The Stickler Weekly 65

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3 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 65

  1. Greg Murray says:

    Hi David. Congratulations on reaching 65 Sticklers – but please don’t retire yet! I’ve been meaning to ask you about your thoughts on using “apostrophe s” as a link between the two parts of a cryptic clue. Am I too much of a purist to believe it should not really be there? I give 2 examples from your #64. One across has “work on a newspaper’s…” but the answer just means work on a newspaper. Eleven across has ” old friend’s..” but the part answer is just “ex” not “ex’s”. (26 across has what I regard as a legitimate use of an apostrophe.) I’m not smart enough to think how to reword it without a complete rewrite but am I just being too pedantic? Cheers Greg.

    • David Stickley says:

      Hi Greg,

      You seem like a possessive sort of person. Me, I’m more omissive (when it comes to cryptic’s anyway). It’s (it is) true that the clues in question lead the solver to view the apostrophe as possessive, but it doesn’t have to be – it’s all a matter of interpretation which is the essence of cryptic clues. So “ex’s” (“old friend’s”) should be viewed is “ex is”, where “is” links the definition and the wordplay. In English cryptics the same device is used for “has” (David’s can be David is or David has) and sometimes will appear as part of the wordplay describing a joining of elements, but I don’t use that kind of language in my clues so you won’t see it in the wordplay used that way.
      If you expand the “‘s” to make “is” the clue reads strangely – more like an equation, which is what a cryptic clue really is. To me expanding the “‘s” is the first part of breaking the clue down so the surface reading no longer comes into play.

      I hope that makes sense.



  2. Greg Mansell says:

    Nearly every clue in this one took me some time (and a few dead ends) to solve. But with the pain came plenty of highlights: 12ac, 14ac, 24ac, and especially 28ac & 30ac.

    I hope I got 5dn right. If so, it’s trés amusing.