Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Clue - Voila, a flower

click photo to enlarge
I have a love hate relationship with crosswords: I love a good crossword, and I hate a bad one. Now you might be thinking that a bad one is simply one that I'm unable to complete - or even begin. So, let me tell you what I think constitutes a good crossword.

First of all a crossword has to be cryptic. Those with clues such as "Capital of France (5)", are more properly called quizwords, and can't compare with a proper crossword. A good cryptic crossword will have clues that use a variety of types of wordplay including the use of parts of words, puns, homophones, anagrams, double meanings, embedded words, etc. Clues will often try to mislead yet will still, quite fairly, point you to the answer.

The clues in a good cryptic puzzle will make you smile or impress you with the clever way in which they have been constructed: often, when you've been unable to solve the clue and you discover the answer, they will make you say, "Of course!" and then kick yourself. The Times crossword is renowned, though the one I periodically have a go at is the Guardian's. This UK daily newspaper's puzzle has a big following, and is set by a number of compilers, some of whom I get on with better than others. The Daily Telegraph's cryptic crossword is another very good example of the genre: much better than the newspaper in fact!

If you're not a cryptic crossword fan here are three clues (with answers and explanations) for your delectation:
Clue: Burn 'em in a box! (8) Answer: Cremate Explanation: Cr - em - ate i.e. em in crate (box)
Clue: HIJKLMNO (5) Answer: Water Explanation: H to O, i.e. H2O
Clue: Cry of support for a girl winning five nil (5) Answer: Bravo Explanation: Bra (undergarment) - V (5) - 0 (zero)

Today's post title is my rather weak cryptic clue for today's photograph of a flower from my garden. As a cryptic crossword fan I immediately saw the anagram in the name. I'm not sure of the particular variety of this one, but its top petals are purple, the bottom one is yellow with a purple centre, and it's a "whiskered" variety. I used a macro lens to get in close, and aimed to have only a small amount of sharp focus around the "mouth" of the flower.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/40 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On