Tuesday 19 February 2013


leprechaun-irishman When British cryptic crosswords use "Irishman" in a clue, it is usually a reference to a male name/nickname popular in Ireland. The device is rare in Indian crosswords but by no means unheard of.

To work out wordplay that expects familiarity with Irish names, remember the ones you will meet most frequently in crosswords.

Guardian 25696 (Paul): Irishman I caught climbing over hospital memorial (8) CENOTAPH
PAT (Irishman) ONE (I) C (caught) climbing over i.e. reversed H (hospital)

FT 13347 (Dante): Irishman back in the post (4) MAIL
LIAM (Irishman) reversed

Guardian 25363 (Rufus): Irishman at church for spiritual guidance (6) SEANCE
SEAN (Irishman) CE (church)

Independent 7699 (Klingsor): Female takes Irishman with nothing out for a drink (6) SHERRY
SHE (female) RORY (Irishman) – O (nothing)

The next couple of words that could stand for "Irishman" in a clue are considered offensive. We do see them in crosswords but many comments on UK solving blogs object to such usage; the Independent crossword editor once said that he would not let Irishman = Mick appear in the Indy.

FT 13185 (Orense): Renegade state embraced by Irishman (5) MAVERICK
AVER (state) in MICK (Irishman)

THC 9292: Paddy and Company among Nilgiris horticulturists (5) IRISH
hidden in 'nilgIRIS Horticulturists'

Solve These

Take a crack at these clues with Irishmen in them.

Everyman 3348: More than one loyalist Irishman disturbs the peace (8) ___R____
Telegraph Toughie 115 (Campbell): Irishman entertaining daughter in saloon (5) ___A_
Times 24141: Irishman takes a journey in returning to a far-off land (9) ___A___I_

Coming up next: interviews of two very popular Guardian crossword setters, one of whom was born in Ireland. Keep a watch!

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gnomethang said...

PAT A GO (IN reversed) A

Anonymous said...


Loved the symbolic red nose and lantern jaw on the cartoon

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

Hi Shuchi,
Got 2 and trying 3rd
Everyman 3348: More than one loyalist Irishman disturbs the peace (8) ___R____
Telegraph Toughie 115 (Campbell): Irishman entertaining daughter in saloon (5) ___A_

Raghunath said...

Everyman 3348 (8): PAT + RIOTS
Telegraph Toughie 115(5): SE(D)AN
Times 24141 (9): PAT+A+GO+(NI<-)+A

Venkatesh said...


Shuchi said...

Well solved gnomethang, Kishore, Lakshmi, raghunath, Venkatesh.

Any other Irishmen to add to the list?

Anonymous said...

With Pat, I always think of Murphy, given the talk/back talk shows of yore

Bhavan said...

Not sure how relevant this is, but Colleen is a common Irish girl's name and at times used to mean Irish itself. The last I have heard of this usage was in Economic Times dated 13/02/13

She isn't quite a colleen (4)

Shyam said...

Hi Shuchi, you could have MAC/MACK also, I guess. It supposedly stands for "Son of" and is popular as the prefix 'Mc'.

Shuchi said...

@Bhavan: Thanks for that. Funny thing, name associations. Pat makes Kishore think of Pat Murphy, Colleen makes me think of Colleen Khan.

@Shyam: I've seen MAC/MACK clued as Scotsman, can't recall a clue that defined it as Irishman. I searched for the name online and found sites say that the Irish version is Mc and the Scottish version Mac. But there was a lot of contradictory information so not sure.

Speaking of which reminds me of Skulldugger's latest. One of the clues had Irishman = IAN. That too is usually Scotsman.

Anonymous said...

The Irish version is O' for "son of" (and Ni for "daughter of")


Shuchi said...

Thanks for the clarification Bannsider - and warm welcome to my blog.