Spica, Fornax, perianth and eleet

Yesterday I mentioned that, as eccentric as I children think we are, we copy the large general knowledge crossword from the weekend newspaper so we can each attempt it. This week I ‘beat’ him on the number of solved clues, but we were both totally bamboozled by some.

Here are the ones which couldn’t get and which when I had got as far as I could, I looked up, and the answers:

  • the capital of the Cook Islands – Rarotonga; just in the news today was a report that the islands want to change their name from the commemoration of the explorer Captain James Cook, to something Polynesian to reflect the heritage of the islanders.
  • whirling double-star distorted into an egg-shape by gravity which is the brightest body in Virgo – Spica; the traditional name comes from Latin, spica virginis ‘the virgin’s ear’ of  wheat
  • gems worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s  and often by designer Gabrielle Chanel  – pearls, how could I not remember that!
  • species of thrush sometimes singing during the night or at dusk – blackbird… did anyone know that a blackbird was a type of thrush?
  • type of courtyard within a cloister at the centre of a medieval monastery – garth
  • the Furnace constellation – Fornax
  • French pointillist who painted Breakfast, The Milliner, and Sunday  – Signac
  • metaphor in which an object is used to describe something closely related to it – metonym
  • a calyx and corolla collectively – perianth
  • word linking ‘leet for a jargon originally developed by hackers – speak – also known as eleet or leetspeak, is a system of modified spellings mainly used on the Internet

My featured image by the way is for a leat – not leet as in the last clue!

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