Posted by linxit on January 11th, 2007
Solving time 16:10
Conan Doyle must be second only to Shakespeare in having his work used in thematic crosswords. This one contains four 15-letter Sherlock Holmes stories. I didn’t spot the theme right away – my first look at 14dn didn’t ring any bells so I just went through the non-thematic clues at first. The penny dropped when I got 24ac, so 14 ended in ?L?. …”love to see rising” was then obviously O,YLE and it was pretty much plain sailing after that, although I do admit to looking down the contents page of my Complete Sherlock Holmes to get 1dn (lucky for me I’m off sick today).
8 CHEST,NUT – An old chestnut from Araucaria? Surely not!
9 C(o)RE,(a)CHE – would have been a good surface reading until the definition was just tacked on the end
12 BEVY (double def) – no need for the first “say” in this clue, as the drink can be spelt “bevvy” or “bevy”. I thought the collective noun for larks was “exaltation”, but Chambers gives the definition of bevy1 as “a company or flock (of larks, quails, swans, roes or ladies)”. I think that qualifies as one of Chambers’ humorous definitions, although it’s not on their webpage.
13 S(NOW, CHA)INS – what they put on car tyres in countries that have snow in winter.
15 SK(INF)UL(l) – INF is short for infra, Latin for “below”. I’m surprised this wasn’t linked with 12 in some way.
16 AN(GER,L)Y – straightforward wordplay, but why use such an obscure archaic word when ANNEALS fits the checking letters too?
18 PERCEPTION (prep notice)*
22 OVA,MBO(mob*) – The Ovambo are a Namibian people.
1 THES(eus),PECK,LED BAND – PECK is the actor Bob Peck [Explained by BenIngton, thanks]. I originally had THESP=actor,ECK=?,LED BAND. Apparently this was Conan Doyle’s favourite Holmes story.
2 A STUD,YIN,SCARLET – this was the first Sherlock Holmes novel, published in 1887. Scarlet=mini-trauma as droplet=mini-drop!
3 ON THE STUMP – a stump being a makeshift platform for an orator, hence “on the stump” means going on a political campaign. I don’t like the second part of the clue though – a straight delivery is on the stumps!
6 RED,HE,ADED(dead*),LEAGUE – and this was Conan Doyle’s second favourite story.
7 THE FINAL(thin leaf*) PROBLEM – “problem” being an anagram indicator for “the final” to get THIN LEAF. The rest of the clue refers to the fact that this was the story where Holmes fell over the Reichenbach Falls with Moriarty, as Conan Doyle wanted to kill him off. However, after a public outcry he eventually resurrected him and more stories appeared.
14 CON,AND,O,YLE(=ely rev.) – “see” is a very useful word for setters, as ELY (ending a lot of adverbs), but also watch out for LO or V.
17 P(INN)ACE – it always helps to know the names of different types of boat. A pinnace is a small rowing-boat.