Friday, January 16, 2009

Of Crucio & Verbalists

Quite some time back, I had gone for a particular quiz where the audience was asked to explain the meaning of the word 'cruciverbalist'. Being a bit too immersed in the Harry Potter lore, I shouted out "one who hurts others by using harsh words" (I am sure most people can understand this - whether you have read any Harry Potter or not). Only when the quizmaster actually laughed at my answer did I realize that I had done something quite stupid. And almost instantly I realized that the word actually refers to a person who solves crosswords.

And well, that seems to be the flavor of the season - Crosswords. To be precise, as Thomson & Thompson say, Cryptic Crosswords. I first came to know of this kind of crossword in college, when a few school friends of mine (and at that time in a different college) introduced me to the world of cryptic clues & crosswords. But it was only at Adobe, that I managed to get a hang of it. A colleague of mine & I would sit down and attempt the crossword, regularly. But we were never really able to proceed further than 10-15 answers. And we thought, that even that was pretty decent, Hindu crossword's difficulty level being what it is. That was until now. We just picked up this old habit again. After a long time. It has been 3 consecutive attempts in this second stint of ours & Lo Behold..! We have come close to cracking the entire crossword ( bar 3-4 clues each time) twice. Yes, we believe that the crosswords are sub-par, and we vent out all our frustration for that on Nita Jaggi ( the current Hindu crossword compiler ), but still, solving almost the entire crossword is another feeling altogether. Conceded that we had the help of an ace quizzer cum cruciverbalist today, but we were matching him as well..! 

How I wish I had a scanner and could upload these 3 attempts of ours, all the insane & inane) rough work, guesses, cuts & crosses. But alas..! Still, for now, crosswords rule..!! Cryptic Crosswords, to be precise.. :)

PS: The blog post is badly structured for a reason. Look out for the cryptic clues embedded within the post... :)