Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 404 – Error: Not found

Posted by beermagnet on November 23rd, 2009


That is, surface reading not found.

After doing a lot of crosswords I tend to read clues for their cryptic meaning without noticing, or should I say savouring, the surface reading. An example of this is 13A here:
Bum, almost round isn’t wobbling – flaming criminal (8)
I did not notice the excellent surface meaning till re-reading it for this blog. That’s one of the reasons I like blogging. When solving this I ignored the punctuation and read “Bum almost” (giving ARS[e] – what else could it be in this crossword) and registered “flaming criminal” as the def. so ARSONIST leapt out, the wordplay easily put to bed, but at the time I hadn’t noticed the little vignette, and social comment(?), that Cyclops had painted.

Only brief mention of last week’s non-appearance in the letter’s page, and an apology, but anyone without internet access still hasn’t had the official answers to 402 – and worse, no tortoise in this issue! – I suspect more letters may be forthcoming.

This crossy was completed in one late-night sitting over about a half-hour. So, not as easy as some Cyclops lately but no need for more than one session and nothing to look up to check.

4 BLOOD TYPE (POET DOLBY)* AInd: is free.  Def. O, could it be? The “Ordinary” one in the ABO blood type groupings
10 CHERUBIM CHER[ie] I inside (BUM)* AInd: crazy. Def. Fat kid.  I can’t see the point of putting most of this clue in parentheses, a comma would’ve sufficed
11 FIDDLE D[eath’s] D[ay] inside FILE (dossier) The surface reading uses the Eye’s pet name for David Owen when Labour Foreign Secretary, though these days it’s more likely “Doctor Death” alludes to Harold Shipman
12 TUT-TUT TIT I replaced by U[ranium], twice. First answer in – mainly because my eye was drawn to the words “A pair of tits” when I first glanced at the page. Is this some sort of effect similar to a Freudian Slip? I have often noticed that when I first, or unexpectedly, encounter a chunk of text and I’m not intentionally starting at the top, certain words seem to “jump out” and demand attention, and these are usually rude, unusual or have personal significance (names etc.). Someone ought to do a research project.
13 ARSONIST ARS[e] (Bum almost) O (round) (ISN’T)* AInd: wobbling.
Bum, almost round isn’t wobbling – flaming criminal (8)
Def. Perpetrator of minor violation
16 LADY-IN-WAITING Double-Def How long is that appalling woman going to be waiting – forever I assume
20/17 LAWRENCE DURRELL (UNDERWEAR CELLAR – A)* AInd: Dirty, then L[eft] Last answer I got from the crossing letters and the Def (Novelist) but then saw the anagram with its strange indicator quite quickly.
Personally, I prefer his brother, Gerald’s work.
21 TYPIST Homophone: “Tie” “Pissed” I think I’ve seen this cryptic def. “Word processor” elsewhere, but it is nice.
23 HOLE UP HOLE (orifice) UP (Jolly – as in happy)
25 SOCIABLE (BLAIR’S COE – R)* AInd: Pissed
26 UTILITIES U[niversity], then I LIT (one drunk) inside TIES (goes in for bondage) Accurate, but misleading def: from which gas and water are taken? (it misled me)
2 NEHRU (UR HEN)< Same old city, that pecker, giving that bloke with his jacket
3 SCROTUM R[ight] inside SCOT (jock) UM (er) A word that always reminds me of the butler in Vivian Stanshell’s Sir Henry at Rawlinson End: Old Scrotum the Wrinkled Retainer
5 LUMBAGO U[seless] M[andleson] inside (A BLOG)* AInd: crappy. This clue almost makes sense: I should think the Dark Lord appearing on a blog would cause a complaint.
7 TIDINGS DIN (row) inside (GITS)* AInd: stupid. Suitable combination of Anagrind and fodder
9 ABSTENTION [L]AB (SO INTENT)* AInd: spinning.  I cocked this up on the first pass by writing in ABSTAINING going from the def. and not seeing the wordplay. So Roman Polanski and Lawrence Durrell had to wait.
14 STATISTICS T[ories] IS inside STATIC (something shocking), S[un]
15 ROLL ABOUT ROLL (toss) AB (sailor) OUT (declared gay)
18 WOE IS ME [th]E[ir] (centre of their) IS (lives) inside WOME[n]
19 IMPEACH I (one) MP (politician) EACH (for everyone)
22/1 SPLIT ENDS SPLIT (tear) ENDS (arses) Def. Shock condition, i.e. what happens to hair that makes it stop growing.  I have never understood why getting frayed at the top end should affect the hair growing from the bottom.  The “when separated” part of the clue tells us to treat “teararses” as two words before deconstructing the charade.
Shock condition of teararses when separated (5,4)
24/27 PET HATE (THE)* AInd: rolled, inside PATE (head) Def. Bogey. The Definition allows for schoolboy humour surface reading:
Head eating the rolled bogey (3,4)

5 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 404 – Error: Not found”

  1. Bellers says:

    10A: shouldn’t it have been “Fat kids”->CHERUBIM for a correct defn?

  2. beermagnet says:

    Bellers, are you by any chance related to Donald A Gillies (whose letter on the subject is consigned to Pedantry Corner in the current issue)?
    You’re right of course but I can’t say it troubled me much.

  3. Jon88 says:

    I must be a pedant as well, because it bothered me too.

  4. sidey says:

    Nice blog beermagnet. But where did you get the impression that having split ends stops your hair growing?

  5. beermagnet says:

    Completely off topic late post.

    Split ends.
    After lots of research I think I now understand. Split ends do not stop the hair growing. You’re right of course, what happens at one end of a hair does not affect the other end. However split ends is damage which allows the hair to break and come off on the hairbrush. So, as in my case, it seems it does not get any longer.

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