Frequently Asked Questions
The definitive guide to the people and chat generally found on comp.sys.sinclair.
Not really a FAQ, more of an A-Z instead. Tch, eh?

Last updated: 13th April 2004 | What's New? | Got Something to Add? | Credits

Welcome to the comp.sys.sinclair Folklore FAQ. If you have any difficulty finding the information you need, please contact us and we'll try to help. Mirrors of the FAQ exist — please check the mirrors page for a current list.

So then, comp.sys.sinclair, what's it all about? Well, the newsgroup was set up approximately years ago with the purpose of discussing all things Sinclair related (Spectrums, ZX80/81s, QLs and even C5s). Of course, when you get a load of nostalgic ex-YS readers you're bound to get mucho off-topic wibbling on all sorts of things. The jargon that's built up around this is pretty off-putting to any new folk wanting to contribute to the newsgroup so Matthew Westcott suggested writing a jargon FAQ to ease people into the weirdness inherent in the group. This is what you're looking at.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons alive or dead is entirely intentional. May contain nuts (very likely - Ed).

#-/ | 0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



Spin-off IRC channel from CSS. The folk on this newsgroup talking in real-time? Scary thought, eh? You can connect to it via Astrolink, try one of the servers listed at their website in your IRC client, followed by /join #speccy with the start of the Spectrum's screen memory, in decimal, as a password (that'll get you thinking).


IRC chat thingy that has become popular on CSS, the typical example being along the lines of /me gets his coat.


75p and a packet of Rolos

The fundamental unit of currency on CSS, Now reduced to it's original value of 75p due to the state of the economy and to boost consumer spending. Invariably made as an offer to anyone attempting to sell R@RE!!!!! items on the group. See also plug tax.



alt.binaries.comp.sinclair, a newsgroup which accompanies CSS and is used to post files - e.g. games, pictures, T-shirt designs etc. Created by /|ndy |<avanagh following a minor demand from CSS people.

Absolutely Brilliant!!!

Other superlatives work too, but the above is the most common. You've got David Darling to blame for this, the Codemasters guy who claimed every game they produced was indeed ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

Alex Farlie

Former regular in CSS. Sinclair, BBC, and Archimedes (via an emulator) user apparently. Despite popular myth not responsible for starting investigations into the UEA but definitely encouraged further digging. Notorious for NQAS and some totally unnecessary crossposts (via an alias) which carried on despite requests for him to stop. Tried to get the crossposts removed in their entirety as a sort of apology, but that's a bit of a futile exercise on Usenet.

and I claim my five pounds. abbv. AICMFP

Usually used when some (highly erroneous usually) revelation is stated in the post, e.g. "You are Clive Sinclair and I claim my five pounds.". The five pounds is interchangeable with other monetary sums, including 75p and a packet of Rolos. Apparently first coined in a Daily Mirror newspaper competition in the 50s or 60s, or something.

Andrew Owen

Highly techy bloke, who's penchant is for rewriting the Spectrum ROM and designing new Speccies (e.g. his +2C, and Chloe). Has now returned from his year-long sojourn to Australia. The Owenbot's still around though.


A seemingly innocuous name which dominates the newsgroup, for reasons known only to the UEA. Andys spotted recently on comp.sys.sinclair include Andy Cadley and /|ndy |<avanagh (both part of the UEA conspiracy), Andy Davis, Andy Whitelaw, Andrew Barker, Andy Dansby, and Andrew "Brother of Ian" Collier. /|ndy |< is responsible for the creation of ABCS and the introduction of Run Baby Run to many people in CSS.


Or America Online. ISP infamous for the stupidity of the majority of its users. There are newsgroups in existence where anyone who posts using AOL will be instantly killfiled. We're a tad nicer than that in CSS though. Just don't fall into the trap of the common AOL user of quoting an entire message just to add the agreement "Me too." at the end. It's best not to use AOL generally as you're tied into their Internet software rather than being able to use whatever software you want. Don't listen to Connie.

Army Moves

Officially recognised as the most difficult computer game in the world ever. Even getting off the first screen is a hell of an achievement. Made by Spanish software house Dinamic, who weren't exactly renowned for the easiness of their other games either.

Austrian Town

There is a village in Austria called Fucking. This is true. See this site for evidence. Robert Baker used "Austrian town without the -ing" in the subject of a post once as it's a handy replacement when you don't want to cause offence, e.g. "What the Austrian town without the -ing was that?!".


Shortened form of a much ruder word. Generally considered as a very mild expletive, unlike its bigger brother, so commonly used on CSS, e.g.:
> I've just bought a mint ZX80 for 75p and a packet of Rolos
Came from YS as well unsurprisingly.


Bella Emberg

The, er, cuddly woman from Russ Abbott's TV show. The one that used to dress up as Blunderwoman. Llama-wax Len's fascination with her (often taking the form of mmmmm, Bella Emberg) is worrying, but not half as much as Spike owning a signed photo.


Binary posts are not allowed on comp.sys.sinclair, it's plain text only here. A special newsgroup, alt.binaries.comp.sinclair has been set up specifically for binary posts. If you post binaries to CSS you'll get a thwap, as well as becoming extremely unpopular.


