460 Virgilius

July 31, 2012

A witty theme in the down clues which I shall leave you to discover, because it makes an already absurdly simple puzzle a write-in. I was lucky and unobservant enough not to notice it till I had almost finished. Being the lazy solver I am I don’t usually complain that a puzzle is too easy, but only two anagrams in a whole puzzle is perhaps taking matters to extremes.

Still, clue of the day for the amusing double definition at 9d: ‘In vicissitudes, abruptly starts drinking (3,3,5)’.

Across

6. RINGER: d.d.
7. NEURON: {RUN ONE}.
10. SPAM: d.d.
11. SUPER: SUP(p)ER.
12. VIEW: IE in VW.
13. OCULAR: (j)OCULAR.
15. ARMY LIST: {M(i)LITARY}.
17. AMID: M in AID.
19. SIDES: d.d.
21. DAMN: DAM + N.
22. O SOLE MIO: (SOLE + MI) in O O. A band (e.g. wedding-band) is a ring – in a harder clue (or puzzle) I would worry this is a trifle indirect, but not here.
24. RELICS: ELI in RC’S.
26. DERV: olDER Vehicles.
28. RINGS: d.d.
29. MOPE: MO + PE.
31. NURSES: d.d., alluding to the nurse shark.
32. LEANER: d.d.

Down

1. TRAP: d.d.
2. ANIMAL: mAN I MALigned.
3. DESSERTS: d.d.
4. RED RUM: RED + RUM.
5. ANTE: A + N(o)TE.
8. REVILED: EVIL in RED.
9. UPS AND DOWNS: d.d.
14. CAMUS: CAM(p)US.
16. SUMAC: SUM + AC.
18. DELIVER: DELI + VER(y).
20. STRESSED: d.d.
23. MURDER: <(RE + DRUM).
25. LAMINA: IN in LAMA.
27. ETNA: EsToNiA.
30. PART: d.d.

457 Eimi

July 27, 2012

This puzzle, by a setter I haven’t come across before, started very easy and finished up fiercely difficult. A copule of weak clues but on the whole I can’t complain, though none fired me with much enthusiasm, either.

Across

7. FORMER: d.d.
8. CONCERTO: C(hamber) O(rchestra) + {TENOR + C}.
10. OPIUM DEN: {I MUD} in OPEN.
11. O-LEVEL: <(LE VÉLO).
12. REFERS: RE(e)FERS.
13. SHIFT KEY: e.d.
14. TWO TIME: d.d.
17. FLOTSAM: {OF MALTS}. ‘Blending’ must be read as intransitive in the wordplay.
20. INFERIOR: INFER + (D)IOR.
22. SCRIMP: M in SCRIP.
24. U-TURNS: <(UT) + URNS. A neatly misleading use of DO.
25. CALAMARI: C + {MALARIA}.
26. SPITFIRE: d.d. A neat surface though rather obscure – apparently a ‘crate’ is ‘a decrepit aeroplane or car’ (Chambers).
27. MASTIC: ASTI in MC. ‘Liquor’ here is ‘a liquid secretion’ (Chambers) rather than the alcoholic sense.

Down

1. COUPLE: L in COUPÉ.
2. IMPUDENT: IMP(r)UDENT.
3. TRADES: TRAD + E(P)S.
4. ICINESS: ICI + NESS.
5. UNSOCIAL: {C(or)IOLANUS}. An ‘unsocial’ job being one that involves working unsocial hours, according to Chambers, but still ‘as a bad job’ seems a rather marginal definition to me.
6. SELECT: SELE(s) + CT. I can’t quite make this clue work: if the dropped S is for ‘second’, then ‘set’ seems superfluous. It would make more sense if the S were for ‘set’, but I can find no support for that abbreviation.
9. THERESA: {ASH TREE}.
15. WING TIP: WIN + GTI + P.
16. MAIN SAIL: Spoonerism of “sane mail”.
18. TIRAMISU: I inserted twice in <US MART.
19. CROCHET: CRO(t)CHET.
21. ERRATA: RAT in ERA.
22. SALAMI: <I’M ALAS.
23. MORRIS: RR in MOIS. The clue should read ‘without car’ rather than ‘without a car’: I spent some time wondering if there were an obscure car called a Marrai.

451 Glow-worm

July 20, 2012

A rather easy romp by Glow-worm. I was very happy to find myself blogging a puzzle with a Gilbert and Sullivan theme, though I’m sure a few more references could have been squeezed in, and the ones that appeared were distinctly on the obscure side. Yeomen and Ida and the Bab Ballads but no Mikado, Pirates or Pinafore. I suppose it was aimed only at aficionados. I hope a few other solvers appreciated it.

Apologies for the lack of a blog on the 13th, when I was away.

Across

1. ANGER MANAGEMENT: ANGER + MANAGEMENT. As the construction shows, a rather slight clue to begin with, both words in the answer having the same meaning in both readings.
9. TINWARE: {WE TRAIN}. Nice to see that it’s occasionally possible to clue this word without alluding to dirty British coasters.
10. OLD BEAN: d.d.
11. BOOTY: BOO + T(otall)Y.
12. DEEP SPACE: <SPEED + PACE.
13. SPINSTER: {TESS IN PR}.
15. POSSET: PO’S + SET.
18. SIRDAR: R in {RAIDS}.
19. FACELESS: F + ACE + LESS.
22. ASTRONAUT: {ROTA’S} + “naught”.
24. ALLOA: ALL + O + A.
25. PORTENT: PORT + (K)ENT.
26. CUISINE: {NICE (sqUIShy)}.
27. THE FAERIE QUEENE: e.d., not in fact very elusive, referring of course to Mab, a quite different Faerie Queene. Solvers with the misfortune not to be Gilbert enthusiasts may have been puzzled by the surface, a sly reference to the Bab Ballads.

