Posted by loonapick on January 19th, 2007
I have never come across the pseudonym Ploy before, so I don’t know who compiled this highly topical puzzle. I got off to a very quick start, realising that certain squares had two possible letters, one forming a part of the across answer and one forming part of the down. The pattern emerged as a diagonal which gave two words or phrases reading top-right to bottom-left and bottom-left to top-right.
I completed 80% of the puzzle at first sitting (30 mins or so) and then forgot all about it until yesterday evening, when I revisited it and realised that some of the answers I was missing were actually fairly obvious. (Good tip for new solvers, sometimes it is better to just leave a puzzle for a while and come back to it.) So, ten minutes later, I was looking for one answer, but I couldn’t see it. Thanks to an e-mail and phone exchange with Peter Biddlecombe (thanks, Pete!), we (more him than I!) worked out the last clue, and the “alternatives” of the title.
The words are, reading up, RENEWABLES and down, FOSSIL FUEL. If you then make the correct choice (both for the sake of the puzzle and for the environment), you are looking for three forms of renewable energy which cross that diagonal somewhere. We found WAVE in the third row, WIND in the seventh and SUN in the ninth, and if submitting the puzzle, these would have had to have been highlighted.
The clues themselves were fairly straightforward with one or two obscure words or references, but very fair and of the level expected for this type of crossword. I’ll concentrate on the more unusual words below.
9 MA(TRO)SS – TRO = half of troops” and a matross was formerly a gunner’s assistant in the artillery
21 TEN(<=net)C-EL – Tencel is a trademark for a fabric called Lyocell which is made from wood pulp cellulose.
22 IANDI – (India)* – Unless I am missing something this would appear to be I AND I, a Rastafarian phrase for “we” or “us”, which is supposed to represent the oneness of everyone. However this would surely have been indicated as (1,3,1)?
25 L-OG(<=go)-IE – Go is a counter game common in Crossword Land and logie is a Scots word for the space in front of a kiln or fire.
36 EXTRASOLAR – (let sax roar)* Something extrasolar would not belong to our solar system, and would therefore be “really far out”.
3 G(LASS) CH-IN – the surface worked well here – the word “boxing” to indicate that LASS was inside the G CHIN helped.
4 CoUrSe-S – S is indicated by “has”
5 PAW-A – Pawa or paua is the Maori name for an abalone
6 ST ALBANS – I could see ST AL instantly, so was sure of the answer, but needed to look up Chambers to find out that a BAN was a governer in Hungary. Useful one to remember, I think.
7 LO(O)RD – Apparently, loord is an old word for a dull, stupid fellow. For law = LORD, you have to go to the last definition of “law” in Chambers to see that it is an excalmation of expressing surprise.
19 NAILERY – (in relay)* – where small tacks known as tingles are made.
26 oGpUmEtUp-X – Les Gueux were a group of noblemen, who in 1556 opposed Spanish tyranny in Netherlands.
27 S-E-PIA – PIA being a perennial Antipodean herb.