Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crosswords puzzles & Sudoku (A British obsession)

The British pride themselves on their mastery of the English language. Small wonder since they pretty much invented the language.
In order to proof that they still have it, many ponder over the crossword puzzles that are easily available on all newspapers daily. These crossword puzzles are so embedded in the culture that it's almost eerie how a Briton automatically whip out a newspaper, diligently seek out the crossword puzzles page and fold the papers to a comfortable size and start to ponder what's 11 across "Wonderland girl" (6). I've not the answer to that by the way.

Sudoku, the Japanese puzzle that took the whole world by storm is slowly replacing the crossword puzzle through. It's not difficult to see why; by replacing words with numbers, it's pretty much remove the vocabulary range barrier that many people (like myself) find hard to scale. London Lite now features three Sudokus but only one crossword puzzle in its daily weekday publication.

I could never figure out these puzzles; what the heck is "Wondergirl"?


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29 comments:

LadyBanana said...

I myself have no patience whatsoever with crosswords or sudoku..

Or maybe I'm just thick! LOL

C K said...

@ladybanana,
Welcome to the club! So the next time I come across a lady who's fidgeting in her seat instead of pondering over a crossword... it might just turn out to be you.

fragileheart said...

Hehe I love crosswords but I only like the Toronto Star's crosswords because they're easier. British and Irish crosswords have less words that use the same letters which means that no matter how many other words you get correctly - you can't guess at the other words! I love Sudoku too!! And word jumbles!!

Don't think it means you're think if you can't get a crossword though. Just means you're not good at puzzles. There are plenty of people who are good at puzzles but can't tell you when their own birthday is! Don't sweat it :D

C K said...

@fragileheart,
I think it takes a certain discipline to sit down and complete a crossword puzzle. There must be some sense of achievement after completing a puzzle.

I tried Suduko once, gave up and started reading the comics after a couple of minutes. :)

lina said...

I am sadly no good at crossword puzzle and sudoku.
My grandpa used to make me finish crossword puzzles, he even bought me dictionaries! But I guess I'm no good at thinking too much. hehehe

C K said...

@lina,
Dictionary? Are they really useful when doing crosswords? I mean, it's not like I'll know the word to begin with. Unless he meant you to read the dictionary to improve your vocabulary! :p

Jasmine Shanea said...

never had the patience to actually complete a crossword. I kinda get bored after a while... maybe it's because I have a lack of vocabulary. lolz

eastcoastlife said...

I used to love crossword puzzles but now it's the PS3. haha...

kyh said...

I love crossword puzzles when i was a kid but now... Internet rulz lol!

C K said...

@jasmine shanea,
I'm sure it's your lack of patience... read somewhere that impatience is a symptom of intelligence. :)

C K said...

@ecl,
You mean the crosswords on PS3? Or the just PS3 games? I'm sure you're pitting against your son!

C K said...

@kyh,
I think it's a no brainer if the choice is between crossword and the internet. The latter is so much more...

A. said...

I didn't realise it was such a British thing. I come from a family of enthusiastic crossworders. There are different sorts of crossword too - the cryptic ones are quite a challenge. I've never been able to do an American crossword for some reason.

My weaknesses now are Soduko - online versions - and cryptograms. Puzzles in general I suppose.

So, go on, what is the answer? Is the clue Wondergirl? (6) Because if so my guess is "Cassie", but if it's Wonderland girl I'm stuck because I would have said "Alice" from Alice in Wonderland, but that's only 5.

Yes, I'm an obsessive.

Equanelle said...

Part of the challenge (the fun) is decoding the cryptic clues - and some of them can be very tenuous.
I think a lot of British folk,when on a train, rather than interact with fellow passengers, risk eye contact, would prefer to bury thenselves in the absorption of a CP.
The English language does present a challenge - containing (from studies) the largest amount of words for any language.
BTW - my guess for Wonderland girl - would be - Alice.

C K said...

@a.,
Like I mentioned, I've got no idea what the answer is but I think equanelle got the answer...

A family of crossword puzzles enthusiasts indeed! Wow... I can imagine that an entire leisure Sunday afternoon spent challenging each other at the puzzles!

I've not really tried Suduko but it looks real challenging to me. Would you recommend any online version?

C K said...

