The Pedant’s Guide to Crosswords

A collection of gripes about errors found in crossword clues

Mrs Beeton Mrs Isabella Beeton did not spell her name Beaton.
GB / UK Great Britain is not the United Kingdom, nor vice versa, but Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain, but it is part of the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).
Ulster / NI Ulster is not NI (Northern Ireland), nor vice versa, but Northern Ireland is part of Ulster.
English / British If you are English you may be British, but being British does not necessarily make you English
IR / HMRC The IR (Inland Revenue) no longer exists, it is now part of HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs)
TT The TT (Tourist Trophy) is not a race, it’s a Time Trial
Omaha Omaha is a city in Nebraska, not a state
FO / FCO The Foreign Office is now the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
without The word without means outside or beyond, not around or surrounding
 N  In mathematical formulae N represents an indefinite number, not an unknown one.  Chambers gives “An indefinite number, especially in a series (mathematics), often (informal) implicitly a large number” whereas for X, Y and Z it gives “the first variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity or factor (mathematics, etc)”, “a variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity or factor, used as distinct from and in addition to X (mathematics, etc)” and “the third variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity or factor in a series, after X and Y (mathematics, etc)”

Fellow pedants are welcome to use the contact page to submit their suggestions which may, at the editor’s discretion, be added to the guide during periodic updates.


< Crosswords


Created 13th October 2013

Updated 22nd August 2017