Posted by rightback on September 26th, 2009
Solving time: 7 mins
This was my fastest solve of a Saturday puzzle for a while, so must have been easier than usual, even for a non-Araucaria week. Only 20dn (REMARK) caused any real trouble.
I’m a big Paul fan but didn’t feel he was quite at his best in this puzzle, though there are still some excellent clues with very smooth surface readings.
Music of the day (26dn): Dame Nellie Melba singing La Boheme at one of her many “farewell” performances at Covent Garden in 1926.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||LOW-BROW – one definition, one whimsical allusion (‘evidence of frown?’). I’m never quite sure what to call these clues – it’s neither a double definition nor a cryptic definition.|
|5||STEW + [h]ARD|
|9,22||(GREEN INK BRIGADE)*; (BEING ENRAGED IRK)* – somehow this jumped out as my first answer, which was a big help and has probably left me feeling this puzzle was easier than it actually was. This was particularly surprising as I didn’t know precisely what it meant, although this suggests it may be a bit of a Guardian in-joke; there’s more here.|
|10||DIACRITIC; rev. of AID, + CRITIC – I’m not keen on the cryptic “grammar” here; ‘one reviews’ gives critic, but this use of a finite verb in the wordplay makes the first bit (‘rejecting charity’) seem awkward.|
|11,12||FOR THE HIGH JUMP – same sort of clue as 1ac. The ‘scissors’ method of doing the high jump preceded the Fosbury Flop.|
|14||TOILET TISSUE; TO + I + LETT + ISSUE – according to Chambers, Lettland is the former name for Latvia.|
|18||FREIGHT TRAIN; (TIRING FATHER)* – nice surface reading.|
|21||[hunky-]DORY – good clue which I struggled with.|
|25||INDONESIA; [f]IND ONE SIA[m] – nice idea, although ‘one Siam’ doesn’t quite work for me.|
|26||MELBA; 2 defs, and rev. of (ABLE + M) – actually ‘Sweet singer’ is arguably just one definition, because peach Melba was named after Dame Nellie Melba.|
|27||EAST END; (AS + TEND (= ‘mind’)) after E[cstasy] – the definition is ‘heroin’s first dropped here?’, alluding to the Cockney habit of dropping initial aitches. A nice twist on the rather tired ‘xxx for Cockney’ to indicate a missing ‘H’ at the start of a segment of wordplay.|
|28||DON + TASK|
|1||LOG OFF; rev. of (F-FOOL) around G – how nice to see ‘G’ clued as ‘gravitational constant’ rather than ‘gravity’.|
|3||RUN THROUGH (2 defs)|
|5||S + LAUGHTER|
|7||AL + TRUISM|
|8||DECIPHER; (RICH + DEEP)* – this took me longer than it should have because I thought ‘crack’ was the (intransitive) anagram indicator, so was looking for an answer meaning ‘ground’.|
|13||MILITIAMAN; rev. of ([viet]NAM + A1 + ‘TIL I’M)|
|15||LATINISED (hidden backwards) – well-concealed.|
|16||OFF + DRIVE – again, not sure what to call this clue. It’s kind of a whimsical allusion, with no proper definition of the answer, unless you take the Araucarian line that ‘Batsman’s’ suffices to define anything a batsman might have or do.|
|17||HE-BRIDES – I’ve seen this a few times before but it always amuses me.|
|19||PAELLA; rev. of LEAP, + LA (= Louisiana)|
|20||REMARK; M in REAR, + K[ing] – this was the one that stumped me, primarily because I got fixed on ‘behind’ = ‘back’ and was looking for something to fit ‘BE_ACK’ of which ‘king’ was an example. At first I thought ‘McDonald’ must be famous person I didn’t know, giving ‘Ed’ or ‘Al’ or something, but eventually it occurred to me that ‘McDonald’s’ might give an M (although I’m not sure I like it).|
|23||BRAND (2 defs)|