General Election crossword answers

Crossword is in the previous post.

Comments welcome, including ideas for improving the ropy clues!

 

ACROSS

1 Parliament has its own booze (5) SAUCE

(HP Sauce)

4 Vetoes past funfair (9) OVERRIDES

OVER+RIDES

9 Now that the start of his job has gone, Trump repairs to the White House (9) RESIDENCY

(P)RESIDENCY

10 He mastered the British lie… (5) BLAIR

B+LAIR

11 …like the present reason for ignoring canvasser (2,4) NO TIME

“No time like the present”

12 Can sign of Israel replace Alpha & Omega at this moment? (8) PORTILLO

Remove A&O from PORTALOO (“can”) and add IL

14 EU can call me AL! (7,2) ARTICLE 50

A=article, L=50

16 Jack’s poll? (5) STRAW

Jack>STRAW>poll

17 Protest before start of redundancy (5) DEMOB

DEMO+B(efore)

19 Farage‘s favourite tipple furnished by king of sex appeal (9) BREXITEER

REX IT (sex appeal) in BEER

21 Dinner at Commons’ cafe (8) TEAHOUSE

TEA+HOUSE (of Commons)

22 Swing changes direction at the start (6) NOBBLE or WOBBLE

“swing” is synonym of both; N & W are directions

25 He‘s churlish, loveless, drops aitch (5) BORIS

Remove O (love) & H from BOORISH

26 Ulster back with dodgy old MP (9) INCUMBENT

NI reversed+CUM+BENT

27 Data from Brussels University included in additives (2,7) EU NUMBERS

U(niversity) in E NUMBERS

28 They take minutes in A&E? Hardly! (5) NOTER

NOT+ER

 

DOWN

1 May put up with hosting pretty bad lodge (6,3,6) STRONG AND STABLE

(w)RONG in STAND + STABLE (verb)

2 Groups (ethnic) cherish 12’s experience (5) UPSET

hidden

3 Local movie coming up about Clinton? (7) ENDEMIC

DEM(ocrat) in CINE reversed

4 All of a shambles? (4) OMNI

As in “omnishambles”

5 See in differential geometry, Frank Muir? (10) ETYMOLOGER

LO (see) in anagram of GEOMETRY

6 Makes allowance for bad moods (7) REBATES

RE (for)+BATES

7 Character of 25, 10, Dee and I combined (9) DIABLERIE

anagram of BLAIR DEE I

8 25 backs 10’s woman about British pollster (3,3,9) SIR BOB WORCESTER

B(ritish) in (BORIS reversed + WORCESTER) “Worcester Woman” was a type of voter targeted by New Labour in 1997.

13 The German multiplies quiet anger in home of The Beast (10) DERBYSHIRE

DER+BY+SH+IRE (The Beast being Dennis Skinner)

15 For Martin new leader (3,6) TIM FARRON

anagram of FOR MARTIN

18 Back insurgency concerning defeat coming to fruition (7) BLOSSOM

LOSS in MOB reversed

20 Marathon for Denis Thatcher? (7) IRONMAN

(Husband of Iron Lady)

23 Slough businessman in Wembley area (5) BRENT

(David Brent)

24 Leaderless coalitions brought to book (4) ACTS

(p)ACTS

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General Election cryptic crossword

The clues are more or less standard…

nb. I’ve edited the clue marked *

Download to printgrid

ACROSS

1 Parliament has its own booze (5)

4 Vetoes past funfair (9)

9 Now that the start of his job has gone, Trump repairs to the White House (9)

10 He mastered the British lie… (5)

11 …like the present reason for ignoring canvasser (2,4)

12 Can sign of Israel replace Alpha & Omega at this moment? (8)

14 EU can call me AL! (7,2)

16 Jack’s poll? (5)

17 Protest before start of redundancy (5)

*19 Farage’s favourite tipple furnished by king of sex appeal (9)

21 Dinner at Commons’ cafe (8)

22 Swing changes direction at the start (6)

25 He’s churlish, loveless, drops aitch (5)

26 Ulster back with dodgy old MP (9)

27 Data from Brussels University included in additives (2,7)

28 They take minutes in A&E? Hardly! (5)

DOWN

1 May put up with hosting pretty bad lodge (6,3,6)

2 Groups (ethnic) cherish 12’s experience (5)

3 Local movie coming up about Clinton? (7)

4 All of a shambles? (4)

5 See in differential geometry, Frank Muir? (10)

6 Makes allowance for bad moods (7)

7 Character of 25, 10, Dee and I combined (9)

8 25 backs 10’s woman about British pollster (3,3,9)

13 The German multiplies quiet anger in home of The Beast (10)

15 For Martin new leader (3,6)

18 Back insurgency concerning defeat coming to fruition (7)

20 Marathon for Denis Thatcher? (7)

23 Slough businessman in Wembley area (5)

24 Leaderless coalitions brought to book (4)

Times-for-the-Times Easter crossword

Here’s the crossword to print off. Good luck!

