Oh lawks

It's nearly coming up time for my annual LiveJournal entry!

Shall I make it an extra difficult Xmas Xword?
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful

Cryptic Crossword No. 2 set by keithlard

Well thousands of you solved the previous crossword so it is obviously too easy! I have made a special fiendish extra-difficult one! Again expect spoilers in the comments.

1. Shout in pain? That's cowardly (6)
4. He decides barber must cut head off and swallow it (7)
9. Keeps things ticking over? (9)
10. Irrational numbers in absurd sums (5)
11. I chew mule intestine, partly (5)
12. Explain train's delayed and I'm lost (9)
13. Con artist creates split in railway company (7)
15. Concerned with lip, the French bail out (6)
17. Peter's worried about unknown key again (6)
19. Quoted Indo-European backwards: such a retentive memory! (7)
22. English chaps enter race after a degree of decline (9)
24. Where actor may win repute? (2,3)
26. Beg deputy leader to go into prison (5)
27. Girl picked first piece of furniture, but may be flexible (9)
28. Conservative leader dunked in acid; initially, I expect apathy (7)
29. A no-good trainee journalist's crooked (6)

1. Payback: radar pulse may indicate presence of dog (7)
2. Cruel, unusual, possibly filthy? (5)
3. Thus came back confusing memo: "Go for analysis of solution" (9)
4. Expose Lima's corrupt postal system (7)
5. Foundation's the start of building in its current state (5)
6. Confuse rat man, get shrew (9)
7. Less cautious pig could end up this way (6)
8. Queen's after game of cards, like Torvill & Dean, for example (6)
14. I spy chief antelope in charge of Björk, for example (9)
16. Doctor and sailor back into northern game (9)
18. Two-thirds of cricket team fed up (7)
19. Accomplice nearly turned trick into crime (6)
20. Cycling star Lance: pheromone extract identified (7)
21. Football body's CIA front (6)
23. Some men do improve (5)
25. Beer may foment student revolt (5)
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheery


I do not know if you like crosswords. I do. I thought I would have a go at making my own one up. I have a lot more respect for crossword setters now, as it is jolly hard work! Do not look at the comments until you have had a go yourself, first correct solution wins an unspecified awesome prize! (Not a guarantee.)

1. Pliable clay hat ordered by letter (14)
9. Compose tabla duet in regular fashion (9)
10. He possesses new design in gold (5)
11. Greek letter may be detail I'm missing (5)
12. Humiliating demotion (9)
13. Drat! Cop's rewritten holiday missive (8)
14. He races for drink after drink (6)
17. English: fail or pass (6)
19. You'll hear company's after a hat in Mexico (8)
22. 'Disturbing scurf' rife among the less well-groomed (9)
24. Throw back in oversized Greek coins (5)
25. Huan, a confused Mexican (5)
26. Start eating, or I go crazy! (9)
27. Requirements for making scientific soap (14)

1. With workers all around, I force down Prozac (14)
2. Blues legend in disturbed sleep on the beach (7)
3. Nasal lice form relationships (9)
4. Overdose after shock - emergency room medic's first to uncover outer skin (8)
5. In wind I go bluish colour (6)
6. Wool's lacking direction in the marketplace (5)
7. Pulses badly lit through lens (7)
8. A love of company may arouse sniggers (14)
15. Endless publicity? Not I, street performer (9)
16. Heartless cad I squashed under a car (8)
18. Crashed Ira's cool flying machine (7)
20. Spilled ale onto chap in much ado about nothing (7)
21. Warn about petty officer getting into fight (3,3)
23. Old money? Sounds believable (5)
  • Current Mood
    creative creative

Books 2008: "The Risk of Darkness" by Susan Hill

Susan Hill, best known for I'm the King of the Castle, has created an intriguing detective in her Simon Serailler series, starting with The Various Haunts of Men. Serailler is a gifted artist and emotionally constipated serial heartbreaker, who divides his time between hunting murderers as a Detective Chief Inspector, and staring moodily into the middle distance, the wind ruffling his perfect hair.

The Serailler stories are a curious cocktail of literary novel, romance and police procedural - with a dash of Silence of the Lambs. I grew impatient with the turbulent, enigmatic Serailler and his irresistible sexual magnetism, but this is a cut above the conventional detective story and certainly worth reading.

Books 2008: "Tricks of the Mind" by Derren Brown

Derren Brown is an entertaining magician whose shtick is to pretend to achieve his effects by psychology, persuasion, and body language, while actually using conventional stage magic techniques. He is most agreeable when using his skills to debunk spiritualists, astrologers, telepaths, and other con-men preying on the weak-minded.

Tricks of the Mind is an amusing summary of Brown's career to date, but for the most part it is a sustained and passionate tirade against such scammers, particularly those self-styled 'mediums' who cash in on grieving relatives desperate for contact with their loved ones. He explains, for example, how Doris Stokes' support team used to scour local newspapers in advance of her appearance in a town, looking for recent deaths and details of the deceased which Stokes would later use to convince the bereaved relatives.

Although Brown's ironic self-aggrandising style can irritate, this is a surprisingly readable and engaging book which will give ammunition to the sceptic, and perhaps encourage fans of the paranormal to re-examine their beliefs.