Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 391 – In the catacombs

Posted by beermagnet on May 25th, 2009

beermagnet.

A particularly enjoyable offering in this issue. Not terribly hard, but with some cracking clues with the kind of surface readings we hope to see, for a laugh.

Across
9 OFF-DAYS (DAFFY O (duck))* AInd: screwing; S[econds]
10 NOVELLA (ON)< “on turning over”, ELLA (girl), between which V[aseline] “inserted” The definition “Volume” initially had me thinking of volumetric measures (gallons, litres, etc.) and various 3D shapes. Brownie points for rude surface reading
11 LOINCLOTH (COLIN [powel]L)* AInd moving; (TO)< ; [bus]H
12 RITZY R[and]Y “squeezing” the following inside: ZIT with Z moved to the end. One of the first answers I got purely from the wordplay which was clear if somewhat mechanical, I just needed to realise that Ritzy really means Posh, it feels more like Glitzy to me.
13/15 TEARS A STRIP OFF TEARS (drops) A (one) STRIP OFF (to get naked) Def. Bollocks, as for example when the Sergeant tears a strip off the useless new recruit
17 RABBI RABBI[t] Talk in the Chas’n’Dave sense
19 DUMBO DUMB (mum) O (ring)
22/6 LEG-OVER E.G. (say) inside LOVER (beau)
23 MONEYLENDER MONEY (ready) L[abour] ENDER (one who’s finished)
25/8 FIRST LADY Two Defs. Whether any, either or both of them are cryptic is open to interpretation.
27 CATACOMBS A COMB (a toothy thing) inside (recruited by) CATS
I loved this clue – favourite clue award for the month:
A toothy thing recruited by whips, remains underground here (9)
The surface reading conjures a vignette of a Gollum-like creature-from-hell (probably genetically engineered) sitting in its subterranean cell controlled by a “power behind the throne” Urquhart-look-a-like Government Chief Whip for use on recalcitrant MPs when they stray from the party line. “If only it were true”, thinks Nick Brown.
28 CHARLIE C[onservative] (HAILER)* AInd: broadcast
29 COLOGNE C[rapper] (LOO)* AInd exploited; G[ood] N[orth] E[astern]
 
Down
1/24 COLLATERAL DAMAGE DD whose surface reading is a cynical single def. This was the first answer written in, in approximately 2.5 secs, i.e. I found this very obvious to the extent that I wondered why there was a question mark at the end of the second def. till I re-read the clue and realised the meaning of the surface reading. A case of deconstructing the clue before understanding the whole:
“Blasted civilians, getting in the way of US war aims,” according to Pentagon? (10,6)
2 AFRICA Tricky (C[linton] AF[f]AIR)* AInd: rocked; “Clinton’s first”, “affair female abandoned”
3 NARCISSISM (CAN SIR)* AInd: dicky; (MISS)* AInd: out
4 ESPOUSE ES (drugs) POSE (sit) around U[niversity]
5 IN SHORT IN SHORT[s] Shorts being USAian (thus Obama’s) for underpants
7 PLATFORM PAT (hit) around (externally) L[eft], (FROM)* AInd: reeling
14 PADDED CELL CD and a very nice one:
The soft option for violent inmates? (6,4)
16 FLOURISHED (F[inancier] SHOULDER I)* AInd: ran riot
18 BIG BREAK BIG (Lofty) BREAK (crack)
20 KNOCKER DD indeed classic Eye crossy DD: Critic’s a tit (7)
21 MYSTICS MY (Cyclops’s) “sticks” (jams) HInd: said
25 FACT F ACT (legislation)
26 TALC Hidden in: full fronTAL Camilla

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