Posted by michod on December 8th, 2006
Is it just me, or have the crosswords been getting harder since we started reviewing them? This one took a good half-hour, with half a dozen or so clues coming quickly, then a slow plod through with one last big heave to conquer the south-west corner.
1. FIREBRAND. FIRE+BRAND. Came very easily, sack as a verb bringing fire to mind first.
6. SPAM. Nice dual meaning – spam= virtual junk, using virtual rather loosely to mean existing in your computer as opposed to in real life.
11. AMBERGRIS. MARRIES BIG* - I. ‘Shot’ as in ‘shot to pieces’ as anagram indicator.
12. CROATIA. CROA* + TIA. Quite hard. Obviously an anagram of orca, but what about the other three letters, and who was Maria’s predecessor? Ahh, Tia maria the drink. One of several clues with minimal definition – ‘where’ to mean ‘a geographical place-name.
12. CUSTODY. CU’S TOD(a)Y. Copper’s usually CU or PC, the former appears in more words. Nice misdirection, leading you towards ” copper now – a place = suspect” rather than “copper now – a = place for suspect”.
14. TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE: DEATH IN HOTEL* around O. Almost topical – shame it had to be oxygen not polonium. Course is a very weak definition for this – surely it”s a dish?
21. AGRIPPA: GRIP in A PA. One of the last – my knowledge of the Classics is weak, but he was a Roman general.
24. TRENCHANT: Pass. Cutting’s the def, C can be Charlie, but where are the other two?
25. IRATE. (p)IRATE. Ref Long John Silver – shouldn’t it be “e.g. Silver”?
26. NUTS. Again, I see the def, but not the wordplay.
27. EXPENSIVE. (E + X + SEVENIP*). Quite tricky to see how you anagram 71p – you have to think of it as 7-1-P to make it work.
1. FELICITY. (LICIT in FEY).
2. RONEO. R-ONE-O. Nice clue. Roneos were around in the dark days when photocopiers were cutting-edge and faxes were sci-fi.
3. BREATHING SPACE. BEANS THE CIGAR P*.
4. ADAMANT. Legendary rock/ 80s singer Adam Ant. Best known for the silly highwayman costume, though the first Ants album had a couple of good tracks on it.
5. DEBACLE. BAC(h) IN DE LE. Which is not correct French, of course – it should be DU - but you have to translate ‘of’ and ‘the’ separately.
7. PERGOLESI. SOLE GRIPE*.
8. MOSTYN. STY in MON. “In which pigs are=sty. Flintshire is in North Wales, though technically abolished in the 1972 local government reorganisation and now part of Clwyd, I believe.
9. BRISTOL FASHION. Ref Bristols as rhyming slang for breasts, but ‘order’ as a definition seems weak.
18. LEAFAGE. (A FAG in LEE). Def=”which a tree provides”.
19. NONSTOP. OpinioN ON ST OPhelia. And I thought it was a nunnery reference.
20 .CARTON. CAR + TON. Last one for me – Focus = car, heavyweight = ton, boxer as in someone boxing goods up, so arguably a carton is part of one’s kit. Hmm!