It being the Proms season in London, time for a BBC Music Magazine crossword. My thanks to them for permission to republish.
Last weekend saw one of Wellington’s big second-hand book sales of the year – always worth a look, as not everything has been transported to e-format. And look at what was lurking on the Games and Puzzles table:
It’s clearly been left on a shelf where the sun just reaches. No puzzles solved, which is one of the reasons it’s pristine. My old copy proved to have indifferent glue down the spine, and opening it to solve the puzzles meant that pages tended to drift out in clumps, there being no system of signatures to hold them there. Which presents a problem if I want to solve them again…
In the Mystery section I happened upon:
I had heard of this husband-and-wife partnership (Nero Blanc is merely ‘black’ and ‘white’ in various languages – an obvious pseudonym, Watson…) but not read any of their output, so I may report back in due course. I haven’t read any US crossword mystery novels since one of the Herbert Resnicow (I think that’s the name) series a couple of decades ago. (I recall the murder method in that case involving the use of a Rossini curl as a blowpipe, so I hope this is somewhat better.)
Yes, that is the infamous Chambers 13th in the background. It would be the 13th, of course, to have the misfortune that has befallen. All the ‘favourite words’ highlighted in the 12th edition have been omitted – it does look as if the instruction to ‘remove the highlighting’ has been interpreted as ‘remove the highlighted words’. Since these often quirky entries were a major selling-point for Chambers – and not all the words involved were obscure, by any means – it is unthinkable that they intended to remove them. But there they aren’t, and the question is what to do. The Beelzebub series does not identify a specific reference, but Chambers lurks in the background. However, the absence of such a recommendation may give slightly more flexibility in that we can simply carry on as before – words will be findable in a recent edition of a major dictionary, be it Collins, ODE or Chambers, 2009, 2010, 2011 or whenever. What is interesting now to contemplate is what Chambers will do to address the issue. It’s not as if dictionaries haven’t had misprints before (I think C once omitted ‘identify’ or similar) – it’s the scale of the mishap. A huge number of words remains, of course, but one cannot imagine Chambers without TAGHAIRM (see 12th edition for details).