Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A provocative question

Tony T poses a provocative question:

Does The Age's DA compile SMH crosswords? I'd gladly execute him.

Should people who write bad crossword clues be executed, or simply imprisoned for life? It's an important issue, and one that I think we have not fully faced as a society. On the one hand there are those who claim that bad crossword compilers should be treated humanely, and that we must attempt to understand that they, too, may have had traumatic childhood experiences that caused them to become this way. Others may disagree.

I think there are many times in life when we face such difficult dilemmas: take, for instance, people who breathe heavily during a game of chess. Should they be thrown from high cliffs at obscure hours of the night, or should we treat them compassionately and make them to work in chain gangs for the next twenty years of their life? And then there are those who use their cards to pick their teeth while playing Five Hundred. Is there any punishment adequate to recognise the full depravity of this crime?

In order to move forward as a society, we must face these difficult moral dilemmas.


alexis said...

I prefer not to resort to violence. Cross words usually suffice.

Jo said...

The first time I finished a DA cryptic, I jumped up and down, waved my fist in the air, threw my pen across the yard and shouted "HA! Take THAT, you smug bastard!".

Then I realised that's probably exactly what DA was trying to get me to do. Damn him.

TimT said...

Bah! Cryptic crossword clever clogs, the lot of you!

Legal Eagle said...

Ha ha ha! Love it, Tim T.

Alexis: too good. I can't think of a clever pun to respond with, alas.

Jo: I have never finished a DA crossword on my own. But my mother and I have done so, and similarly pranced around the kitchen. We then had to ring my grandfather in Sydney. My grandfather's theory is that DA does the Friday crossword in the SMH. He struggles just as we do. We wondered if we had a genetic predisposition to struggle with DA?

My favourite day for cryptics is Thursday.

Tony T. said...

Poor crossword compilation is one of the great crimes of our time. I rate it up there with suicide bombing and chewing with your mouth open.

TimT said...

Yeah, yeah, you 'I can do cryptic crossword' people are all very smart.

I do wonder, though: when you get a clue in a cryptic crossword that really needs an apostrophe or other punctuation mark, do you get annoyed if the crossword compiler doesn't include a separate box for the punctuation mark?

Karen said...


I was going to say the other day that you reminded me that my nerd credentials are not what they should be and certainly require cultivation. Alas, I have never managed to get into crosswords as my temperament deems I should. I've played scrabble about three times in my life and no one would play it with me after that, so I have not been able to refine my skill. Ten years ago or so I was given a glorious game put together by the folks at the Bodleian library- the players make up openings and endings for various famous novels and then try to pick the real from the fake. What larks! Alas, I am yet to find the kindred spirits who will agree to play it with me.

Steve said...

I am certainly going to start reaching for my gun if I see "teh" something-or-other in a left leaning blog again. There's a veritable plague of it going on, even since I mentioned this on Catallaxy a couple of weeks ago. Someone needs to tell them!!

TimT said...

I agreed then and I agree now!

Jo said...

It's definitely the same bloke in The Age and SMH.

I read an interview with him.
He's a four-letter word for "smug".

Anonymous said...

DA is a smug bastard, but it's the highlight of the cryptic-crossword week.

As embarrassing as it might sound, I've even started a blog about it:

Email: timhtrain - at -

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