‘stationery’. It completed the surface image neatly, and was flagged clearly, so it seems to be fair. I can imagine this device misused though.

    Chambers gives ‘myriad’ as ‘any immense number’, so its plural form should be valid.

  36. RCWhiting says:

    I think I am quite average linguistically; I do remember a lot of French vocabulary but little grammar from school.
    However, as explained above, a bas le roi was very familiar. Not sure why, probably in any general coverage of the revolution in print or on film.

    PS I am also quite old but could not imagine how the theme could offend me even though I have several of the solutions but not 26ac.

  37. RCWhiting says:

    Ken @24
    I forgot to thank you for ‘bat wings’, that was what was floating around in my mind but it didn’t seem right.

  38. Carrots says:

    Simon Jarvis @33…..Nay, at 53 you`re nobbut a lad….Happy Birthday!!

    Otter @34/Geoff @30….thanks for your moral support in the crossword “etiquette” debate. I fear we have not heard the last of it. My brain cells don`t work at all when it comes to numbers: the simplest Sudoku is beyond me. Do I care? Nargh!!

  39. Carrots says:

    RCWhiting @36….Thanks to you too, RC, I now understand your reference to “Bipolar Disorder”.

  40. Headteacher says:

    When we’ve got “might OF worked” and “BOYED up” in this chain of messages, I don’t think we can take Bonxie to task at all.

  41. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    I enjoyed this very much and was not put off by the theme of sign(s) of ageing although I am put off by my own aging. When was the ‘e’ introduced and why isn’t raging spelt rageing ?. Favourite clue today was SINFONIA which had an excellent surface. I was surprised that no-one picked up on DEMENTIA after the outcry about bipolar disorder. I can’t see any reason why one should be objected to and not the other. Personally, I would maintain that most words in the dictionary are valid in crosswords providing they are clued appropriately.

    This may surprise some people but I found today’s Bonxie much easier than yesterday’s Rufus which I only did about three quarters of. My memory is quite poor these days and there is no way into Rufus’s cryptic and DD clues other than to think of the right word.

  42. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, a late comment today; despite starting at 9am, I have only just completed it on my nth attempt. I was held up for a while because my memory told me it was BLUE INDIGO, and I had to google to check that.

    Nothing really to add to what has already been said. I am in the “don’t mind the theme” camp.

  43. Giovanna says:

    Grazie, Geoff @ 30. Molto gentile!

    Carrots @ 26. Great news. There’s nothing like being on a high for crossword-solving! Empiricism and serendipity are good, too. They certainly help when one is stuck.

    RC Whiting @ 32. I agree, too. The trick is to enjoy our hobby and not take things too seriously: thereby running a risk of becoming a Mr Grouser.


  44. Steve says:

    Bah! Managed 3/4 of this before finally giving up, but enjoyed many of the clues, particularly the sneaky punctuation. Quite a few new words for me today, so glad I got as far as I did :-)

  45. Paul B says:

    Some contributors have concluded that the issue here is that setters should be prevented from using certain words. That’s completely wrong, for as we have seen they will, especially where there is a laxity in stewardship, do just what they please. So no: the matter in fact relates to Grauniad’s growing addiction to insensitivity towards and lack of due consideration for the feelings of her crosswording punters.

    Of course, and per Davy, today’s DEMENTIA I thought exceeding good, a stroke of pure brilliance after Terry Pratchett’s inquisitive and moving piece on telly yester eve, which showed how and why victims of dementia in its various forms can be moved to terminate their lives, under their own direction, before dignity is gone. That programme, I rather think, showed just how funny getting old, or even just a little bit older, can really be.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Apart from LOBLOLLY, NELUMBO (with ?E?U?B? we had 6 options that were mostly interchangeable) and SINFONIA (which was on hindsight one of the best clues in this puzzle) we managed to solve the rest far far away (remember Slade?) from Helpful Resources – that is, apart from the brainy thing between our ears!

    But it took us quite some time which didn’t add much to the joy.
    I understand where RCWhiting comes from when he says “That was much better, a good challenge”, but I am surprised by Davy saying “I found today’s Bonxie much easier than yesterday’s Rufus which I only did about three quarters of”.
    Although, maybe it is because Bonxie is mainly focused on construction (with the occasional fine surface) and Rufus’ clues are much more natural and a tribute to the (use of the) English language [said the b%&@# foreigner :)].

    Since doing crosswords I kept a database of crosswords that I found worthwhile saving. I have no folder with the name “Bonxie”.
    He is a very clever setter and there are clues which I admire enormously for various reasons (like today’s 15ac,23ac, 24/25, 7d and the above mentioned 19d). Plus the Clue of the Day: 5d (COLONISE). My PinC was the first to find it and started shouting at me: ‘this one’s right up your street!’ – yes, it was!

    But why don’t I have a folder with “Bonxie” on it?
    Because for me his crosswords are usually too clinical.
    Clever, challenging, ingenious at times, but a lack of Lightness & Wit that might perhaps have been a compensation for the Struggle, but instead often leads to a distorted equilibrium between Time and Pleasure. In a way I admire the craftsmanship, but in the end it just leaves me cold.
    No blame on Bonxie (he surely wants to entertain us), but I am not on his wavelength.

    Tonight, after I came home from work, I tackled Tees’ puzzle in the Indy. Making me realise that his style of cluing is much more my cup of tea. And putting back a smile on my face :) :).

    My PinC went completely over the top when she saw MS for ‘miss’. I (and reading from the posts, others) agree with her. Maybe that’s typically Bonxie: wanting ‘miss’ in the surface being more important than making the odd linguistic mistake.
    Although we admired the conciseness of 9ac (ORNATE, very neat) we were not happy with ‘trains’ as the anagrind. It is the same as using ‘Doctors’ instead of ‘Doctor’ when coming before the fodder [several times criticised at this site]. Another case of wanting to enhance the surface at the expense of precision.

  47. Carrots says:

    Paul B @45. So “Grauniad” is a woman huh? I thought it was a transgender entity…a sort of God which cocks things up occasionally. And “Grauniad Wimmin” no doubt are the Malvolian embodiments of laxity.

    Glad that`s solved then.

  48. Carrots says:

    Headteacher @40. OOps! Cardinal Sin!! Committing a spelling mistake on Fifteen Squared. I`ll be outside your office tomorrow morning for the usual corrective measures. I shall plead over-influence by American usage which pronounces the expression “Boo-eed-up”. I`ll still get the cane, but go down fighting.

  49. otter says:

    Paul B:

    >> So no: the matter in fact relates to Grauniad’s growing addiction to insensitivity towards and lack of due consideration for the feelings of her crosswording punters.

    I half-assume this is in jest, but don’t read 15squared enough to know for sure. But, for the record, I really don’t want the Graun to be ‘sensitive to my feelings’. Yuk. The only demand I have is that it set entertaining and challenging puzzles.

    Also had a giggle at ‘headteacher’ demanding the same standards of accuracy in a blog chat as in a published work.

  50. Paul B says:

    Part of the point made here, Otter, is that there are more people in the world, or who solve Guardian crosswords, than just you. For instance there are several people in the thread who haven’t been too impressed with this offering, calling it ‘joyless’ among other things. So while giggly you (or hilarious me) might not worry about flags for grave illness popping up from time to time, it’s quite possible that some among the (fairly big) Guardian audience would.

    As to your riposte, I think there’s some fairly good news: there are plenty of setters I know who’d have scant difficulty in entertaining and challenging a person such as yourself, and all without risking offence to those with a tricky prognosis.

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