Posted by rightback on February 20th, 2010
Solving time: 35 mins, 3 mistakes (ZEND, YAWL and COMPRADOR).
This was a tough and enjoyable ‘Araubetical’ with a well-constructed grid and about the right amount of obscurity for a prize puzzle. I found much of the right-hand side hard and eventually put in a couple of guesses which I suspected were wrong, and so it proved. Several of these clues were tough to justify and a few were rather dubious.
I would appreciate any input on clues I (IDEALISM) and R (RENDERED). (These answers may be wrong!)
Music of the day (courtesy of clue Q): Quixoticelixer by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, whose pronunciation agrees with Chambers et al.
Clues are given in normal grid order, with initial letters in lieu of clue numbers.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|P||PIFFLE; (FP + LIFE)* – not easy, with ‘former pupil’ needing to be abbreviated prior to anagramming and ‘gives’ as the unsatisfactory anagram indicator. Also not sure what the ‘a’ is doing in the clue – it’s superfluous to the cryptic reading and doesn’t enhance the surface reading.|
|Q||QUIXOTIC; QUIX + OTIC – ‘by ear’ gives OTIC and ‘some puzzles heard’ must be a homophone indicator, but I’m not sure of what; “QUIZ” seems most likely, but the several references I’ve checked are unanimous that ‘quixotic’ is pronounced as it sounds, not with some faux Spanish twang. Perhaps “QUICKS” was intended, in the sense of ‘quick crosswords’, but that’s a bit of a stretch.|
|G||GRANGE; G[ood] + RANGE (= ‘spread’)|
|I||IDEALISM; (MISLEAD I)* – no idea what ‘twixt life’s tough twists and bites’ is all about. When solving I assumed a literary reference but if it is, I can’t find it.|
|B||BLACK MARKETEER; BLACK MARK (= ‘stigma’) + E (= ‘point’) + (TREE)*|
|J||JUTLANDERS; JUT (= ‘stick out’) + LANDERS (= ‘good anglers’, in the sense that they would land fish) – ‘folk peninsular’ is a strange definition with the adjective after the noun (I believe this is called anastrophe); nothing wrong with that except that the surface reading is pretty meaningless.|
|Z||ZEND; Z + END, ZEN + D – I thought of ‘last’ = Z, ‘religion’ = ZEN and ‘somewhat daft’ = D, and I knew ‘zend’ was a word (though not its meaning), yet was still defeated by the double wordplay here and guessed ‘zeds’. Not very sharp. The Zend is a sacred Zoroastrian text.|
|Y||YAWL; YAW (= ‘Depart from course’) + L – initially I had ‘yawl’ in here but decided ‘port’ = L (via ‘left’) was too tenuous and opted for ‘yaws’ instead (thinking ‘Depart from course’ might give ‘sway’ and ‘to port’ might indicate a reversal). Whoops.|
|V||VIEWFINDER; VIE (= ‘fight’) + N[ote] in WINDER (= ‘key to watch’) – I had this answer for a long time before putting it in because I couldn’t see the full wordplay, and still didn’t until I looked up ‘winder’ after solving.|
|A||AS SAFE AS HOUSES; AS SAFE (= ‘like Peter’) + AS HOUSES – nice easy starter.|
|K||KEEP AWAY; Spoonerism of “WEEP A KAY” – not keen on this one: ‘from afar’ doesn’t adequately define ‘keep away’ and Sir Kay was one of Arthur’s knights but that doesn’t mean ‘knighthood’ = ‘Kay’. Another possibility is that the abbreviation ‘K’ for ‘knight’ was intended, but that suffers from the same problem.|
|H||[c]HANGED – a clever idea, although ‘hanged’ and ‘losing head’ really need to be the same part of speech for it to work. Still, I enjoyed seeing the logic.|
|R||RENDERED – the definition could be ‘Made’ and ‘tear’ might be ‘rend’, but that’s all I can make of this.|
|N||NEURON; rev. of RUE in NON – the wordplay might or might not indicate a reversal of NON here, but it makes no difference. I liked the misleading definition (‘Conductor’).|
|P||PAGE (2 defs) – a reference to Mr Page in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.|
|F||FLAT LET – because a flat has more rooms than a flatlet.|
|L||LOGICIAN; LO (= ‘See’) + [ma]GICIAN – some might argue that ‘orphaned’ should indicate the loss of both parents, not just one, while the definition (‘will have to think’) is the wrong part of speech.|
|U||UNDERGROWTH (cryptic definition) – a pun on ‘brush’.|
|X||X-RAYED; RAY (= ‘shaft’) in DEX – this requires ‘index’ to be split into ‘in dex’, a classic Araucarian trick.|
|T||TRIREME; T + R (= recipe = ‘take’) + I (= ‘one’) + R.E.M.E. (= ‘army unit’)|
|C||COMPRADOR; C.O. (= commanding officer = ‘boss’) + MR (= mister = ‘man’), all around PRADO – no gripes here, I didn’t know the word (a trading agent, especially in the far East) and couldn’t think of Prado for ‘scene of art’ (although I did consider RA (= ‘Royal Academy’) to no avail). My eventual guess was ‘compriser’ which had CO for boss and MISER for ‘man, grasping’ (i.e. a grasping man), but no explanation for the PR. Nice clue.|
|M||MADEIRA CAKE; MAD (= ‘Wild’) + EKE (= ‘too’) around (CARIA)* – ‘eke’ is an archaic word meaning ‘in addition’. I’m not sure what ‘and drink’ adds to the clue, since as far as I can see that only refers to (the wine) ‘Madeira’.|
|J||JAYWALKER; JAY + WALKER – another partial definition (‘won’t wait at the lights’).|
|S||SIMULATE; SIMUL[taneous] (= ‘much at the same time’, i.e. much of a word for ‘at the same time’) + A + [no]TE|
|W||WESTERN; WE (= ‘newspaper’) + STERN (= ‘aft’) – as in ‘country and western’.|
|D||DREDGER; D (= ‘Germany’) = RED GER (= red Germany, i.e. communist East Germany) – very nice breakdown and good definition too (‘Bed cleaner’). Probably my favourite clue of this puzzle.|
|E||EFFACE; rev. of CAFFE[ine] + E[ast]|
|O||ODIN; O + DIN – Odin in Norse mythology was the counterpart of Zeus.|