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.

2 Responses to “457 Eimi”

  1. Jon said

    Did you spot the hidden Olympic messages? Eimi’s the Independent crossword editor.

    • Oh, completely escaped me! Even though now I look it’s as plain as day: CITIUS ALTIUS FORTIUS and ‘Olympic’. I like the puzzle better now you’ve pointed that out. They’re always harder when the edge rows are unchecked (because you don’t get so many initial letters) and it’s nice to know all that extra effort was to some purpose.

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