If you’re a Times subscriber and want to do it online, the crossword uses the same grid as crossword 26,597 so you can use the grid for that crossword. Just remember that when you finish it’ll tell you that you got it wrong, so ignore that!

Thanks to all the contributors. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to be your editor. I’ve used/abused my position to change a few of the clues for various reasons.

The answers will be blogged on Tuesday; please no spoilers before then. Answers and hints will be removed! General comments, times taken, technical questions are welcome though.

Adrian

Banning e.g. and etc. at gov.uk

govuk1

Me either.

The Government Digital Service has announced that certain abbreviations, namely etc., e.g. and i.e. are going to be “phased out” from UK government websites. You may think this sounds like a pointless endeavour, and you’d be right. So let’s look at their justifications.

1. “Several programs that read webpages for those with visual impairment read ‘eg’ incorrectly.”

So, instead of getting this bug fixed (which would seem like a very useful thing to get done, since e.g. is such a common lexeme and is not going to go away, whatever the policy of any one institution happens to be), the Government’s digibods have decided to embark on the minor task of changing the language.

(It’s worth mentioning here that although most people write e.g. with two periods, many style guides recommend the spelling “eg.” or “eg”, and these are the spellings that “several programs” have a problem with. But why do they have a problem? It really is a trivial problem to solve: just tell the software that “eg.” and “eg” are pronounced “e.g.”.)

2. “There are better, clearer ways of introducing examples for all users. We promote the use of plain English on GOV.UK. We advocate simple, clear language. Terms like eg, ie and etc, while common, make reading difficult for some.”

How to write better and clearer is a matter of opinion. But there are words, phrases and constructions that are wronger, rarer or more complicated than others, and of course it’s wise to avoid them if clarity is the number one goal of a text. So there is something to be said for avoiding i.e.: it’s not especially common, and there’s quite a lot of people who read it without understanding its significance (or even confuse it with e.g.).

But it’s hard to use the same argument for etc. or e.g. Both are very common and widely understood. They are English words in their own right since people know how to pronounce them and know what they mean without knowing (or worrying about) what their origin is or why they’re written like that. etc. is often pronounced “e t c” instead of “etcetera”, and is often written “ect.” but neither of these things affect general understanding.

It’d be interesting to know what evidence the author has that understanding etc. and e.g. (except in relation to the software issue mentioned above) is more difficult than any other word that has a similar frequency of use.

3. “Anyone who didn’t grow up speaking English may not be familiar with them.”

This is the most desperate strand of the digibods’ argument. Surely this claim could be made about any lexeme of the English language? If you didn’t grow up speaking English you might not be familiar with “green”, “happy”, “government”, “etc.”, “no.”, “Mrs” and “antidisestablishmentarianism”, etc, etc. Virtually all English courses teach etc. and e.g. so this claim is simply truistic bullshit.

4. “When we’re updating existing pages, we’ll replace the eg, etc and ie.”

I wonder how many people think this is a good use for our taxes (and people’s time)?

***

Style guides exist. The people who produce them justify their existence in a variety of ways. But their existence doesn’t mean that interference in the natural forces of language use is a thing that should be encouraged, at least not except in certain specific circumstances.

There are many problems with the English language, but 99% of the time we navigate them successfully. Some of the most common errors include the confusion of they’re, there and their, you’re and your, too and to, off and of, it’s and its. Shouldn’t we do something about this? Maybe simplify the spellings, with one spelling for each: there, your, to, of and its? Well, no, we probably shouldn’t. Interfering with the language is hubristic, Canutian and patronising, and causes confusion, arguments and resentment. Let the language evolve naturally and if there’s a real problem, i.e. one that impedes communication, people will vote with their feet.

etc., e.g., and i.e. are common features of the English language. Even if there was a genuine reason to eschew them, it’d be quite a challenge to do so consistently, and making them rarer will only make them more difficult to understand. The only reason to substitute another word for any of them is if there is genuine feedback that individual or general usage is confusing people.

French keyboards

Is France’s unloved AZERTY keyboard heading for the scrapheap?

1. I was taught that capital letters in French don’t have to be accented. I assume from reading this article that this “rule” stemmed from the fact that French typewriters have been unable to do accented capitals. But given that this situation has existed for so long (many decades, despite the article’s expressed “growing disuse of accented capitals” – in fact, accented capitals seem to be becoming more common again, in response to a combination of autocorrect and peevology), people are used to it, it’s become convenient and it creates no barrier to understanding, the calls for accented capitals on keyboards seems rather backward-looking, puristic and unwilling to accept change. Even worse is the laughable lament at the absence of ligatures on the keyboard. It’s a shame that the article doesn’t canvass any opinions on these matters from members of the public.

2. It hadn’t occurred to me that is the only use of u-grave in the language. I guess it’s used to avoid “confusion” with ou meaning or, but there are plenty of homonyms in French so it’s not clear why this one requires such an over-the-top “solution”. I’d just get rid of the distinguishing accent.