It came. It sputtered. It went. Twitter can be dimissive like that, the hashtag challenge of ‘spoodfoonerisms’ attracting a grand total of one entry: not poodle.
Not my tweet, I hasten to add, but a gentleman who goes by the avatar of Lexiconman101. So rather than doubling his paltry list, I thought I’d duplicate the challenge here on the blog.
But can we fill a supermarket aisle with these concoctions? And who will Kraft the Pedigree example among Equals? My openers:
lack of ram
Nothing brilliant, yet. But I do like the combo – tucker and letter twisting. To hell with too many cooks: let’s make a premium range of spoodfoonerisms.
This week’s freewheel Storm – no votes, but untold glory – is a challenge inspired by an RK crossword in the latest Big Issue. (At last your chance to buy the magazine with a selfish motive!) The key clue was this:
Rich change spouse to get well? (7)
The answer is HEALTHY, where WEALTHY swaps its wife (W) for husband (H). A neat & new trick, and one that provokes the question: what other words can get the same treatment?
I see this Storm as two-tier. The first is to create two clues for both words (HALLOWED and WALLOWED) in order to win the best-clue pairing. The other tier is the comical, where you swap a spouse for a droll makeover, such as:
S.H.A.T. TEAM – Nervous police commandoes
IF THERE’S A HILL, THERE’S A HAY – Farmer’s logic stacking up
HITCH DOCTOR – marriage counsellor
This is a perfect Storm for votes, but my week is too ragged. And besides, there’s something appealing about jousting without a jury for a change. Wave fun with this, and hell done RK on a clever idea.
Slow but steady this week, with a delayed Salon, and a vote-free Storm a bit later. The key reason lies in an event I’m hosting this Friday, as part of winter solstice, the same get-together I was helping to promote on 774ABC this morning.
You may have read my Wordplay column last week – all about the language of suicide. The topic is in league with my MC duties in Albury on Friday, where I will be hosting speakers and performers to help break the silence surrounding this social taboo. My link is a personal one, having lost a dear family friend when she was only 15, back in 2011. If you wish to learn more, listen here.
I’m sure you’ll excuse the haphazard week, and I hope you enjoy the best of Brit crosswords (today’s Times looks sublime), and the diversions here at DA Central. For example, I can think of at least four one-word movies that also happen to be brand names. Zodiac (makers of surf boats) and Tootsie (as in Tootsie Roll chocolates) aren’t on the list. So what titles are there?
Happy puzzling. Have a great light-lite week.
MALERISCH [MAY-lur-EESH] painterly; picturesque [From German, where Maler means painter, and -isch creates the adjective] Dust haze at dusk creates a malerisch atmosphere.
BURK – I’ve just discovered – represents the combined economies of Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. If that’s the case, then what other adjacent clusters of nations can claim these acronyms?
(You may need your atlas if you’re no student of geography. And while the book’s open, is there any other adjacent acronym to engineer?)
SOLUTION NEXT WEEK
BB416 SOLUTION: TV SHOWS: The Nanny, Insiders, Lateline, Star Trek (Iron Chef)
Well, well – quite the bookie-breaker this Storm, a fitting oddity in terms of unplaced favourites. (I for one will be licking my wounds this week.) But let’s get to the numbers, and which players made the best fist of clueing words with odd letters only.
The top six in the open clue section were all five-star contrivances, each deserving its own fanzine. Here’s the tally in ascending order:
MAGI = Coma gimmick masks wise guys [Hidden hoodlums snare 12 points from 4 votes for Cameo Mask.]
YAW = Zigzag railway [Rating high in my appraisal, this subtle trick from Awesome also bags a dozen, from 5 votes.]
COY = Modest charity case accepts nothing [Adroit use of case – one of my new wordplay toys – by Wise Guy, for a 15/6 dividend.]
MICKEY MOUSE = Melodramatic tone in ghastly emo music [Great name, and splendid story, Squeegee does this biz with 16/4.]
COCKAMAMIE = Make a comic – Goofy! [Succinct & sensational, earning the selfsame Squeegee an additional 18/5.]
SWAY = Shorten’s foremost means to power [No less triumphant, Wise Guy dips doubly with his timely ACT dig, getting 23/8 in return.]
At this point, added up, we see Wise Guy shading Squeegee by 4 points, however…. Part of the same contest lay in the calibre of word choice, and here the porous one poured on the pressure. The results for best word, in rising order, were ego sum qui sum (5), Mickey Mouse (10), acquiesce (20), cockamamie (20).
