Posted by Gaufrid on October 15th, 2008
Well, that gave my brain a workout for today. At times I felt as if I was solving one of the weekend barred/thematic crosswords. An ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ primary theme and a sub-theme relating to the Boston strangler which were linked by 16a with a reference to the Boston tea-party.
Overall, a most enjoyable crossword but perhaps one more suited to those who regularly complete the weekend puzzles mentioned above.
1, 25 MAD AS A HATTER – *(AS A HATTER) gives ‘AREA THATS’ with MAD being the anagram indicator – definition ‘bananas’
4 MASSIF AS IF (would be) split with each half following M and S (sections of Marks and Spenser) – a complex wordplay in which I think ‘different’ is superfluous or even misleading
8 ERASURE ERA (Times) SURE (positive) – I vaguely remember hearing of a pop group called Erasure
9 POINT UP dd
11 PHALANGIST PH (bar, public house) ALAN (chap) GIST (point to make) – ‘chap’ is doing double duty as a phalangist is a Spanish falangist or fascist
13 SEOUL homophone of ‘sole’ (the only)
14 DORMOUSE DOR (golden) MO (instant) USE (exercise) – d’or is not in Chambers, COED or Collins as a headword and so is perhaps a little unfair
16 TEA-PARTY cd
18 ALICE [m]ALICE (ill-feeling) – definition from 16a
20 FLAT dd
21 TRUE TO LIFE IF (classic lines) in *(ROULETTE) – ‘If’ is a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling
Edit: On reflection, the poem ‘If’ is most appropriate to the theme – “If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs …..” fits in well with the Queen of Hearts regular uttering of “Off with their heads!”
24, 23 PRICE ON HIS HEAD *(HE HAD PRECISION) – no anagram indicator in the clue which is a little naughty!
Edit: I should have pointed out originally, for those not familiar with the Alice novel (there may be one or two!), that the Hatter was depicted with a price tag attached to his hat (10/6 or ten shillings and sixpence, 52.5p in today’s money)
26, 3 BOSTON STRANGLER B (bass) RTS (rights) NOT SO (less) reversed ANGLER (fisherman) – definition 2
1, 12 MARCH HARE MARCH (demonstrate) HARE (unofficial gravedigger) – the definition ‘character’ referring to the major theme and also perhaps the fact that during the breeding season (March) hares display madcap antics and are therefore ‘characters’ – ‘Hare’ being one half of Burke and Hare who reputedly robbed graves of their contents.
2 DE SALVO *(SOLVED A) – Albert De Salvo, the person thought at the time to be the Boston Strangler – ‘anagrams’ is being used a verb, not a plural noun, but I have yet to work out the relevance of ‘or without’
Edit: with hindsight, perhaps the ‘or without’ is indicating that the answer can be obtained from an anagram of ‘solved’ outside (without) ’a' as well as from an anagram of ‘solved a’
5 AFOOT A FOOT (one third of a yard)
6 SYNCHRO homophone of ‘sin crow’ (bad bird) – short for synchronised swimming which is recognised as a sport though I’m not sure why
7 FLUORESCE *(OF RECLUSE) – ‘give out more than is received’ refers to the fact that when a substance fluoresces due to exposure to radiation it emits rays of a greater wavelength than those received
10 MIDDAY SUN cd – a reference to Noel Coward’s ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’
13 SHELLFISH how a drunk would pronounce ‘selfish’ (egocentric)
15 ROAD TO RIO *(to radio or) – 1947 film in the Bob Hope / Bing Crosby ‘Road to …..’ series
17 POT-SHOT POT’S HOT
19 ILLICIT hidden word in ‘cyrILLIC ITalics’
21 TRACE dd
22 FROWN FR (father) OWN (confess) – a clever definition which initially had me looking for a word relating to news until I realised that ‘headlines’ needed splitting in two