Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stolen, borrowed or recycled: a setter's problem

A recent little scandal has raised some interesting issues for me regarding recycled clues.

A scandal in the world of crosswords? Yes really: a clear case of plagiarism. The affair is described in a little more detail than here (though in a rather garish display) by Dean Mayer, aka Anax.

In summary, one of the cryptic setters for The Hindu, a venerable and highly respected Indian newspaper, has been caught “borrowing”. Incidentally, the offence was detected not because the lifted clues were recognised but because of the awfulness of the other clues. The incompetently composed clues contrasted so radically with some of the others that the decent ones could only have come from different sources.

This sort of thing is rare, I assume and hope, but many cryptic clues nevertheless have a certain familiarity about them, so some people might well detect a slight whiff of plagiarism. This goes for my own clues and for others', so much so that I have at times wondered whether I have been guilty of inadvertant plagiarism myself.

I generally comfort myself in those occasions with the “great minds” theory.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Verbing encouraged?

Today's Dominion Post (page C6, Tom Pullar-Strecker's column) includes the following from a statement by Labour MP Clare Curran: "At the moment nothing is being done to incentive new business models."

I'm not against verbing as such, but I thought there were several nasty new verbs derived from incentive already, incentivise (or ...ize) and incent. Do we need another?