Posted by rightback on July 18th, 2009
Solving time: Gave up on 3dn and 6dn after 15 mins.
Maybe I should have spent longer on the two I couldn’t solve before turning to references, but the problem was that there were several crossing letters of which I was unsure. This was especially frustrating as the first three quarters of this puzzle fell out very quickly, and I might have been on course for an Araucaria ‘PB’ before getting stuck at the top. Best clue: 20/21dn (TENANT FARMER).
Music of the Day: It has to be some 1dn (DANCE MUSIC) in 4/8dn (SLOW TIME) so here’s Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon, described by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke as the ‘sexiest song ever written’ which is good enough for me. If you don’t like that, here’s Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 25 Slow Dance Songs Ever, or alternatively I’m sure there’s some classical saraband or something which might be suitable, but someone else will have to nominate one.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|10||ENNUI; EN + NUI[t], the French words for ‘in’ and ‘night’|
|11||CAT’S-PAW – I guessed this but wasn’t confident as I didn’t know the meaning, which apparently is ‘a person who is used by another’, from a story of a monkey using a cat to take chestnuts from a fire, hence the definition ‘Tool for handling’. I also lost time from a confident ‘saw’ for the second part, having a possible crossing ‘W’ from guessing that 4dn might be ‘slow’.|
|12||TITMICE; anag. of C (= ‘about’) + (TIME IT) – I got there eventually but only having dallied over ‘tomtits’ for a while, seeing a possible ‘tomcat’ connection with the (connected) previous clue.|
|13||MARRY (2 defs) – another where I nearly fell for a wrong answer, this time ‘match’, which seemed to fit both ‘Tie’ (as in a cup-tie) and ‘Tie [the] knot’. ‘Marry’ is an old word for ‘indeed’.|
|14||FIRST MATE; (ST MAT[thew]) in FIRE – this clue requires ‘Inflame’ to be split into two words, giving ‘In flame’, i.e. ‘In FIRE’. The word ‘oddly’ is there because a ‘first mate’ might be ‘second in command’.|
|16||SECOND IN COMMAND; SECOND (= ‘moment’), + COMMA (= ‘stop’) in (INN + D). I spotted this from the crossing letters and enumeration rather than the clue.|
|19||CAT + ARR + HAL – ‘Prince’ for ‘Hal’ (Henry V before his coronation in; ‘Shakespeare’s plays) is classic crosswordese.|
|21||FEOFF; E in F OFF – an old word for a subject’s land. ‘Rude dismissal’ amused me!|
|22||LONG HOP – when solving I thought ‘part of 1 [DANCE MUSIC]’ indicated [hip]HOP, but on looking again I think it’s actually ‘DANCE [music]’ = HOP. A long hop is an easily-dispatched ball in cricket, also known as a ‘four-ball’, ‘lollipop’ or (my favourite) ‘pie’, as ably demonstrated by most of England’s “attack” in the first Ashes Test last week.|
|23||BARRETT; rev. of (TERRA in T.B.) – the birth-name of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.|
|24||ERNIE; I in ERNE – Lough Erne is an Irish lake; Ernie was the Premium Bond computer.|
|25||TRADE FAIR; (AFTER RAID)*|
|1||DANCE MUSIC; (I’M FALSELY)* around N – good surface reading.|
|2||TAR + TAR + I/C|
|3||POMPEY (3 defs) – the Roman leader Pompey, slang for ‘Portsmouth’ and a barman in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t know the last reference here and thought it might be a reference to a place in Hampshire which wouldn’t give me much chance either, so didn’t spend too long wrestling with this (especially as I was doubtful over the crossing ‘P’), although I did try putting something in TOY (= ‘play’) for a while.|
|4/8||SLOW TIME – this baffled me when solving, although I guessed the answer from ‘Lento’. After some Googling I discovered that Keats’s Ode to a Grecian Urn begins “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time”.|
|6||TEETOTUM; TEETOT[al] + UM – I should really have got this, despite not knowing the word, but I forgot that in Araucarian ‘nearly’ just means ‘more than 50% of the word’ and was looking for a 7-letter word fitting -E-T-T- meaning ‘dry'; ‘testate’ didn’t quite cut it, although curiously ‘testatum’ is a word.|
|14||FLIGHT PATH (cryptic definition)|
|15||END OF STORY; “Y” = “WHY” – the online version had some white space in the middle of the clue, which might have caused confusion in a harder clue.|
|17||NORTH SEA; (HARETON’S)* – Hareton rang a bell although I couldn’t place him. Fortunately this stuck out as an anagram.|
|18||ABOVE PAR; rev. of PEV[sner] in A BOAR – another name I didn’t know, architecture guru Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, although again it didn’t matter.|
|20/21||TENANT FARMER; (RAFT ENTER MAN)* – fantastic clue, especially the definition (‘Tiller for another’).|
|23/22||BEAU + LIE + U – a curiously-pronouned village down south.|