The Infamous Blood, AKA Lee Tonks. He instigated the CSSCGC, as well as designing his own Manic Miner game, bmp2spec for converting PC bitmaps to Spectrum screens, and a load of other useful utilities that can be found on his website, Blood's Crap Speccy Page. Unfortunately he seems to have completely vanished from the newsgroup.

Bob the penguin

CSS's own machine-gun-wielding sphenisciform superhero, often to be found collecting plug tax, working as a sub-editor on YS3, or exposing injustice in the coat industry.


In the #speccy chatroom, a regularly coined phrase for broke (as in "I'm flat bork") created by The Starglider when he misspelt broke. Will be the bane of his life now.

Brian Gaff

Old hand on the CSS ship. Has been here for years. Unfortunately he's now almost totally blind, so accesses the newsgroup via a text-to-speech type thingy. To avoid him having to listen to loads of quoted text, replying to Brian is the only exception to the top posting rule.

Bubble Bobble (theme from)

Written by the musical god Tim Follin, this is an insanely catchy piece of music, so much so that it has driven many CSS occupants completely hatstand at the mere mention of it. Usually a single "do do do do (do do do do)" is enough to guarantee the insanity.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. A damn good programme on BBC2 on Thursdays and Fridays, except when there's snooker, bowls, or dwarf tossing on that is obviously far more important than a regular series that people might actually watch, grrr, (and also on that new fangled satellite shenanigans with more consistent scheduling) concerning a college student killing vampires, demons, etc. Often lusted over in CSS, but not quite as much as Willow or even (mmmmm) Vampire Willow.


Cassette 50

A tape produced by Cascade that had 50 games on it. Yep, that's right, 50 games! The only little problem with it was that instead of getting classics like Jetpac or Manic Miner for your money, you got 50 unbelievably crap BASIC games that tended to take longer to load than they lasted on the machine. Totally awful, and therefore inspired the CSSCGC.


The sensation that a game is not playing by the rules and that some odd hardware / software sentience is purposely cheating in order for the player to lose. Some people have stated that this phenomenon is due to the player being 'not very good' at the game in question but this is patently untrue. Can normally only be overcome by high levels of jammygittedness. Cheatingbastness is believed to be related closely with the chuntey phenomena which causes your mum to choose the split second before you attain a world record high score to say 'your tea's ready', thus causing your concentration to lapse and thence lose all your 'lives'.


A SuperSpectrum designed by Andrew Owen with the help of others. It's now materialised under the moniker of the ZX Spectrum SE. You can find the details of the machine here.

Chris Boardman giving John Prescott a backie

This bizarre image was conjured up in a thread to do with public transport and cycling, or something, and so impressed the man known as Squatch that he brings it up in every thread he participates in. Usually preceded by Mmmmm.

Chris Young

Reasonably prolific poster to the group. Accesses the net via an Amiga, just because he can. Maintains the Unsatisfactory Software page, home to the Stuart N. Hardy mailing list, Advanced Lawnmower Simulator Online Edition, and Your Sinclair: A Celebration, which is ace.


Adjective meaning able to be affected by chuntey. Hardware like tape decks, modems and CD writers are decidedly chuntable.


The Speccy loading "aura". i.e. the mystical field set up when the Speccy was loading that was sensitive to the slightest disturbance e.g. your mum walking into the room. Of course causing a disturbance in the chuntey instantly causes any game currently loading to fail. Coined by La Haine accidentally as a misspelling of "chutney", and defined by Llama-Wax Len.

In the words of the Llama-Waxer himself,
"Spectrums have the one true chuntey, the uber-chuntey if you will.

Other 8-bit machines had similar problems, but paled in comparison to the
Speccy chuntey. Machines such as the CBM64 and the CPC had what scientists
refer to as pseudo-chuntey.

PCs have chuntey-related issues that have descended from these but are not
quite the same - in essence, PCs are affected by neo-chuntey."


There's an unhealthy obsession on CSS with coats. So much so that two of the locals (Llama-Wax Len and Titch Tracey) have set themselves up as competing coat dealers. I wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them personally. See also I'll get my coat.


More suitable name for the Commodore 64 being, as it is, crap. Originally coined (IIRC) by Chris Bourne in Sinclair User back in '85 or '86. Other suggested names for the machine and it's users are:

Lionel Richie: (Of the Commodores fame)
CommonBore: Typical C64 user

Commodore 64

The Commodore 64 is crap. Always has been, always will be. There's no argument on the matter. Surprisingly the residents of comp.sys.cbm didn't see it that way when The Starglider crossposted a message between CSS and c.s.cbm informing them of the fact, but they're wrong.

Congraturation! You sucsess!

This badly-translated-from-Japanese message congratulated you for completing Stop the Express. Commonly used in CSS whenever anyone gets a bit of good luck, gets a new job/girlfriend/etc as in:

> I got the job.  Woohoo!

Congraturation!  You sucsess.


A "virtual" woman who appears in adverts for AOL. Is it just me, or is there something seriously sinister about her?


