Lifestyle

Crossword roundup: these unsurpising place names will un-amaze you!


In the sample clues below, the links take you to explainers from our beginners series. The setter’s name often links to an interview with him or her, in case you feel like getting to know these people better.

The news in clues

Though Imogen’s clue …

4d PM remains, about to resign (7)
[ wordplay: synonym for “remains” containing (“about”) synonym for “(to) resign” ]
[ ASH containing QUIT ]
[ definition: (former) PM ]

… is for ASQUITH, the surface reading could not be more timely, as we continue rudderless and captainless through the summer. And, as raw sewage masks the previous mephitis, Vlad has not forgotten …

9a Conservative party? (4,5)
[ cryptic definition ]

Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers, in the Guardian Bookshop.
Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers, in the Guardian Bookshop.

… the WORK EVENT or 15 enjoyed by the outgoing administration.

Puzzlers Book Group

If you planned on reading Have His Carcase but it slipped your mind, the next meeting is in the autumn and the first chapter is a belter.

Latter patter

A nicely deployed acrostic in a Times clue …

12a Part of city starts to slag off Home Office (4)
[ wordplay: initial letters of (“starts to”) SLAG OFF HOME OFFICE ]
[ definition: part of city ]

… for SOHO, named because the area was a royal park used in Tudor times as a hunting ground and “Soho!” was how the relevant hunters used to tell their dogs that they’d seen a hare. The dogs, no doubt, kept to themselves any response along the lines of “I smelled that hare 20 minutes ago, sunshine” so as to ensure more meaty treats.

There’s obvious pleasure to be found in names that reveal something about a place after decoding, such as the similarly sporting nearby Pall Mall, which, the notes in my copy of Sense and Sensibility tell me, was …

named after a game played in the park. The game, somewhat like croquet, had originated in Italy as pallo [or should that be palla?] a maglio (“ball to mallet”).

Personally, though, I take greater pleasure in ones where I have spent years failing to decode what barely needs decoding. Sticking with London, we have Deptford (place with a deep ford), Chiswick (place with cheese), Barnet (place that was burned), Barnes (place with barns) and the subject of our next challenge. Reader, how would you clue KEW?

Cluing challenge

Many thanks for your clues for DE LUXE. I enjoyed the directness of Dcusch’s “French fancy?” and, of course, the inside-baseball nature of Newlaplandes’ “Superior journalist coming back to endless clues, entertaining times”. The audacity award has to go to Zedible for the brazen “It’s very expensive inside Luxembourg”.

The runners-up are Moobius’s sly “Rich fool swapping diamonds for kiss” and Lizard’s pithy “Forcefully exclude leader of Conservatives not needed, like his wallpaper”; the winner is the evocative “Sumptuous kiss for girl in the pouring rain”; kludos to Montano.

Please leave entries for the current competition – as well as your non-print finds and picks from the broadsheet cryptics – in the comments, below.

Clue of the Fortnight

In fact, I should reiterate the previous paragraph as I always appreciate your recommendations but I’ve lately been bereft. In the meantime, here’s a Telegraph Toughie clue from the mysterious (to me) Robyn …

28a It’s engineered by breeding with a hint of selection? (8,4)
[ wordplay: anagram of (“engineered”) BY BREEDING + A (“a”) + first letter of (“hint of”) SELECTION ]
[ anagram of BYBREEDINGAS ]
[ definition: whole clue ]

… for the daunting prospect of the DESIGNER BABY. Take care.

Find a collection of explainers, interviews and other helpful bits and bobs at alanconnor.com

The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book by Alan Connor, which is partly but not predominantly cryptic, can be ordered from the Guardian Bookshop



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