Friday, July 17, 2009

The (4,5) Crosswords

Absolutely frustrated and exasperated with the abysmal quality of the Hindu crossword these days. Negative this post may be, but hey I got me a muse! :)


1 Now in the abyss, just a good girl initially (4,5)
2 Gets confused: one Roman giant jag on Greek slopes(4,5)
3 Girl, clumsy moves ain't a jig (4,5)
4 One ganja git on steroids? Sort of (4,5)
5 Known for a half a jiff gag hints, endlessly confused (4,5)
6 Rhymher: clues neat are buggy, say 5D (4,5)
7 Always gets Aga TJ in karate dress, say gee! (4,5)
8 Respect tag for completely gaga, half nitwit? Hardly. (4,5)
9 Blasphemer in the Holy Grid (4,5)

Discards (only because I am not the answer :) )
Eskimo house without toilet messes up Agra monument profit (4,5)
Sings motley clue at Jain gig (4,5)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Crossword Blues

Returned to doing crosswords today. Was reminded of this poem gathering dust in my vault, more than seven years I think. Thought this was occasion enough - also since now it's nearly two years since I put anything up here. Renaissance Post!


That morning I was out in the garden,
Body in chair, newspaper in hand
My mind none knows where
for it was lost in thought.
So many right, yet so many left.
So many acrosses, I was feeling down
Was it hell or inferno?

Ere come flying did this crow
Blacker than night
Darker even than the mind
of the grid-setter so cryptic.
Twinkle in eye, mischief brimming
the crow, he perched on the arm of my chair,,
looked through icily, said

“What have we here, boxes?
Light boxes, dark boxes,
Shaded boxes, numbered boxes
but filled, lettered ones so few.
It is, I see, that which Nature she abhors!
As to how to fill these blanks,
I’m sure, you have no clue!”
Thus spake the crow.

To these words offence I did take,
For though no master, I was no slouch
And I taught him the perilous
ways through the Holy Grid.

About how a tree was an unetched three
And how the ear was the sense organ of time
About how Al ever managed to operate the lever
And how confused fears made you feel safer.

Thus I explained to him at length
About clues- cryptic, quick, hidden
and other literal sorts you know
the rowdy, wordy anagrammic clues
and funny, punny homophones.

At this juncture,
I paused my lecture.
Not because my pupil was perplexed
rather `cos his were unflexed!

The insolent indolent crow,
he smiled a knowing smile
Not in the least awed
(I know) for now he guffawed
and then he cawed,

“Mere wordplay!
The CrossWord, tis but an eternal truth
The Beginning, cross words were heard
no sooner than God made woman.
Then so many battles, so many wars
when all people did was cross swords”
(How words could this get, I thought)

“And I believe Christ’s last utterings
are now to be had as the Cross-Words,
The End!”
Oh, the way he punned it
I knew he was no crow ordinary
Really, he was some pundit!

And then went flying did the crow.
There was nothing left to do
But to bid goodbye
and jot those immortal thoughts down.

For these crass words
I am not to blame.
(Though the excuse is lame)
These were but the crow’s words!

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Poemism Crisis

It is sad that poems do not attract as much attention as they used to. No, I do not mean to say that poets are a dying breed. Far from it. In fact, there has been a boom in `poem-production over the years. But increased supply does not imply increased demand, `economic’ally speaking.

The core of the problem is that every Tom (includes me!), Dick and Harry wants to churn out feel-good, heart-warming verse. Sadly the stuff that comes out is often nothing short of bone-chilling! Verse. Sorry. Worse, they insist that the world celebrate their works and acknowledge them as the Tom Keats, Dick Shelleys and the Harry Brownings of the present. The PLIMs (PLIM,in case you don’t know, stands for Poet Laureate In Making) are men whose enthusiasm can be dampened by nothing whatsoever. I bet a googol dollars that even on the eve of Doomsday, a PLIM somewhere will be penning the deliverance song to be sung on the Big Day so that his work be heard in heaven.

Writing poems is not a hobby. It is a passion. I caught the `poemism’ virus last year, or was it the other way around? I became a PLIM anyhow. The thought of being a poet, acknowledged by one and all exhilarated me. I imagined my anthology being published and its contents being incorporated in syllabi the world over. I even introduced similes, metaphors and aphorisms into my poems so that the erudite student could ponder over their contextual validity and so that the examiner could spring many a surprise on unwary students.

As the poemism virus tightened its grip over me, things became worse. All I thought was poems, all I talked was poems, but I could not write any! The situation now became “Poems, poems everywhere but not a verse to ink.” To think that I was a well of poetry and I had no bucket!

One great advantage of being a PLIM is that one never has to learn grammar. Those whose hearts have been wrenched by Wren and Martin will realize that this is true bliss. The true poet spurns grammar in the same way as an Alsatian looks at a poodle. For the PLIM, marks of punctuation are but avoidable irritants. But when in doubt, he puts an exclamation mark! - and if doubt persists, can a question mark be far behind?

