Friday, July 15, 2011

Crossword Confusion

There are days when the mind boggles itself by its stupidity. In recent months, I'd found The Hindu crossword puzzle completely beyond me, and had given up on it. While reading the paper a couple of days ago, one clue seemed solvable, and was, and, to my great delight, I found that I could do about half of the puzzle. Next morning I was on a roll: I checked and completed the clues I couldn't do the previous day, and attacked the fresh crossword. (The SRE was travelling, so I had more morning time than usual). The maximum length of a word can be fifteen letters. One of the fifteen letter clues was 'quisling quality'. I knew immediately that it had to be 'treacherousness'- yes, it is fifteen letters, you can count them out! The trouble was that it wasn't fitting in its place in the grid.
I did many more words, but was left with a handful of unsolved clues, including this. I decided not to break my head over this and wait till the next morning's paper.

Can you guess why I couldn't fit it in? Because I was spelling the word as 'treachourousness'.
I wonder why the old brain was exhibiting such quisling qualities.
I didn't even think of checking the spelling in the dictionary. I am most annoyed at my treacherous brain. It needs a lot more exercise, methinks.


SUR NOTES said...

I salute you! The Hindu crossword made me feel very very small, most mornings.

R's Mom said...

Gasp! you solved the Hindu ka crossword!! idhar I am having problems solving crossword meant for children of 5 years :( Main toh gayi!

*Saluting Dipali*

Sands said...

How fun!! I remember them being such a challenge when I was growing up. Will have to try it again when I have time in a few years :)

noon said...

Hi Dipali - Been so long!
Come on how can you feel bad about it! It is just one letter - as my son would say! :) (Although when it comes to himself he gets so upset with himself and cries). Really it is incredible that you are able to solve the Hindu crossword! You should feel good!

Unknown said...

salaam memsaab - if you have even cracked half the puzzle it was a job well done ! As for the treacherousness- do you know a lot of rabid crossword solvers sit with a dictionary when they solve puzzles .
Any way, the least I attempt is the easy one in the Telegarph

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Banno said...

Spell-checks have quisling-ed our minds. :)

Anonymous said...

My mum always keeps a dictionary handy. She loves her crossword but claims she is spelling challenged as English is not the language she studied in, and is allowed the "handicap"! Boy, if you can do the Hindu crossword you are officially a Master Crossword-smith.

Pepper said...

Wow.. At least you were able to figure out the word.. I cudnt

dipali said...

@Sur Notes, R's Mom: It's rare that I solve more than a few clues, in fact I'd stopped even looking at it for a long time. There are just some days when you can get into the mind of the puzzle-setter.
@Unknown: Time- never enough of it!
@Noon: it was just so stupid of me, that word! I rarely get far with it, but now I know when to stop, not waste whole days moping over it!
@Eve's Lungs: I can hardly do the easy one in The Telegraph most days- don't deserve the salaam at all:(
@Banno: You bet!
@Anonymous: In the days when I took them very seriously I'd use both a thesaurus and a dictionary. I'm far more laid back about them now. It's rare that I can get more than a few words.
@Pepper: Yes, BUT I COULDN'T SPELL IT!!!!!!!!!!!

G Vishwanath said...

I used to be a crossword fan once upon a time.
I could attempt the Times of India Cryptic and would get about half the words.
After I got my Ipad recently, my interest in crosswords has been re- kindled.
No, I haven't become more intelligent.
I haven't got better at finding words from strange clues.
The reason I am now interested is that I have equipped myself with three great tools which I can access by just tapping at the screen of my Ipad.
The first is a dictionary.
The seconds is a thesaurus.
The third is a great tool to "cheat" the crossword setter.
This is an application where you type in all the letters you know in their correct places and put dots in the correct places for the letters you don't know and the software looks up and shortlists all eligible words that meet your criterion.

If you give it enough intermediate letters the short list gets even shorter and you can easily pick one that matches the clue.
Armed with a dictionary, a thesaurus and this new tool, you can confront a crossword with much more confidence and hope of success.

Of course, it's not the same as doing a crossword without any aids.
I doff my hat to anyone who can do a typical Hindu crossword without any aid.


dipali said...

@G Vishwanath: How nice to see you here: Vanakkam, Sir!
I could rarely do more than a fraction of The Times cryptic crossword. I now only take it on Sunday, and never find the time to tackle it.The Hindu puzzles used to be more consistent earlier. Nowadays they publish the name of the compiler, and there are some compilers whose clues just do not make sense to me, even when I check the answers in the next day's paper. I had two or three good days after a long gap, and now am back to a few miserable words:( Most demoralising. I hope that the next week brings me better luck. I'm now far less obsessive than I used to be, so I don't think I will use the iPad's cheat tool!!! The fundamental idea is to exercise the brain- let's see how it progresses.