So I’ve been doing lots and lots of newspaper crosswords and sudoku-type puzzles during lockdown and, excuse my immodesty, but I’m not half bad at them. After I’ve checked out the recipes I also do the ones in Waitrose’s Weekend news sheet. They’re usually fairly easy and, dare I say it, I’ve never been stumped by even one of their clues. Until this last week. Gggrrr.
Now here’s an image of the crossword I’d completed bar one clue at 30 across…
Now here are the clues for you to check through….
And as you can see the clue to 30 across is ‘Frail, weak’ 6 letters T _ _ M _ Y. I can only think of a couple of words that would actually fit with those letters and they didn’t fit the clue. If anything I thought the answer might be ‘Flimsy’ which would fit the clue but make my answers at 23 down and 28 across wrong. But they seemed very correct to me (and I’m not sure there even is a 5 letter word beginning with I and ending in F). I wondered if the answers at 24 & 27 down might be wrong but they looked spot on too. I asked Carol if she could solve it and she was stumped too.
I was bloody annoyed with myself for not being able to work out what the sodding answer was and to make it worse I had to wait a whole week before the next edition came out with the answers. So with my impatience levels increasing daily on Saturday morning we shot down to Waitrose to buy a couple of things and get this week’s edition of the news sheet. We waited until we were back in the car and I unselfishly let Carol check out the answer. The word, she said, is ‘Trimly’. What? That was one of the two words we’d both identified as fitting the space but not the clue (the other being ‘termly’). ‘Trimly’? Doesn’t that mean tidily or neatly? And isn’t it an adverb whilst the clues ‘Frail and weak’ are both adjectives? Surely you’d expect the answer to be an adjective too like Flimsy. Wouldn’t you?
I can’t tell you how fucking angry I was with Waitrose’s crossword setter and felt like writing off to complain. But the problem with lockdown is that it’s spawned an attitude of CBA within me following an incident with Next (coming up soon dear readers). Sad but true. But I thought I’d share it with you anyway just to get it off my chest. And hopefully you can tell me I’ve got it wrong and ‘Trimly’ is actually a word first recorded by Shakespeare as in ‘Lady Macbeth saw the spot of blood and suddenly felt a little trimly’. And then I’ll begin to use the word in its original meaning quite a lot.