Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hot Fuzz: Crossword Conversation

A reader shared this video clip with me from the movie Hot Fuzz. I recalled its (quite scathing) mention in the Guardian Crossword blog's entertaining series on crosswords in fiction, and watched it with great curiosity.

This makes for an interesting spot-the-errors exercise, apart from the peculiar grid.

Joyce Cooper gives out the clue number for FASCIST as 7 Across but runs her pen over a Down clue while reading it out. FASCIST does fit into the grid slot for 7 Across, but the corresponding clue on screen is too short to match "System of government categorized by extreme dictatorship".

There is another Down clue slot with a leading F already filled in the grid and the checkers A and I in place – it would seem that that's where this answer should go in.

HotFuzz Crossword

It gets weirder when Sergeant Angel retorts with "Evil old woman, considered frightful or ugly. It's 12 Down." Because, if the grid shown in the movie followed normal crossword numbering, it wouldn't have a 12 Down at all.

What other bloopers do you see?

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Kishore said...

14d is the slot intended for FASCIST (or FASCISM as corrected by Angel). Looking down the single digit down clues (2,3,4,5,6 and 9) which can be distinguished by the spacing in the photo; the position of the spacing changes with the two digit clues starting after that), the next down clues are 10,11,13,14 … The indenting in the photo shows that both 13 down and 14 down are clues extending into the next line. 14d clearly is a long word followed by a short one and then a long one again in the first line, which matches “System of Government”. In the next line we can see that the consecutive words are long, short, medium and long which matches with “categorized by extreme dictatorship”. In fact, the lady is hovering her pen across the down clues in the video and across two lines

Similarly, 13d has a pattern of short, short, medium in the first line, consistent with "Evil old woman” and short, short and long in the next line which matches “ugly or frightful” and not “frightful or ugly" as said by Angel. Ugly is clearly visible as the first word of the second line. The word “considered” is probably in the first line in the area eclipsed by the pen. This also checks in correctly with 16a MAG which is already filled in. So Angel was wrong with the clue number as well as the exact wording. We can probably forgive him, for he was reading upside down.

Three words 8a, 4d and 10d appear to have errors as they do not seem to be dictionary words.

Shuchi said...

Thanks Kishore. With some squinting and straining, I see "ugly or frightful" (and not “frightful or ugly") at 13d too.

4d appears to show solving effort. There's something written and crossed out next to the clue text and the grid has overwriting, as if she rethought her initial entry. Sad that the answer is still meaningless.

What about the entry at 11d? BONCHANCE?

Kishore said...

I too saw it as bonchance, though bonne chance is more standard usage

And is 8a DOGS or DOGE, not sure.

A further nit: After the lady abruptly says "FASCIST" in the middle of her conversation (obviously the penny just dropped), she reads out the clue by running her pen across the clue. But this shot, the one you have shown as a still, already has the leading F filled in. I can understand the checkers being there, but how was the initial letter already in?

Peter Biddlecombe said...

Isn't the biggest mistake the use of the kind of grid you would never see in a self-respecting newspaper crossword? Any number of amateur setters could have provided a puzzle that looked realistic and included the clues and answers required, and some would probably have been happy with "Crossword compiled by ...." in the credits rather than a fee.

Kishore said...

Peter, that fact has been colourfully described in


"The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, of which Hot Fuzz is part two, is notable for its attention to detail. But to any solver, even a glimpse of the hotelier's grid - which the production will have designed and rendered on newsprint - is as distracting and unsettling as it would have been if Billie Whitelaw had appeared with six arms, or if all the props were made of Silly Putty. It resembles no crossword ever published in a British local or national newspaper. It gives me no pleasure to use this word, but the puzzle in Hot Fuzz is a disgrace. "

I am sure you agree ...

anax said...

A realistic puzzle wouldn’t even have to be compiled as such, since the only required clues/answers are for FASCIST and HAG, so as long as the grid contains 7- and 3-letter answers the job is done. It did surprise me to see such an awful grid, but have to say I love all the Pegg/Frost films (especially their running “failing to jump over a fence” gags).

Shuchi said...

I like the bit where the Sergeant corrects FASCIST to FASCISM - a nice touch about definition grammar. It wasn't necessary to the scene (they could have clued FASCIST directly), which made it even better.