lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Saturday, March 25, 2006

News, views and a quiz

People, you must have noticed that there are ads now, and not public service ads either.

It is not going to make me rich anytime soon, but it is amusing to see what ads are matched up to my posts. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. Arthritis remedies and voodoo cursing, or hair-removal tips and Chennai telephones! Check the older posts, if you don't believe me or want a laugh.

Now I am in my stern schoolmarm mode and want you all to enroll into the programme of humoring Lalita. Two months into blogging I am conducting a mini quiz to see if you have been paying attention to my crossword solving lessons.

Here is a clue. I am starting simply, with a basic anagram, and I will work up to funny, obscure and/or well nigh impossible twists. But the solution is always the same. Okay? That is more help than Bunthorne gave me today for his Saturday prize puzzle or Paul ever does. Araucaria, sweet man of cloth that he is, always has an easy-to-solve clue that will help make inroads with his puzzles. I am being more than fair. I am being transparent. :D

Solve this simple clue and act on it.

A clod thickens, sadly. A mouse might help. (5,2,3,3)

The first person to write in and tell me the solution gets a prize. ( Don't ask me what the prize is, I haven't made up my mind and it depends on how many of you are going to write in with the solution.)

Seriously though, what is it with men and gadgets? Why are men so enamoured of gizmos, doodads and cars? Why are they crazy for specifications, features and comparison shopping?

I bought a cell-phone some three years ago, after a lot of consideration about whether I needed it. I just looked at the phones, asked about prices and bought it. No fuss. My sole criterion was that I should be able to read the screen with having to put on my reading glasses. But when I mentioned it to a friend in a mail, I found a transformation (he is a congenial bloke normally, but 'Dash it woman, don't leave me hanging!' he fumed in his reply).

He didn't want my number. Well, he wanted that too, but what he wanted was chapter and verse on the make, model, series number, features and whether I got a good deal. Good grief. It was just a cell-phone, I thought. As I listened to him pontificate it turned out not to be the case. He made me write models and numbers before he pronounced himself satisfied and reverted to the sweet pussycat he used to be.

I wonder, is there a gene that wires you to get excited about these things? Did the Neanderthal men get worked up about a better lode of flint or a better rock, or perhaps a new technique of flint-knapping? I rather suspect they must have.

I use tools all the time. Whether I am chopping an onion or beating an egg ( don't let me get started about terms of abuse in cookery), whether I am slitting a letter open or pointing my mouse and clicking. I just don't get worked up about it. After all, a tool is a tool. Right? Wrong. My friend thought it was more than just buying a cell-phone. Apparently it was buying into a whole culture.

I change a blown out bulb or tighten the handles of my pots and pans, and I don't make a production of it. But men! They make such a issue of the latest gadget. Researching and comparing, buying it and then showing it off.

Perhaps I shouldn't be casting stones, as I research, compare, buy, use and show off too. But my passion is reference books for crosswords!



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