Palindromes and semordnilap run back and forth, spoonerisms climb up and own, thickets of anagrams form and reform and the tendrils of double meanings reach out to trip the unwary. In fact, one of the few times in adulthood that he has found himself without the words and the wit and will to use them was on radio with an announcer who assumed that all crosswords would soon be made by computers. It's also for people who love the hidden meanings in words, the flukes of language.
But a cruciverbalist's or crossword-setter's brain just has to work in weird ways its wonders to perform, or we'd still be doing straight synonym crosswords in charcoal on the cave walls at night. His childhood hero was not Batman but the caped crusader's arch enemy The Riddler. Even Astle occasionally wants to get out. I'd like a rest sometimes. Advertisement On the other hand, if you aren't yet a fan of cryptic crosswords, has DA got a book for you. It's stuffed full of words endlessly doing things. He likens his brain to living "in a snakepit, and I'm herding the snakes". Honestly, I'm not, and I'll prove it by pointing out that, surprisingly for a wordsmith, he uses "infer" throughout the book when he means "imply". He has worked on cargo ships and in a publishing house. The bad news for potential compilers who like to think that anyone can set a crossword is that DA has always been lexically inclined. He still does not live by crosswords alone; he also writes for newspapers, has written two novels and a travel book and is now moving towards scriptwriting. Astle says that having a crossword obsession is like living "in a snakepit, and I'm herding the snakes". In fact, one of the few times in adulthood that he has found himself without the words and the wit and will to use them was on radio with an announcer who assumed that all crosswords would soon be made by computers. Luis Enrique If you are a fan of puzzles, Astle is, of course, the much admired and equally reviled "DA" of the cryptic crossword in Friday's Herald. Puzzled starts with a blank grid and a set of clues then, chapter by chapter, works the reader through solving the crossword, pleasantly wandering through the highways and byways of our language. Gradually, with mentoring from the great Lindsey Browne, the Herald's first setter, his crosswords began to take payable shape. He took a communications degree as well but all the time his mind was leading him to crosswords. I'm the Harriet Veitch who appears in the book as his puzzle checker at the Herald, but I'm really not nearly as nice as he makes me out to be. It celebrates language, I hope. He was a Scrabble champion of course and also a useful rugby player not only did he create cryptic line-out calls for his team but also decoded the opposition's calls almost instantly , a Tarzan-gram in Britain's bleakest mid-summer, the co-creator of a board game an ovoid one to be called Knower's Arc , a would-be games show contestant. At least not yet. I love Samantha Stosur because her surname can be rearranged to spell 'rousts', but Schiavone can be rearranged to spell 'anchovies' and I know I'll have years of fun with those anchovies. After years of people demanding, "What bloody language are they written in? He is also the Wordplay columnist in these pages. Palindromes and semordnilap run back and forth, spoonerisms climb up and own, thickets of anagrams form and reform and the tendrils of double meanings reach out to trip the unwary. Larger text size Very large text size It's scary inside David Astle's brain. If they learn that then I'll be like the last blacksmith and unemployed.
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How to Solve a SMH Cryptic Crossword #1 Part 1 of 2
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