, , , , ,

Last week, if you recall, you were left this clue to think about:

Pay close attention to verbose drunk (7)

I told you that the word ‘drunk’ could signal an anagram and that you did not even need to know the meaning of the word ‘verbose’.

That should have made it quite clear that the answer is an anagram of verbose! Did you get it? The answer is:


which of course means to pay close attention to something, see here.

Just for the record, the word verbose means saying something in more words than are needed – see here.  A more common expression, which can also be applied to unnecessarily lengthy writing, is long-winded.

The verb ‘to observe’ can also mean to make a remark about something.  I observed in an earlier post that cryptic crossword clues quite often involve references to food.  Here are another couple of clues from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,890 dated 26th August 2015 which illustrate the point.

The first reads:

Fare available in Chinese boat?  (4,4)

This is a clever play on words as fare can mean not only what you have to pay for transport (as in train fare, bus fare, taxi fare and, maybe, the fare you pay to ride on a Chinese boat) but also it can mean food of a particular type.  See the definition here.

A Chinese boat can be a junk, an old sailing ship still used today, see here.  So ‘fare available in Chinese boat’ could be:


As defined here, junk food is food which is high in calories but of no real nutritional value, the ready availability of which in developed countries has led to an alarming rise in obesity.  The term comes from the word junk, which means rubbish.  Junk mail (advertising leaflets or unwanted e-mails trying to sell you something) is a related expression.

The answer to the second clue is a prime example of junk food:

Sponges coat covered in trophies (8)

The answer is:


which are small cakes made of sponge.  Sponge is a versatile word meaning many things, but in the clue it refers to a light cake made from flour, eggs, sugar etc., see here.  Cupcakes (small cakes which typically look like this) are normally made from sponge, so in that sense they are ‘sponges’.

But how does the rest of the clue point to cupcakes?  As well as being something edible, cake can also be a verb meaning to coat or cover something.  If your shoes are ‘caked in mud’ they need cleaning!  And trophies (awarded for succeeding at sport) are typically cups.  So if coat (CAKE) is ‘covered’ by trophies (CUPS) you have the solution – another example of a word being placed inside another word.

Next week, as well as being the anniversary of 9/11 on Friday, will – on a happier note – feature the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday.  The Proms, or to give the full title, the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, are daily concerts held mainly at the Royal Albert Hall in London over the summer months and are a notable feature of British life.  The tradition dates back to 1895 and you can read more about it here.  On the last night the audience always joins in the chorus of a particular song and, with that in mind, I have been saving this clue for you from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,793 dated 5th May 2015:

Patriotic song, Arne air Butlin’s broadcast (4,9)

The answer, and some further explanation, will appear next week.