Saturday Morning Oys – July 23rd, 2022

(This is under the “not really a pun but word play in general” tag.)

This joke may actually date back to the Viking era, or earlier.

Thanks to Andréa for this Bizarro:

I’m sure I’ve seen this joke used before, but not whether that means this is a repeat or just that the joke has occurred to others. A cursory search does find other examples, and tempting as it is to make a whole post out of three or four of them, let’s leave it at that.

From Andréa:

Just a bit corny.

And a little Oy-Ewww on the side.


  1. Famously, British newspaper The Guardian had a crossword with the clue GEGS (9,4). By the same setter who also gave us HIJKLMNO (6) and YOGDAWS (3,5,2,10,4)

  2. I saw the concessions / confessions one and thought immediately of Notre Dame stadium.

  3. I’m not convinced Honi is smart enough to come up with that joke nor that Hagar is literate enough to get it.

    I could be wrong, but the colonel on those buckets of chicken looks a lot like Al Jaffee.

  4. Powers: I could be wrong, but the colonel on those buckets of chicken looks a lot like Al Jaffee.

    Interesting. Wayno does like to include cameos / homages of his friends or notables from the cartooning world.

  5. Oh! I begin to understand the notation. Now I get the first one (two words, first one has nine letters, second one has 4)

  6. The swim home scenario made the news here on Thursday. An Orange Line train caught fire crossing a bridge, and the passengers had to jump out of the windows:

    “One passenger got out of the train and jumped into the water below.
    “An unidentified female passenger jumped off the bridge into the river,” said Somerville Fire Chief Charles Breen in a phone interview. “Our marine boat happened to be in the river for training and was on scene immediately. The woman refused to get into the boat. She was provided a life jacket and proceeded to swim to shore … then she walked away.””

  7. @larK, no judgement here, but word lengths given after the textual prompt is just the standard format for crossword clues. And both for cryptics and American-style “definitional” clues.

  8. @Danny Boy: Most of the crosswords I do (including the Sunday NY Times) don’t even consistently clue that the answer is more than one word, and certainly don’t tell you the length of the individual words.
    @Mitch: hum, that’s interesting, I didn’t go the extra step! But mine fits too! (The local free weekly newspaper/vector-for-circulars recently changed providers for its crosswords, and the new source’s are so depressingly terrible that I may be more resigned when it comes to solving clues — we haven’t been able to finish one single one of the new crosswords, and when we (a first, we never did this before) look at the answers, the “correct” answer is so uninspiring, ambiguous, and otherwise banal but not even in an interesting way, that we just don’t care. The water vs htwoo might be the kind of frustrating ambiguity that these new puzzles would foster, if only they were an order of magnitude more clever; also, of course, in any good crossword the ambiguity should be resolved by the crosses, so really, until we know more, I still think either of our answers are good!) (These crappy crosswords fail in the crosses all too often, for one thing because they have an unusually long word that crosses with only a bunch of three letter words, and none of either the acrosses or downs is definitive enough that you know where to anchor yourself. These new ones have been such a let-down! I guess I’m glad they weren’t the provider two years ago when we first started doing crosswords!)

  9. The woman figured that with her luck, she’d get on board and the boat would catch fire.

  10. “The woman figured that with her luck, she’d get on board and the boat would catch fire.”

    Which cartoon did you mean? I’m not sure I see one with a woman and a boat?

  11. “Which cartoon did you mean?”

    Brian was responding to the comment posted by downpuppy, 4 posts above his

  12. I suppose general concept for the EXTRA FIRM comic could work for mattresses and pillows as well.

    The GIANT SALE reminds me of a comic from decades ago of a garage sale. In the second panel, the garage was gone.

    I too saw the breaking news on TV Downpuppy mentioned, mouth agape. What got me was one of the riders interviewed was freaking out that the subway car might have exploded. I had to think she’d seen way too many action movies.

  13. I’ve only seen the word lengths in cryptic crosswords, which I don’t do. LA Times and occasionally NYT Sunday crosswords – lots of puns, and lateral thinking necessary, but not to that extent.

  14. Grawlix: more likely she just hadn’t processed the concept of electric train -> no fuel tank.

    (Are we all in Boston?)

  15. Perhaps the lady who refused to get in the boat was worried that they would discover that she didn’t have a train ticket. Stowaways aren’t allowed transfer rights, they have to stowaway again for each new connection.

    P.S. Mindestens einer von uns ist definitiv nicht in Boston.

  16. larK said “Mitch: hum, that’s interesting, I didn’t go the extra step! But mine fits too! ”

    Um, yes but… WATER is indisputably an English word, while the best that can be said for HTWOO is that it has 5 letters

  17. Mitch: you haven’t been doing the same crosswords I have (and not the crappy one), then — being English words is not a requirement, as the various “ahh” “ooh” “pff” “cdefg” answers the creator needed to fill in his grid attest. And mine is three “words”: the letter “h”, the word “two”, and the letter “o”.

