Thursday, May 20, 2010

March, Little Woman

little-women-louisa-may-alcottLouisa May Alcott's Little Women is often mentioned by readers/critics in lists of top American literary classics.

Little Women is also a great hit with crossword setters. The words "little woman" in a cryptic clue generally mean one of the four sisters from the novel - Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy. Small in length, with a good combination of letters - those names are a delight to crossword setters.

The icing on the cake is their surname "March", another immensely pun-friendly word.

A few clues that refer to the March sisters:

Times 24514: Little woman coming in to pack, heading west to a holiday island (7) MAJORCA
                     JO (little woman) in CRAM (pack) <- A

Times 24484: Little woman embracing the object of friendship (5) AMITY
                     AMY (little woman) around IT (the object)

Times 23806: March girl round icy track, initially to generate warmth (5) AMITY
                     AMY (March girl) around initial letters of "icy track"

Tips:
  1. JO and AMY are the livelier, more active sisters in the novel; so they are in crosswords too. "Little woman" is more frequently JO or AMY than MEG or BETH.
  2. Don Manley uses the Little Women reference quite a bit (noticed this in his puzzles of the past two years). If you're solving one of his works, be on the lookout!

Solve These

Times 24259: Little woman’s kept second person happy (6)
Times 24250: Popular little woman arrested following bad report (6)
Times 23863: Marches men to well - it has been moved (6,5)

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4 comments

Anonymous said...

24259 -Jo(you)s

gauri said...

Excellent trivia, as always!

My guesses:

1. Jo(you)s
2. In(F)Amy
3. Little women (= The Marches; mentowell*)

Loved the 3rd one.

Shuchi said...

You all are wonderful solvers :)

I loved the 3rd one, too. It's very deceptive if we don't already know which "Marches" to think of.

Shuchi said...

Nice clue in the Times today:

Times 24751: Work time not well organised (6,5)