Yeah, some footballers might dive a bit (something I hate, by the way) but if you think all footballers dive a bit, and we’re going to be going down the road of tarring entire sporting codes with the same messy brush, then… wow… this:

Cage rattlage via this guy.

But hey. Obviously, not everyone’s at it, and these figures are for the UK. But with one case of doping and one case of alleged ‘Roid Rage just ahead of the Springbok World Cup squad announcement (no, I’m not providing links, you do the legwork), I don’t think it’s an exclusively UK thing.

So next time Suarez flings himself over the outstretched leg of a defender absolutely nothing, just be mindful that while he’s a complete twat, his latest urine sample was clearly unsullied by illegal substances.

Just saying.

Predicting things

The Rugby World Cup (2019 version) begins later this week, and anyone who’s anyone has published a crossword about it. Rugby is a big deal in South Africa and the country is ablaze with xenophobia and violence excitement about the upcoming tournament.

I’m less excited about rugby than your average local might be. I enjoy most sports, but I enjoy some more than others and rugby doesn’t tend to be one of them. I thought that I was going to enter a prediction league, but then I didn’t (which actually shows just how poor I am at predicting things).

And I’m still not going to enter it, but I thought I’d mention the format on here, because I quite liked it. Back in the day, this is the sort of thing that would usually have been jotted down on the back of a fag packet or beer mat in a dark corner of a pub, but now we have Excel, so it was jotted down on the back of a spreadsheet instead.

You have to pick four teams that are going to score you more points (using the scoring system on the right hand side) than any of the other four teams that anyone else has chosen. And just before you dive in with Ireland, New Zealand, England and South Africa, there’s a twist. The World Rankings of your chosen teams must add up to a total of at least 30. I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations, and those four above add up to 10.

Sorry for you.

As I see it, you have two options here. And I don’t think one of them works.

The one that doesn’t work is to pick an average of 4 x 8½. But the chances of the likes of France or Fiji getting into the semi’s or beyond (which is where all the points are) is not great. And if you’re going to stick a Big 4 team in there, you’re going to have to supplement it with the likes of a Samoa or a Uruguay. And they’re getting you an absolute maximum of 2 (possibly 4 if Kami smiles down upon Samoa). For the record, if I was going with this system (I’m not, because I’m not going with any system), I would have gone for South Africa, Australia, France and Georgia.
Georgia are, apparently ranked higher than Argentina. Who knew?

But that plan won’t get us anywhere. Probably.

So my idea was the take the obvious hit on a rank outsider, and make hay with some big names. With that in mind, step forward Canada, South Africa, England and New Zealand.

22+4+3+2 = 31. Street legal.

Canada won’t set the world (cup) alight, but they will beat Namibia* and so will score 2 points – just like Uruguay would have done. But then you have some big names up top who are going to do the business. Of course, Wales or Ireland might also do the business, but to my mind, the top 5 (or even 6?) are all capable of beating anyone else on any given day. And so you have to take three from six, bearing in mind that it still has to add up to 30, and knowing that no-one can pick four big names, because the competition rules don’t allow it.

I’ll revisit this post during and after the Rugby World Cup (the final is on 2nd November) and let’s see just how well I would have done.

All while remembering, of course, that I can’t even predict how I’m going to end this po-


* T&Cs apply 

Two records

I heard a couple of records yesterday which I enjoyed in different ways.

First off Röyksopp’s Eple – memories of Green Ridges and PS2 FIFA 03 tournaments.

I always thought it was pronounced Epp-lay until (while in Norway) I found it was Norwegian for ‘Apple’ and is actually Ep-le.

And then something completely different. A favourite song of mine, reimagined. With Windows start-up noises, nogal:

You’re either going to love it or you’re going to  hate it. I’m not sure which side of the fence I’m going to finally come down on, but at the moment, I’m finding it “interesting”, discovering more each time I listen to it.

There’s certainly a time and place for it, but it’s probably 4 o’clock on a smokey, whiskey-filled morning as the sun thinks about coming up.

Not now.

Health matters

Yes, it does. And last week was a rather unhealthy week for me. I’m still paying the penalty. After eating too much, drinking too much, not getting enough sleep, and doing not really quite enough vigorous exercise, I feel fairly ropey. My body – often described as a temple* – isn’t looking or feeling great.

This weekend was a good example. Saturday started with a lovely 7km walk on the mountain with friends (light not great for ‘togging, but still):

…but that’s pretty much where the good stuff (health-wise, at least) ended.

I lazed in front of the miserable football all afternoon, before heading out for cheese and wine and wine and wine in the evening. Great fun, but quite winey, with hindsight. We staggered in after 1am [audience: woooah!] and then were up early again for a birthday party in town.

Sunday afternoon came and went, with absolutely no impetus to move, let alone exercise. On the plus side, there was no desire to drink either.


Anyway, this week is going to be different. Healthier food, alcohol free, and plenty of exercise, as I get myself back on track. No, it’s not a “detox”: my body was doing quite nicely (rather too well, some might argue) at keeping me detoxed.

No, this is going to be a week of moderation: of earlier nights and a reasonable amount of exercise. I’ve already smashed some gym, boet, and I’m feeling ready to go.


Right after this nap.



* originally admired for its beauty, but then ransacked and razed by marauding forces in the early medieval period. 

Egg-chasery festival set to begin

There’s a big egg-chasing tournament about to start in Japan this week, and what egg-chasing tournament worth its salt doesn’t have a egg-chasing themed crossword on an obscure blog 14,729km away to celebrate its opening?

Not this one.


Have fun on the puzzle, enjoy the rugby, and may the best team win – and if not them, then England or South Africa.