Although this post was first published on Friday, 24th April I have made a later amendment to the beginning of it, since by an unhappy coincidence the answer to the clue I left you with last week was NEPAL, a country that is now in all our thoughts following the dreadful earthquake that took place on 25th April. In the circumstances it is clearly inappropriate to provide any explanation which could be regarded as trivial and I have deleted what I first wrote. My deepest sympathies lie with everyone affected by this appalling disaster.
Here are a couple of clues from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,769 dated 7th April 2015 which provide some interesting words.
The first reads:
Difficult experience seeing cavalier heading off on horse (9)
We have come across clues in the past where one has to remove the first letter of a word to get at the answer. The wording ‘heading off’ suggests that that is exactly what is going on here. So what could be a cavalier with the heading off? A word for a cavalier is a knight (a soldier of old who rode on horseback) so taking the heading off yields ‘night’. We now need a four letter word for horse – and that could be (and is!) ‘mare’. A mare is a female horse. Putting NIGHT together with MARE gives the answer:
which is indeed a difficult experience. I would say it was a terrifying experience, since a nightmare is a very bad dream.
In fact, in present day, authentic English the meaning of nightmare has expanded considerably to refer to any situation which has the characteristics of a bad dream. The word is sometimes used in an exaggerated, even light-hearted way for something not all that serious. For example, if you were late after driving to an appointment you could say: ‘I’m sorry I’m late: the traffic was an absolute nightmare.’ But it can also be used to describe potentially devastating situations. For example, you may hear someone describe as a nightmare scenario a very serious and possibly life-threatening event, or series of events, which might take place in certain circumstances. For some examples, see here.
If you want to know more about the derivation of the word nightmare (which has nothing to do with horses) please click on the following link.
The next clue reads:
Is able to house large family (4)
The answer, which I will explain in a moment, is:
A synonym for ‘is able’ is ‘can’. You will know from your studies of modal verbs that ‘he can speak English’ is the same as saying ‘he is able to speak English.’ You will also know from shopping for clothes that ‘large’ (as in large size) is usually abbreviated to L. If you then ‘house’ the L (by putting it inside CAN) you arrive at the answer.
So what is a clan?
It is a set of closely related families, particularly those living in, or from, Scotland and Ireland. It can also be applied to a large family or a group of people sharing a common interest. The full definition and example sentences may be found here.
There is just space to leave you with an anagram to solve over the weekend. The clue (from the same crossword as above) reads:
Sometimes won hand with ten, after twisting (3,3,4)
This is not all that straightforward since the letters which have to be mixed up are not completely consecutive. Good luck!