  18. I don’t like the solution for YOGDAWS — why is GOD scrambled? What in “moves” indicates scrambling? “Mysterious ways” isn’t great, but, okay, the WAYS are mysterious because they are scrambled. But all we have for GOD is that it “moves in[side]” [scrambled] WAYS. YGAODWS?
    (The answer, I’m sure, is that “everyone” knows that “moves” is a standard indicator for scrambled :-/ The one cryptic crossword I tried in the Sunday NY Times was similarly dissatisfying; among many, one clue stood out for me in particular, that I just couldn’t, with all the good will in the world, make it fit to what the answer was supposed to be — I’m sure I’ll remember it just as soon as I post this… Found it: Dictator’s hiding place for money (4) and the answer was supposed to be “CASH”. OK, word play with “cache”, but cash IS money, it’s not a hiding place, and anyway, you have to take an “h” from “hiding” to make it work, since there is no “h” in “dictator’s”, or you have to steal an “s” from “dictator’s”, since there’s no “s” in “hiding place”, either of which seems to me just arbitrary to make a bad solution work; among the many answers I had tried were “COAT”, which is entirely “hidden” within “dictator’s”, so I just could not accept “CASH” — or am I missing some extra layer of subtle cleverness? Change the clue, maybe “within a dictator’s many hidden caches?”)

  19. @larK, I quite sympathize with your irritation at Cryptic clues. I can’t offer a general defense, as I think you’ve already given what you know would be the answers likely offered — that there are some semi-standard indicators of what to do to mangle elements of the clue into the answer.

    But I can try to ease your pain from that CASH example.

    — First off, in principle a clue should work two ways — both by the sort of manipulations we’re wrangling over, but also a straightforward or semi-straightforward “definition” or “synonym” or “identification” part, much like what you might see in a non-cryptic puzzle.

    And that part is the answer to your noticing that “but cash IS money”. Yes it is, and that was the straight-ahead part of this clue.

    — Then there is also the cryptic part, where you manipulate the materials of the text of the clue, guided or signalled by some conventional or new/invented but in principle rationally related indicator of the kind of concealment or transformation. And these two parts may simply be divided, with some words of the clue belonging to the straightforward definitional clue and the remainder belonging to the trickery part. But that is not a rule, and the two functions may overlap or even share the entirety of the clue, taken in different ways.

    In this example, they are separate:

    –“Money” is the straightforward part, as “money” can be a synonym for CASH. If this weren’t a cryptic crossword, “money” could be an accepted clue for entry CASH.
    Or we should count “for money” as the straightforward part, with “for” doing the linking — ‘You do these tricky part things, to what end, or for what? For money’.

    –For the tricky part, which is the remainder of the text, “Dictator’s hiding place”, at first I shared your idea that the ‘h’ of “hiding” gives the ‘h’ of CASH somehow, and thought of overlapping words to conceal an answer. But nothing like that works. Instead we have another pseudo-definition or pseudo-synonym, which is “hiding place” meaning CACHE. But CACHE isn’t the right answer (and doesn’t even have the right length) so it only points to the answer in some way. What way? Well, by sound — which is what “dictator’s” tells us to do. Besides an authoritarian ruler, a dictator may be an everyday office person dictating a document, by speaking. So CACHE and CASH are related as they would be for someone involved in spoken language use, not written, a dictator.

  20. So a non-cryptic clue based on this (or maybe I mean a cryptic clue ironed out) could be “Sounds like hiding place, means money”.

  21. When I was a kid and heard that Hitler was a dictator, I pictured him as always composing letters and dictating them to his secretary. “Achtung, Frau Krantz! Bitte take a letter to Herr Mussolini. ‘Dear Benito, how are you? I am fine.'”

  22. There was a slightly off-color joke about dictation that I saw the other day. I thought it was on here, but I couldn’t run across it again, so probably somewhere else.

    --Can I please use your Dictaphone?

    --Why not just use your finger like everyone else?

  23. @mitch: thanks for the effort, but theses explanations for the so-called rules for cryptic crosswords always sound like post hoc just-so stories to me; you can make up an explanation for anything, after the fact.
    Goes with humbug (3)!

  24. Maybe; “ba” and “ka” are standard puzzle/Scrabble words and the rest is straightforward.

  25. Ah, now that you have introduced the word, I do recognize “ka” from Egyptian mythology. And as I sort of recall, it could be some version of “soul” — the kind that leaves the body at death.
    But I still haven’t put it together.

  26. Me neither, and I’ve just strung both syllables together with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, producing nothing intelligible. I think the answer must be an acronym or a prefix.

  27. I think he’s just embellishing mine, “bah!” The soul or ba, starts hospital, ba+h, bah, which is a frustration response.

    Thanks Dave, I think you prove my point….

  28. And the worst thing about these British / cryptic crosswords is it’s never a complete grid. Only some of the letters in a word intersect with another word. If you fill in all the other words but you can’t figure out Ramses’ soul you are left with “B H”. Though at least with this one there is only one letter you can put in to make a word you might find in Dickens or an abridged dictionary.

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