The second best Spectrum magazine in the world ever. Good quality journalism but missing the nuttiness of YS. Still a damn sight better than Sinclair User though.


One of the main topics of conversation on the newsgroup is about crisp/chocolate/sweet varieties. This is a hot-bed of opinions and is crucial to the functioning of the newsgroup. It's generally regarded that Walkers Crisps are the lowest of the low, but opinion differs on other varieties. Any opinions, details of where to still obtain sweets and crisps that we loved in the '80s, etc. would be warmly welcomed.


The Comp.Sys.Sinclair Crap Games Competition. This is an annual competition in which the residents of the newsgroup try to write the crappiest games possible. Usually written in BASIC as it's easier to write crap games in that. Originally initiated in 1996 by Blood and inspired by the awfulness that was Cascade's Cassette 50. The latest CSSCGC entries can be seen here.


A few guys on the newsgroup (e.g. Matthew Westcott are CSSfiances to Nattie. Unfortunately I don't know what this involves as she hasn't asked me to be one. *sob*


Dave The Lurker

Probably the most inappropriate name for this guy, as he's a complete failure at lurking, tending to post more stuff to CSS than anyone else (apart from Spike obviously).


Or the evil bastard keyword from hell. A Speccy keyword aimed at letting you set up your own mathematic type functions, it's a nightmare to figure out how to use, and can actually corrupt a BASIC program. Try running this on a Speccy:
10 DEF FN a() = FN a()
20 PRINT FN a()

Demo Scene

The Speccy still has a flourishing demo scene, mainly in eastern Europe, but there's some Brits in there too. You wouldn't believe some of the things these guys can do with a 3.5MHz Z80. Check out Matthew Westcott's Demotopia site for examples of this.


Andy Kavanagh. Sexually depraved individual, erm, allegedly. Responsible for the creation of alt.binaries.comp.sinclair and the introduction of Run Baby Run to the newsgroup. Also editor of ugvm, which is nice.

Derek Jolly

'Tis I! Hurrah! I first read this newsgroup in 1994. No, that's not a typo. '94 at Uni, not long after it was set up. I'm still blimmin' here, so it can't be too bad.


Spanish software company responsible for some of the most difficult games in recorded history including the evil Army Moves. Famous for giving the world the terrifying monster cry of "GRONF! GRONF!"

Duncan Snowden

Duncan posts general waffle to the group. Most noted for his Random .sig generator that generates random Speccy error messages in his .sig.



Internet auction house famous for its users selling W@W!!! L@@K!!! R@RE!!! items that are actually extremely common. As Chris Young says:
Yes, that's right.  Here is the definitive list of tips and tricks for
eBay sellers:

1. Use the "at" symbol in all words, especially as in "L@@K" and "R@RE". 
The swirling symbol of the @ has a hypnotic effect on the viewer.

2. If the item you are selling is known to be broken, advertise it as
"untested, but belived to be working".  Nobody will argue, and nobody
will complain when it doesn't work.  You can always argue it must have
been damaged in the post.

3. Use potentially misreadable wording.  If you are selling a box that a
PS2 came in, with a receipt, advertise it as "PS2 box with receipt". 
Most people will just assume you meant "boxed" and fork out several
hundred quid.

4. If the item you are selling is from the 80s, or the 70s, or in fact
any decade, advertise it as "SPECTRUM ERA".  The buyers will flock in as
the Spectrum is synonybos[1] with quality.

That's all I can think of.  Number 1 is blatently stolen from the NAF
FAQ.  Others are copyright of their respective owners if they appear to
be taken from elsewhere they probably are derived from subliminal
messages that came to me in my sleep.

[1] Okay, that isn't a real word, but you know what I mean.


(From Editor's comments in YS and other magazines) A mysterious character who lives in the collective CSS conscience and steps in with bracketed comments when something in a post needs censoring or clarifying. For example: "(Oi! That's enough of that! - Ed.)" In particularly bad cases, Ed's own comments have been interrupted by another Ed, known as "Ed's Ed". First introduced by Charles Michael 'Eddie' Penkethman at around the end of the 19th century, according to Amiga Power anyway. Popularised in CSS by Gerard Sweeney.

Equin0x Tetrachloride

A founder of the conspiracy surrounding UEA, Equin0x is a depressed Computing student who contributes short bursts of on- and off-topic postings to the group. In his pre-CSS days, Eq wrote some fairly bad games, was involved with some fairly bad demo groups, and briefly maintained a PD library. This may also have been fairly bad, history doesn't relate. He now promotes race suicide at



Always used in front of an opinion, never a cast-iron fact, e.g. FACT: Len is a KNOWN LIAR. Introduced during the Lees/Thomas flamefest 2001 by said Lees character.


The CSS FAQ can be found at /cssfaq/index.html. This contains just about every piece of information you could ever need about the Speccy, which is why there's not a great deal of discussion on these topics in the newsgroup. It frees up the newsgroup to talk about far more important things like Buffy and crisps.

First Post

A historic moment occurred on 13/12/1993. The first post[1] to a brand new newsgroup called comp.sys.sinclair was posted by Bo Lindbergh. Find it here.

