Last week I left you this clue to solve:
Fool in rage about uncontrolled heat (7)
I am sorry to say that the solution is yet a further term of abuse to add to those already covered in Never a cross word – 23, published on 13th March this year. The British seem to specialise in coming up with words to be rude to other people! The answer is:
A fathead (used only in informal speech) is a stupid person; see here.
This is derived from an anagram of ‘heat’ (the hint that an anagram is involved is the word ‘uncontrolled’) which a three letter word for ‘rage’ is ‘about’ (wrapped around).
The more common definition of rage is intense anger, but here rage has another meaning. Something that is all the rage is something which a great many people are passionate about – usually temporarily. For example, you could say: ‘flared trousers were all the rage in the late 1960s’. There are other words for rage in this sense: one is craze; the other (which is the word we need to solve the clue) is fad, defined as a widely shared enthusiasm for something. The answer to the clue (meaning ‘fool’) is constructed as shown below:
FA THEA D
Now try these clues from Daily Telegraph Crossword Puzzle No. 27,828 dated 15th June 2015. They bring out some interesting points of English.
The first reads:
Bold prosecutor takes on cartel (6)
A prosecutor in America can be a District Attorney (abbreviated to DA), who represents the Government in prosecuting criminal offences. There is a DA for most US States; see the Wikipedia article here.
I think I first came across the term DA watching the TV series Perry Mason. The show depicts a fictional US defence lawyer, who argues cases against Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger and invariably wins!
Or perhaps – I really can’t remember – I first heard it in the lyrics (words) of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues.
But enough of these reminiscences (happy memories), which are causing me to get off the point (stray from a discussion of the main subject): the important thing is that the first two letters of the answer are DA.
A cartel (see the definition here) is a group of people from different associations who work together to fix prices so as to restrict competition. This is highly illegal and, if found guilty, those who take part in such activity can face enormous penalties. Readers who are lawyers will know that this anti-competitive (also known as anti-trust) behaviour has led to huge fines imposed by the EU, the US, or other Competition Authorities. In some cases the sums involved have reached hundreds of millions of Euros or dollars.
The worst of such organisations are drug cartels, also known as drug ‘rings’, run by ruthless criminals. So, in this sense, another word for a cartel can be a ring.
If DA ‘takes on’ (adds) RING, we arrive at the answer:
which of course means the first word in the clue – bold.
Gambling game using rent in the course of journey (8)
The solution is derived from a word for ‘rent’ inside a word for ‘journey’ – yet another example of how cryptic crossword clues often involve words within words, and in the process provide a great mental workout.
A synonym for ‘rent’ (as a verb) is let. To let a property means to make it available to someone to live in or use in exchange for rent (money). The person letting the property is called the owner or landlord and the person who pays rent is called the tenant or lessee. Both parties normally have to sign a legal contract to complete the deal. In towns and cities in the UK you often come across a sign ‘TO LET’ meaning that a flat, house, or commercial premises such as a shop, are available for rent. Mischievous children sometimes deface (change) such signs by inserting an ‘I’ so the sign reads TOILET – a joke that is now wearing a bit thin (too well known to be funny any longer).
Another word for ‘journey’, in the sense of the directions followed, is route – a word pronounced very differently in British and American English. To listen to the difference please click here.
Putting all this together, the answer is formed as shown:
ROU LET TE
Roulette is, of course, a well-known gambling game, generally played in a casino, with the sort of chips you can’t eat. I am sure you are familiar with it – if not, see here.
Speaking of games, I will leave you with this clue to think about. It is from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,835 dated 23rd June, 2015:
Ashes could be reinvigorated with this game (5)
The answer will appear next week.