Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 355 – Xmas Special

Posted by beermagnet on January 7th, 2008


This giant (27*27) crossword offered an substantial £250 prize.
This year it used the Eye’s regular Pseuds Corner column for its material and we had to find an absolutely eye-wateringly priggish piece from one of our foremost thinkers that had appeared in Pseuds Corner sometime in 2007 to fill in around the perimeter.
This gives an advantage to twits like me who acquire several year’s issues of the Eye in a cardboard box in a corner of the office.
As it happens, I didn’t need to scan through all last year’s issues as I got enough of the crossing letters to rough out most of the words before slotting in the rest of the missing letters from the (thankfully provided) unchecked letter list.
I have now tracked down the source to Pseuds Corner from issue 1188 (6-19 July), and have found the original piece here:

The Eye’s Xmas Special crossie is now an annual fixture:
Last year (Xmas 2006) it used material from Dumb Britain.
2005 also used Pseuds Corner.
In 2004 the Prize was a full Monkey – £500 – Will we ever see the like again?

Wine with all the character required to stand up to Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle brilliantly conducted this past week by Alsop
Perpetrator:  32A Roger Scruton – oenophile and expert on Kant
13 Oil-tanker TANK in OILER
14 Well-rounded WE’LL ROUND-ED Cyclops occasionally simply tacks on a definition in brackets at the end of a clue as here
15 Caper CAP-ER
16 Look on the bright side B-RIGHT SIDE
17 Swelled Presumably “Super being” is SWELL and “man” is ED but I always thought a SWELL was just a toff. Full clue:
Super being next to man – got tumescent (7)
18 Yank DD (Double Definition)
19 Headphones HEAD-PHONES
20 Archipelago ARCH-I-PE(e)-(GAL<)-O
23 Kestrel Hidden in quicKEST RELief
24 Manager M-AN(A)GER
26 Cole Tit Ref John Cole Journalist I initially wrote in Coal Tit which is surely the more common spelling but didn’t cause too much trouble
29 Ember (m)EMBER
31 Decrease DEC(R)EASE
32 Roger Scruton ROGERS-C-RUT-ON
35 Teddy bears TEDDY B(ig)EARS I believe “Old P-o-W” is future Edward VII thus Teddy
36 Grim reaper CD (Cryptic Definition) I liked this clue:
You’d be dead unlucky to see him wielding his “implement” (4,5)
37 Corfu COR F(emales) U(ndo)
39 Anvil AN-(LIV<)  I suppose LIV is a characteristically Swedish name but the only Liv I can think of is Liv Ullman who is Norwegian (though born in Tokyo)
40 Body armour BODY A(R)MOUR
41 Bolshevist (SLOB<) then V IS inside (THE)*
44 Self-flattery CD I don’t see the need for the question mark in this clue (and quite frankly could do without the contortionist image). Full clue:
DIY OBN material? (4-8)
46 Kashmiri KIRI around (HAMS)* Ref Kiri Te Kanawa
47 Throb (heart-)THROB
49 Hogarth HOG(g)ART-H Ref Simon Hoggart The Guardian’s political sketch writer
51 Schlepp (HELPS PC)* I did a double-take on this (in retrospect obvious) anagram after seeing only one vowel in seven letters of fodder. Full clue:
Yiddish drag helps PC to adjust (7)
52 Grouper GRO(U)PER I presume this is a big-bodied fish
56 Dumbing down DUMB-IN-G DOWN
57 Eucalyptol (COPULATE L[ad]Y)* I really liked this clue – I’m a sucker for a smutty surface – so this gets my favourite clue award. Full clue:
Copulate roughly covering lady’s extremes in essential oil (10)
59 Polo DD Ref Prince Charles’ favourite sport.  Last answer by far – I didn’t get this till I was writing up this blog (guess who’s not winning the prize this year).  I do seem to have a blind spot with some double-def clues. Full clue:
Sweet thing, our Brian’s one-time indulgence (4)
61 Tramway T’-RAM-WAY It took me a while to realise that a ram is literally a sheep-shagger
63 Strictly for the birds DD One of the longer answers in this puzzle that were a bit easy
65 Untie (a)UNTIE
66 Materialise MATE-(ISRAELI)*
67 Transvaal TRANSV(estite)-(A LA)* “50% cross-dresser” very good
1 Nul points LP 0 IN in NUTS Famous eurovision song contest score for the Norwegian entry (and several others since then no doubt)
2 Weapon WE-A-P-ON
3 Take the pledge DD Pledge is a brand of furniture polish
4 Airheads AIR(HEAD)S The Head/Fellatio allusion getting some overuse in this grid
5 Lower chamber LOWER MB in (ARCHE(r))* Score one Jeremy
6 Halogen HAL-O-GEN(t)
7 Curate’s Egg CUR-ATE-S EGG
Arse nibbled by Southern bod – a good and bad thing (7,3)
The second half of the clue is the definition referring to the Curate’s egg that was “good in parts”.  Till researching for this blog, I didn’t know, and I’m not sure I believe, that the origin of this phrase is from a Punch cartoon:
8 Aguti Hidden in snotrAG UTIlised [The unusual spelling direction in square brackets at the end of the clue really helped here.]
9 Audience (INDUCE)* in AE (Hospital A&E)
10 Tides D(rawn) in TIES (couples) Full clue:
In and out they go, drawn between couples (5)
11 Rockefeller ROCK-E-FELLER
12 Expellant EX ELL in PANT
20 Aureoled AU (gold) (DEALER)* with 0 instead of A
21 Incisor I(ntense) N(ooky) IS inside CO (todge)R
22 Ark Royal ARK ROY-AL
25 Nostromo (OR NO MOST)* Ref Joseph Conrad’s book (though I know it better as the spaceship in Alien)
27 Accredits AC C(linton) IT (sex) in REDS
28 Net profit NET PRO-FIT
30 Bedevil BED (LIVE<)
33 Terrier T(ERR)IER
34 Amputate A then P in MUTATE Full clue:
Remove member and one has to undergo change, holding in pee (8)
37 Creation REACTION C moves to front. I’ve seen this clue technique from the likes of Enigmatist, Paul and others, but this could be a first from Cyclops
38 Garrison (RAG<) (RON IS)*
40 Bear hug BEAR HUG(e)
42 Swing both ways DD (Though both definitions are similar in my opinion)
43 Chapel of rest (FLESHPOT CARE)* Where else might you get laid for the last time
45 Ferris wheel (FEELER)* around R (bRown’s second) and (WISH)*
48 Wheel-chair (W(ife) CHARLIE HE)*
50 Gymnastic (MY<) inside (CASTING)*
53 Procreate PRO-CREATE
54 Rossetti (SORE TITS)* (I think I may now have trouble looking at a Dante Gabriel work without remembering this anagram)
55 Operetta Reverse Hidden in lATTE REPOrtedly
58 Collide (DILL<) inside COE Ref Lord Seb Coe London 2012 supremo (was he chosen because he can run away quickly when the bill arrives)
60 Abuser AB-USER
62 Yemen SEMEN with new leader
64 Rural R-UR(in)AL

2 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 355 – Xmas Special”

  1. fgbp says:

    Curate’s Egg:
    The idea, if not the actual phrase, does indeed come from a Punch Cartoon.
    But having visited the website quoted in the link, I’d seriously question the meaning given for the phrase there.

  2. pogel says:

    Surely “swell” is just being used in the 1950s US sense. Neat…

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