The Strain of The Train
If you are one of those puzzlers who solves crosswords on the train, then I commiserate. Many is the time, mid-cryptic crossword, my pen has been poised to strike. As the solution to a particularly fiendish clue is slowly formulating itself in my pre-frontal cortex, my concentration is rudely broken by an announcement alerting me to the availability of hot and cold beverages and sundry savouries in the buffet car. Don't get me wrong, a hot or cold beverage can be most welcome on a long train journey, as are the handy reminders to keep all my belongings about my person, and the regular updates on my geographical whereabouts. However, when I need all my wits about me, the intrusive tones of the public address system can certainly scupper my chances of solving success.
Another announcement that frequently disturbs me is the following: 'Vandalism is a criminal offence that causes delay and distress to other passengers. If you see it, report it.' Now, I don't know if it's my poor hearing, the sound quality of the Tannoy, or some deep-seated paranoia in need of urgent address, but I always mishear the first word of the announcement as 'Cannibalism'!