Thursday 20 May 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"

  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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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)