Political Correctness Gone Mad by Waterloo
Posted by shirleycurran on 30 August 2013
It’s a Numpty soapbox issue that there is an imbalance of the sexes in the crossword world – all those male setters (how many Listeners by women annually? Two or three? Difficult to be sure but I doubt there is a gentle lady hiding behind a pseudonym like MrE, Shark, Sabre, Kruger or Waterloo … hmm, now there’s a thought. This was a surprising compilation for a pseudonym that brings to mind warlike themes. We must be due for a ‘Waterloo by Waterloo’ in the not too distant future!) Bloggers too and vetters – mainly men, I think. I suspect solvers, too, are largely men with their feet up on office desks in the city; not harassed housewives multitasking at home.
So was Waterloo really shocked to find a male bias in his puzzles? Well, the preamble already produced a joyful laugh and the fun continued. Like last week’s Dilwitch’s All Change, it was immediately clear that many of the solutions were not going to be real words but there were a few gifts that quickly filled the four corners of the grid. ‘False leg part found after end of Paralympics’ (S + HAM), ‘Swallow, perhaps, without a touch of embarrassment in disguised relief’ (FLIER = RELI[E]F*) ‘Entangle Shakespearean personality with no end of hubris’ ([S]ELF). ‘Absurd Uzbek’s content to do with official literary language’ (hidden URDU).
My first reaction to Waterloo’s clues was ‘What a relief that these lead to solutions that can be easily verified in Chambers’. With four corners filled with ‘easies’, we took on the more serious task of solving the long clues. ‘Disagreement of spirits which French characterised by round arches’. What a strange surface reading! However, I was taken back to days of explaining to fourteen year olds the difference between the Gothic and Romanesque arches in the ‘Cloître de Saint Trophime’ in Arles (a superb example of architectural development!). RoWOMANesque. We were underway.
We had ?H?E? and a putative MISTRESS as we continued round the perimeter. TEA suggested SHEEP MASTER (some sort of shepherd?) or THREEMASTER. Back in male territory, of course! The other Numpty said ‘Ah yes, the Victory – that’s a three master!’ 12d caused us a little more head-scratching. With A-LEVEL, CLENCH, TRUE, SOLANO, LINN and MEDAU in place, we were puzzled but eventually, with another joyous laugh, deciphered the HUR ELISE ONCE anagram and realized that there was no HERO in this LECHEROUS man but a HEROINE (LECHEROINEUS)
In comparison, RESONANT was easy and, with REDAUGHTERANT across the top, we had the grid surrounded. With another laugh, we quartered it, putting in MATERNOSTER (what a lucky find that anagram REMONSTRATE* must have been!) and SITTINBRIDE (for SITTINGROOM). All we had to do was tidy up those four corners – noticing, sadly, that there wasn’t much Listener compiler tippling going on this week, just a Glasgow grandchild downing a pint, almost, and a topless belle dancing with some sexy implications. Hmmm Wterloo!
Our last laugh came with MASCARA conveniently changing to FEMARA – another lucky find anagram? All great fun and a fine original idea. Thanks to Waterloo.