31 May, 2012
You know me. I’m not a numerical sort of bloke, but I do like the idea of numbers doing you a favour when solving a crossword. For example, some word breakdowns are so obvious that their clues are almost redundant. As soon as you see (4-2-3-3), you know that JACK-IN-THE-BOX will likely spring into the grid. Or (2-2-2) is likely LA-DI-DA.
(4'1,2) could well be nudging WHAT’S UP, or WHAT’S ON, just as (1.1.1.,4) – I ruefully realised this week when drafting a clue – pretty much betrays the cuteness of this clue:
Doctor crams in medical test
(Treat that freebie as a pre-emptive freebie, when the puzzle appears in late July.)
But what else can be added to the gimmee list? To me (12,3) hollers INDEPENDENCE DAY, while (2,2,2,3,2,2) just has to Hamlet’s dilemma.
And if you can’t think of an orthodox example, there’s always the silly stuff as a US contest celebrated:
South African cleric (2,2)
Also consumed (8,1,2)
Aussie icon (3.14159)
2,4,6,8 – tell us your numerical giveaways, and don’t hesitate.