Posted by petebiddlecombe on January 26th, 2007
(an anonymous puzzle in the paper, but the setter has already been identified elsewhere)
Solving time: ages
Found this one really tough – maybe the “blogger’s curse” (anything you have to write about magically becomes harder), or maybe theme-word paranoia (clues that you know help with the gimmick become magically harder – coded words in Playfairs especially). So I must admit that if I hadn’t been due to write this, I might well have given up, and that the appositeness of the revealed phrase wasn’t appreciated for a while. The clues for the numbered answers were mostly easy – one or two held me up, but shouldn’t have done. Also had to deal with a hazard you sometimes get in these puzzles – lack of 100% clarity about where clues begin and end, in the lines starting More / Phi’s / Old. Noticing more quickly that clues were in alphabetical order of clue text would have resolved this. Another problem of my own making was not remembering about the two abbrev. answers and therefore missing the obvious reverse hidden for Rt. Rev.
Let’s do the pairs first – Acrosses then Downs, in the obvious grid order. Numbers given are the ordinal positions of their clues in the set of 16.
|GRISEL/DA/CKER – 7,14||G.R.,ladies* / D,(b)ACKER – wasted time on D,(n)YMPH___, thinking Stephen Hendry or John Higgins might have a daughter called Dymphna or something similar.|
|THREEPA/RT/REV – 13,2||THREEP = insist!|
|BONS/AI/RCOVER – 16,3||cobbler = snob|
|DYSPHEMIS/MS/S – 6,5||anag. / M(a)SS – Should have expected an “unbalanced” pair.|
|GESTA/PO/E-BIRD – 15,9||The poe-bird is also known as the Tui or parson bird, for reasons that should be obvious from this picture.|
|STEEP/EN/DSHIP – 4,1||endship = village|
|CURA/RA/DIO-HAM – 10,8||Radio-ham is (I,OH) in drama*|
|RENVER/SE/RIES – 12,11||renverse is from that hopeless speller Spenser|
The overlap pairs, when read column by column and then row by row, give DRAMATIS PERSONAE, which is of course both “Cast” and “Aside”.
|6||CORD,OVA – a place in Alaska, but a v. small dot in my atlas, so “city” in the US style of “XYZ City, Pop. 127″.|
|11||BattLE,WEStfield – biggest surprise for me was that there’s a place called Westfield not that far from where my father lives. Ironically, the first Google hit reports an incident involving a Bonfire society – Lewes has six of them.|