Monday, May 18, 2015

13 Imaginative Ways to Talk of Prison

prison That place of confinement can boast of many imaginative substitutes for its name. Clues that show how these get used in crosswords.

1. JUG
Times 25628: Maybe go through mood changes of criminal: prison worried (9) CONJUGATE
CON (criminal) JUG (prison) ATE (worried)

2. STIR
Times 25775: Create revolutionary movement in prison (4) STIR
Double definition; 'stir' is slang for prison.

On the history and possible origin of this meaning of 'stir', Grammarphobia has an interesting write-up.

3. COOLER
FT 14540 (Orense): Wake up cooler (4) STIR
Double definition; 'cooler' refers to prison, usually meant for the more dangerous criminals.

4. CAN
Indy 8876 (Phi): Prison Director guided to reduce light (6) CANDLE
CAN (prison) D (director) LE[d] (guided to reduce i.e. cut short)

[Not to forget, 'can' means other things too.]

5. NICK
Times 25869: Nick — adolescent making a mess (7) CANTEEN
CAN (nick - slang for prison) TEEN (adoloscent)

You'll usually find 'nick' on the clue's surface dressed as a proper noun, or as a verb meaning 'steal' or 'cut'.

6. BRIG
Times 25964: Remove a key from prison outfit (3) RIG
BRIG (prison) – B (key, of music)

'Brig' is a military prison, especially in a navy ship.

7. CAGE
FT14791 (Bradman): Imprisoned maiden? That gets media treatment (8) COVERAGE 
OVER (maiden, as in cricket) imprisoned i.e. put inside prison (CAGE)

8. POKEY
FT14184 (Jason): One in pokey with excellent natter (6) CONFAB
CON (one in pokey - slang for prison) FAB (excellent)

9. CLINK
Guardian 26203 (Rufus): Jug can clink (6) PRISON
Triple definition

10. TIME
Indy 8775 (Phi): Event enabling you to live out of time? (9) JAILBREAK cd
To 'do time' is to serve a prison sentence. 

11. BIRD
Sunday Times 4622 (Jeff Pearce): Fool can get drunk in bar (9) BIRDBRAIN
BIRD (can i.e. prison) (IN BAR)*

'Bird' can mean prison, a term in prison, or a prison inmate (short for jailbird). The word comes from bird-lime, rhyming slang for 'time'. Often used in the phrase 'do bird', which means 'do time'.

12. PORRIDGE

Similar to 'bird', 'porridge' can mean prison or a term in prison, especially in the phrase 'do porridge' (serve a prison sentence). The word gained wider currency with the BBC TV series Porridge, a sitcom about prison inmates.

FT14822 (Monk): Bishop, one putting on fat in time (8) PORRIDGE
RR (bishop - Right Reverend) I (one), putting on i.e. inside PODGE (fat). The definition 'time'

Wikipedia attributes this usage of 'porridge' to the staple diet of porridge in UK prisons.

13. SLAMMER

Times 25303: One violently smashing lip has for a start to be imprisoned (12) SLEDGEHAMMER
EDGE (lip) H ('has', for a start), to be 'imprisoned' i.e. to be inside SLAMMER

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With such diversity of synonyms, it's not uncommon to find multi-definition clues associated with 'prison'. Till a while back, the maximum count of definitions that I'd seen in a single clue was in this clue for SET. Then in Dec 2014, I came across this outstanding 7-definitional:

Indy 8797 (Hieroglyph): Nick Cage can stir porridge inside big house in the States (6)
'nick', 'cage', 'can', 'stir', 'porridge', 'inside', 'big house' (in the States) - all mean prison.

Any other interesting prison terms you can think of? Add to the list in the comments section.

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Update (23-Jun-2015) Bhala suggests more terms: QUOD, CHOKEY.

Times 26132: Briefly stir drink: that's enough to achieve motion? (6) QUORUM
QUO[d] (stir, briefly) RUM (drink)

Solve These

More clues that play on words referring to 'prison'. Have fun solving!

Sunday Times 4584 (Dean Mayer): A handle for jug, all in enamel (8) N_______
Times 25900: Fine golden bird on toy stall (4,3,4) P___ ___ ___E
Indy 8647 (Dac): Tough jailbird shown round a prison (4-4) C___-____
Times 24571: Cooler name rejected by psychologist (3)

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9 comments

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan (LV) said...

I CAN solve only 3 :(

Sunday Times 4584 (Dean Mayer): A handle for jug, all in enamel (8) N_______
NICKNAME [NICK(jug) e(NAME)l ]
Times 25900: Fine golden bird on toy stall (4,3,4) P___ ___ ___E
4,3, TIME
Indy 8647 (Dac): Tough jailbird shown round a prison (4-4) C___-____
CAST IRON [CON(jailbird) round A STIR (a prison)]

Times 24571: Cooler name rejected by psychologist (3)
JUG [JU(n)G]

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

Apart from the more straightforward terms, 'Chokey' and 'Quod' come to mind.

Do believe that 'Porridge' refers to the time done in prison, not prison per se

Shuchi said...

Thanks Bhala. I guess due to the uncommon letters and lack of alternate meanings, these two terms aren't seen as much in crosswords as the rest.

Chambers says this for 'porridge':
jail, or a jail sentence, esp in the phrase do porridge, to serve a jail sentence (slang)

Krishna said...

Times 24571: Cooler name rejected by psychologist (3) JUG = cooler, and JU{-N}G

Times 25900: Fine golden bird on toy stall (4,3,4) P___ ___ TIME?

Chesterley said...

Here's another one, though I'm not sure if it's strictly an Americanism:

Joint advertising is working (6)

Shuchi said...

The answers:

Sunday Times 4584 (Dean Mayer): A handle for jug, all in enamel (8) NICKNAME
NICK (jug) NAME (all in 'eNAMEL')

Times 25900: Fine golden bird on toy stall (4,3,4) PLAY FOR TIME
F (fine) OR (golden) BIRD (time) on PLAY (toy). 'stall' (verb) is the definition.

Indy 8647 (Dac): Tough jailbird shown round a prison (4-4) CAST-IRON
CON (jailbird) around A STIR (prison)

Times 24571: Cooler name rejected by psychologist (3) JUG
JUNG (psychologist) - N (name)

Shuchi said...

@Lakshmi: The one you got later was the trickiest. So well done :-)

@Krishna: Yes. In my early days of solving, I had imagined that 'cooler' might be 'jug' because a jug keeps drinks cool!

@Chesterley: Thanks for sharing that. Can't recall this use from crosswords. I see "(the joint) North American Prison" listed in Oxford Dictionaries, though Chambers only has "a disreputable bar or other meeting-place (US slang)" as the closest definition.

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan (LV) said...

Yes Shuchi . Thought the TOY STALL the definition :P

Shuchi said...

@Bhala: Came across a clue using QUOD, in the Times today. Added it to the main post.