Posted by smiffy on December 3rd, 2009
Far from a desperately strenuous challenge overall, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that there were plenty of well-rounded clues in their own right. It’s always something of a nebulous thing, but this puzzle gave me that intangible sense of having a common thread of mood/tone flowing through it. Again, sorry for the late posting.
1 BEAUTY SALON – (Len, say, about)*
7 PAL – pal[-try]. A touch of Cock-er-ney, with China (plate) => mate.
9 ISLAM – s in (Mali)<
10 AUTOGRAPH – (a group at)* + H[otel]
11 BATTLEAXE – (extra table)* – r. An amusingly evocative surface reading.
12 IZMIR – hidden
13 NOODLES – n + oodles
15 SHED – H.E. in s[-electe]d
18 KNIT – homophone
20 METHANE – e[-zpensive] in M + thane
23 AMASS – a +mass (urrrgh! enough already!)
24 WASHBASIN – saw(<) + (bin has)*
26 BOSSA NOVA – boss +[-C]anova. Against the odds and most previous precedent, a reference to the world of sculpture that I somehow knew.
27 STAIR – I[ndia] in star. Easy to solve, but I had a subliminal brainfart on entry (with the reference to India somehow inducing me to write SITAR into the grid. Fortunately the subsequent cross at 16D was unambiguous and helped to correct.
28 GEM – G(erman) + e[-l]m
29 ENTRANCE FEE – (neater fence)*. Or, as it’s referred to more euphemistically in my neck of the woods, a “cover charge”.
1BRISBANE – (s + AB(<)) in brine
2 ABLUTION – ab[-so]lution
3 TAMIL – hidden4 SEA BASS – (base)* + a SS (the “guard” of choice among discerning Fuhrers).
5 LUTYENS – [-d]uty in Lens. The man responsible, inter alia, for the Cenotaph in Whitehall.6 NEGLIGENT – G in (line)* + Gent.
7 PLASMA – (a + sampl[-e])*
8 LAHORE – (a + H) in lore.
14 LANDSCAPE – (place Dan’s)*
16 FALSTAFF – s(wim) in Fal + Taff. The Fal seems to be one of those riverine entities that “punches above its weight” in the realm of crosswords; along with the Ouse and the Oder.
17 WET NURSE – We[-s]t + nurse
19 TOWBOAT – Spoonerism of “beau tote”.
20 MASCARA – (a cream’s)* – E.
21 GASBAG – (gab + sag)*. Another smirk-worthy number.
22 RANSOM – re: (Arthur) Ransom[-e]
25 BASIC – (is in cab)<