Which sees Squeegee pounce with a massive 64 points. Next comes Wise Guy on the sheer strength of stellar clueing, with 38, then Kim K 27 (thanks to a brilliant acquiesce), Moose 20, Cameo Mask 17, Awesome 17, Game 15, Quasimogo 14, Smoky (moi) on 8 and ACE keeping a clean sheet. (Don’t worry ACE, we can plot our revenge for next time.)
A moral win to Wise Guy if clues were the lone yardstick, but Squeegee played the system best – just like those annoying guys at the traffic lights. Thanks for the oddball. Gotta dash. Have a great weekend.
SCHOPSTOEL in Dutch may well mean a chopping block, a breadboard, a deckchair or something called a kick-seat. I can’t say for sure, yet I need to be certain very soon. The word is part of Cluetopia, my forthcoming crossword book, serving as the answer to this Dutch cryptic clue:
Familie van trapkast en klaptafel?
According to my reckoning, that translates as Family of stairway cupboard and folding table? I’m hoping there’s a dabbler out there with a splash of Dutch DNA in their blood, or you know a friend who can come to the rescue. What’s the gag? What’s the wordplay?
And for those with a more Romantic heritage, perhaps you can shed light on this Italian ditty. Again, I have the answer. And once more I’m stumped to unpick the rhyme’s reason. See if you can, even with the English version offered. Here’s the original:
Un direttore pedante
Come capo ha inver ragione…
Ma che barba venir fa…
Allorquando lui ti espone
Le sue estreem volontá
By my lights, that translates as the following:
A director pedantic
As chief reason winter…
But that beard is be…
When he exposes you
His extreme desire.
The solution is TESTA/MENTO, whch means will, though it couples two smaller words – TESTA (head) and MENTO (chin). All of which is testament to crosswords defying glib translation, from one culture to another. If you have any clue or insight into either brain-scratcher, consider yourself sainted.
Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail, in case you missed the Liberal menu, had small breasts and large thighs. The same dining card included Rudd’s a goose foie gras, and Simon Crean with dill. While greens should be eaten before they take over.
If you haven’t seen the card, head for ABC online, or try here. The gags don’t get any classier.
Yet maybe that’s where we come in. Leaving the hot-potato politics aside, can you suggest what dish a certain person may be? Clarice Starling could be stuffed lamb with fava beans, while a Dame Melba soup is liable to keep repeating on you.
Then you have Nick D'Arcy – a reheated turkey braised in hot water. The kitchen is yours to create a meal in honour of a name from history or headlines. And if you want to broil the menu culprit Mal Brough slowly, feel free.
Storm time, and this week we’re playing with the odd letters of the alphabet. Here they are for ready reference: ACEGIKMOQSUWY.
Amazingly, every vowel is enlisted, as well as that handy Y. Your challenge, dear dabbler, is to craft a word out of this letter bank, using them as often as you like, and craft a clue. CAGEY, for example, could be Candy pockets paper to be sly. Or SWISS could be Hole-some cheese?
Formula is up to you. Just like word choice, so long as you adhere to these 13 letters on offer. Please adopt an alias from the same odd letters, and declare your answer beside the clue, the better for players to see your villainy.
Come Thursday, between 1-6pm, declare your best TWO clues only in the forum. And then all players – on Friday before 5pm – will vote 5/4/3/2/1 via Email across the list, choosing their favourite five among the submissions. (Plus a bonus vote – worth 5 points – for what you consider to be the best word derived from the oddities.) And please, no self-voting!
No prizes, but plenty of WOW, GEE and MWAH-MWAH KISSES. If we can’t get even with the red-hot SK, then let’s get odd.
Spoiler Alert – the Titanic sinks. No seriously, I have a neat idea for an Omega puzzle. Sydney readers will be familiar with this jumbo puzzle that appears in the Monday SMH. If you enjoy solving this trivia/quick kahuna, then please skip the next three paragraphs, as I wish to discuss a theme.
Have they gone? The central phrase to catch my eye has the ideal 21 letters, namely: needing no introduction. As for toying with the phrase, I started listing household names with their initial missing, so making new surnames.
People like the gardening joker (Heath Edger), the wet TV wag (Hamish Lake), the chain-smoking C&W singer (Johnny Ash), the hippie-cool batsman (Don Radman), the foul diarist (Anne Rank) and the inky motorbiker (Casey Toner).
Can you help add to my list of potential recruits? If you want to give just a clue, then please use byline and number (plus answer length), and we can treat the roll-call as a rolling puzzle.
Enough Omega biz. Happy birthday, Your Madge. The sun is shining. Today’s Times looks a treat. And we begin another wordplay week. If you wish to reflect or repudiate on Brit crosswords, please head for the Comments below. Look for a Storm on Tuesday – and congrats to SK (aka Lagafoolin) – for stealing one more book from my library! Have fun out there. And here.