Monday, June 29, 2009

That boy Ronaldo !!!

6 seasons. 292 appearances. 118 goals. 49 assists. Now he's gone, and United are richer by 80 million pounds. Thats Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United career at Old Trafford. He came in as a "phenomenal talent" and left as a "superstar", probably the biggest of 'em all. A stepover here, a nudge there. A dive here and a fantastic strike there. This was pretty much what he was about.

When he was bought for 12 million pounds six years ago, quite a few eyebrows werre raised as he was quite an unknown identity. No sooner than he had made his sparkling debut, than people realised that the unknown 'X' was quite simply the 'X-Factor'. His first couple of seasons, or the first three even, were quite inconsistent peppered with flashes of brilliance. He was still growing.

Then came the first of three brilliant seasons in which he so famously won the wager with Sir Alex when he scored more than 20 that season. The season started off on a sour note with the Rooney red card incident at the world cup. He was getting stick wherever he played( Well, except OT of course !!). But then he won over the fans with a series of stunning displays. He was developing his game and with it learning to deal with superstardom too. He was still growing.

Then came the season to end all seasons. 42 goals in 49 appearances to go with a Premiership medal and a champs league medal. He simply decimated all and was crowned both the European and World Footballer of the year. He was quite simply on another planet and well, vini vidi vici. Inevitably Real Madrid came calling and quite frankly, United were lucky to hold on to him for another season. But the signs were ominous and it was only a question of when rather than if he would leave. He had grown.

Then was his last season at OT. His supposed "not so good" season. Yeah, it produced only 26 goals. Not so good indeed. Well, the season started off badly as he had a surgeory on his ankle and was out of the game for the start of the season and when he got back, he did look more than a little jaded. Worst of all, he looked as if his heart was quite simply not in it. His attitude did improve as the season progressed and so did his form. Another premier league medal and a Champs league runners up medal. Towards the end of the season, the signs were ominous. The pure petulence on being substituted was well, inexcusible. But then the second half against Tottenham showed us the boy's class and well, it was one last swansong.

Then came the inevitable. Manchester United had accepted a world record 80 million dollar bid from Real Madrid for the the services of a certain Cristaino Ronaldo, and just like that, he was off. The worst part of it was the reaction of all the United fans all over the world. A "we dont need him" attitude. I'm sorry guys, have a li'l respect for the guy and for all that he gave us.

He was brilliant. He was infuriating. He was arrogant. He was pure genius. He was quite simply the guy you would just love to hate. He may well be a whigner. He may well be a spoilt rich brat. He may not have defended or worked hard enough for the team. He may have thrown tantrums and dived on the slightest contact but you know what?? All we can do is look back and say..."That boy!Ronaldo !!"

Adios amigo. Its been a good six years. Thank you for the memories and... Godspeed

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crossie part 3

And we're back ...

Now onto #4 ...

4. Workable clues

These are perhaps the most advanced of all the types of clues. These are the ones that get you to use your(and my) grey cells that lay dormant most of the time :)...
These are the clues in which, almost every single word in the clue has some part to play in the formation of the final answer.
The clue usually has the defenition of the answer in it, and the rest of the clue has hints to form the entire word.
Here's an example :

                        Beloved one shows courage, sheltering a liberal(7)
                        The answer: Darling 

Lets break it down, shall we ?
one shows courage : daring.
liberal : L.
so daring sheltering l is l in daring goves darling.
And of course, beloved one : darling !!

Another one:

                    Well mannered, but showing anger about penalty(7)
                    The Answer: Refined 
anger in crossie terminology is red ( as in red with anger)
penalty is fine.
red and fine together make refined ...

Well these clues are perhaps the most difficut to crack at first attempt but as you keep solving, you'll get better at them and in time understand the beauty of these clues.

5. Hybrid clues

These are just as the name suggests, mix and match of any of the above 4 types of clues. There maybe workable clues in which there are anagrams that are parts of the answer.

So thats a basic wrap of the different types of clues found in crosswords.
SO the next time you come across these grids in the newspapers, go ahead, give 'em a try ... You never know, you could just end up becoming an addict.
But a word of caution, like most other things, you have to be patient ... Dont expect to complete the crossword, the first time you try it ...
I would suggest THE HINDU CROSSWORD as it's undoubtedly THE BEST one there is out there. The crossies on the other newspapers are just simple trivia type in which you dont actually get to appreciate the wordplay and the skill of the cruci ..


p.s Check out the blog called
Absolutely brilliant and a much much more in-depth tutorial ..

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Crossie part 2

Right, so lets begin..
There are basically 5 kinds of clues :

1. Straight clues
2. Double defenitions
3. Anagrams
4. Workable clues
5. Hybrid clues

1. Straight clues

Very simple. Direct defenitions of the answers form the clue.
For eg. :

They show up the player’s(or umpire’s) skills in retrospect (6,7)
Answer: Action Replays
Easy enough, eh? Well the thing is that sometime the most apparent of answers don’t strike you and so more often than not, you’ll find that these direct clues are the ones filled up towards the end, once you’ve got letters of the answer from the solutions of different clues.

Another one ….
One like Mao? (8)
Answer : Chairman

2. Double Defenitions
These clues generally are very short. These clues can be decomposed into two distinct parts, each a different meaning of the answer to the clue.

For eg. :
The Language of the Britisher(7)

Now break it down into 2 parts:
The Language

The answer to this is “ English
English is obviously a language and a Britisher is English ….

Another example :

Apply the sqeeze on the print media(5)
Answer : Press … pretty straightforward ….

3. Anagrams
Now, we come to the more challenging clues.

An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once. (Read the wiki article for more)

Right, so coming to the clues with anagrams, here’s one :

Fish, an amber sort (5)
The answer : Bream ( an anagram of Amber )

Now, how do you discern that the clue is an anagram?
Look for words that indicate that the answer is an anagram of a part of the clue. In the above clue, the hint is the word “sort”. From this you can decide that it is an anagram, and since the answer is 5 letters and the only 5 letter word in the clue is “amber”, its quite simple, isn’t it? Well then again, figuring out the word to be anagrammed is the easy part. Figuring the actual
answer is the more hard part…

Here’s another :

A disturbed sister has the power to oppose (6)
Answer : Resist ( Anagram of “sister” )
The tell-tale word here is “disturbed”

And another :

A conifer from a cadre altered (5)
Answer : Cedar ( anagram of “cadre”)

So look for these words to check if the clues are anagrams.Also, these clues will be complete, as in, apart from the anagram part of it, the rest of the clue will also be an indication to the answer. Like, in the above clues, a cedar is a conifer and to resist is to oppose.

Some of the words that usually indicate anagrams are:
A sort of

More to come ...