Better Together Salmond crossword clue criticised

Alex Salmond. Picture: Greg Macvean
Alex Salmond. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A CROSSWORD clue that makes an unflattering reference to Alex Salmond has caused a stir after it was published in Better Together’s campaign literature.

The SNP has criticised the “dishonest attack” on the First Minister buried in a crossword on the back page of a campaigning newspaper being put through letter-boxes by the “No” campaign.

Cruciverbalists tackling the Unionist-themed word-game in Better Together News will have noticed that the answer to the nine across clue: “Fishy politician won’t tell truth (7)” is “Salmond”.

The clue is the most personal of the 29 making up the crossword, which makes little secret of the compiler’s political viewpoint.

One across, for example, is: “Law that brought us together (3,2,5).” Answer: “Act of Union.” Twenty-three across is: “Currency after referendum? (4).” Answer: “euro.” Fifteen across is: “London triumph for Scottish Prime Minister? (4,2).” Answer “Team GB.” While ten down is: “John Smith’s ‘settled will of the Scottish people’(10).” Answer: “Devolution.”

Unsurprisingly, it was the “Salmond” answer which caused most comment.

An SNP spokesman said: ‘This is typical of the No campaign’s negativity and inability to come up with anything positive. Rather than dishonestly attacking individuals, they might want to address the substance and the real problems of a No vote next year – £4 billion more cuts to the Scottish budget by Westminster, more tax increases and austerity,the Bedroom Tax and Trident dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years.”

A spokesman for the Yes Scotland campaign produced a more light-hearted response to the slur. He said: “The No campaign do not have any answers to the real questions in this referendum, but they do seem to have plenty of cross words for the people of Scotland. The big puzzle is why they think their negative campaign will work.”

Last night a Better Together spokesman said: “If the polls are anything to go by, then the Yes campaign will be stuck on six down.”

For those who haven’t seen the puzzle, the clue for six down is: “short country (2)”. Answer: “UK”.