Posted by Eileen on December 21st, 2009
A delightful festive offering from Rufus – something of a tour de force – which is not too taxing but provides a few smiles, or even chuckles, along the way.
1 RECIPES: RE [about] C  IPES [anagram of PIES, with ‘mince’ as the anagram indicator] – a beautifully neat start to the festive theme.
5 MUSICAL: cryptic definition
9 SWEEP: cryptic definition
10 ASSISTANT: anagram of SIT SANTAS
11 REVERENTLY: anagram of TEN inside anagram of REVELRY. [There may be some objections to the grammar of ‘ten go’ – I remember something similar before.]
12 DAME: cryptic definition
14 CHRISTMAS EVE: cryptic definition.
18 GO UP IN THE AIR: double definition
21 OGRE: hidden in pantO GREat
22 COCKATRICE: COCK + A TRICE [a second – nicely misleading!] The cockatrice is a legendary monster, a serpent hatched from a cock’s egg and having the power to kill at a glance. The association with Christmas is that it appears in one of the traditional readings at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, from Isaiah 11: ‘And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den’.
25 TO THE FULL: double definition – a laugh-out-loud one!
26 AFIRE: A FIR [Christmas tree] E[vening]
27 CONCAVE: CON [kid] CAVE [where Aladdin found the magic lamp]
28 SLEIGHS: homophone of ‘slays’
1 RESORT: OR in REST
2 CLEAVE: C[hristmas] + LEAVE [break] – that strange word which can have two opposite meanings [because it comes from two different Old English / German words, I found, from Chambers]
3 PAPER CHAIN: double and cryptic definition
4 SWAIN: I in SWAN
5 MISTLETOE: an amusing cryptic definition, referring to the fact that mistletoe is a parasite
6 SASH: S[on] + ASH
7 CHARADES: not very cryptic definition but by now you should be admiring Rufus’ artistry in including some reference to the festive season in every single clue or solution!
8 LITTERED: LIT [switched on] + anagram of TREE + [decorate]D
13 MAGISTRATE: MAGI [wise men] + anagram of TREATS – a great clue!
15 INTRODUCE: double definition [though they are rather similar!]
16 AGNOSTIC: SONG reversed in A TIC [moment] – which should surely be spelt ‘tick’? Is that the reason for the question mark?
17 AU GRATIN: AU [gold] + anagram og RATING
19 GIVING: double definition
20 REVELS: V in REELS
23 KILLS: I’m not really sure about this one: a reference to hunted animals, I suppose?
24 VEGA: VEG + A: a nice neat one to end with.
Many thanks, Rufus, and a very happy Christmas to all!