[1] Well, the first post that we can find on Google.

Fish puns

If someone posts a message with any sort of fish name in it (most commonly misspelling "crap" as "carp), you're guaranteed to get a huge swathe of followups with fish name puns in them like "Name that tuna", "Not tonight dear, I have a haddock", "We've got to get out of this plaice" etc. Cod knows why this is.

Fnar (or F'nar. YS used Fnar, Viz (where it originally came from) used F'nar)

Related to "Oo-er". Indication of double entendre in a posting whether intentional or not. Another YSism commonly used in the newsgroup.


Or "f**k off dickhead", as Gavin Morgan, CEO of a certain games company, replied to The Starglider when he enquired whether they'd got in contact with Matthew Smith about their proposed Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy remakes. Likely to be excessively used in CSS now. You have been warned.


Footnotes are additional text at the end of a post, referenced in the main text by the relevant number, like this[1]. Used normally for comedic effect in CSS. Footnotes are an infection that spread to us from and show no signs of responding to treatment[3].

[1] This is a footnote.[2]
[2] This footnote is stuck in a loop[2].
[3] Footnoteidotes anyone?[4]
[4] I'll get my coat.


Gerard Sweeney

This man is incredibly funny as well as being completely hatstand. Likes nothing better than a good POKE (f'nar). Has recently started posting to CSS again after a layoff of ages due to not having an Internet connection either at work or at home. Introduced the Ed comment to the newsgroup. Maintains the Hackers Anonymous' Speccy Playground site.


Like Buffy, only in real life. With breasts and everything!



Viz term that YS nicked for their own purposes. Means completely loopy in a mad as a fish way.


CSS's own resident Hugh Grant lookalike (see here). Hob's the guy in Echo Valley (i.e. his posts keep coming up twice (f'nar) although he seems to have escaped now. Has the dubious distinction of being older than nearly everyone else in CSS.

Hotel comp.sys.sinclair

(To the tune of "Hotel California" by the Eagles)

Welcome to the hotel comp.sys.sinclair,
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Coined by Nattie and used when someone returns to the group after having left for a bit. You can't escape, BWAHH-HA-HA-HAAA!

Html tags (in a mock stylee)

It is quite customary on CSS to end a post, rant, quote, impersonation etc. with an HTML tag - but not a real one, no, because that would violate the no binaries policy. I mean something along the lines of "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay </monty python>".


Ian Collier

Ian's been here since for ever and ever and ever. No, really. Wrote the xz80 Speccy emulator, as well as loads of CSSCGC entries. Ian's about six months behind in reading messages at the minute due to some sort of temporal anomaly or something so don't expect an instant reply from him to anything you post. Has actually progressed beyond the girlfriend stage and is now married to Jacqui from

I'll get my coat. abbv. IGMC

A reference to the Fast Show sketch where Mark Williams' character jumps in to a conversation with a completely shocking statement, upon which there is a lengthy pause after which he says "I'll get my coat". Normally used (or a witty alternative thereof) on CSS when something well dodgy is mentioned in the post.


An international computer network, which you are currently connected to. Famous for coining such classic phrases as "The Internet's down" and "I've got the Internet" (What? All of it? - Ed).

Issue 18 of Crash

Despite much documentary evidence, many regulars of CSS refuse to believe that this magazine was ever produced. Naturally, rumours of its existence are firmly denied by the UEA. This originated when one punter kept popping up on the newsgroup asking if anyone had a copy for sale, giving rise to the immortal phrase "What's so special about Issue 18?".

It's definitely not Stonkers

It isn't, you know. Whatever Speccy game you were thinking about is definitely not Stonkers. Uh, uh. No way Jose! According to Darren Hallett anyway, who replies with this to every Name the Game type post that pops up in CSS.



Coined by FishyFish. The ability, in the face of severe cheatingbastness or being crap at a game, to complete a game/achieve a phenomenal high score that would not normally be possible for the person playing the game.

Jeff Braine

Or Squelching Lord Custardly-Wellyboot, or something, as he sometimes refers to himself. Ex-pat Brit living in Australia, so has his summers in the winter etc. A member of Retrospec and currently working on a PC version of Sabre Wulf.

Jocks At The Top

A mythical Scottish sitcom written by Duncan Snowden, featuring all the Scottish people in c.s.s. Dunc says he lost it when his hard drive went down on him (f'nar), and nobody has ever seen the script, but this does not stop rumours of a Christmas special with the dialogue written entirely in Swedish. Came from the stats posting by Spike that also generated the Thread Of Evil.

John Dow

Scottish hippy type bloke with an unhealthy fascination for ungulates, much like Jeff Minter. Main producer of Retrospec games, he likes nothing better than frotting the odd nelefa, which I don't even remotely claim to understand. He's recently completed a commercial remake of Jeff Minter's Gridrunner in Blitz Basic 3D which should be available on the shelves of your local games shop.

Jonathan Nash

The last Editor of Your Sinclair, who took over (sort of) from Jon Pillar.

Jon Pillar

Don't dare call Jonathan Nash by this name. He gets quite upset. Someday we may learn why.


