Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3144/Dec 31 – Rechabite and fescue

Posted by ilancaron on January 6th, 2007


Lots of black in this grid, but nonetheless a fair puzzle (good percentage of checked letters) and 28 clues with a couple of words that had me scouring Chambers (though hardly as much as an Azed).


1 IN+COME – “show” shifts from noun to verb in the “show up” sense. It’s fashionable for IN to be “popular”.
4 SCO[o]TER – “Duck” is both a SCOTER and O (cricket “duck”).
8 DE+MUR – rev(ed[itor])+rev(rum=”strange”). Two reversal indicators and “object” shifts from noun to verb.
11 GLOBE(TR)OT – bootleg* contains TR which is the Internet country code for Turkey.
13 FUR(THE+R.M.)ORE – Def is “as well” and no doubt there’ll be a “public outburst” or FURORE about e.g. Saddam’s execution.
16 TEE+TO+TALL+ER – I had to look up Rechabite to learn about their renunciation of wine (and probably women and song). Elizabeth Regina shows up here as well: not sure what she’s renounced.
19 RON+DO – Too hastily I fell in love with LEN+TO (almost fits!) which slowed down the SW corner for me. RON is Yet Another TLB (Three-Letter-Boy) – his brothers include Reg, Des, Sam, Tom, Don, Len…
21 EL+(main it)*+E[xpedition] – ELIMINATE is a murderous euphemism. EL crops up a lot as the Spanish for “the”.
23 PLOUGH+S ON – A common 2-word cryptic trick is for the subsidiary meaning to have a different enumeration: in this case (5, 3) with PLOUGH for “harrow” and SON for “boy” – of course, we’re supposed to be momentarily misled into thinking about schoolboys at Harrow.
26 HEARS+E[state] – A HEARSE is a type of car indeed – in fact invariably an “estate car” (Brit station wagon) which makes this clue nicer.


1 I+NDIGO – I (“one”) followed by doing*. A nice clue only solved once I had I?D?G? and finally saw the anagram – the surface relationship between “blue” and “doing badly” made this deceptively difficult.
2 COME OFF IT – IT for “Italian” follows COME OFF for “fall” – though this seems a bit weak to me: perhaps referring to leaves coming off in the fall.
7 RE[d]+PORT – This befuddled me for a bit since I didn’t pay enough attention to “most of red” – I kept looking for a “red wine” that could be shortened.
9 MARCH(I+ON)ES+S – “one working” is I+ON but you’d think a MARCHIONESS would have someone to do her MARCHES for her.
10 ALTER(C)ATION – I like clues of the form: “wordplay linkword definition” where the linkword (in this case, “results”) seamlessly fits the surface reading: “Change involving chapter results in argument”, with “change” defining ALTERATION and “involving” indicating containment of C (for “chapter”).
15 EAR+BA(SHE)R – Last clue solved unsurprisingly since EARBASHER is Oz slang (Chambers) but makes sense that it means someone “who talks incessantly”.
17 TRIP+OD – rev(DO=”party”): part of the SW slowdown since I first had ?L???D.
18 FE+S(C)UE – New word for me (FESCUE is a kind of grass) but the wordplay was reasonable (though this time I had to trawl TLGs – Three-Letter Girls – to find SUE). C for “clubs” (think Bridge) and chemical symbol for “Iron” is FE.
20 NI+OBE – rev(“in”)=”turned up in” followed by a Brit award, OBE. NIOBE was Tantalus’s daughter in Greek mythology. Don’t assume I knew this – I had to look Tantalus up first.
22 I+RATE – I is literally an “upright character” when you look at how it appears on the page.

One Response to “Everyman 3144/Dec 31 – Rechabite and fescue”

  1. says:

    18D Sounds kinder than the time I learned FESCUE for the first time – a Times stinker clue about 10 years ago, using “Birkenhead” to indicate FES. It turned out that a lawyer/politician called F E Smith (and apparently known as FES sometimes) became Lord Birkenhead. Hopefully now too obscure (d. 1930) for anyone to use again.

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