The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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5:23pm on Sunday, 26th August, 2007:
When I was a child, my brother and I used to stay at our grandparents' during the 6-week summer break. We loved it there, and regarded it as going on holiday (which, since we couldn't afford to go on an actual holiday with hotels and stuff, it pretty well was).
Once, on just such a stay, I was doing a crossword puzzle. I'd nearly finished it, but there was one clue that I couldn't answer — something like "when it's in this, you can see it". It was a crossword for children older than me, it was a bad clue anyway, and I had a suspicion that even when I found out the answer I wouldn't know the word. The letters I had were: _ O _ U _.
I decided to ask my grandmother. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: Grandma, can you help me with this crossword puzzle?
Grandma: I can try, but I'm not very good at crosswords.
Me: "when it's in this, you can see it".
Grandma: A bucket.
Grandma: You can see things in a bucket.
Me: No, it only has five letters. Something, O, something, U, something.
Me: Blue has four letters.
Grandma: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It's blue.
Me: I'll look up the answer in the back of the book...
I had never before and have never since encountered a sane, literate adult who was worse at crossword puzzles than my grandmother.
Oh, and the answer, FOCUS, was a word I did know, but not from that clue.
I should just have put in BOGUS and been done with it.
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