A couple of weeks back, I was doing the crossword in The Week (an excellent publication, by the way, for the curiosity-rich, but time-poor), and I came across this clue:
Strong drink journalists no longer love (8)
I muttered a bit in linguistic indignation, but carried on stoically, as you do. But then, a few days later, I was passing the time with a compendium of Telegraph crosswords, and found this one:
Former wife goes to the newspapers and gets given nothing but coffee! (8)
Now, completely aside from Ximenes having something to say about that, I just couldn’t take it any more. It’s a travesty that two setters would use the same incorrect version of a word in a medium which is supposed to be above that sort of thing.
Now, a certain blogger I follow would probably castigate me for being too sanctimonious about this sort of thing – after all, language morphs and changes all the time. And the wrong version does make sense as a word, and therefore fulfils its purpose in life. And (horrors), it appears to be more and more accepted in these dark times. But dammit, if I can’t be a pedant about this, what is left for me in the world? A seat at a table in a coffee shop selling “Expresso’s”, no doubt. That’ll teach me.
I suppose I should mention for those who haven’t figured it out yet that the answer to all three clues is ‘expresso’, where ‘ex’ is ‘no longer’ or ‘former wife’, ‘press’ is ‘journalists’ or ‘newspapers’, ‘express’ is ‘say’, and ‘o’ is ‘nothing’ or ‘love’ (as in tennis).
If you’d like me to blog more about crosswords (cryptic only, of course), make a comment. I have a lot to say on the topic, but have always assumed that it’s a sort of niche market. But if there’s demand, I’m willing to supply.