Posted by rightback on February 26th, 2010
Solving time: 14 mins
I don’t think I’ve ever finished a crossword having understood so few of the solutions! It took me at least as long again to fathom them all out. As well as the long quotation starting at 22dn there are several inter-clue references, especially to 17 (CRIMINAL), which always make it harder to get started but I got very lucky by spotting the quotation from the unique enumeration (2,2,2,3,2,2,…).
Enigmatist is ‘libertarian’ when it comes to cryptic grammar, one manifestation of which is that his wordplays often consist of multiple elements each of which may be indicated by a mini-sentence without the whole clue making grammatical sense cryptically. Whether you like this or not is just a matter or taste but knowing to be on the look-out for it certainly helps with solving his puzzles. See 4dn and 6dn for examples.
I thought 14ac/18dn, 22ac and 7dn in this puzzle were all outstanding.
Music of the day: Smooth 17dn by Michael Jackson.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|9||IGUANODON; ANTIGUAN (= ‘West Indian’) – ANT (= ‘soldier’), + OD (= overdrawn = ‘in the red’) + ON (= ‘in business’) – this took me several minutes to parse after solving. Last time this word came up I misspelt it ‘igaunadon’, so some learning has occurred!|
|10||WRONG; hidden backwards (i.e. in the ‘wrong’ direction) in ‘touring Norway’ – another that was difficult to see, with ‘direction’ = W or N and Norway = N providing red herrings.|
|11||HAS-BEEN – ‘did exist’ = ‘has been’.|
|12||BIPOLAR; BIP + [s]OLAR – I spotted this from the definition and -L?R but didn’t write it in until I had the initial ‘B’ as confirmation. The mime character, whom I remembered as I wrote the answer in, is Bip the clown, created by Marcel Marceau and seen here as a bird keeper.|
|13||[s]EXIST – 22dn is ‘to be’ and Germaine Greer is a notorious
|14,18||THE ANSWER IS A LEMON; (WHEN ONE’S MATERIALS)* – another I wrote in from the enumeration (and the ‘W’) without understanding, having seen this phrase used by Araucaria. Only after solving did I see the brilliant anagram.|
|16||MANIC DEPRESSION; (IN PERSONA MEDIC’S)* – another excellent anagram, although I’m not sure about the indicator here (‘classified’).|
|21||CLA(I)M – made harder for me by my initial mistake at 15dn.|
|22||THIN ICE; (ETHIC IN)* – superb.|
|23||FAUCETS; “FOR SITS”|
|24||BOHEA; HE in BOA [constrictor] – a type of black tea, hence ‘leaves’.|
|1||PITH HELMET; (HELP THEM + IT)* – very well-worded anagram.|
|4||[r]ODIN – this is an example of what I meant in the intro. ‘Top’ here is a verb, meaning ‘Take the top off’ (the sculptor Rodin), giving the answer Odin (a Norse god) – each element is fine individually, but the clue as a whole reads as ‘Take the top off RODIN is ODIN’. Using a link word such as ‘for’ instead of the possessive would avoid this.|
|5||KNOBKERRIE; (KRONE + BIKER)* – luckily I knew this word, which must have been a nightmare to clue. The duplicate anagram indicators (‘Change’ and ‘Hellish’) suggest that the two words are anagrammed individually and then concantenated, but in fact it’s just one big anagram – not sure this is accurate.|
|6||TWO PINTS; rev. of P.O.W. in TINTS – another example of liberties being taken with grammar: the indication of the reversed ‘POW’ is ‘in combat one’s taken up’ which is a full sentence in itself (in fact it could be read as “in-combat-one [POW] is taken up” or “in combat one’s taken [POW], up”, but in terms of the wordplay WOP is just read as a string of characters. The actual cryptic reading is ‘Wearing colours, one taken in combat up’ (where ‘one taken in combat’ = POW).|
|7||MOB LAW; MO + (LBW) around A[fridi] – brilliant clue referring to the Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi who still holds the record for the fastest century in a one-day international (37 balls) which he achieved on debut aged (allegedly) 16.|
|8||[h]AGAR; rev. of RAGA – double wordplay referring to Hagar the Horrible and to the Hindu musical form.|
|14||THEATRE BOX; (TEAR)* in THE BOX (= ‘penalty area’) – interesting use of ‘across’ to mean ‘splitting the two parts of’.|
|15||RINGMASTER; RINGER (= ‘double’) around (‘winging’) MAST (= ‘nuts’) – the top man in a (big) top. I carelessly entered ‘ringleader’ here to start with. The wordplay is evil: I think I’ve only ever seen ‘mast’ = ‘nuts’ (as in acorns etc) before in advanced (barred) cryptic puzzles.|
|17,3||CRIMINAL INTENT – I wonder if this clue should have read ’10-doer’ (i.e. ‘wrong-doer’) instead of ’17-doer’. There are puns here on ‘canvassed’ (= ‘in tent’) and ‘Bad’ (= ‘criminal’).|
|20||A RIGHT – because two wrongs don’t make a right. I think the definition is ‘correct’, which is also (sort of) part of the wordplay. Particularly nice that 2 x 10 = 20 which is the clue number (this misled me briefly).|
|21||COUNTS (2 defs)|
|22,25, 19,2||TO BE OR NOT TO BE? THAT IS THE QUESTION – fortunately I saw this straight away from the enumeration, otherwise this puzzle would have been much, much harder. The clue is a little strange but I think is essentially saying ‘This poser (question) in play (i.e. Hamlet) got a non-committal response’.|
|23||FINE (2 defs)|