Kettle of bananas

Variation on "kettle of fish" as in "That's a completely different kettle of bananas.". Came from someone mentioning a kettle of fish, and someone else (don't you love this accuracy? - Ed) pondering on what else you could store in a kettle.


Seen Lister in #speccy? Type this in. Just take my word for it, it makes the place much nicer.


Comment introduced during the Lees/Thomas flamefest 2001 by David Lees. Now commonly used whenever anyone has a different opinion about something than someone else. e.g.

> Robocop is hard.
You are a KNOWN LIAR!


La Haine

Paul Haine. Reasonably prolific poster. Coined chuntey accidentally as a misspelling of "chutney". Dunno much about the chap. Hang on, let's read from his geek code...Geek of Humanities, has a Unix account, gets paid for being a webmaster (lucky bast!), doesn't know who Kibo is (wasn't here back in the early nineties then), thinks role-playing is a complete waste of time, rarely understands Dilbert (obviously working in too good a company).

Lee Prince

Started posting in May 2001 and soon became one of the more prolific posters to the group (i.e. he posts far too much), despite having (or claiming to have anyway) a girlfriend. He's also useful to have around if you've got any spare Jack Daniels you want to get rid of, as you can see here.


Food eaten by a ploughmna, consisting of cheees, chuntey, pickeld onoins, a few toamtoes and the odd bit of lettcue.

Lees/Thomas Flamefest 2001

David Lees doesn't like Peter Thomas. Apparently Peter Thomas had a link to the Speccy FAQ on his site that didn't work or something, but who knows what the reasoning behind the hatred is. Whatever, it lead to a massive invasion of the newsgroup by trolls and even the Adjective Army that totally swamped the group for a few weeks causing a few regulars to leave for the duration. Things seemed to have settled down again now though.

Lesbia Percival

Definitely not Scribbler's sister. Ooo no missus! There is a real Lesbia Percival though. Have a look here under the "St John Ambulance Brigade" bit for evidence. Shame there's not a picture.

Linda Barker

The missing member of YS. Now found not to be missing at all, but alive and well and living in Bath (Mmmmm, Linda B in the bath). Hasn't got an internet connection at the minute unfortunately, so hasn't been introduced to the madness of CSS. Definitely YS's answer to Willow.

Lister's shirt

A truly vile piece of clothing, as evidenced here. Lister likes this shirt for some inexplicable reason.

Llama-Wax Len

Not really a llama waxer, it's a cunning anagram of his real name, Alan Maxwell, coined by Andrew Owen, Alan himself, and Chris Young when we were mucking about with anagrams in a thread. Generally crap at most Spectrum games, especially Robocop which he seems to find incredibly difficult for some reason. Broke away from Titch Tracey's employ to set up a competing coat business on his own.


Accompanies R@RE!!!!! and also employs the mystical properties of @ to make people look at this particular auction. Nobody seems to stop and wonder what the word "latatk" actually means.


"Is this thread stuck in a loop?" is a phrase you'll often find mentioned as a thread suddenly repeats something that was said earlier. It will then cause an outbreak of people repeating catchphrases such as mmmmm, buffy and "what's so special about issue 18?" It is often accompanied by references to the "so what is it?" conversation concerning a white hole, as seen in the TV series Red Dwarf. These threads often end up with a hideous hybrid of regular CSS phrases such as "what's so special about Buffy's Robocop issue 18?"


MAME cab

It started with Chris Young being asked if that was his MAME cab at a particular arcade emulation site. "No," he said. "So where's yours then?" asked /|ndy |<avanagh. "I don't have one," was the reply. "Who stole yours then?" etc. It was last seen being dragged from Chris's garage and across a muddy field. Allegedly stolen by Adam D. Moss for the purposes of leaning against to impress Nattie.

Matthew Smith

The man, the legend. Creator of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy. Unfortunately never got Miner Willy meets the Taxman or Attack Of The Mutant Zombie Flesh-Eating Chickens From Mars Starring Zippo The Dog finished. Disappeared to a commune in Holland for a while. Has now reappeared with style, being interviewed by Iain Lee in a programme on E4 (Channel 4's new digital channel) and Channel 4. Has his homepage here.

Matthew Westcott

The Gasman in the Speccy demo scene. Made the brilliant suggestion that we do a list like this, as well a contributing a lot of the entries. Maintains the Demotopia website at


A UK viewdata computer network run by BT. Sort of like a cross between teletext and the Internet. Rumour is that BT once tried to sue several American ISPs for allowing customers to use their patented hyperlink technology.


Michael Law. Got one day's CSS community service as a sentence for test posting and liked it so much he decided to stay. Realised that in ABCS people can hear you scream and comment on how crap the scream is. When asked a question he doesn't know the answer to (all of them - Ed) he mutters "Erm, Amurote" which, as you can see, he can't spell properly.


For example, "Mmmmm Buffy. Whenever your mind goes wandering off with some pleasant mental image when composing a post to CSS, it's customary to let the readers know this by indicating it with an "Mmmmm". Some Mmmmms are too dodgy for posting so commonly get snipped by Ed.



