I am planning to go back to walking, and shampoos and blow-drys, but in the meantime the crossword is still the thing. Particularly now I've been sent to this place. "Isn't that cheating, Mum?" daughter no. 2 says, watching me search Google for answers, "Oh, no," I said, "googling is like looking stuff up in an encyclopedia, otherwise no way would I ever know 'aquatic larva of fly' now, would I? But if you want to see cheating, well, just watch this..." And I typed in www.oneacross.com. Although I'm glad to report the Guardian Quick Crossword setter even manages to defeat the great cheating master, on occasion.
Anybody who's not getting any of this, read on:
Puzzle People inhabit a very special planet. One where it really helps to know the moons of Uranus and Saturn, for instance; they are always cropping up in puzzles. One where a lot of people seem to have attended Yale, as "Eli" is a prized world combination that seems to have helped many a puzzle composer out of a jam. Everyone listens to Abba, yet another helpful consonant-vowel combination, and eels, known as "congers" in puzzle-speak, are everywhere. Herman Melville's greatest novel is not "Moby-Dick" but the spelling anomaly "Omoo."
Rest of the article here. (Thank you Tina Langson, also the first person to point me in the direction of tykerb, the medicine I'm now on.)
Bit of an apology here, to any other observant Jews going through this. I blithely wrote, a couple of years back, how not fasting on Yom Kippur would make me feel worse than fasting even while on chemo...well, of course, come Friday night, when the fast began, there was no question of me fasting this year - I didn't even get to shul, spent the day in bed, and drank incessantly, so, you know, apologies to anybody who might have taken on board my foolish Yom Kippur advice...
AdeleGeras and daughter, poet and thriller-writer Sophie Hannah were magnificent, I'm told, by a bevy of that critically-honed species, the thirteen year old girl. I regret so much missing this mother and daughter act at my girls' school this afternoon - no amount of blood can make up for it! Sophie is a curlier-haired version of Adele, apparently, and there was much maternal pride on display, much exclaiming by the older woman at the cleverness of the younger. Sophie read one of her poems, which the girls adored.
By all accounts, though, both authors will have gone home with some rip-roaring school-girl howlers. They of course will be much too lady-like to spill, but not of their ilk, I feel obliged to share just a couple of this afternoon's moments with you. Apparently, during question time, one hapless girl put up her hand to ask Adele whether the movie Troy was based on the Geras story of the same name. "Uh, no," answered a too polite Adele, "that'd be the Homer story that both are based on..."
Then later another schoolgirl said in the local patois, "do you, uh, you know, like, advertise your books?" In non-patois, this translates as, "do you advertise your books?" These girls are unable to complete a sentence without inserting the word 'like' into every phrase. Adele, a Mancunian, answered straightforwardly, "oh yes, I love publicising my books - it's my favourite bit."
Sorry for latest blogging break - unexpectedly kept in hospital to be dosed with another three bags of blood (I will overflow soon). This was bad because it meant I only just got back and so have had to miss Adele Geras and her daughter Sophie Hannah speaking at my daughter's school, Hasmonean High - another one of those things I set up ages ago, and have been sooooo looking forward to...
On the up side, newly replenished with my O Neg I did the Guardian Quick crossword just now in well under two hours (that is what they mean by "quick" isn't it?).
Also having a fun time these past few days searching for child-care - another thing I didn't envisage doing again, but anyhow... - as we've finally realised that breast cancer and no outside child-care is an unworkable combination. Have you heard of the Power Nanny? I've just been reading about her online as I cruise round the nanny agencies. The power nanny is so well qualified that should the mother want to spend some quality time with her children, the power nanny can step in and do the mother's job in short spurts...
Just innocently googling the phrase 'Southwest European country' which geographical cluelessness is the Guardian quick crossword compiler's latest obsession (same crossword also has 'island european country' - that's a clue???), when I read this in the Observer magazine:
Sunday September 16, 2007
Rule #1 If you can't do the quick, then don't think about the cryptic.
Rule #2 Don't kid yourself. Google is definitely cheating.
Rule #3 But you can phone a friend.
Rule #4 Colouring in squares so your answers fit is strangely satisfying.
I'm sure I've said this before but I never expected the fundraising to get past the £10,000 mark, and here we are close to £70,000. How? Because every week somebody comes up with a new way to add to those coffers.
Latest fundraiser in chief, Anthony's eight-year-old niece, Annie, daughter of famed fundraiser Russell Julius.
Annie ran a garage sale of her old toys and stuff for the CTRT appeal, but brought in the money with some deft Julius touches: anybody who spent more than a pound got a sticker. A girl who understands incentives. I once tried to interest the children in selling stuff on our driveway, but the few people who walked along our Hendon road all averted their eyes. Annie foresaw this problem, and forestalled it - in her much ritzier neighbourhood, and so you might have thought, a harder area to crack - by plastering the local lamp-posts with signs about the sale, so people walking past had already been exposed to the pre-sale publicity.