Google v Dictionary

The horny bustard.

Hard to believe, but I can assure you there is such a bird. I ‘think’ I saw
it while on safari in Botswana in 2008 – at least it was pointed out by our
guide, though the fleeting flapping of wings and blur of colour I may have
only imagined. With glee, its name was duly noted, and I waited nervously to
consult Google on my return home.

Only one Google ‘hit’, but sure enough, there was a picture. I hadn’t
imagined it. And so, ‘Horny bustard’ became an entry in The Guardian
crossword.

But today, three years on, I Googled ‘horny bustard’ again. The ubiquitous
search engine questioned my spelling, suggesting I should perhaps be probing
birds of the un-feathered variety. The bird has flown.

Bloggers on crossword-related sites had originally suggested that I’d tried
to slip one past the editor – as if I’d do such a thing!

And now, no means of supporting my claim.

Which brings us circuitously to whether Googling is valid in finding new
entries for the crossword.

For what it’s worth, I think probably not, but ‘horny bustard’ was just too
good an opportunity to miss. The crossword is simply a form of
entertainment. It is my job to entertain.

Very best wishes,

John (Paul)

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