Thursday 15 August 2019

Lazy unimaginative

We spent much of the Bank Holiday weekend with Dau.II in The People's Republic of Cork - hangin' out being guinea-pigs for her latest culinary ventures. mmmmm good, but we didn't allow the food to get cold while she tricked about with camera angles. One item on the agenda was to meet one of her workmates who has recently walked from Le Puy en Velay in central France all the way [todo el Camino Francés] to Fisterra / Finisterra / World's End via Santiago de Compostella. I'd brought along a copy of my Analysis of the Process of Pilgrimage which I wrote in 2004 when I'd finished my trek.  But La Pèlerine wwas much more interested in quizzing us about our Analysis of the Process of Home Education. In trying to convey what happens in an unschooling household, Dau.II pointed out that she's spent the last two years of her life as a home educatee sacked out on the sofa binge-watching boxed sets of DVDs.

Watching so many episodes of House back-to-back rather than one eposide a week like normal people, forced her to notice just how often the black doctor diagnoses the episode's problem patient as suffering from Lupus. In each case, it could be Lupus, because that condition manifests as a really variable, flakey set of symptoms. But it could also mean lazy and unimaginative script writers whose medical knowledge is read from the back of a cereal box Wikipedia.

When passing through Tramore on the way to Cork, I got sight of The Irish Times from 20 Jul 2019. We gave up buying newspapers years ago, long before their content became available on-line. But it is sometimes amusing to read a newspaper, for old time's sake and to check on standards. Back in the early 90s of the last century, the TCD Genetics Department used to 'take' the Irish Times by way of affirming how Protestant we all were. We went through a bit of a jag with competitive crossword solving; whereby one of us would make 5 copies of the Simplex crossword and we'd race to see who could finish it first over lunch. You can train yourself for this sort of party trick, the more you do, the more you get inside the mind of the complier(s).  Just as I learned to do with the Times Jumbo X-word books. For auld lang syne, I knocked off the Simplex for 20/Jul/19.

Two days later, we're in Cork, and The Beloved lashed out half a week's wages to buy the Sat 03/Aug/19 copy of the Irish Times. I started in on the Simplex until I was brought up all standing by a sense of deja vu. Surely I'd seen that clue before in Tramore? . . . and this one . . . and that one too. Returning home via Tramore I was able to verify a bit of annoying auto-plagiarism.
Simplex 20 July
11 ac Land of the tsars (6)
07 dn Large imaginary creatures usually wicked (8)
28 dn Unite a strange relative (6)
Simplex 06 August
3 dn Land of the Tsars (6)
10 ac Giant imaginary creatures (8)
15 ac Relatives get an odd US tan (5)
I have 50+ years of experience with solving crosswords, since my mother taught me the rudiments of the conventions: "odd" and "strange" in the selection above, for example, indicate that anagrams are involved. I've also compiled a few, to prove that I can. The hard part is filling in the grid with words that mesh with each other; making up clues for these answers is easy. So it's pure laziness to use exactly the same clue for "Russia".

I only noticed these coincident clues because I was doing serial puzzles, out of chronological order, like Dau.II bingeing on House and getting slapped with Lupus.

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