Thanks to the wonderful folks at Jonesin’ Crosswords we have a fun way for you to discover the new words in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. To learn more about the SOED check out Ben Zimmer‘s columns here and here.
“In the Language”–*New entries from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Sixth Edition.
by Matt Jones
[…] sense of delight in the play of language. Speaking of wordplay, I hope you all enjoy solving the Shorter-themed crossword that the Jonesin’ crew has provided us today. And let me leave you with an anagram that Rick […]
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No thanks. This is a typical American-style crossword, which relies on one’s knowledge of arcane words rather than on puzzle-solving talent or imaginative skill. Even worse, it depends on a specific knowledge of modern culture that I neither have nor want to have. Witness 1 Across:
“Org. Eminem mentions in ‘Without Me'”.
‘Org.’ is presumably short for ‘An organisation’ (but why not ‘An orgasm’ or ‘An orgone box’?), mentioned in a song I have never heard from a performer I take pains not to listen to. And while I could go on the Web and look up the lyrics, what conceivable satisfaction would that give me?
Meanwhile 1 Down is “Jack and the Beanstalk, e.g.” Not only is this lousy English, it is also a lousy clue. There are at least two dozen things that “Jack and the Beanstalk” is an example of — a clause, a conjunction, a title, a twenty-one-letter string of text, a fable, a fairytale, etc, etc — and the solver’s choice of any one of these is going to be purely arbitrary.
This is why American crosswords need to have so many intersecting letters — because the clues as such are virtually useless. But having so many intersecting letters means that they can only be constructed using impenetrably obscure words which exist only for that purpose (‘ALAR’ is one of my favourites).
Contrast this with a clue from a Times Crossword: “Path of the swallow” (10). A quick mind may get this at once without the need for any intersecting letters. A slower mind may have to fill in some intersecting letters to help focus their intuition. In any event, the solution comes with a satisfying rush, not via the dreary hackwork of some word-finding software.
[…] more here […]
Wow, Jon. You’re serious about your crossword puzzles.
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