Posted by nmsindy on February 1st, 2007
This is Punk’s third puzzle in the Indy. He’s Paul in the Guardian, who I’ve heard praised a lot, but he’s said to be hard, and he also sets in the Times. So I approached this with trepidation not least when seeing the first clue to a 37-letter phrase comprised just 15 letters itself. Then, on my first run through the clues, pencilled in just one (which I later found was wrong!)
So I was very pleased in the end to solve it in 39 mins. There are some cases, mentioned below, where I do not fully see how everything works, but am reasonably confident I’ve got it right.
1 The clue is “Taste drink, now on” I did suspect from the very start that the now might refer to today – 1 February – regarded by some as the first day of spring. When I’d enough crossing letters, I worked it out for myself PINCH (taste), PUNCH (drink), FIRST OF THE MONTH (now) AND NO RETURNS (on). Completely new phrase to me but Google confirms it as a superstitious saying, common in some areas.
14 AWL (which is piercing) “All” Sound of the universe.
17 D AY One of seven (in a week)
18 STRIP TEASER My favourite clue.
20 EXPLOIT (I think) Clue is “Adventure story about individual stuck on love no longer”. I think the definition is “Adventure”. I think “love no longer” is EX with I (individual) in PLOT (story) but not 100% sure.
1 S(PUT) UM That has to be the answer and the equation is the sum. Clue is “What’s coughed up added to the equation, you might say?” Maybe PUT is “added” but the “you might say” makes me think “homophone?” but can’t quite see that.
5 ECHO cf OCHE local line – line behind which darts are thrown, typically in pubs (i.e. local)
7 I RAN
8 S TICKLER TICKLER is a puzzle OK, but the whole word I think means a STICKLER might try to solve a puzzle i.e. looking for difficulties.
14 AUTOSTRADA Italian Motorway so M (miles) in I (Italy), I guess.
19 ROS (CO) E Dated US slang for a gun.
21 PATE “Meat head?” Some doubts. It’s definitely a head, but the second definition, I think, is PATE with an accent on the E (not shown in crosswords). It can be meat, but doesn’t have to be, but maybe that’s niggly, or maybe I’ve missed it completely.
22 TROT i.e. Trotskyist.