The true PLIM never smiles. He goes around with a permanent frown. The sorrows of the world sit heavily on him. When his mind is not churning ideas, it is polishing words. He can never afford to relax because springs of inspiration swell up in his soul. You never know when you strike gold. The PLIM’s command over the language is so great that he considers the dictionary a mere inconvenience. He creates new words at will, for do not new ideas require new words? Using old words is definitely old fashion. The PLIM does not want to be understood In fact, he can never understand his own self. He only wants respect. And every night and morn, he consigns every critic to the seventh circle of hell, the latest block there, constructed especially for this abominable species.

For the PLIM, the postbox is the sign of hope and the postman, the sign of despair. His wonderful creations are sent with great hope to myriad editors and just when he hopes, at last some bright editor has dis`cover’ed his true genius, in comes the postman and throws in bundles of discarded hope. But the PLIM, like King Bruce of yore knows no despair and sets to work yet again. Once a PLIM, always a PLIM!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Verbose Monotony

Or what there could be in a name.

- I -

A man who never failed to please
Put you at ease, did John Verghese.
A man so true, a man so nice
But alas, logic was his vice.

"Hey John Verghese, 'geese' is plural
but you are just one, not many!"
A singular person in logic's noose
He changed his name, to John Vergoose.

"Hey John Vergoose, a goose is a she,
but you are male, not female!"
It was momentous, this question of gender
In a trice, he became John Vergander.

Now, there comes a time in a man's life
When he must get down and find a wife.
And John Vergander found repose
In the arms of the feminist Mary Bose.

"Hey John Vergander, post-wedlock
is it fair, that only the wife change name?"
Injustice, he always did oppose
He now calls himself John Verbose!


- II -

On and on, one could eloquent harp
about the virtues of Matthew Polycarp.
A man so true, a man so nice
But again, logic was his vice.

"Matthew Polycarp, 'poly' means many
but you're just one, not one more!"
This singular man, he was rather sharp,
He changed his name, to Matthew Monocarp!

"Matthew Monocarp, a carp is a fish
but you are a man, or are you not?"
A specious issue of identity,
Thenceforth, he became Matthew Monoman.

Again, there comes a time in a man's life
When he must get down and find a wife.
So Matthew Monoman entered into matrimony
with a lovely young lady, Mary Antony.

"Matthew Monoman, post-wedlock,
is it fair ,that only the wife change name?"
Why must marriage be male hegemony?
Our man calls himself, Matthew Monotony!

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Monday, January 15, 2007

No Bars (Give In Give Up)


What's the point of being away from home
If you don't misbehave.
Now's the time to do what you crave
And make some memories.

But momma said, "Don't keep bad company
And only do what's good for you."
Haven't you seen it all before?
Heard it all before?

O| Good and bad, it's all in the head
R| Doesn't really matter which way you go
U| But remember it's just you all the way
S| So never torture yourself, either way

C| Give in sometimes,
H| Gotta ride to get the thrill of the chase
O| Give up sometimes
R| Gotta stop when you're lost in the haze.
U| Live it up
S| When you wanna reach out for the stars
0| Let it down
2| Sometimes kiss the ground and smell the grass.

Choose your poison, what turns you on?
Do you know your self?
No bars here, you can do what you want
Go no holds barred.

Dive in to the pool now
Go right across the water
And as the dry drop oozes into you
Are you crying? Are you laughing?

O| Truth or lie, illusion's real
R| Reality's just a point of view
U| But draw the line, you're all alone
S| Make it balance, either way

C| Give in sometimes, (live it up)
H| Gotta chase to get a prize in the race.
O| Give up sometimes, (let it down)
R| Stuck in the maze, stop and find some ways.
U| Live it up, (give in sometimes)
S| When you wanna reach out for the stars
0| Let it down,(give it up sometimes)
2| Sometimes kiss the ground and smell the grass.

What now comes to you
Is that's what is true.
What's real?
It's just what you feel.
It's who you really are.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Like herds set loose out to graze
You ramble away on wayward ways
Forever seeking pastures greener.
But tell me, do you really know
Just how green should green be?
And just how much grass can you eat?

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Friday, June 30, 2006

Beauty With Brains

Searching for beauty with brains.
A divine beauty witty
Or at least, an erudite Aphrodite.
Or so I fantasized.

But my poet's dream capsized
When I realized
That erudite
Doesn't rhyme quite
with Aphrodite!

- Thomas Jay Cubb


1. Aphrodite (pronounce afro-die-tee) - Goddess of love and beauty and daughter of Zeus in ancient mythology; identified with Roman Venus
2. Erudite - Having or showing profound knowledge