Posted by neildubya on December 21st, 2007
Condoleeza Rice (15d.) once made the quote in the title. Not her finest hour. Struck me that Pasquale’s puzzle is uniting quite a few people this morning – hope you’re all finding it as challenging as I am.
The puzzle was a beast on the scale of the Boojum (a dangerous Snark). It would have beat me were it not for inspired contributions in the “Comments” section below.
Made me wonder if I’m up to this job actually … although we did get there in the end, and there may have been some entertainment value in watching me struggle.
5 P-LACE-R – was badly stuck on the top half until took a leap of faith with this – turns out Placer Mining is a thing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placer_mining
12 O-USE-L – A bird of some sort
18 PULL DOWN MENU – (DULLMENOWNUP)* Thanks David : makes the rest of the crossword much harder when you use DROP instead of PULL.
21 ME-NO-MOSS-O : Kate Moss is the supermodel – it’s a musical instruction to slow down (obeyed rigorously if the musician is being paid by the hour rather than by the note)
23 IXTLE : Had to look it up, but it was fairly clear from the wordplay – anagram of (t)EXTIL(e)
24 (S)IBERIA : related to sunny Spain. Why did this take me so long - this has come up a few times. (S) is for S(un)?
25 ASCENDER : a printing term you really should look up if you want to use it in a sentence.
27 HE-A-TRASH : H.E is crosswordese for High Explosive
6 LEASE - think it’s EASEL with the L round the front – a “let” is a sort of lease
7 COM(e)-PLAIN – not convinced, but becoming increasingly less choosy as time goes on
11 After Araucaria’s 39 letter anagram at the weekend, this looks like a 24 letter one and so should be a breeze – haven’t nailed it yet
15 CONDI-MEN-T – “Condi” Rice is the US Secretary of State. Chaps =Men. T = modicum of “taste”. Clue is a little unorthodox but I think totally fair. Let the whining commence !
16 SPAM-MING – (MAPS)< with Ming Campbell (recently-ex LibDem leader – I wonders whether the new guy will linger long enough to make it into the crossword lexicon)
17 FLANDERS – As in the double-act “Flanders & Swan” and one of the old bits of Belgium that may be on the verge of becoming a new country.
19 ST(AD)IA – “aits” are islands in a river (good Scrabble word)
20 HEA(R)TH – Edward Heath was a British Prime Minister and sailor. Responsible for one of my favourite quotations
“A diplomat is a man who thinks twice before he says nothing.”