Posted by smiffy on June 6th, 2007
As is the case with his Guardian puzzles, Cinephile (aka Araucaria) often includes a thematic element or array in his FT publications. This particular puzzle was made slightly less tractable than usual by the absence – in my edition of the paper at least – of any rubric to denote that the bracketed numbers in several clues were thematic shorthand and not merely misprints (the fact that 25a contained a genuine, but obvious, typo didn’t help in that regard). However, I soon rumbled 23d (6)=(JUNta), and thereafter the theme (numerics equating to abbreviated names of months) actually helped to accelerate the solving process overall. So somewhat relieved that, despite an initial minute or so of fear, my blogging debut did not require any black-belt solving skills.
5 om in dingo – the surface reading “eaten by wild dog” reads slightly implausibly, unless you happen to remember Sam Peckinpah’s films perhaps? I think I’m right in saying that Placido Domingo translates into English as Quiet Sunday.
9,10 rig,hat*,sat,rivet – The phrase “Right as a trivet” is new to me, but the wordplay made things straightforward enough
12 JUL,ep – the first of the thematic “monthly” clues.
21 bide,t – this word is tailor-made for use of the “biding time” mechanism. “In the bathroom” is typical of Araucaria’s laissez-faire definitional canon, but doesn’t strike me as unfair.
23 JAN,i,tress – has anybody ever met a female janitor, or at least one who uses this moniker?
25 cid,e in Inn,CE – my copy had “puib” instead of “pub” in the wordplay, but no harm done.
27 (use aria)* – one of the clumsier surface readings.
7 NOV,el – maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the use of “railway”=EL is almost as prevalent as the more traditional “railway”=RY these days.
16 a,t,hen,a,(emu)* – I know that The Athenaeum is some kind of venue for the Great and the Good. But (in crossword parlance) my “non U” status precludes any detailed knowledge. Please feel free to enlighten me, by way of a guest invitation, if you happen to be a member of the club yourself.
22 DEC,or – I sometime wonder how many times a veteran compiler must have had to deal with a common-or-garden, filler word such as this. I suspect that Cinephile’s answer would be “Too many!”
24 ST in TAY – For some reason the phrase “Succulent way to enter river” put me in mind of medieval ducking stools!