Natalie 'Nattie' Mayer appeared via a crosspost to and is a real girl. Yes, with breasts and everything! Just about the last thing you'd expect in comp.sys.sinclair. Has a number of CSSfiances in the newsgroup.

Nat Cross

Self proclaimed King of Plugs, and editor of YS3. Recipient of Plug Tax.

Navy Moves

Harder than Army Moves


Ancient 80s newsgroup that was a precursor to CSS. Sort of the Your Spectrum to CSS's Your Sinclair. People actually posted to this group USING A SPECTRUM WITH A MODEM!!! See this link for evidence of this.
It also contains a classic quote from Camille Goudeseune from 19th July 1985 that is just as pertinent today, namely:
"Yes, I do admit to owning the volkswagen of computers.  Essentially, 
there is nothing the humble ZX can't do that, say, a PC can.  It's just 
slower, lower resolution, and 2^1000 times cheaper."

Nick Humphries

Maintainer of the Your Sinclair Rock'n'Roll Years site. An archive of all issues of the best Speccy magazine ever, which you can access here.


The message a modem gives when it loses the connection with the remote computer. Used to occur when somebody disrupted the chuntey while you were trying to download from Micronet. Used on c.s.s. to stop a message in mid-sentence when the rest is unprintable or embarrassing, such as the time when you listened to your Speccy game tapes through a pair of headph@!$#@NO CARRIER.


A large Norwegian FTP site of Speccy stuff. This was what WoS is, except not as good or as organised. Some poor shmuck once downloaded all 14,000+ files, and catalogued them all.


On Topic

Despite its Sinclair relatedness, virtually anything and everything is considered on-topic on CSS. There's only so much you can say about 20 year old computers, so most threads tend to be about things like crisp/chocolate/sweet varieties, '70s and '80s children's programmes, etc. We do know an awful lot about the Speccies though, so of course actual on-topic posts are also perfectly welcome. See also topic drift. We're trying to get the group back to something approaching on-topicness now though, hence the creation of uk.culture.nostalgia.1980s.

Or Something

If you've got a vague inkling about something but are not 100% sure if it's right, it's common practice to just post it anyway with an additional "or something." to show that you're not entirely certain of what you've just written. See the entry for Jeff Braine for an example of this. Another YSism unsurprisingly enough.


An ARexx script attempt at replicating Andrew Owen to tide us over until he returned from his trip to Australia. Produces uncanny Owen-like on-topic posts, for example:

I'll, bug SE speed double +3 Z80 Sinclair or BASIC Speccy or anyway flash, TV created, debug +2c modulator Chloe can graphics something coat monitor 128K monitor, crap or of has speed have created Spectrum created, Spectrum write modulator. +2 have message will the will, Sinclair 16, +2a crap faster improved, BASIC your modified SE, ZX get that Z80 +2 project modulator Speccy colours +2c +2 ROM 16 I is Sinclair created, probably 48K faster BASIC Sinclair have


Please Ignore

Common contents of a test message posted to CSS, guaranteed to achieve the complete opposite, normally generating a huge swathe of followups with things like "Vest, please ignore", "Nest, please ignore", etc.


A bot designed to replace the job of a thousand wroms.

Plug Tax

A charge of 75p and a packet of Rolos imposed on anybody attempting to advertise their website on CSS. Paid to YS3's Nat Cross, self-proclaimed King Of Plugs, and collected in a more or less non-violent fashion by Bob the penguin.


The altering of an area in the Spectrum's memory. Usually used to cheat at games you'd be otherwise rubbish at, such as anything by Dinamic. One of the few Spectrum BASIC commands pretty much guaranteed to induce schoolboy sniggers.


Description given to anything remotely controversial or flameworthy posted to the group. Originated from a cross-post with the Commodore 64 newsgroup which quickly turned into a flamewar about homosexuality, in which one of the antagonists would continually discard any counter-arguments as "cheap" *polemics*, using "strange" (punctuation) to *emphasise* his point.


F'nar, oo-er, etc. Well dodgy misspelling of "prejudices" coined accidentally by Helmántika (I think I've got that accent right), when replying to a message claiming that there were no good Spanish Speccy games.




Or something's or something, or something. Blame Lee Prince.

Random .sig generator

Duncan Snowden's script that generates random Speccy error messages in his .sig every time he posts. Tends to come up with messages that are uncannily related to the post, so is now considered to be haunted or something.


The description given to anything whatsoever being placed for auction on eBay, regardless of how commonplace said item actually is (eg. R@RE!!!!! Horizons cassette - only 5 million ever produced). The use of the @ symbol in place of the A is said to have a hypnotic effect, causing potential buyers to lose all sense of monetary value. Anyone announcing such auctions on CSS is likely to be deluged with stories of people buying the same thing at a car boot sale for 75p and a packet of Rolos. However, a number of items are regarded as being genuinely R@RE!!!!! on CSS, including Bick's cucumber relish and issue 18 of Crash.


