Cryptic crossword

As a lowly landlubber who didn’t know his port from his starboard or a hagfish from a highwayman’s hitch, setting sail aboard the good ship Adlard Coles Nautical last month, I confess, was a nervy experience.

However, any symptoms of seasickness have long since passed.  Days and weeks have sailed by and, slowly but surely, I’m learning the ropes thanks to a hearty crew who’ve been good enough to guide me through some basics… so long as I put my back into swabbing the decks!

So, as a show of appreciation to them for agreeing to take on another pair of hands on their voyage through the high seas of nautical publishing, I thought I’d post a few cryptic clues to keep them – and you – entertained.

Click here to have a go… though you might want to have a look at the hint below before you do.

Navigation: Some of the more savvy among you will realise that – no matter if they belong to either fact or fiction – all of the answers are connected by the same nautical theme.

And don’t fret if you’re still all at sea by the end of the week; all will be revealed at the bottom of our next blog post.

Happy head-scratching!

The Ballet of Boat Launching

Another guest post from the Grand Mariner:

When you watch an experienced team at work who have obviously worked together for years and are in tune with each other, it’s a joy to see – and a comfort to know your boat is in extremely competent hands. Boat launching is a nervous time for most people, so what a relief it is to see your boat in safe hands. Andy and Colin at Shamrock Quay are a class act.

The bump along the stony uneven boatyard, the intricate juggling of boats being readied, tractors and trailers being positioned with consummate skill, the glide onto the slings, the gentle lowering into the water and whew, she’s safely in – and more important, is floating!

It’s the start of more work before we’re ready to go – changing the engine oil, replacing various filters, and most importantly putting the freshly laundered sails back on – but it’s an exciting time, with the prospect of lots more to come. Bring it on!

R.I.B. ticklers

We were very tempted to post the news story about Adlard Coles Nautical starting its own sailing school, but unfortunately April Fool’s Day fell on a weekend this year, and we just aren’t dedicated enough to the cause to do that kind of serious, time intensive work from home.

However, in honour of last Sunday, and simply because everyone in the office today is looking forward to the four day weekend, here are our top ten nautical rib ticklers. Remember: laughter stimulates the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the brain to produce endorphins. Groaning does not (though this should not be taken as an indication of how bad some of these are).

Why is it always ‘women and children first’?
Because then the sharks won’t be hungry any more.

Why couldn’t the pirate play cards?
Because he was sitting on the deck.

What do sailors use to blow their noses?
Anchor-chiefs.

What lies at the bottom of the sea and shakes?
A nervous wreck.

What fish can perform operations?
A sturgeon.

Where do little fish go every morning?
Plaice school.

What fish goes at 100mph?
A motor pike.

Who held the baby octopus to ransom?
Squidnappers.

How much did the pirate pay for his peg leg and hook?
An arm and a leg.

What’s the difference between a fish and a piano?
You can’t tuna fish.

And because we’re generous, here’s an eleventh for free (it’s also our favourite):

Where do prawns and lobsters go to catch the train?
King’s Crustacean.