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12th of January, 2005 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:15

“I suppose this goes a long way toward illustrating how Yanks and Brits differ in their thought processes. Americans, generally speaking, are linear thinkers. Americans invented the assembly line. And the buffet line, come to think of it. Thus a typical American crossword clue looks like this:

Clue: HOST OF ’92 SUMMER GAMES
Answer: BARCELONA

See there? Simple, isn’t it? Compare that to this convoluted British witterance:

Clue: FORMER SRI LANKAN KICKS OUT FEMALE CHROMOSOME INSIDE BACKWARD SAUDI TYPE. SPANISH TWIST. CRAB ALONE! (9)

Whaaaaaaat? It’s just a puzzle for cryinoutloud, not the Enigma code. Why does every clue have to sound like Poetry Slam Night at the Java Hutch? My systematic approach to problem solving precludes me from ever completing a single blank of these infernal things, and makes me want to stab the dog with a pencil. Who can fathom these arcane, mind-boggling clues:

Across:

1. APPLAUSE SPILLS FORTH FROM JOWLS OF OAKEN BADMINTON INSECT (2)
2. WHAT THE DENTIST SAID WHEN THE SEA CAPTAIN RUBBED HIS NOODLES (3,4,93)

Down:

3. SOME SQUIRRELS DO THIS WHEN (See 12 across) EASTER ARRIVES AND THERE ARE NO RADISHES (see 17 down) AND RUFUS ATE THE PLASTIC CHUNKS (See 3 across from last Wednesday’s puzzle) (6)

In fact, I have always suspected that the lyrics to the Beatles song ‘Come Together’ is nothing more than John Lennon reciting clues from the particular morning’s cryptic crossword:

Across:

6. HERE COME OLD FLAT TOP. HE COME GROOVING UP SLOWLY (12)
7. HE GOT JOO-JOO EYEBALL (5,7)
8. HE ONE HOLY ROLLER (3,4,6)
The answers are, of course, (6) Butterscotch (7) Marty Feldman and (8) One Holy Roller.”

— from Rich Hall’s “Things Snowball”

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