Posted by smiffy on August 6th, 2008
A twitcher-friendly theme today – and not one of my personal strong suits, so I was relieved that the thematic examples used were generally common or garden varieties. I did have to confirm 9A (the most plausible guess, given the obvious wordplay) and 24A (felt vaguely familiar for some unknown reason) post-solving.
1 PARROT – (raptor)*
4 BANTAM – probably the most curiously-named of the various weight categories in boxing?
8 TA,NAGER – (Regan)rev. Lear’s daughters never seem to be too far from the surface in most setters’ bran tub of Shakespearean characters.
11 KING,F(ISH)ER – “Man”= some chess-piece is one of those devices which can often stymie inexperienced solvers, given the wealth of other alternatives (firstnames, Isle…). Fer (Iron) as in Chemin de Fer.
13 HERON – hidden.
14 NIGHT,JAR – a touch of 13D about this one?
16 PA(RAKE)ET – (peat)*
21 SONGTHRUSH – (shorn thugs)*. An amusing surface reading, albeit in a slightly cartoony way.
23 K(ESTRE)L – no idea, how densely forested Kirkwall is in actuality. Any Orcadians care to weigh in as to whether this could be deemed an &lit?
24 PO(CHAR)D – a type of duck. Pod is one of the lesser lights in the crosswording realm of “container”s.
25 SH,R,IKE – ref. Dwight D Ironworker
1 PI,AN,I – pretty cute; the kind of clue more likely to be encountered in an advanced/barred puzzle.
3 O(BE,DIE)NCE – an opportunity well-seized, although I’m probably not for the first time.
5 AM,[-h]OUR – Unusually here, “almost” indicates a letter removal at the beginning rather than the end of a word.
7 MARK TWAIN – the nom de plume chosen by Samuel Clemens, derived from a plumb-line method of water depth measurement for boats (pre-Plimsoll lines). Mark One, Mark Twain (=Two) etc. (With thanks to my father, who instilled this factoid in me as a kid; I never imagined it coming in useful!).
10 THINK TANK – “design”=think seems to be wandering into far-fetched territory.
13 HOARINESS – I had heaviness here initially, before figuring out that it was merely a double def’n.
17 AG,IST,ER – a word that I was lucky to recognise. It dates back to the heydays of working class cattle-ownership and medieval serfdom.
19 BURG,HER – (grub)rev.
22 SPRAY – double (or maybe triple) def’n.