Hellraiser posted a message detailing an auction on eBay offering a ZX81 with a black logo instead of red with the line "If this makes it a rarity, then you'll be getting something very special indeed; it doesn't look to me like the paint has just worn away.". This has led to a moderately large thread of people offering other similar rare items like Spectrums with a manufacturing error so that there's no " symbol on the P key, ZX81s with permanently attached 16K RAM packs that don't look as if they've been glued on to stop RAM pack wobble, etc.

Real Life

Erm...hang on.....I don't understand! Where's my Speccy?


Canadian webspace provider. Only in this FAQ due to the hilarious misinterpretation of their name in web addresses. It looks much more like re-drival than red-rival. OK, so it's not really that funny.


A group of coders/artists/musicians including John Dow and Jeff Braine who dedicate their spare time to producing remakes of classic Speccy games for modern platforms. These guys rule! Check'em out at


Ocean's film licensed game from about '87 or so. Dead easy game. Can be completed blindfolded with one hand tied behind your back. Except by Llama-Wax Len of course.


Right, let's get this straight. Spectrum games, with the exception of the few games that were released in cartridge form for use with the Interface II, ARE NOT ROMS!!! The Speccy isn't a console. It loaded games from tape, so the games on the net are either tape images (i.e. direct copies of what was on the original tape) or memory snapshot images (direct copies of the RAM and registers at a certain point in the game), so they're either snaps or taps (or TZXs). Don't call the games ROMS. We don't like it in CSS. Keep your warez kiddie speech out.

Run Baby Run

A game legendary in CSS on account of its crapness and yet sheer brilliance. Mentioned by /|ndy |<avanagh in a thread in CSS, it was soon denounced by Llama-wax Len as being clearly crap. Then addictive. Then brilliant. Andy even went as far as designing a player's guide for it. The PC remake's currently in development hell (i.e. waiting for me to get off my arse and finish it).

Russell Tayler

Known as Tayles, this man runs the Speccy Golden Years site and is so devoted to the golden years that anything after 1986 tends to get a severe slagging from him. His wrath is usually directed towards Ocean's movie adaptations and anything even remotely related to Codemasters.



Another Fast Show reference (see I'll get my coat). This is a reference to the Paula Fisch weather forecast on Chanel 9 sketch from said show where the weather's always hot hence "Scorchio!". This tends to be the reply given to anyone posting to CSS in a language other than English. Other phrases from the same sketch (e.g. "Eth eth eth eth eth, Chris Waddle") are often used instead.

Sinclair User

Many people won't believe this, but up until 1986 Sinclair User was a pretty good Speccy magazine. A bit dry perhaps, but full of good information. Unfortunately, after that it went rapidly downhill, inflicting such atrocities as Kamikaze Bear on the Speccy populace. We've never forgiven them.


You know, those side-on smiley faces (e.g. :-)). You don't need these on comp.sys.sinclair. We're clued up enough to recognise irony, sarcasm, humour, etc. when we see it. You'll just get flamed if you use smilies.


Website hosted by Daren (with one 'r') Pearcy. Home to comp.sys.sinclair faces, a rogue's gallery of a load of the folk on the newsgroup. Should come with a health warning really. Also includes The Inaugural Commode 64 burning (don't worry folks, the C64s were already dead). Find it here.


Sir Clive and Sweevo impersonator as evidenced here. Inadvertently caused the Thread of Evil with his newsgroup stats post.

The Starglider

Old hand in CSS. Has been here forever. Named after an excellent Speccy game. Bit of an actor. Has his homepage here. Attacks test message posters with a vengeance, although he seems to have quietened down of late. Maybe he's ill or something.



If I press the teletext button on my TV's remote when it's on the AV channel it switches the set to RGB. This is handy when using my PS2 as it gives a nice crisp picture on games and, as I've got Datel's DVD Region X I can also play DVDs via this RGB connection now. I've just got to press the screen magnifier button twice to get rid of the "P100" prompt and it's sorted. Ideal for watching Buffy DVDs. Mmmmm Buffy.


Do not, under any circumstance, post a test message to comp.sys.sinclair. There are newsgroups specifically set up for the purposes of posting test messages, e.g. alt.test, which will e-mail you back if your post has been successful. Posting test messages to comp.sys.sinclair runs a real risk of a severe dressing down by The Starglider. See also Please Ignore

Thread of Evil

A thread which lasted too long on CSS, containing hundreds and hundreds of messages saying things like "nor me" or "me too". It went on so long that even lots of die-hard CSS regulars began to killfile it. Perpetuated by The Starglider and /|ndy |<avanagh amongst others. The real name of the thread is irrelevant, as Llama-wax Len christened it the thread of evil, its most apt description. Resulted from Spike running a Perl script to count the most frequent posters to CSS and posting the result, resulting in a competition to see who could finish top. Thoroughly evil, and never to be repeated, hence the stopping of the newsgroup stats post.


