Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3143 – White Christmas?

Posted by ilancaron on December 30th, 2006


This was last week’s Christmas Eve puzzle so not surprisingly another seasonal theme but not cloyingly so: some toboggans, crackers, a carol, a miracle, a portent and bit too much drinking. WHITE CHRISTMAS (11A) is clued quite well. A couple of new words (LOLLOP and DIABOLO)…


1 TOBOGGANS – (bags on got)*
6 VIR[a]GO – VIRGO’s a sign of the Zodiac and a virago is a shrew (not sure what the male equivalent is… any female readers here to let us know?)
10 M(I+R)ACLE – Xmas-themed (“camel”, “king”, “amazing event” which is presumably the nativity). I do wonder about using “flea-bitten” as an anagrind.
11 WHITE CH(eck)+(is smart)* – WHITE is a “chess player” and WHITE CHRISTMAS is a “standard” tune indeed. Personally I like the irony of it being written by Irving Berlin in WWII. The wordplay is surprising and misleads quite nicely.
13 LOLL+OP – New word for me: LOLLOP means to “lounge”. According to Encarta, a Britishism to boot. Even though the clue “Hang work in lounge” reads as an insertion, it’s just a charade.
14 CRACKERS – Xmas-themed: partial double definition and cryptic definition: the kind of clue that depends on knowing (or working out – probably not very hard) the theme (or what day it was published) since it refers explicitly to “tomorrow” (Xmas day).
23 UNA+WAR+E – And our girl-friend UNA makes another guest appearance.
24 DIABOLO – Cryptic definition of a game with a top-like wooden thingy. Didn’t know this and had to wikitrawl. Hard clue to crack: no wordplay, so I struggled, even given D?A?O?O.
25 KE(R.R.)Y – Non-protestant Bishops are Right Reverends. Irish counties are shorter and pithier than their English cousins.


1 TOPE – Hidden in “LighT OPEra”. I suppose Xmas-related assuming one does more than one’s fair share over the holidays.
2 BARTHOLOMEW F+AIR – Along with “Volpone” and “The Alchemist” a “play” by Ben Jonson — somehow I knew this. Also Bart was one of Jesus’s twelve.
3 GREAT+COAT – For some reason I always associate GREATCOATs with The Great War.
5 SOMBRE+R+O – Pretty sure I’ve seen a similarly themed clue in the past, but I think the surface works quite well here due to the surprising parsing: “dark” is SOMBRE and piece of ribbon” is R and “round” reads as around (containment) but it isn’t.
6 V+IR+US – Last clue for me: V[ide] for “see” escaped me for some time.
8 OPEN SESAME – Nice way to charade each word (“tournament” and kind of “seeds”.).
12 B(L+I+N.D. +DR)UNK – If you know your Beatles and Rocky Raccoon then this clue makes perfect sense.
15 CHIP+(a lot)*+A – I recognized CHIPOLATA as a sausage only once the wordplay fell into place.
16 HE+ATHENS – “Extremely” to indicate the two extreme letters of “HostilE” again.
19 TENDER – double meaning with different etymologies which is always a good thing.
21 I+TA(L)Y – Nice that ITALY is (almost) a Latin country. Three-letter rivers worth knowing: Exe, Cam, Dee, Ure and TAY…
22 G+OLD – Xmas-theme: one of the gifts from the 3 wise men (along with frankincense and myrrh).

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