Posted by linxit on April 1st, 2008
I wondered if there might be a thematic puzzle today, and when I saw it was by Araucaria I pretty much knew I was right. The preamble stated that any E’s in the answers should be replaced by one of the characters in APRIL FOOLS DAY to make a valid word or phrase, but the joke is that there aren’t any E’s in any of the answers (see 21D, 12A)! I wonder if the 2nd column of unches is a representation of Araucaria laughing his head off at us: AUAOAHAA.
5 JUMBLY – One of Edward Lear’s creatures who went to sea in a sieve.
11 NATIONAL BUS PASS (an aunt OAPs bliss)* – a scheme which goes live today, enabling pensioners and the disabled to get free bus travel anywhere in England, not just their local area.
13 VI,C,TO,RIANA = “an air” rev.
20 CHAINS OF COMMAND – fair enough for “Order transmissions”, but mayors wear chains of office.
23 SARDANA – SARDINIA with INI replaced by AN. A Catalan dance in a ring formation.
25 ALALIA – hidden in “traditionAL ALIAs”
26 SWANNY – sounds like Swanee, the river mentioned in the song by Stephen Foster, Old Folks at Home.
2 STRATFORD – TARTS rev, above FOR,D. Strange clue – I suppose the underline is supposed to represent the AMN of DAMN in the surface reading. The poet is Shakespeare, of course.
4 AC,T(UA)RIAL – the UA coming from the middle of square.
5 JA,COB – the only breed of sheep to be found in Crosswordland!
14 TURNCOATS – how one might cryptically indicate “Ascot”. I looked for an anagram of “renegades” briefly, while I still thought there might be E’s lurking somewhere.
15 A,ST(RA)KHAN – A + RA in thanks*. The A at the front must mean “first”, which is justified in Chambers by the definition “something or someone of first class or order…” I think Araucaria’s used it before, but I can’t remember anyone else having done so.
16 CORN,WALL – I can’t see any likely correlation between the meanings of snout and wall, but wall is listed under snout in Bradford’s. [ Snout plays the Wall in the mechanicals' play in MND - thanks John. ]
19 UM,BRIA(n) – these last two ref 11A, national being defined as from Cornwall to Northumbria (well, North Umbria actually, but that’s close enough for Araucaria!)
21,12 A,P(RIL F)OOL – FLIRT rev minus T (model), “in A POOL”, i.e. among bathers.
22 OBAMA – O + A MAB rev. Queen Mab is a fairy described by Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet.