Posted by rightback on February 6th, 2010
Solving time: 11 mins
Overall, much more accurately-clued than Araucaria’s Saturday crossword two weeks previously. In fact his puzzles vary so much in style from week to week that sometimes I wonder if those published are selected fairly randomly from a portfolio which contains some crosswords he wrote a long time ago. Difficulty-wise it was probably easier than average for this setter.
There was a mini-theme revoving around the Keats poem Ode to a Grecian Urn, whose last couplet is:
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
There was a more obscure reference to this poem by Araucaria in this puzzle back in July; this one was probably fairer because these lines are more famous and the wordplays to the thematic answers were helpful (and in 9ac and 8dn, definitions were also included).
Music of the Day (9ac): U2 reference the lyrics in question (‘Beauty is truth’) in ‘Playboy Mansion’ but I prefer That Is All by George Harrison, even if it wasn’t Keats-inspired.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||TEST TUBE; TEST (= ‘International’) + TUBE (= ‘underground’)|
|5||PRISON; S in PRION – the word ‘prion’ is a apparently a portmanteau of ‘protein’ and ‘infection'; more here. Perhaps ‘bit of brain’ is a little imprecise, but having read the article I’m not sure what would have been better!|
|9||THAT IS ALL; THAIS around T[hais], + ALL – see intro.|
|11||L + OUSE|
|12||BANTAMWEIGHT; BAN + TAM (= ‘Scots boy’) + WIGHT (= ‘old man’) around E – Chambers gives ‘wight’ as being an old (or dialect) word for a person, hence ‘old man’.|
|15||HERO; HER + O (= ‘love’)|
|16||HIT (= ‘success’) + THE SACK (= ‘dismissal’)|
|18||SECURITIES; SE (= south-east = ‘Direction’), + CITIES around UR (= ‘old one’, i.e. an old city)|
|21||BRASS (= ‘Money’) + RUBBING (= ‘massage’) – something I haven’t done since I was at school.|
|24||AZURE; “AS YOU’RE” – very nice homophone.|
|25||HOW ARE YOU; (HOOEY)* around WAR, + U (= ‘turn’) – I couldn’t make sense of the surface reading of this clue.|
|26||D(AN)ISH – nice.|
|27||GROSCHEN; GROS (= ‘Large French’) + HEN (= ‘female’) around C (= ‘100’) – both the singular and plural for an obsolete coin of several countries, most recently used in Austria (until 2001). I’m not sure whether ‘little’ is part of the definition here or whether it’s a hint to abbreviate ‘100’, but either reading works so it doesn’t really matter.|
|1||TA-TA; [can]TATA – seems obvious now but I couldn’t understand this when solving (normally when ‘canned’ is used whimsically like this you’d expect the other part to be inside CAN or TIN or something).|
|2,23||STAR TURN; START (= ‘Set off’) + URN (= ‘such as 14dn’)|
|3||TAIWAN; TA (= ‘Acknowledgement’) + I (= ‘setter’) + WAN[ts] (= ‘almost demands’) – an Araucarian use of ‘almost’ which threw me here. I spent time trying to justify Tahiti and Tongan (at least) before seeing the answer, which was my last entry.|
|4||BEAUTY IS TRUTH; (US EAT IT BY)* + RUTH (= ‘compassion’) – the intro explains ‘and vice versa: 9 we 8 [that is all we need to know]’.|
|6||RELIEVED (2 defs)|
|7||SOUR GRAPES; SO (= ‘like this’), + URGES (= ‘impels’) around RAP (= ‘knock’) – I liked the definition here (‘Disparagement of the unattainable’). This phrase comes from Aesop’s fable.|
|8||NEED TO KNOW; (NO DON’T WEEK)* – the anagram amused me but the indication is bizarre (‘organiser of…’).|
|10||LIME-TREE BOWER; LOWER (= ‘inferior’) around (1 METRE + rev. of B) – excellent wordplay. The reference to the Coleridge poem was lost on me (the full title is This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison).|
|13||CHESSBOARD; CHE (= ‘Revolutionary’) + S.S. (= ‘ship’) + BOARD (= ‘ship’) – I think this works if you read both ‘board’ and the second ‘ship’ as verbs meaning ‘to embark’.|
|14||GRECIAN URN; RE in (UNCARING)* – this requires ‘Recovered’ to be broken down to ‘RE covered’.|
|17||BRUSSELS (2 defs)|
|20||INGRES (hidden) – the French painter Jean Ingres.|
|22||MYTH; “MISS” said with a lisp|