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Q: Is this the best Crossword clue, ever? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Is this the best Crossword clue, ever?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 20 Oct 2003 22:48 PDT
Expires: 19 Nov 2003 21:48 PST
Question ID: 268171
1-0 66666 1000m volcano (5)
Subject: Re: Is this the best Crossword clue, ever?
Answered By: grimace-ga on 21 Oct 2003 08:34 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Altruistic work for poor, poor nob (3,4)*

Well, since no one else has been drawn to answer this question, I
thought I'd add a few more thoughts to my comment below.

I trawled through my copy of Araucaria's 'Monkey Puzzles' (See below)
and found a random selection of clues which you'd like, and which (in
my opinion) have more claim to the title of best clue ever. Here

(a) Of of of of of of of of of of (10)

(b) Cry for the Old Pretender (7)

(c) Poetical scene has, surprisingly, chaste Lord Archer vegetating

Other old (non-Araucaria) chestnuts which spring to mind:

(d) A wicked thing (6)

(e) The charge of the light brigade (11,4)

(f) Bust down reason (9)

Let me know if you want to be put out of your misery on any of

Now, then - books. The below are three indispensables if you're
interested in crosswords and cluemanship:

Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword

Don Manley's Crossword Manual

And these are two books of Araucaria crosswords:

Monkey Puzzles

Chambers Book of Araucaria Crosswords

An article on Araucaria:
The Monkey Puzzler

Enigmatist: free puzzles (some by Araucaria, all excellent)

Visit the Guardian crossword talkboards - they're full of witty people
and discussion about clues etcetera:

Finally, if you're bored, you could try my own crosswords at


Researcher: "I'm surrounded by kindness!"(7)

*Sorry - the best I could do!

Clarification of Answer by grimace-ga on 21 Oct 2003 09:25 PDT
Oh, by the way:

Two online definitions of what makes a good crossword clue:

Cryptic puzzlers: official definition of a good clue

EJ's Crossword Showcase: What makes a good clue?

Fascinating stuff, as I hope you'll agree...

Clarification of Answer by grimace-ga on 21 Oct 2003 11:25 PDT
Thanks for the generous tip, Bryan.

Have a happy birthday!

probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Hi, McGarie

Many thanks for a marvellous answer ... It will give me hours of
pleasure working out the teasers that you have set.

You also reminded me that I already have a copy of Monkey Puzzles and,
what is more, I remembered where it was ... and - guess what - I've
only attempted (and completed) 4 out of the 100. So, more pleasure in

Incidentally, I was in correspondence with Araucaria a few years ago
and he produced some teasing clues for my name, etc.

Great stuff!


Subject: Re: Is this the best Crossword clue, ever?
From: grimace-ga on 21 Oct 2003 00:40 PDT
Hi there,

As this is a very subjective answer, I'm posting it as a comment.

I enjoyed this clue too in Thursday's Araucaria, but I thought it had
several flaws.

Firstly, the clue doesn't really have a strong surface reading. The
best clues, in my opinion, read in a natural way, as if they are
phrases or sentences lifted from a novel. There are no circumstances,
as far as I can see, when one would say/write '1-0 66666 1000m
volcano', are there?

Secondly - it doesn't have the 'groan factor'. The really good clues
are the ones which you tease away at for ages - then, when you
suddenly suss them, it seems so obvious that you groan/laugh/fall off
your chair. This one didn't do it for me, mainly because I had to
check that the solution was indeed a volcano.

A clue which *did* have the 'groan factor' in that puzzle was 
Little sir from 'Never On Sunday'? (9)

A more conventional (but far easier) clue for this word might be
Vines twisted round Big Ben (5)

which uses more of a cryptic definition, and maybe has more of a groan

The clue reminded me of this one - I can't remember who it's by:
Zo-Zo on his side in the garden (5)

Which will elicit a serious groan when you work it out...

Subject: Re: Is this the best Crossword clue, ever?
From: read2live-ga on 21 Oct 2003 01:59 PDT
Hi, there!

I do agree with grimace on the groan factor.  I think the technical
term is &lit (see "&Lit (And Literally So)" at

My own all-time favorite is from the Telegraph : Not corvine, of
course (6).

Have you read Sandy Balfour's book "Pretty girl in crimson rose (8)"? 
It's quite a fun read, and has some comments to make along the way
about Araucaria's clue-ing.

best, r2l

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