Life, etc

AmaBookaBooka: Exchanging Cross Words With My Nemesis

Today’s Amabookabooka guest is Tom to my Jerry; Moriarty to my Holmes; Lex Luthor to my Superman; Newman to my Seinfeld; and Gupta to my Gordhan. By JONATHAN ANCER.

George Euvrard is a professor in the faculty of education at Rhodes University, but that’s not why we’re adversaries. He is a cruciverbalist, which is a crossword setter. I’m a crossword solver – and solvers and setters are traditionally at war with each other. Doing a crossword puzzle is a battle of wits between the solver and the setter.

George wasn’t always a setter. He was one of us before he crossed over to the dark side, but like many South African solvers, he became gatvol that the crossword puzzles published in local newspapers were steeped in Britishisms. He decided to try his pen at compiling Africanised cryptic crosswords. He created a “proudly South African” puzzle and recently published JDE The Original South African Cryptic Crossword - which is a collection of 75 of his crosswords.

In this episode of Amabookabooka, George shares some of his favourite clues and then provides tips on how to solve them.

Some people see dead people, crossworders see anagrams. They see that “Justin Timberlake” is an anagram of “I’m a jerk, but listen” and "Eleven plus two" is an anagram of "Twelve plus one" and that if you rearrange the letters of "Public relations" you get "Crap built on lies" … so I asked George: Why did the anagram cross the road? Listen to the episode to find out the answer to the funniest joke in the world.

You will also need to listen to the episode to get solutions to some of the world’s most classic cryptic crossword clues, clues such as:

Segg (9,4),

Hijklmno (5)

Of of of of of of of of of of (10)

Mad, passionate lovers? (7)

(3,3,3,1,4). This one caused solvers to tear their hair out in frustration: . You see, the clue didn’t have a clue, it just had the letters (3,3,3,1,4) - and that's a clue to the clueless clue.

George self-published his book, which sells for R150 (including postage), which works out to be R2 a puzzle, or 8c a clue! Considering that crossword puzzles improve your vocabulary, and are more entertaining than the ANC elective conference, 8c is an excellent investment. Books can be ordered from George at

To win a copy of JDE The Original South African Cryptic Crossword, listen to episode and solve the clue. There are also clues from George’s book on our Facebook page (

This is our final episode of the season – and we hope to be back next year to continue to give local authors a platform to talk about their books and reveal their innermost thoughts in our world famous Sound Effects Rorschach Test. In this season we’ve featured a wide range of authors and books – from George’s crossword book to writers who ride mountain bikes (On Your Bike by Whitfield brothers Chris and Tim). In between we’ve featured a host of memoirs (Queen of the Free State by Jennifer Friedman, Killing Karoline by Sara-Jayne King, Cult Sister by Lesley Smailes, The Twinkling of an Eye by Sue Brown, and Inside Apartheid’s Prison by Raymond Suttner); a book about the students’ uprising (As by Fire by Jonathan Jansen); novels (Asylum by Marcus Low and Tales of the Metric System by Imraan Coovadia); and Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson – the book I wrote about one of apartheid’s deadliest assassins.

In the final episode of this season’s Self-Publishing Corner, MYeBook founder Dave Henderson continues on his mission to empower authors. He also shares some sound wisdom from one of the world’s wisest doctors. Interested in self-publishing? Visit the website for regular news. DM