Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23,973/Taupi – 4Ds Up!

Posted by neildubya on January 20th, 2007

neildubya.

A top-notch puzzle from a setter that, in my opinion, does not appear often enough in the Guardian.

Across
1 CREW,TUC(k)< – nicely misleading clue to start things off.
5 BUCOLIC – “bee you see oh ell I see”. Very cleverly done, making good use of the phrase “spelling bee”.
10 (NEEDLE CUT)* – the full definition is “quango is so” and the anagram indicator “badly”. Again this is good stuff because “so badly” is a natural phrase and you have to put a gap in it to parse the clue properly.
11 ON(l)Y,OUR,B,IKE – lots of bits to put together here and I think the surface reading of the clue is a little strained because of that.
14 MALE V(i)OLENCE
21 AL(b)UM – you could argue that it’s stretching things a bit to call the “soul” the middle of something but the definition and wordplay are quite straightforward so there’s little doubt that this is not the right answer.
22 ROBERT PEEL – excellent cryptic definition and misleading surface. Robert Peel helped to create the modern concept of a police force, or “old Bill”.
25 (A SLY)* in PARIS
26 ESSEX – “s” “x”.
27 odd letter in “DuEt SeEs ReViEw” – these alternate letter clues generally seem to be quite easy to spot because there probably aren’t many options for indicating alternation (you’ve also got specify odd or even) and also I think because it must be tricky to find a convincing combination of words that contains your alternate letters.
 
Down
2 MY,NOPE< – the definition gives it away a little bit.
5 BREAK EVEN – didn’t understand this when I was solving and have only just worked it out. ELEVEN is EVEN broken by LE (“the Parisian”).
6 C(AS)HEW
7 ((d)ATING,TIL) – I filled in LITIGANT pretty much straight away with only a hazy idea of what the wordplay was doing.
15 (GELAT(i)NOUS)*
17 US,UR in (USSR)* – had to confirm this in the dictionary as it looked like an improbable combination of letters. UR is standard crossword fare.
19 SEESAW – Clever idea this. SEE and SAW are the present (now) and past (then) tenses of a word for “spot”.
20 XI in RILE (going up)
23 hidden in “keEP SO MAny” – I hate it when hidden clues hold me up for as long as this one did.

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