Wednesday 16 December 2009


Here are the answers to yesterday's cryptic crossword clues...

Colin Dexter's favourite clue was:

Nothing squared is cubed
(3 letters)

the answer to which is


'O' signifying nothing, squared (times 2, or 0 x 0),
cubed = oxo as in the famous stock cube

and Sandy Balfour's choice:

I say nothing
(3 letters)

which gives


'I' is the whole word, 'ego'; 'say' gives 'eg'
(as in e.g., for example, or 'say')
nothing is, once again, zero or O

Well done ROB for being the first to correctly guess both clues, followed closely by SHEILA who was also the first to solve Gill's favourite cryptic clue posited in yesterday's comments: HIJKLMNO (5 letters) which was 'water'. Why? 'H' to 'O' or H2O! Brilliant! All we need now is the answer to Rob's 'Spokeswoman in aircrash' (5 letters) Any answers, anyone?

In the meanwhile, here's another puzzle - a seasonal one that is ideally suited to this busiest of times, since it is absolutely self-solving! Not sure who 'Jim & Marsha' are but, since it's the season for sharing, I've borrowed their greeting!

Happy Holidays!


scb said...

Cryptic crosswords completely baffle me... but I enjoyed reading what the solutions turned out to be!

The greeting was lovely (and I was quite chuffed that I recognized Walter Brennan's voice -- of course, it is rather a distinctive voice.)

I have just posted my Christmas Greeting to my online friends -- hope you and David will wander over to my blog, and others of your readers as well, for my wish of peace.

Blessings to you at Christmas and always -- getting to know you, even just the little bit that is possible through a blog, has been one of the gifts this year has given me.

Brian Sibley said...

Thank you, SCB! It's been good to get to know you, too!

Rob Cox said...


I cannot (as an ex-Maths teacher) let this go un-corrected. To square a number is to multiply it by itself. To multiply it by 2 is completely different and is a schoolboy error perpetrated by many - er - schoolboys!! And, of course, to avoid accusations of sexism - schoolgirls!

Brian Sibley said...

It's what the man said on the radio, ROB! I think...

Personally, I was away when when they did maths!

So, is the clue wrong or just my explanation? If I write out 100 times the words "squared is not times 2", can I re-sit the exam next term? ;-)

Seriously, thanks for correcting my howler and now... what's the answer to "Spokeswoman in aircrash"???

SharonM said...

I just don't seem to have the correct mindset for these cryptic clues.
Mind you, it took me a while to get to grips with Sudokus, so I suppose it's a question of a gradual process of training your brain to work in a different way.

Phil said...

Brian, it's your explanation that's slightly wrong. (Instead of "times 2" you should have written "to the power of two").

It makes all the difference you know. If I offered you

"a thousand pounds, times two"


"a thousand pounds, to the power of two",

which would you prefer?

Hint: £2000 or £1,000,000?

PS: Purely hypothetical example, you understand!

torbilyp: convoluted mathematical procedure, indistinguishable from magic, and somewhat akin to an ouroborus.

Rob Cox said...

Sorry, Brian, you did ask me to provide an answer to the cryptic clue 'Spokeswoman in aircrash'. The answer is 'Radii'. The definitive part of the clue is, cleverly, 'Spokes' and radii are spokes (of a wheel or circle. Woman is Di (short for Diana of course) and piutting 'di' in the middle of the letters of 'air' muddled up (or crashed - as in 'aircrash') also can give 'radii'!

Sometimes it's the shorter clues that are the most satisfying!