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Salon 24 - Huhs and Handwriting

21 July, 2014

Entering the edgy 80s on my Times Tally, aiming to bundle up 100 crosswords without resorting to the dictionary, the atlas or the Great God Google. Having said that, I nearly slipped on PSKOV, a Russian city near the Estonian border this weekend. Honestly, the mental lint we need to retain to make a century nowadays…

The same puzzle – Times 9994 – was a stinker in fact. The clues contained 2 huhs (first up), then 2 mehs. Can you explain, justify or improve any of these?

  1. Shortly summon agent back over, displaying sarcastic air = CALYPSO [Why sarcastic?]

  2. Swaps blows = TRADES [Is this meant to be a double-definition? When do trades = blows?]

  3. This man now at liberty to quote Milton? = FREEDMAN [Huh & meh all in one. What’s the allusion, and why repeat ‘man’?]

  4. Smack is back in river, as appointed = DESIGNATE [Another huh/meh blend. Can designate mean appointed, vs appoint? Meanwhile the surface story is muddy, to say the least.]

Any improvements, or enlightenments, appreciated.

Before I go, one quick question: where do you continue to use handwriting? This is for a column, and a festival session coming up. Shopping list? Diary? Crossword? Would love to hear your replies.

Congratz as well to Hamburg (aka JB) for his H-Storm win last week. And here’s to another word-wild week, dear dabblers.

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