Last week I left you with this clue:
Making fun of giant, sir, is silly (10)
The hint that we are dealing with an anagram is the word ‘silly’. If you can find 10 letters to become silly – dance about and regroup into a different order – you will get the answer.
There is some ambiguity because ‘of’ and ‘is’ are the same number of letters. The solution could be an anagram of OF GIANT SIR, meaning ‘making fun’; or it could be an anagram of GIANT SIR IS, meaning ‘making fun of’. I am afraid there is no definite way of telling which is correct: you just have to keep trying until you find a word that fits.
What is fairly certain is that the last three letters of the solution are – ING, because if the answer means making something it is highly likely that it will be a gerund. The anagram is actually the second of the two possibilities above and the answer is:
The noun satire is defined as the use of humour to expose other people’s stupidity. A satirical book, play, film or TV programme may, for example, poke fun at the leading political figures of the day, an institution, or the futility of war. (A well known film in this category is Catch 22, which itself has given rise to the expression a catch 22 situation – a situation from which it is logically impossible to escape.)
The verb corresponding to satire is satirise, often spelt (especially in American English) as satirize, see here. The answer, satirising, means making fun of.
Now try these two clues from Daily Telegraph Crossword Puzzle No. 27,841 dated 30th June 2015. The solutions are exact opposites of each other.
The first is:
Narrow lens distorted reflection of colour (7)
The word ‘distorted’ is the hint that an anagram is involved – but here the solution contains only a partial anagram. To cut a long story short (that is get straight to the point – in American English one would say ‘to make a long story short’) the answer is formed from an anagram of LENS with another three letters added meaning ‘reflection of colour’. The colour we are looking for is red and if this is reflected (sent backwards) one gets DER. The solution, therefore, is:
The word slender can mean narrow or thin – although it can be used in other ways, see here.
The second clue reads:
Orders we must lose weight if this? (5)
The key to the solution is to realise that ‘orders’ can be Orders of the British Empire or OBEs. These are part of the UK honours system which is a long-standing tradition and an important part of British culture. It is a way of recognising those who have made achievements in public life (like athletes and actors) or people who have committed themselves to serving and helping Britain (for example through charitable work). The OBE – or, to give it its full name, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – does not have the prestige of a knighthood but it is still a great honour to receive. By way of illustration, Eddie Redmayne, the actor, received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015 for ‘services to Drama’ and can now be referred to as Eddie Redmayne, OBE.
‘Orders we’ in the clue can therefore be written as ‘OBEs we’ or:
which makes no sense. But if, as the clue tells us, it ‘must lose weight’ (weight being abbreviated to W), one gets:
Obese means overweight, so the solution, cleverly, is something that fits the wording of the whole clue. I need hardly tell you that obesity is associated with increased risk of illness and death and is one of the most serious health problems of the 21st century.
On a happier note, let me leave you to consider this clue from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,859 dated 21st July 2015:
Instructions: put boiled rice on edges of plate (6)
The answer will appear next week.