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Diabolically Arcane

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Mum's The Word

4 May, 2011

Just finished this week’s Araucaria in The Guardian, which I can recommend. For a bloke in his 90s, he’s unflappable. Incomparable. And this theme, without selling the puzzle short, looks at ‘that special woman in your life’. Two women actually. All with an eye to a looming Sunday.

But the puzzle set me to pondering clues & sexism. I tiptoe the same minefield in Puzzled, but would love to write a column on the subject next week, given The Guardian’s offering, and the retail orgy around the corner. Care to contribute some thoughts?

Solvers of my stuff will know I enjoy a louche cackle now and then. In fact, many bloggers gripe when that element is AWOL. The other week, SAFE SEX was ‘Go to bed with Prudence?’, while a few weeks earlier ‘Crazy porn stars’ was BONKERS.

Harmless, I reckon. Though I’m sure some puritans have boycotted my byline for reasons of prurience, and fair enough. But does either clue commit sexism? Not for my money. Sex yes, but minus the -ism. Genuine clunkers would have to be those clues that go the next step. Here are three recent speciments that teeter on the line:

1 Sexy looker provides endless delight among men = OGLER [Times 8786]

2 Wife seeing girl with husband, blowing top and ditching ring = MISSUS [Paul – adore this clue, but is it sexist?]

3 Brillo? One’s easy = SCRUBBER [Mudd]

What do you reckon? Is PC OK in puzzledom? Seen any sexist clues lately?

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Riddledom Rave

If you missed my riddle chat with Richard Fidler, then feel free to slurp the podcast at http://ab.co/1I9t1x5

Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
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