Monday, April 5, 2010

How How is Barrow

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Independent 7305 by Anax carried this clue:

                 How to prevent an argument (6)

BARROW seemed to fit the wordplay and checking: BAR (prevent) ROW (an argument).

But where was the definition? Barrow is a hill or mound, but there's nothing in the clue to suggest hill or mound, I thought.

Actually, there is. Trust Anax to turn the inconspicuous "How" into a clever definition.

"How" can mean "a low hill; a tumulus or barrow" (Chambers). The word comes from the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill or mound, and has been adopted into names of places, such as How in the English county of Cumbria.

The next time you see the word "How" in a clue – beware!

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The Statesman, Kolkata publishes the syndicated Independent cryptic crossword after a lag of two weeks. Independent 7305, which carried the BARROW clue, appeared in the Kolkata paper on 30th Mar '10. I imagine it would have been extremely tough for Indian solvers (it certainly was for me); it has a UK-centric theme.

In case you're stuck for solutions/explanations in The Statesman, you can look it up in the recent archives of the Independent on Fifteensquared.

If you solve The Statesman crossword, please leave a comment on this post or email to me. I don't know of anyone who does this crossword; I'd really like to connect with people who do.

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5 comments

Hobbes said...

As ever, fantastic and informative .. Wonderful .. Thx !

Shuchi said...

@Hobbes: Glad you liked the post. Thank you.

Virtual Linguist said...

The Barrow clue is pretty difficult for English people too. Wikipedia describes How as a hamlet so there can't be many people who have heard of it.

HeSetsCrosswordsForTheTimes said...

For this clue "how" didn't refer to a specific place. A "how" is a "barrow", i.e. a mound of earth (typically - and originally - a burial mound), and it's a word which has been adopted into a number of placenames.

Shuchi said...

Thanks for your comments, Susan and Anax.

@Anax: I'll do a little rewrite to clarify that. I had discovered the "hill" meaning of "how" via the name of the place, but as you point out, the clue didn't refer to the place. Will make an update.