I’m sitting in a cardio outpatient waiting room as I commence this essai quotidien. My attendance required as a pre-assessment for an upcoming coronary angiogram in August. GJ Strachan’s current area of lingering set within Leeds General Infirmary’s (LGI) hallowed corridors.

Perched on a comfortable enough pew, I scan the seated area seeking inspiration for today’s prose. This gratuitous people watching highlighting my fellow patients fill in their waiting time quite differently from yours truly. Instead of favouring the exercising of a creative want, they entertain themselves in the form of crosswords, reading newspapers or indulging themselves on the hectic highways of social media.

During this nosiness, I noticed an elderly guy looking over his wife’s shoulder as she studied clues within her crossword book. A scenario that continued with the following verbal interaction:-

“3-across – eight letter clue for 3-across ‘Breakfast ingredients’ the answer is mushroom, love.” The old guy informed his adjacent spouse.

“It’s not……. I thinks it’s sausages, Trevor!” she replied, appearing unimpressed with her hubby’s input, regardless of how well-meaning.

“It’s not, love!…. I’m pretty sure it’s mushroom, Flo!” he bullishly blustered.

“It’s not mushroom, Trevor!…. The clue is ‘Breakfast ingredients’….. It’s seeking a plural response.” she disagreed with an air of surety. Adding “No one has just one mushroom as part of their first meal of the day!”

“They might do if they didn’t like the taste of first one they tried, consequently leaving the rest on their plate!” Trevor bizarrely countered.

“You’re missing my point, love!…. The clue definitely indicates they’re seeking a plural answer!” the old lady sought to clarify.

“Well put down mushrooms as the answer!…… Then you’ve responded in a plural manner.” The bloke in his dotage argued. Still unprepared to admit his answer to 3-across was clearly incorrect.

“That won’t fit!!!…… Mushrooms has nine letters, not the eight the response is looking for!” Flo responded in a far calmer and polite manner than her husband’s idiotic stubbornness had warranted.

“It might be a misprint….. They might’ve meant nine letters, not eight.” Trevor’s idiotic obduracy continued.

“There’re only eight boxes to house the answer to 3-across!” Flo rebuked her bull-headed spouse.

“That might also be a misprint by the crosswords publishers….. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve made a printing error in a puzzle book!” the old guy continued to obstinately argue.

“What other examples have you got of printing anomalies in quiz books?!” Flo sought to clarify.

“I’ve not got any….. It’s bound to have happened before, though……. No ones infallible!!” Trevor continued to dig the hole which he clearly felt wasn’t quite deep enough yet.

“Look Trevor, it can’t possibly be mushroom!…… Just drop it. You’re really starting to irritate me now!!” Flo advised with clearly evident frustration.

“How can you be so certain it’s not mushroom, love?” Trevor idiotically continued to fight his corner.

“Well firstly, as I’ve already said, they’re looking for an answer plural breakfast ingredients….. But more importantly, if you’d bother to look at the crossword answers I’ve completed so far, the answer starts and finishes with the letter ‘S’.” The long suffering lady clarified.

“Ahhhh…… Why didn’t you say, Flo?!…… The answers sausages, love!!”


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