Posted by: njs44 | January 4, 2010


Today we found out the missing answer to the only clue from the Guardian Christmas Jumbo Bumper whatever-you-call-it Crossword we had not managed to solve. My objection is that it is not an English word, and I wonder if it is in the Collins English Dictionary that the 10 prizewinners will receive.  The clue was

Society’s answer to copper – gambles cut short by extreme republicanism (14)

Further research led me to a website where you could type in the clue and someone would give you the answer. That seems like cheating to me, although I did make extensive use of the internet to work out some of the other clues in this puzzle, so perhaps I have double standards.

I wonder if anyone would be able to solve the Christmas Cryptic without using reference books, or the internet. It seems very unlikely that anyone would have the necessary eclectic and esoteric knowledge required. Nevertheless I did enjoy working on the puzzle over Christmas and thought that most of the clues (apart from the one above) were fair. Schtoom which was the solution to 35 down (Silent companion during rising of assemblies) was a little dodgy, as I had thought the spelling of this word was schtum. But now we are talking words derived, possibly, from Yiddish, where anything goes. Other alternative spellings include shtoom and stumm but perhaps that’s enough mindless wandering for one day.



  1. I have about a dozen clues to go in solving this puzzle, and I just got sansculotterie by analysing the clue — S(-ociety?)ANS(-wer)CU(copper)LOTTERIE(-s=gambles).

    And it IS in Chambers (10th edition).

    I also Googled the word and arrived at your blog!

    Meanwhile, I’m trying hard not to read or remember your last paragraph, as I haven’t solved that one yet!

    I think reference books are essential and always have been, and nowadays internet help in solving anagrams etc.

    Best Wishes….

    Steve Terry.

  2. Thank you for your comment. You are quite right about sansculotterie being in Chambers – even in my 1972 edition! Alas I did not work out the solution to the point of being able to look up a word.

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