Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 387 – Spluttering bile in springtime

Posted by beermagnet on March 30th, 2009


I enjoyed this and didn’t find it as hard as last time. How hard anyone finds a puzzle must vary not just from puzzle to puzzle and person to person but also depends upon other factors such as your comfort, worries, tiredness, how many pints you are to the good, how many pints you haven’t had, and so on. Last time I did have a struggle, for whatever reason, but looking back at that puzzle now I can understand some of the comments suggesting it was easier than I described. Looking at this one, I’m unsure whether to describe it as easy. It was certainly enjoyable and there are some suitably rude and funny surface readings helped by another clutch of inventive anagram indicators. And I did finish it in one sitting. This time there were no nasty tail-enders hanging on with no score, sometimes overnight, till eventually stumped.
This was under quite idyllic solving conditions – quietly in the garden with the blossom out on an afternoon of a beautiful spring day after with a well earned pint (and another bottle to hand) after giving a couple of hours to turning over the vegetable patch.
This may not be everyone’s experience, and I can well believe there are a couple of clues here that would normally have resisted my attentions longer.

There was a BBC4 Documentary about Tom Driberg last week who was the first to set the crossword in the Eye as Tiresias, and set the standard that has been so nobly followed since.
Here’s the “Watch again” page though this will timeout after a few days:
Tom Driberg and Me A Personal Portrait by William G Stewart
Mention of crossword compiling is after about 45mins of the hour.

8 TRIAL RUN TRIAL (hearing) RUN[s]
11/7 DEATH THREAT (HARD HAT TEET[h])* AInd: Rotten
12 COLEMANBALLS COLE (Ex-political commentator Ref. John Cole who has been used as fodder in the Eye crossy before) MAN BALLS (nuts) This is one of the longest running sections in the Eye. Named after the legendary David Coleman. I distinctly remember his commentary on the Olympic 800m in 19-mumble-mumble “… and Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class.”
15 HAND GUN h[ard] AN (one) G ($1000) inside DUN (brown)
17 CHENNAI (CANINE H[ot])* AInd: screwed
18 CREDIT CRUNCH CREDIT (Acknowledgement) CRUNCH (champ)
23/2 FIDEL CASTRO (AC)< inside (FLIRTED SO)* AInd: crappily
24 ARMADILLO (DILDO ALARM – D)* AInd: going off Is the poor little S American scuttler really protected now? (Checks) Only the Amazonian Giant Armadillo is specifically protected, so I now think “Protected species” in the sense of its armour.
25 LEGACIES A (ICE)* inside LEGS AInd: swizzle
26 EFFIGY CD Last answer in
3 ORTEGA (TOERAG)* AInd: loused up Ref. Daniel Ortega Mr Sandinista himself, who manages to be both the current and an ex-president of Panama. So, strictly, the clue is correct, but I wonder if the One-eye One had missed that he had been re-elected – I had till I looked him up for the blog.
4 MANDIBLE MAND[y] (Peter almost) (BILE)* AInd: spluttering Honourable runner-up favourite clue for the surface reading:
Mouth part of familiar Peter almost spluttering bile (8)
6 IN THE SHIT (HINT HES IT)* AInd: playing
7 TOSH Hidden in TonTO’S Homilies
9 GOVERN OVER (finished) inside G[ordon]N
13 CHOCK-FULL C[ameron] (FLOCK HULL – L)* AInd: sadly
14 UNDERDOGS Two Defs This clue had me briefly wondering if the Crufts-centric doggy people had managed to breed a monstrosity of a dog with its bollocks somewhere other than under them
16 GRIDLOCK Two Defs one of them CD the Jam in the clue being traffic jam Ref. Ben Elton’s Novel Gridlock
17 CRUMMY C[onservative], RUMMY (game)
19 CLARET (L R ETC A)* AInd: Involved I liked this little clue and will give it my favourite award because the letter fodder for the anagram is spread across nearly the whole clue:
Left and Right, etc. involved with a red (6)
20 CODIFY COD (unauthentic) IF[f]Y (dodgy – without an F)
22/21 TONY BLAIR AInd: vacillating (OILY BRAT M[andelson])*

3 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 387 – Spluttering bile in springtime”

  1. bellers says:

    Still don’t understand 16D:GRIDLOCK
    Was forced to read about Ben Elton on Wikipedia! What value did earning him lots of money have?

  2. beermagnet says:

    16D Ben Elton’s work, earning him lots of money for jam! (8) GRIDLOCK
    I think this is OK, GRIDLOCK being both “Ben Elton’s work” and “jam”, so the rest is just filler to aid the surface reading with the suggestion that the ex-“Right-on one” has earned lots of money (true – particularly from his later collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber) from luck (jam) or doing very little.
    I agree the clue can work and lead to the same answer as just
    Ben Elton’s work, for jam! (8)
    but it’s not as much fun.

  3. Ken MacKenzie says:

    What did others think of this grid? I didn’t get 1d and I feel cheated when the number of unchecked squares is less than the number of checked squares.

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