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Finally!

Post 1

Icy North

With all the turbulent news in the UK over the last week, it's passed us by that our closest neighbour has a new Prime Minister. And not just any prime minister, a half-Indian openly gay internationalist prime minister.

And not just any half-Indian openly gay internationalist prime minister, but one whose name is an anagram of 'aardvark'.

Crossword fans will celebrate the appointment of Leo Varadkar, the new Taoiseach of Ireland.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/14/leo-varadkar-formally-elected-as-prime-minister-of-ireland


Can I ask our Irish correspondents how this guy managed it?

And can I ask puzzle fans for the best cryptic clue they can come up with for either Varadkar or aardvark.


Finally!

Post 2

Recumbentman

Well there you go!

Thank you for pointing out the anagram. I'll work on a clue.

It comes about through a commodius vicus of recirculation, the way things go round and round. Ireland for the most of the past century has been a haven of prudery xenophobia and conservatism, but it has been opening up its worldview tremendously over the past thirty-odd years. First we had a woman president, not much noticed by the British since their greatest heads of state for the last four centuries have been women, but stupefying to the Americans, who gagged inexcusably on their own chance last year.

Secondly, the reversal of public opinion in Ireland was helped by government financial strategies from the sixties on that attracted international investment, rewarded by the short-lived but still inspiring Celtic Tiger years of the nineties and noughties.

Thirdly, Irish prudery and conservatism was fairly soundly routed by the behaviour of the Catholic Church in protecting against all comers, with all its might, those within its ranks who betrayed their trust.

So when last year we had a same-sex-marriage referendum the change was supported with a handsome majority.

It might also be relevant that our dominant statesman after achieving independence, prime minister and then president, had a Spanish surname: De Valera. smiley - tea


Finally!

Post 3

Icy North

Thank you for that explanation.

I remember your lady president very well - in fact she's the only Irish president I could name. I have an enduring recollection of her as a tireless human rights campaigner.

* * *

One Ximenean clue (i.e. that follows the conventional rules) would be something like:

Taoiseach's sign confused aardvark (11, two words)


Finally!

Post 4

Recumbentman

smiley - applause though why not (3,8)?


Finally!

Post 5

Icy North

Listener crossword convention. Anything to make the clues slightly more difficult...


Finally!

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni

smiley - rofl You people and crosswords. But smiley - applause, indeed, for your new Taoiseach!


Finally!

Post 7

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I do crosswords every single day (and the occasional double one smiley - winkeye).


Finally!

Post 8

Recumbentman

I never got the hang of the ones with thicker lines between words instead of blackouts. I suppose that's because I never tried.

What do you call the blacked-out spaces? I thought "black blanks" but that is a contradiction, since blank is Frenkh for white...


Finally!

Post 9

Dmitri Gheorgheni

I'll just bet there's some unnecessarily fancy name for that, too...

Oh, Google says they're called 'darks, blacks or blocks.'


Finally!

Post 10

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Isn't that special -- or spatial. smiley - biggrin


Finally!

Post 11

Icy North

I think they're generally known as 'blacked-out cells', but I've also heard 'blocks'. I'll consult Ximenes later.

The cell dividers in those other crosswords are 'bars'.


Finally!

Post 12

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I know a wino who tried to get to a crossword puzzlers convention, but he couldn't get past the first two bars.

[also cross-posted in the pun thread smiley - run.]


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