Down

1. AUTOBUS: {US ABOUT}.
2. GONDOLIER: {DOING ROLE}.
3. READY: READ + Y(eoman). Another Gilbert reference in the clue, though I can’t help thinking the setter meant ‘opening of Yeomen’.
4. ABERDEEN: AB + ER + <(NEED).
5. AVOCET: (V O(n)CE) in AT.
5. ENDOSCOPE: {ONE’S D} + COPE.
7. ENEMA: hiddEN EMAnations.
8. TANGENT: TAN + GENT.
14. SOAP OPERA: SO + A + POP + ERA.
16. SHELLFIRE: {FELL} in SHIRE.
17. PASTICHE: (I + CH) in PASTE. I take this also to be a gentle reference to the Savoy operas.
18. STAY PUT: {A + PUTTY’S}.
20. SIAMESE: I(d)A in {SEEMS}. Aficionados will notice another G&S reference.
21. WASTER: S in WATER.
23. TERSE: sisTER’S Eyeshadow.
24. ADIEU: ADIE + U.

439 Punk

July 6, 2012

Clever and fair but difficult clues made this a tough-going affair from Punk; I could have done with a ‘cheat’ button once or twice, but I had to make do with an online word-matcher. Good for me in the end, I dare say.

It’s not quite a theme, but is there a bit of a buttock fixation suggested by 1d, 3d, 6d/22ac?

Across

1. STRAPPADO: TRAP + PAD in SO.
6. BRACE: d.d.
9. AMOUR: AM (after which PM …) + OUR.
10. ROTATABLE: TATA + B in ROLE.
11. KNAVE: d.d.
12. FIT TO DROP: FIT + TO DROP.
13. NIGHTGOWN: NIGHT + ToGs + OWN.
15. KITE: d.d.
17. CARD: d.d. (‘original’ = an eccentric character).
19. SPIDERMAN: DERMA in SPIN, &lit.
23. RABAT: AB in RAT.
25. OVERMATCH: {VOTE + CHARM}.
27. HE-MAN: H + <(NAME).
28. SISAL: holeS IS A Long.
29. EXPENSIVE: EX + PENS + I’VE.

Down

1. SPANKING: d.d.
2. RIOJA: RIO + JA.
3. PERVERT: PER + VERT.
4. AIR: d.d.
5. OUTSTANDING: d.d.
6/22ac. BUTTOCK CLENCHING: d.d.
7. ARBORETUM: (BORE + T) in ARUM – though the arum lily is neither an arum nor a lily.
8. EXEMPT: EXE + M + PT.
12. FROG SPITTLE: {GET SPILT FOR}. These algae are not found in Chambers.
14. GRACELESS: G + R + ACELESS.
16. INSTANCE: IN + STANCE.
18. DECIMAL: {CLAIMED}.
20. EARTHEN: EAR + THEN. ‘Potty’ = ‘like a pot’, as the warning ? hints.
21. ACROSS: A + CROSS.
24. BAMBI: B + AMBI(t).
26. HIP: d.d.

436 Virgilius

July 3, 2012

I wasn’t sure I’d have time to blog this, but Virgilius kindly avoided anything difficult – except 20dn. A nice allusion to newspaper rivalry at 1ac, and ‘A male and a female’ at 29ac is such an obvious and smooth clue I’m almost surprised I haven’t seen it before.

A poetic theme made a nice sideline with COLERIDGE, TENNYSON, LORCA, BURNS and BYRON, to say nothing of POETS’ CORNER in WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

Across

1. GUARDIAN: d.d.
5. TIP-OFF: TIP + OFF.
10. AIL: dAILy mAIL’s fAILure.
11. WESTMINSTER: {ITS NEW TERM}.
12. ABBEY: A + B + BEY.
13. ROUTE: ROUT + E.
14. PIE: P = I.E. (ref penny pies).
15. ASSISTANT: ASS + I(n)STANT. ‘Instant’ has two N’s, of which the first is lacking.
18. POETS: O in <STEP.
19. BELLE: B + ELLE.
20. COLERIDGE: {ODE GIRL} in CE.
23. LAM: “lamb”.
24. LORCA: terueL OR CAstellon.
25. BIBLE: B in BILE.
27. VINTAGE YEAR: {YET A VINEGAR}.
28. ROS: initial letters.
29. AMANDA: A + M + AND + A.
30. TENNYSON: NY in {SONNET}.

Down

1. GRANADA: A in GRANDA(d).
2. AD LIB: d.d.
3. DOWRY: e.d.
4. AUSTRIA: AUSTR(al)IA.
6. INNKEEPER: {PEN + INK ‘ERE}.
7. OUTSPREAD: d.d.
8. FORCEPS: P in FORCES.
9. AMOUNT: A + MOUNT.
16. SALAMANCA: <ALAS + MAN(x) CA(t).
17. STEEL BAND: L in {NEED BATS}.
19. BOLIVIA: B + OLIVIA.
20. CORNER: d.d. Not being a follower of the Beautiful Game, I wasn’t aware of the footballing meaning of ‘set piece’.
21. LEAVE BE: (E + B) in LEAVE.
22. EMERSON: EMERS(i)ON.
25. BYRON: BY + <(NOR).
26. BURNS: d.d.