Posted by michod on August 1st, 2007
A pretty straightforward puzzle, by and large, which took me about 15 minutes. The long answer at 1, 26 across was vaguely familiar, but felt a tad obscure – is it a common enough phrase?
1. CHIEF COOK AND BOTTLE-WASHER (anag of first five words). Not sure about the origin, but the phrase means someone who has to do everything. In my line of work this is called multi-skilling, and apparently it’s very good for one’s career development, as well as saving one’s employer money. There also seems to be a rude meaning, but company web access policy won’t let me explore it, so I’ll have to use my imagination.
8. CHIC AGO. Nice clue, more satisfying than using IN, as I expected.
9. A(MATE U)R. As said before, I think U is now non-U, but never mind.
12. TRIP LET. (?) Not absolutely sure about this one, as inaccuracy = trip seems an imprecise fit.
14. P(OSTH)ASTE. Should it be two words?
16. OR CHEST RA. OR = ordinary ranks.
23. OPT I MUM. I like this one – good surface, reflecting what kids do when trying to get round you.
25. (D)ELUSION. Empty-headed as an alternative to headless.
1. CLIP PIE. Old word for a bus conductor. For younger readers, that’s the person who sold you tickets before the advent of multi-skilling (see 1ac).
3. FLOWERPOT. Again, I’m not sure of this, as I don’t quite see the wordplay. You pick a flower, and to pocket a snooker ball is to pot it, but how does ‘used by pickpocket’ give ‘flowerpot’?
5. K NAVISH (HIS VAN*).
6. NEED LES. Sewers = things that sew.
7. OCEANOLOGIST. A lone cryptic definition – ‘main’ referring to the sea.
10. RE(TRENCH ME)NT. ME being a mining engineer, I gather.
15. SO(A)POP ERA.
19. RETOUCH. (HE CUT OR).
22. SATI(r)E. Ref French composer Erik Satie.