The Stickler Weekly 153 Solution

I’m heading off on a tangent this week. The Oxford English dictionary announced its word of the year recently. It came from a shortlist of a “wide range of words which have had an impact on 2016, for better or worse.”
I’m not totally sure what this means in dictionary terms, that is, are these words specific to 2016, or have they been added to the dictionary on a short-term or long-term basis? The winning “word”, POST-TRUTH, seems not to be a word at all, more two normal words stuck together to describe a concept, something we all do in everyday speech with the words we already know. It also seems to be used largely in a political context and has been proliferated by journalists. I don’t know about you, but I read news, watch TV, listen to radio, read books, yet I’ve never heard of it. Surely a “word (term) of the year” should be known at least to some degree by the general public?
Dictionary makers face a difficult task in a world where no-one will wait 5 years for an updated edition, and look to keep up by adding “new words” on the fly, but I want real new words, not just new terms or overlapping words or blended words that used be made up just for fun.
As a crossword setter, I must pay attention to all words out there in the public space. I’m happy to rely on published dictionaries, although online versions are constantly being added to, so I could use these words in my crosswords. But generally, I don’t. The reason is simple. For me “new” words must stand the test of time to prove they are worthy of crossword inclusion. If they are still there when a new edition comes out, then they get consideration, otherwise I’m taking a risk using them as there’s a good chance my solving audience simply won’t know them. For some this doesn’t matter, as they like learning new words, but for most, at least having knowledge of a word is important – it gives them the sense that they could solve a clue without using references.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 DEFRAUD
Terrible fear admitted by worthless con (7) Anagram of FEAR inside DUD
5 ACCEPT
Receive copies wrapped in tape loosely (6) CC inside anagram of TAPE
9 CARET
Trouble taken at first with editor’s mark (5) CARE + (T)AKEN
10 VIRULENCE
Rule broken ultimately in evil hostility (9) [RULE + BROKE(N)] inside VICE
11 LEARNERS
Students left lucrative jobs (8) L + EARNERS
12 WIZARD
Master’s one last letter written in charge (6) (I + Z) inside WARD
14 CHEMICAL WEAPON
Mechanical power virtually transformed part of the military’s arsenal (8,6) Anagram of (MECHANICAL POWE)R
16 ACROSS-THE-BOARD
A sober host ordered in eccentric general (6-3-5) A + (anagram of SOBER HOST inside CARD)
20 TUSCAN
Italian company losing investment in fraudulent accounts (6) Anagram of ACCOUNTS minus CO
22 INNER EAR
Winner not bound to bring up something needed for audition? (5,3) W(INNE)R + REAR
24 EQUIPMENT
Joke with troops in middle of greeting outfit (9) (QUIP + MEN) inside GRE(ET)ING
25 EDUCE
Bring out Ian from excited audience (5) Anagram of AUDIENCE minus IAN
26 BHARAT
Hospital in Rabat worked with India, according to Hindus (6)
27 DISSENT
Detective is directed to think differently (7) D + IS + SENT
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 DOCILE
Compliant medical man that is checking back of skull (6) DOC + [IE outside SKUL(L)]
2 FORGATHER
Assemble at hotel in residence of criminal (9) (AT + H) inside FORGER
3 ANTONYM
Agree to differ, say, with heavyweight handled by many roughly? (7) TON inside anagram of MANY
4 DIVARICATE
Great singer, rich, mostly ate with fork (10) DIVA + (RIC)H + ATE
5 AIRS
All but the start of bowling match is shown on TV (4) P(AIRS)
6 COLLIDE
Regulations about trouble in retirement conflict (7) CODE outside (ILL reversed)
7 PENNA
Female swan, one turning tail feather (5) PEN + (AN reversed)
8 FEED ON
Derive benefit from service charge finalised by Mafia boss (4,2) FEE + DON
13 ALTERNATED
A large sea-bird ate pilchard’s tail and flipped (10) A + L + TERN + ATE + PILCHAR(D)
15 PERSECUTE
Hound is essentially delightful (9) PER SE + CUTE
16 ANTHEM
Those people opening with one popular song (6) THEM after AN
17 SCAMPER
Quickly move small home on wheels (7) S + CAMPER
18 ONENESS
Consistency relating to development of sense (7) ON + anagram of SENSE
19 ARREST
Check resolution used in graphic, say (6) RES inside ART
21 SLUSH
Pole with abundant melting snow (5) S + LUSH
23 PELT
Coat with batter (4) Double Definition

 

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3 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 153 Solution

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    Yup!!! Right with you David. Never heard of it either.
    Still don’t know what it is supposed too mean.
    AND e.g if you had clued the answer “post-truth” I would Not Have Had a Clue.
    Missed you last week.

  2. Steve Ball says:

    What Richard said, on all counts.

    Steve = : ^ )

  3. Arthur Maynard says:

    Stephen Fry once revealed on QI that more than 50% of the “facts” we know today will be proven to be untrue within about 5 years. Perhaps this is the post-truth of which you speak. So much for scientific knowledge.

    If there is “post-truth”, there must also be “pre-truth”. What a nonsense.

    So it seems these “word of the year” decisions merely pander to popular belief, or some editor”s fancy. Please stick with pre-truth.

    Arthur