@Equanelle,
I think you got the answer right! 'Alice in Wonderland'! Now that the answer is out, it looks kind of obvious, isn't it? lol

Hmm... I could think of better ways to avoid eye contact... like closing my eyes and dozing off. Years spent in the army has trained me to sleep anywhere, anytime.

A. said...

Now, since you ask I use Websoduko or Jigsawdoku

The only problem with the "Alice" answer is the fact that Alice has only 5 letters :)

C K said...

@a.,
I'm sorry, I didn't realised that you pointed out about 'Alice' first. Getting muddle headed... :p

But will try out those sights that you introduced. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

As a newbie in an alien new home, I had to lay my hands on sth to kill time - ergo, wordpuzzels n sudoku. It's become my 2nd nature ! I missed it very much on Sundays when there r no newspapers to work out new puzzels ;-<

Dutchie

C K said...

@Dutchie,
Thanks for stopping by! What's 'ergo' by the way? Hmm... I can think of a hundred and one ways to kill time on a Sunday morning (or afternoon for that matter).... sleeping till real late is one of them. lol

But seriously, I think it takes a kind of tenacity to do some of those tough puzzles out there. In fact, I think some editors enjoy torturing their readers by publishing some impossible puzzles!

Dutchie said...

i just stumbled onto ur blog since y'day n will be reading all u hv written so far. We hv so much in common - missing all the Sg yummies for one :-/ !! Just checked the word "ergo" to be sure n it is indeed both a dutch n english expression for "therefore".

Tks for welcoming me here - I feel less lonely oreali .. yep .. Singlish is fun lah !

C K said...

@dutchie,
Haha, hey, don't pollute my Engrish, ok? :p

Glad to hear from another fellow Singaporean! Well, if you stop by London, we can meet up with you and your husband for a cup of tea!

Dutchie said...

ck, even I get muddled between 2 languages everyday ;-/ !!

Tks for the invite :-) ... it's been yonkers since we were in London n it was already very ex to lodge anywhere in that city, plus the high entry fee for the attractions did dampened our holiday mood a bit. I wonder if other Sg'reans feel the same way ?

Better to meet u n ur missus at Jalan Kayu for a prata n teh tarik someday lah !

Fëanor said...

Crosswords (esp. cryptic ones) are quite the rage in India. Or at least they used to be when I was in college. Not that I got my head around them then or now. But I read a very good book called Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8) about them. That title is a crossword clue, by the way. The number in brackets refers to the number of letters in the answer (so your answer of 'Alice' in your clue is wrong, I'm afraid), and there's usually a structure, e.g. the first or last word is a possible meaning of the answer, and words such as 'in' suggest that the answer is an embedding of multiple words inside each other. It also ties in with some general knowledge as well. The answer in this case is 'rebelled', which is 8 letters long, and comes from 'belle' (pretty girl) and 'red' (crimson), and the 'in' suggesting you should put 'belle' inside 'red'. And the meaning of 'rebelled' is 'rose' (as in 'the people rose up'). Does that make sense? Weird, eh? But cool, I think. :-)

Try 'great expectations for street lighting' (6, 9) - the answer is in two words, one of 6 and the other of 9 letters.

C K said...

@dutchie,
Prata? Are you kidding me? I want my murtabak!

Well, after awhile, we got used to London prices. It's really hard to enjoy ourselves if we scrimp on every penny.. :P

C K said...

@Fëanor,
Now you got me interested... Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose is indeed very intriguing.

Hmm... Great Expectation looks like a hard one... looks like there's something for me to do on the Tube now... don't tell me the answer, I'll get back to you with it... just give me some time. Cheers!

Dutchie said...

ck, u r rite - murtabak taste much better.

U ever try dining in an Indian restaurant in Little India ? My hubby thought that's the place to hv a genuine experience but the staring crowd in those tiny restaurants n the heat was enough to put us off. We did hv good Northern Indian Food at the Sharlimer (?) at Tanglin Shopping Center from way back. Dont know where it has relocated since.

C K said...

@dutchie,
You know what? I did recall that I said something about murtabak but just can't remember when exactly.

I've never dine in Little India before. Somehow, I don't feel quite safe over there... but I'm sure the Indian food over there is as authentic as can be.

Till date, I cannot differentiate between Northern and Southern Indian food... :)

Equanelle Equanelle said...

Look at the crossword itself - you will see that "11 across" has only 5 spaces - so the clue should read "Wonderland Girl (5)" not (6) - making the possibility for the answer to be "Alice".