The sound of a wet carp hitting a human face. Normally emphasised by being written big in # symbols. Common punishment for a binary post. The canonical version, in a Spectrum font (of course), is:
#######  #    #  #    #   ####   #####     #
   #     #    #  #    #  #    #  #    #    #
   #     ######  #    #  #    #  #    #    #
   #     #    #  #    #  ######  #####     #
   #     #    #  # ## #  #    #  #
   #     #    #   #  #   #    #  #         #

Tim Follin

All hail to the Lord God Follin. Officially recognised on the newsgroup as the best computer musician ever. Managed multi-channel sound out of the 48K Speccy's beeper. Check out Vectron, Agent X 1 & 2 and Chronos (you can get these from WoS) for evidence of this. While you're webbing, you can also check out his website here. He recently did the soundtrack for Ecco The Dolphin on the Dreamcast, so is still going strong.

Titch Tracey

Niall 'Titch' Tracey appeared on comp.sys.sinclair via a cross-post to comp.sys.cbm. He's still here and has a nice little coat business set up rivalling that of Llama-Wax Len's. This is the original CSS coat business. Is still under the delusion that the Commodore 64 is a good computer.

Topic Drift

The longer a thread in CSS goes on, the more likely it is that it will drift completely off-topic, onto things like crisp flavours, '80s children's programmes, etc. This is inevitable. It's a universal law or something.

Top Posting

The natural way of reading a letter/book/etc is to read from top to bottom. Usenet is no different. Due to the way NNTP works it's possible for messages to be lost, replies to messages to appear before the original message, etc, so when replying it's good form to include relevant context quoted from the original post before the new text entered, so that readers can read the whole thing from top to bottom, and can work out what the hell you're blethering on about.
Unfortunately the most common newsreader in use is Microsoft's Outlook Express, which positively discourages this correct behaviour in favour of replying at the top, or top posting. Top posting is seen as the traditional mark of the newbie and is frowned upon in virtually every newsgroup in existence. Don't do it. It's almost as bad as test posting, and will piss people off no end. There is one, and one only, exception to this rule and that is when replying to Brian Gaff to avoid his talky thing having to re-read the previous message.



Blinding newsgroup. Suggested on this very NG by Lee Prince with all the hard work in getting it created done by Nick Humphries. Dedicated to all those fond reminiscences of the 1980s like white dog turds, crisp flavours, Choppers (f'nar!), Jossy's Giants, etc. You can find its FAQ here and its dictionary (folklore FAQ type thing) here.


A top secret government research agency, posing as Norwich's premier university and rumoured to conduct experiments in genetic engineering and mind control. Representatives of the School of Disinformation Systems (some of whom are called Andy) operate by systematically denying everything in capital letters (eg. "THERE IS NO ISSUE 18").


The magazine of Excellent quality magazine, edited by deKay with input from, basically, anyone that's willing to write stuff for it. You can find it here.

Upside Down Writing

Some of us on the group have started writing upside down in certain messages. .s!y+ a>|!7 Virtually every lower or upper case character and punctuation mark has an alternative you can use so that if you turned your monitor upside down you could read the text. We're doing this in a (potentially vain - Ed) attempt to get everyone to stand on their heads while reading Usenet, or something, as it would be incredibly funny.


Vampire Willow

Mmmmm Vampire Willow! In the two season 3 episodes of Buffy, The Wish and Doppelgangland, an alternative vampire version of Willow was introduced, dressed in leather. Mmmmm.



Irritating top posting person. Appeared in the group during a thread about thunderstorms and surge protection (of which he seems to have an extremely unhealthy interest). Steadfastly refused to stop top posting despite concerted attempts by the CSS regulars to apply clue.

What's not in this FAQ

If there's anything you think should be in this FAQ but isn't, feel free to bribe the compiler to get it in. Loads of money usually helps.


Any occurrence of the question "Where..." is liable to spark off a line-by-line recital of the song "A Windmill In Old Amsterdam", possibly with the "mouse" changed to reflect the context, e.g."A little MAME cab with clogs on". If you want to see the full text of the song (as if - Ed), you can find it here.


A general indication of a brain temporarily going off the rails. Normally written in a post as "*wibble*".


Alyson Hannigan's character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Much lusted after by the testosterone-filled males in CSS. Even sexier in her Vampire Willow form. See what we're on about here.

Wonk angle

The setting of the azimuth screw in the tape deck used to load games into the Speccy. Used to fine tune the chuntey to ensure successful loading. Setting the wonk angle was something of a black art with each game (especially second or third generation copies) requiring different angles of wonk. The masters of wonk angle setting became revered throughout the land or something.


The World of Spectrum. THE website for everything Spectrum related. Games, apps, info, emulators, it's all there.



You said that yesterday

Aaargh! Aaargh! THWACK!!! Whoever produced this advert for Renault needs to be given a severely good kicking. And the smug woman who says it while we're at it. This phrase is consequently the most likely to invoke the collective wrath of CSS. Even more so than "Test, Please ignore".


Your Sinclair. The best Spectrum magazine in the history of the world ever. Coined most of the sayings you'll see in CSS, as well as being completely hatstand. Archived by Nick Humphries at


YS3. The best Spectrum magazine website in the history of the world ever. Produced by Nat Cross and John Hyde with input from other characters including Bob the penguin. Written in a true YS stylee.


comp.sys.sinclair folklore FAQ