Posted by michod on October 6th, 2008
As a newcomer to the Genius since the site went free, I found this OK but a little – not hard to get going with, but tough to finish because the entry method for the thematic clues, though good, left you with the kind of ambiguities a definiton-only puzzle would (I love cryptics, they;re so much easier!) . The final curtain, as it were, was little underwhelming, and I felt that the whole synonym idea could have been deployed to better purpose. The eight thematic clues are asterisked, two theme words in bold.
9. SQUEAMISH. MAE<in SQUISH. One of the last to go, quite tough as Mae is quite a long way down the list of women’s names that come to mind.
10. (b)OUNCE. A lynx or snow leopard, not endangered in crosswords at least.
11. S(h)USH+I. Nice surface, though wd be better if I could refer to India.
12. HIGHS PEED. Peaks=highs a bit close to the definition of the whole, but it’s still a nice charade -Brummie likes the odd lavatorial reference, and so do I.
*13. NOODLES (ONE’S OLD*) = NITWITS. I had ninnies at first – dimwits, cretins, prob others alsot possible.
*14. IN V(O)ICE = ACCOUNT. A very clever clue, which possibly should have had a question mark after ‘clamped’ – O is in ‘in vice’, i.e. opening clamped.
*17. C(ockr)OACH = TUTOR. I found most of these quite hard to get, because you have to force yourself to ignore checking letters while trying to cold-solve the clue.
19. C(l)UE. This being the clue.
*20. (c)UTTER = SPEAK. I had sheer at first, although that is really the same meaning as in the definition, so couldn’t have been right.
22. G RO(s)SES. Took a while because of mistakes at 22 and 23 dn.
24. FOOD CHAIN. A rare CD, and not a great one – I don’t see another meaning for it really.
26. MOT+IF (TOM<).
29. NILE DELTA. I(r)ELAND LET*.
1. IS IS. Ref part of the Thames in Oxford, where people punt.
2. RUSS+ET. Ref comedian Russ Abbot – not sure you see him much these days.
3. PACIFIC RIM. CD (the main edge) + CAPRI FC II*+M(ilan).
4. (w)EIGHTS. Rowing races with eight rowers I believe.
5. THE GRAVE. Unclued answer, the non-literal sense of 19dn.
6. POTS (DD). Not sure why, but I fingered this one early on as thematic, and had ‘pans’ as the entry, which slowed things down.
7. INSECURE. (SINECURE with S dropping two places). Good clue.
*8. (th)RUSH = REED. Looking back, it took me a moment to remember why – surely Rushdie’s neither a singer nor particularly acne’d, and has seven letters anyway – ah, of course, the spotty singer’s a thrush!
15. CUSTOM-MADE. Straight charade of the compound word’s two parts.
16. TAKAS (TAKES with A for E). The only really obscure word here, except possibly lorimer.
18. TORT + OISE. Apologies to those who roll the R in tortoise – it worked for me.
19. CURTAINS. Formed fromthe first letters of the asterisked entries, and defining 5 down – although not very directly: both refer to death, but in subtly different ways.
*22. TENDER (RED NET<) = GENTLE. Another ambiguous one – I had ‘kindly’.
*23. A LIGHT = SETTLE. Can’t even remember what I had here.
*24. SACK (CASK switching C and S) = FIRE.
27. FLAG (DD).