Posted by smiffy on January 14th, 2010
Nothing to frighten the horses here, but there are a couple of clues that just seem flawed or – at best – clumsy to me.
I couldn’t help but feel that this was a case of being “better to arrive than to travel”, rather than vice versa.
1 COVER UPS
5 ZODIAC – punning def’n.
10 PELICAN – as in the road crossing. (in place)*
11 ORTOLAN – hidden. A (now forbidden) Gallic delicacy. Reputedly ex-President Mitterand’s death-bed meal (good to see old Francois remain a law-abiding citoyen to the very end).
12 EARTH – E[nergy]+ art + H[eart]. Unlike last week, I managed to parse this word correctly this time…
13 EXTENSION – ex + tension.
14 PRIME NUMBERS – the numbers being arbitrary definitional examples, rather than cross references to other answers.
18 CONSERVATORY- conserve a Tory. But, aside from the somewhat apologetic question mark, I don’t get the homophone indicator or how else the second “e” vanishes.
21 LACHRYMAL – (all my char[m])*. The pick of the bunch, in my book.
23 AMUSE – A[rea] + muse.
24 DICTION – [ad]diction.
25 EVIL EYE – vile in homophone of “eye”. But surely the sound-alike indicator must be “spoken” rather than “speak”?
26 SKEWER – s + homophone of “queuer”.
27 ASSEMBLE – (labs seem)*
1 COPIER – I in coper. Simple but effective.
2 VELCRO – hidden. I found the concept of a velcro-secured level crossing inexplicably thought-provoking. Almost entering the realms of Fuzzy Felt there.
3 RACEHORSE – r[uns] + ace + horse (aka heroin).
4 PINCER MOVEMENT – punning def’n.
6 OFTEN – [s]often.
7 ILL TIMED – Again, the presence of a question mark seems to ask us to indulge the somewhat imprecise wordplay.
8 CANONISE – (in no case)*.
9 FORTUNE TELLERS – punning def’n.
15 MARGARINE – in in Margare[t].
16 OCCLUDES – (cures cold)* – r. A close contender for 17A’s mantle of COTD.
17 UNICYCLE – Uni + cycle. “Transport” is a pretty generous definition. Every unicyclist I’ve ever seen seemed to just wobble to-and-fro, with all the long-range mobility of a Dalek.
19 SUPERB – per in sub.
20 SEVERE – sever + E.
22 RAISE – RA + I’s + e[ager]. “Rear gunners” is a deft def’n/wordplay portmanteau phrase.