Confirmation from my sleeping partner that valeta (‘servant going to a dance’) is a kind of waltz gave me v as the third letter of ‘it was in form when young’. Since I already had L, e and t, leveret looked like the only possible solution, but why? A few moments of research on the life cycle of the hare revealed that “Hares shelter in a ‘form‘, which is simply a shallow depression in the ground or grasses,” and this is where the little ones are born. Yes!
According to the radio, moments like this in the sad life of the cryptic crossword enthusiast are better than sex. Surely, there must be a crossword clue in that information somewhere, or at least a giggle on the News Quiz. It does make one wonder why so many people bother with the messy business of intercourse when doing the crossword is so much more comfortable.
Almost every week I am grateful to the Oxford Times crossword for teaching me something new. That will be a useful word, I think. “Mind the form!” I will say to my companion or the dog, when we next encounter a shallow depression in the grass. And if they blunder on and twist an ankle, no one could say they weren’t warned.
Unfortunately I tend to forget the new words from one week to the next, so I have decided to write them down and will add new words to this blog post as a kind of notebook in the hope that they will then stick. That may improve my crossword performance, since puzzle setters tend to repeat themselves – which is why you can look up most clues and find the answer on the internet if you feel like cheating, as I don’t, not very often anyway.
Lariat, I now know, (‘trail a sort of rope’), is what most of us call a lasso. My lifestyle gives few opportunities to show off this knowledge, but I do use a slip lead on one of the dogs, and their whining reminds me it’s that time of day. Now where did I leave the lariat?
May 24: 2 rather dull xwords later. I should’ve known cinch was a saddle strap. Clangour and topliner are ugly words I’ll be happy to forget.