Skip to main content

No results found

Hanborough Gate banner
What's On, Knowledge

Where The Grass Is Greener

divider
Esther Lafferty
Where The Grass Is Greener Crossword Puzzle and Pen

A few years ago, goaded by the assumptions of others that, because my spelling is competent and I like to fling the occasional quirky word into my sentences, I’d be good at cryptic crosswords. To be honest, I didn’t really need the pen. To a watcher, I may have had an apparent calmness, like the serene surface of a pond in moonlight where still waters run deep, belying the frenetic activity below as my mind whizzed wildly. It was unfortunate therefore that the whirring cerebellum rarely came up with a word that fitted either the clue or the grid, and certainly not both at once. The answers aren’t at all black and white – at least not until you’ve cleared fifty shades of grey.

And while the winter has been dark and damp, once again I am brandishing the pen to crack the codes of these demon puzzles. However, each time I come up with an answer or two, I feel like Willy Wonka as he toured the factory with the four children who weren’t Charlie Bucket: each had the potential to be the right one at the start of the story but didn’t fit at all when it came to the crunch.

While I have expanded my vocabulary to include words I can’t imagine using in normal conversation, I am convinced that some of the answers – and yes, I sometimes cheat and ‘work backwards’ – have surely been made up. I double-check the answers in the Oxford English Dictionary but its obsequious precision poses its own particular challenge – I often find taking a broad-minded phonetic approach can help… huejelly.

I also have to doubt the personal hygiene, nutritional health and economic contribution to society of those who ‘complete the crossword in their dressing-gown before breakfast’. Really? If that were me, I still wouldn’t have made it to the toaster before sundown. Or the end of the month.

And can I finish them now? I am reminded of a cartoon I once saw where Winnie-the-Pooh embarks on a new fitness regime. When asked how many times he could touch his toes, he replied ‘nearly’. Ask me again in another few years!

RECOMMENDED

Engard Espen Mortensen
Wed 22 Jan 2020

Music for Everyone

By Music at Oxford

Engegård Quartet: Oxford Debut   Friday 7 February 2020, 7.30pm SJE Arts   Mozart - String Quartet No.15 in D minor K. 421/417b Sibelius - 'Voces Intimæ' op. 56 Grieg

CBF
Wed 22 Jan 2020

Cornbury Festival’s Fabulous Friday

Much-loved Oxfordshire festival delivers big names from the start

Cornbury Festival begins with a mighty double-bill this summer of legendary troubadour Van Morrison and electropop singer songwriter Dido. These big hitting stars will both

A D 75
Wed 22 Jan 2020

The Tythe Barn Winter Showcase

Wedding Venue to Reveal Some Insider Secrets to Planning Your Perfect Day

On the back of the success of their Open Day last June, the award-winning venue The Tythe Barn in Launton are holding a ‘Winter Showcase’ at the end of January and inviting couples

LFO2019 cr matthew williams ellis 45
Wed 22 Jan 2020

Longborough Festival Opera is a summer season of opera in an intimate 500-seat theatre, set amidst the glorious rolling hills of the Cotswolds on the outskirts of Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh. Overlooking