Posted by rightback on May 30th, 2009
Solving time: 10:27
This grid is normally a stinker (it has twelve 9-letter words each with only four checked letters and its four quarters are connected by just a single square each at the centre) but it was more than justified in this case: all of the 9-letter words begin with ‘A’ and end in ‘T’ (all in unchecked cells) which is a pretty impressive feate of construction.
That said, the preamble was very poor (not for the first time in one of these Araucarian specials): the wordplay in the special clues gave the middle 7 letters but the definitions were to the full words which is not what the preamble states.
I thought the clues in general had much better surface readings than those in other recent puzzles I’ve solved by this setter. New answers to me were PETASUS and KAI LUNG.
Music of the Day: Here is a song entirely about hats, including the petasus – extremely useful (maybe) for the crossword solver but I don’t know if it’s any good because my computer won’t play the music!
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||ABATEMENT; (MEET)* in BAN|
|9||PRIMED; PRIED (= ‘looked’) around M (= 1000 = ‘number’) – when solving I parsed this incorrectly as ’round’ = ‘prime’ and ‘number’ = ‘D’ (= 500).|
|10||ACCEPTANT; CEP in (CAN’T)*|
|11||SO(ZZ)LE – I only knew ‘sozzled’ but apparently this is an American verb meaning ‘to intoxicate’.|
|12||ARCHIVIST; R[ed] C[ross] + HI (= ‘greeting’) + V (= 5) + IS|
|13||PROMPT (2 defs) – a good clue that took me much longer than it should have, I convinced myself that the fifth letter had to be a vowel and was looking for a word like ‘promit’.|
|17||ARM (2 defs)|
|19||PET + AS + US – as worn by Hermes.|
|20||A + BOUNDS – ‘to abound’ can mean ‘to be rich (in)’, which I suppose at a stretch is about the same as ‘to produce great quantities (of)’.|
|21||SKY (2 defs, the second the Russian suffix ‘-sky’) – this amused me.|
|27||AIR POCKET; IRE around POCK – a ‘pit’ is ‘an indentation left by smallpox’, hence ‘pock’.|
|28||COLON + Y[our]|
|29||AUTOPILOT; UTOPI[a] + LO – ‘George’ was once slang for the autopilot of an aircraft.|
|30||RISE UP; (IS PURE)*|
|31||AGREEMENT; ME in GREEN – this refers to the poem Green Grow The Rushes, O which Araucaria often references; it includes the line Two, two, the lily-white boys,
Clothèd all in green-o.
|2||BICARB; CAR in BIB – another that took me longer than it should, I spent too long concentrating on ‘feeder’ (which I didn’t know could mean a bib) instead of looking at the definition.|
|3||TEE + THE|
|4||M.O.T. + I’VE|
|5||NON-USER; NONUS + E.R. – a legal word I couldn’t have defined.|
|6||ARROWROOT; (W + OR,OR,OR)*|
|7||AMAZEMENT; MAZE MEN – by coincidence I was in Belfast on the day this was published and saw this mural to hunger striker and Maze prisoner Bobby Sands on the Falls Road, so solved this quickly.|
|8||ADVENTIST; VENT in DIS|
|14||APPLECART; (CLAPPER)* – the definition alludes to the fact that this word is normally heard in the phrase ‘to upset the applecart’. I’m not sure what ‘needs clapper out’ means in the surface reading.|
|15||AT THE LAST; TT (= ‘teetotal’) + HELAS – the French word ‘hélas’ is cited in Chambers as cognate with the English ‘alas’, but this is pretty obscure; perhaps there’s a “famous” literary use of which I’m unaware?|
|16||ASTRONAUT; (A TURN SO)*|
|17||ASS (cryptic definition)|
|18||MAY (cryptic definition) – a question mark might have improved this.|
|22||KAI + LUNG – apparently a fictional Chinese story-teller; ‘taels’ were old Chinese weights used for money. I dithered for a while between ‘kai’ and ‘koi’ for the Maori meal, probably confused by ‘poi’ which is a Hawaiian dish and the Japanese fish ‘koi’.|
|24||OP + POSE|
|26||REJOIN (2 defs)|