I feel like uttering some cross words… each week I copy the crossword from the Saturday paper so my husband and I can both do it. For the last couple of weeks, it has had some really tricky clues – and even when I get the answers they are words I don’t know. This week he did the crossword first, and when I asked him how he had got on, he replied that it hadn’t been too bad, in fact there were only two words he didn’t know or hadn’t been able to work out…
- lover or collector of teddy bears (10)
- the founder of Stoicism (4)
Well, I didn’t know them either … although I knew that once I found the answer to the teddy bear collector I would remember it!
So this morning I had a go at the crossword, and sailed through the top half, across and down… but then I came unstuck. As usual there were clues I knew the answer to but just couldn’t remember, and the letters I had offered no help. I didn’t actually know ‘illegitimate son of a priest who wrote ‘The Freedom of Will’ but I could work out it was Erasmus – however, can I remember the second largest Caribbean island (10) or the island with the capital of Palma (7)?
Am I very ignorant not to know:
- another name for black diamonds (10)
- an equine artist noted for illustrations in ‘Country Life’, Muriel Wace’s ‘Moorland Mousie’ and Anna Sewell’s ‘Black Beauty’ (7)
- molluscs in a class/group that includes clams, cockles, mussels and scallops (7)
- medieval coin minted in silver during the reign of Emperor Henry VI (5)
I have never even heard of Muriel Wace, but I have eaten enough seafood to think I really should know the mollusc!
For those who don’t know, a teddy bear collector, he or she is an arctophile, and the founder of Stoicism is Zeno who I actually have never, ever heard of. As for the Caribbean island, obviously it is Hispaniola, and the capital of Palma – where, in my defence, I have never been – is Majorca.
Muriel Wace it turns out was born in 1881 and lived to be eighty-seven; she was an author of children’s stories and in order to keep her privacy, wrote under the name Golden Gorse. She seems to have written mostly stories about horses and horse-riding, including Moorland Mousie which we know from the crossword clue! What I didn’t know was that the famous illustrator E. H. Shepherd of Winnie-the-Pooh fame, illustrated one of her books – but not, confusingly, Moorland Mousie ! he did however illustrate Black Beauty, on which Moorland Mousie was supposedly based… rather a circuitous clue this week!
… oh, and the other clues…Palma
- black diamonds – carbonados
- molluscs – oysters
- medieval coin – soldo