Never knowingly undersolved.

Observer 3137/Everyman – Americanisms…

Posted by ilancaron on November 18th, 2006


Done sporadically during a very pleasant afternoon in Geneva mainly drinking wine, eating ice-cream, coffee then dinner. Followed by more drink and cakes. After about 4 glasses of wine, crosswords don’t seem very important.

More than usual share of somewhat convoluted wordplay with somewhat nonsensical surfaces (the two are correlated), e.g. 14A, 25A, 7D. One typo (11A: “farewel”). 20A and 18D were challenging Americanisms that didn’t resonate with me v. quickly. 1A is a familiar Americanism.


1 H+OB+O – Hobos are American tramps. Old boys are British tramps.
3 HUG-(M)E-TIGHT– No one has been described as “tight” probably since pre-war Agatha Christie. A “hug-me-tight” is a fitted jacket – again an Americanism.
11 A+DIEU – Double meaning: bye in France and where you go in France once it’s really all over.
14 PRAYING MANTIS – Remove “help” from “granny smith apple i” and then anagram. Weakish surface in order to make the complex subtraction + anagram work.
20 ELIOT NESS– Not the first law enforcer that occurred to me: only got it because I had mentioned to someone today that they only got Al Capone for tax evasion (I’m in Switzerland so not surprising this topic came up). ELIOT = rev(“toile”). NESS is canonic crossword headland (like “Essen”, our canonic German town, has v. common letters)
25 TANK ENGINE – I think I can say that this is Thomas the Tank Engine. Looks like TANK is clued twice as “reservoir” and part of “military machine”
26 DON+E – Last one I filled in. I even looked up the play – when of course all I needed was the last letter of Cymbeline.


2 BO(y)+LOGNA – BO + anag(“a long”). Another Americanism I think because I don’t think Bologna sausage (pronounced and spelled “baloney” in America) is v. familiar in England.
7 GA(IT+ER)S – Not a very sensible surface: IT common abbrev for Italy and ER is the other monarch with the same initials as the queen (the other popular abbrev is GR for the Georges).
17 (s)EDITION – Subtraction clue made easier since “conduct inciting rebellion” leads invariably to “sedition”.
18 T+ANGELO – Orange and grapefruit. I had to dig in to Wikipedia to uncover Angelo Dundee who was an American boxing handler.

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