In Colossus 119 the Baffler started off with a fantastical sounding word – BOONDOGGLE. It sounds like it should be something much more fun than a ‘Doomed but expensive project’. It seems to have started out as a Boy Scouts braided lanyard – decorative but not terribly useful. In 1935 a New York Times headline claimed that over $3 million had been spent teaching the jobless to make boon doggles. From there, the word boondoggle became part of our language as the name for the millions of jobs created in the US to try and get the depressed economy going. It remains with us and is used in a similar way to white elephant.
Well done to all those clever puzzlers who tracked down the answer to ‘Dr Who race’. This three-letter word did cause some headaches, but with another new Doctor now on our TV screens in this long-running series,  we knew you were up to the task of finding the OOD, who first appeared in 2006 and again in 2008, when the Doctor manages to free these squid-faced humanoids from enslavement so they can return to their own planet.


After finding the OOD, the JEDI for ‘Star Wars knight’ was easy!
Nearly everyone had DOS correct for ‘Computer operating system’ but just a handful of entries had DIS or DAS. DOS stands for Disk Operating System.
No pain no gain they say, and the Stinker can be a bit of a ‘Painful journey’, or via DOLOROSA at times, but of course it is always a very rewarding experience. A few entries had DELAROSA at 24ac. The Via Dolorosa, or ‘Way of Grief’, was the path that Jesus followed through Jerusalem to his crucifixion. We had a query that we should have had a capital V, but the Oxford Dictionary lists via dolorosa as a common noun. If we were referring to the route in Jerusalem it would be a proper noun.
We also had a query about Stinker 116dn ‘Identical (twins)’. The answer was MONOZYGOTIC – mono is a prefix meaning one and a zygote is a fertilised ovum. Non-identical twins are dizygotic as they are the result of two fertilised ova.
At 161dn the ‘Haitian dance’ was the MERENGUE. I did find that in French it is known as MERINGUE, but we could not accept this as it made 183ac incorrect. ‘Threshold’ was a tricky clue to EVE and left some wondering. The example of New Year’s Eve might help. It is the threshold to the New Year.
Modern dictionary compilers have to keep up with the pace of new terms entering our language. One of these new coinages was to be found at 98dn in answer to ‘GPS direction-finder (3,3)’. SAT NAV came about as a shortening of Satellite Navigation and it seems it is here to stay, with many drivers relying on this handy replacement to the Street Directory. Our judges spotted MAP NAV, NAV NAV and CAR NAV in Stinkers plus there were a few blanks.
Over at 99ac ‘Feng …’ referred to the Chinese art of positioning objects to create harmony, Feng SHUI. As it is pronounced ‘fung shway’ a few misspellings appeared including SHAI and SHWE. The latter made 76dn also incorrect. ‘Distinct star pattern’ was ASTERISM. In astronomy an asterism is a pattern of stars not classified as a constellation. In geology an asterism is a star pattern produced by crystals. This also appeared incorrectly as ANTARISM and ASTARISM.
For 241dn PLENARY was the answer to ‘Full (assembly)’ but some had PLENERY or PLENORY which made 269ac incorrect. The OKAVANGO is the ‘Angola border river’.
In the Giant Cryptic confusion occurred at 76dn ‘Dread foreign leader hearing organ’ This was not LEAR or HERR. F is the leading letter of ‘foreign’, a ‘hearing organ’ is an EAR, put together and FEAR equals ‘Dread’.
A note on 17ac, most of you knew this was CHIVALROUS but a spelling slip-up resulted in CHIVELROUS in a few entries.
Now grab your favourite boondoggle as you embark on the via dolorosa of the Stinker once again. A sat nav might help!