Last week I posted a Tour de France crossword to mark the legendary cycle race's start in England. This week's crossword is on the theme of cycling in general. See if you can tell your lugs from your forks! You can download a PDF version of this crossword (with solution) here, and alternative web-based version here, should you have problems with the one below.
With the World Cup wrapping up at Rio's legendary Maracaña stadium Sunday afternoon, many are already asking if this has been the best World Cup ever.
It's the ubiquitous question, gracing the headlines of publications from Forbes, to The Guardian and The Atlantic, as pundits try to find Brazil 2014 a place in the World Cup pantheon.
BACKGROUND Germany were crowned world champions for the fourth time as Mario Gotze's extra-time winner beat Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final. Gotze demonstrated perfect technique and commendable calm to chest down Andre Schurrle's pass and sweep in a left-foot finish with the prospect of a penalty shootout only seven minutes away. Argentina, with skipper Lionel Messi looking subdued despite flashes of his talent, could not respond and Germany claimed their first World Cup since they beat the same opponents in Rome 24 years ago. The success means Joachim Low's side have become the first European team to win the trophy in South America. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows a man sitting in an armchair drinking a can of beer whilst watching (we assume) the World Cup final on TV. His wife, who is standing beside him with a long piece of paper, tells him, "It's the list of things you said you'd get round to after the World Cup final ..." The man does not look happy!
COMMENT The cartoonist uses the stereotype of the husband who always finds excuses to put off doing jobs around the house — and the wife who nags him to do them.
VOCABULARY If you get round to (doing) something, you do something after you have intended to do it for some time. • I meant to call you, but somehow I never got around to it. • After putting off for a long time, he finally got round to fixing the leaking tap.
After a long, hard-fought battle, Germany is taking home it's fourth World Cup. It took nearly 113 minutes for the stalemate to break open, but it was the foot and chest of German striker Mario Götze that broke the hearts of Argentineans everywhere and led Germany to victory. Full transcript >>
Sometimes dreams don't come true, and with the growing prominence of social media, it's not too hard to screw up a good opportunity. That's something 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelaere had to learn the hard way. Full transcript >>
Even if you picked Germany to beat Brazil in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal match, there's no way you saw this coming. It was a match that made the words "national embarrassment" an understatement. And if you were on Twitter, you've probably already seen your share of photos of sad Brazilians. But they had every right to be sad — and shocked. Full transcript >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Matt from the Daily Telegraph shows the riders on the Tour de France passing through London (note the Gherkin in the background). A man comments to his wife, "Typical, 200 cyclists and not one of them stops at a red light."
EXPLANATION There's a popular misconception in England that cyclists are less law abiding, and more careless, than motorists. The red light is, of course, a traffic light. When the light is red, all traffic is supposed to stop, but a minority of cyclists give the rest a bad reputation by 'jumping' the red light. However, see here for a possible explanation.
VOCABULARY Typical is used for saying that you are not surprised that something bad has happened. • It's typical! Just when we might have won, two of our players got injured. • The show's been cancelled? Typical!
The first three stages of this year's Tour de France are taking place in England. Following this weekend's wonderful 'Tour de Yorkshire', the riders are heading south today for a stage from Cambridge to London. Ca va être fantastique! To mark the occasion, I've put together a Tour de France crossword. Click here to download a PDF version with solution, and here for an alternative web-based version in case you have problems with the one below.
BACKGROUND The second stage of the Tour de France has finished in Sheffield with 2.5m people having lined the route around Yorkshire over two days. The stage was won by Vincenzo Nibali after 124 miles (201km) of punishing roads and hill climbs. The crowds were so dense in some places that riders struggled to pass at some points while in some areas late-comers were turned away. Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the tour organisers TdFHUB2014 Ltd said: "Around 2.5 million spectators lined the route over two days and revelled in being part of history." Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows a group of riders going down a hill somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside. The joke is that one of the riders is a sheep (sheep farming is common in the Yorkshire Dales, as the soils are thin and unsuitable for any other type of farming). One of her fellow sheep comments, "Hang on — isn't that Ethel?" (Ethel is an old-fashioned name which seems suitable for a sheep).
VOCABULARY 1. "Hang on" is an expression used for saying that you have just realized something. • Hang on a minute! That isn't the dress she was wearing earlier. 2. The word sheep is invariable: one sheep, two or more sheep. 3. In the cartoon we can see a dry-stone wall. Such walls are characteristic of upland areas of Britain and Ireland where rock outcrops naturally or large stones exist in quantity in the soil.
NOTE I'm sure this has nothing to do with the cartoon, but the man who persuaded the French to bring their legendary cycle race to the north of England is a sheep farmer who runs a tourist and promotional organisation from an office in the city of Leeds in Yorkshire. Read more >>
This World Cup is turning out to be one of the best since, well, 1966 — and we've still got two weeks to go before the final! So, to give you something to do in between matches, here's a little World Cup-themed crossword I've concocted. Click here to download a PDF version with solution, and here to access an alternative web-based version if the one below doesn't work on your device.
BACKGROUND Uruguay's Luis Suarez has been accused of biting a player for the third time in his career after an incident with Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. The Liverpool striker lunged at Italy defender Chiellini shortly before Diego Godin scored to give Uruguay a 1-0 win. Chiellini pulled his shirt down to show the referee a mark on his shoulder but no action was taken by the official. The maximum ban Suarez could face if governing body Fifa takes retrospective action is 24 matches or two years. Read more >>
The World Cup story for Tuesday should've been about how Uruguay sent four-time World Cup champs Italy home with a single goal in the 81st minute. Instead, the Internet is in a frenzy after Luis "The Cannibal" Suarez reportedly lived up to his nickname by biting an an opponent (see video) during the match. Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND It was Andy Murray mania at Wimbledon as the British number one kicked off the defence of his title. Murray, 27, dispatched Belgian David Goffin in straight sets on Centre Court to ease into round two. Watching from the stands was the Murray ‘dream team’ with girlfriend Kim Sears, new coach Amélie Mauresmo and mum Judy all sat in the player’s box. Full story >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows Andy Murray on Centre Court wearing a skirt. A spectator comments, "How else will having a female coach affect Andy Murray's tennis?"
VOCABULARY Note the expression 'how else' meaning 'in what other ways'. • How else do you think the situation could have been solved by the teacher?
Ghana has been exposed as agreeing to take part in international football matches organised by match fixers. An undercover investigation by The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that the President of Ghana’s Football Association agreed for the team to play in international matches that others were prepared to rig. The team is currently competing in the World Cup finals in Brazil, and on Saturday pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany, in what was seen as one of the most entertaining games of the tournament so far. However, it can now be revealed that the African team had been lined up to play in international fixtures whose results would be fixed by corrupted officials. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Match fixing is the arranging in advance of the outcome of a match, or of events within that match, usually for the purpose of making money, often from betting. • A post on Facebook saying England will get a “second chance” against Uruguay in the World because a referee was charged with match fixing is fake.