The Bullshit from the 18/19th of September

20 down: Goddess Gyllenhaal — or how to describe her unusual… (DUO) (6)

25 down: (ATHENA) …coupling you heard during gala (3)

Ellipses have been the subject of discussion on this blog because of their inconsistent use. Sometimes they indicate that the sentence meaning of the clue follows onto or from the next or previous clue; other times they indicate that the answer from the previous or next clue is needed to complete the sentence meaning and derive the answer of said clue.

I find it annoying enough that you never can tell just what the ellipses are indicating, but their inconsistent use is such a standard feature of crosswords that I have to grin and bear it.

What I think definitely crosses the line is the the inconsistent use of ellipses in two clues that are thus related. In 20-down, the answer to 25-down is required to get the answer to 20-down out; in 25-down, the answer to 20-down should be completely ignored.

Quite frankly, I think that’s bullshit, and I post this thusly to air my grievance.

Update: OK, so I have been hasty in thinking 20-across needs the answer to 25-down to work, but that doesn’t change the fact that I hate ellipses!

7 thoughts on “The Bullshit from the 18/19th of September

  1. Ooohh…me. me, me!

    My ego has taken a hammering since DA moved to Saturday (actually since a couple of weeks before that) and I haven’t been close to getting it out. I have been lurking & enjoying the subsequent enlightenment from the comments on this blog.

    On this DA I did much better though & went close, but alas not the full monte. Looking forward to tomorrow’s presumed return of DA to Friday.

    I got 7D by myself (IN A PRETTY PICKLE): anagram of paternity + dill = pickle, definition = “facing a dilemma”.

    I got 18A after the comments gave away that “head wind” was the clever bit, which I sussed = sneeze and hence the answer = BLESS YOU = a warm response…

    Regarding the AL/TT kerfuffle/storm-in-a-teacup, I must admit I love to see all comments, the more the better: frequency, length, preponderance by one person don’t bother me in the slightest. Obviously others see it otherwise, but that’s OK. We’re all different, TT!

    The suggestion put forward by AS seems sensible & let’s see how it goes, but if in the full flush of enthusiasm by someone we get another rash of posts, or a long & tedious one like mine now, so be it. I am sure the world won’t come to an end…

  2. Re: Ellipses. You don’t actually have to solve 25 down to get 20 down. If you read the clue as “…her unusual coupling” that should be enough. Or at least, in my case, enough that when I finally nutted it out I could say “Oh, that’s what he meant.”

  3. As Ian says, to get 20D, you don’t actually need the answer to 25D (duo). The first word of the clue (coupling) will do just as well. And maybe that’s how DA used it.

    Maybe in cases where there is a REAL link (rather than merely a superfluous SURFACE link), this “…” link is never to the actual ANSWER of the subsequent clue, but merely to the first WORD or WORDS of that clue. Can anyone provide an example where the actual ANSWER was required?

    On the subject of the “inconsistent use of ellipses” mentioned above, Peter Biddlecombe (in the link I included above) suggests it rarely happens. This is what he says about ellipses (the next three paras are all from Peter Biddlecombe):

    “Ellipsis” is the fancy name for the three dots sometimes used to end a sentence (and “ellipses” is the plural of this word, as well as of “ellipse”). Sometimes, one clue ends with an ellipsis and the next one starts with one. The most common reason is that the surface meanings of the two clues are related in such a way that joining them in this way makes them look connected. It usually turns out, however, that the two clues work just as they would have done without this device.

    Sometimes, the two clues overlap. For instance, you may need to use the first one or two words of the second clue as part of the first one. I can only recall seeing one pair of clues where both extended past the ellipsis into the other member of the pair.

    At the time of writing, Guardian setters seem to be running an unofficial competition to see who can join the most successive – If you see sets of three or more clues with ellipses, the third and later clues in the set may continue from the first clue, not the second.

  4. I’m impressed! Not with DA’s clue. But with your ability, AS, to find this example. Do you have an amazing memory, or a scanning facility?

  5. I hate ellipses but I loved that Simpsons-themed crossword, so that particular crossword was particularly memorable.

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