Posted by neildubya on February 5th, 2008
My first blog and — as luck would have it — it’s the monkey-puzzle man himself. At first, I was regretting that third tequila last night but once the triple espresso kicked in, things started falling rapidly into place. Once you have the plays of George Bernard Shaw theme, the puzzle was fairly straightforward, though it included the usual Araucaria gems and literary references.
1ac SELF-ABASEMENT (FLEAS)* + basement. Uriah Heep was known for grovelling.
10ac INAUGURAL “opening” is the definition in+aug (month) + russian (river: see 11 across). Clever!
11a RIVER (flower is often a river in crosswords plus one who rives). So-so clue.
12ac, 23 SWEETHEART (S + wee + the + art)
13ac ANDROCLES (number in and roles and part of 21 (lion). The first of the GBS plays. Classic Araucaria.
16ac STEPHEN (step + hen)
18ac HARDTOP (saloon as in car, hard as in the hard stuff, top as in summit)
20ac CULPRIT (PRI in CULT meaning one who’s to blame)
21ac PYGMALION (MO+playing)* the GBS play
23ac HOUSE Doctor in the house. (Heartbreak House, another GBS play)
24ac omitted (too easy)
25ac PRIMAVERA (P+Rim+Ave+RA, Boticelli painting)
26ac BLYTH SPARTANS (blast shan’t pry)*. Memo to self: Bone up on Conference North football teams.
2dn ENAMELLER (I put a gloss on is the definition. ELLER (piece of jewellery) outside NAME (identification)
3dn FIGHT (Fig — a picture + ht — height)
4dn BARBARA (could have been where lawyers with a or where to drink with a but Araucaria makes it both and adds the question mark. Nice! Major Barbara, another GBS play
5dn SOLIDUS (sous outside lid) is an old coin. Memo to self: bone up on old Roman coins.
6dn MARMOREAL Put MORE inside M (mountain) and ARAL (sea) and you get marmoreal: “resembling marble” or stony. A bit obscure, IMHO.
7dn NOVEL Put V (opposing) in NOEL (Christmas). A bit too easy.
8dn MISSED THE POST CD with double meaning
9dn ARMS AND THE MAN (members + d inside anthem + an). Another GBS play
15dn MUTUALIST (nautilus without n or s)* inside MT (mean time, as in GMT).”Mutualists believe that a natural economic consequence of a truly free labor market is income to individuals being received proportionally to the amount of labor they exert” (Wikipedia). Hence their opposition to “conversion to bank”, i.e. money. That was a tough one!
17dn HERCULEAN He + (nuclear)* gives a type of task that requires very hard work
19dn PRIAPUS put PAIR inside SUP upwards and you get the Greek fertility god
20dn CANDIDA Can + Did + a. Another GBS play
22dn Omitted. Too easy. Think holy.
23dn HEART Hear + t. Also too easy.