Posted by rightback on May 1st, 2010
Solving time: 5 minutes
A welcome return for Paul to the Saturday slot. For a prize puzzle this was surprisingly straightforward but still very enjoyable. It also made me very hungry with so many foody answers; I’ve highlighted the relevant answer phrases but several non-thematic answers (e.g. 12ac) had thematic clues. The cluing (or if you prefer, clueing) was really excellent: very tight with smooth and natural surface readings, and free from the solecisms, inaccuracies and clumsiness that plague so many Guardian crosswords.
I see that Monday’s puzzle will be number 25,000 – surely something special on the menu?
Music of the day: so many options I don’t know where to start. There’s Otis Redding at 18ac, Eva Peron at 5dn (who inspired Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Evita), Radiohead’s Bangers and Mash at 13/24dn but my favourite is Blur’s star-studded Far Out at 1dn (the link is to a longer version than the original that appeared on Parklife).
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||FAN CLUB; FAN (= ‘cool’) + CLUB (= ‘clobber’, as in ‘club a seal’)|
|9||ROWAN; ROAN around W – interesting use of ‘white’ to indicate W, presumably from chess notation. This isn’t allowed in The Times, nor advanced/barred cryptics because it isn’t in Chambers, but it seems reasonable enough to me. (‘Black’ for ‘B’ is used anyway, because of the HB notation for pencils, which also provides ‘hard’ = ‘H’.)|
|10||APPLE TART; APART (= ‘alone’) around (PET (= ‘hamster, say’) around [gerbi]L)|
|11||UNSHACKLED; (SUN)* + HACK (= ‘reporter’) + LED (= ‘took the initiative’)|
|14||HOT POTATOES (cryptic definition) – a ‘hot potato’ being a difficult or awkward matter or responsibility. I thought this clue was a little weak (‘Potentially tricky food items?) but perhaps I have missed something.|
|18||OTIS REDDING; (SINGER DID TO)* – a lovely anagram and indicator (‘cuckoo’), although the ultra-purist in me twitched slightly at the link word ‘as’ in the clue which doesn’t quite fit the cryptic reading.|
|21||FLAN; FLAN[k] – I’m getting really hungry now.|
|22||TENDERLOIN; (REDOLENT IN)* – excellent, with the imperative ‘Mince’ as the anagram indicator.|
|25||LOOK AFTER; OK (= ‘Fine’) in LOAF (= ‘head’), + TE[n] (= ‘figure not entirely’) + R[ight]|
|26||ALPHA; AHA (= ‘Eureka’) around L.P. (= ‘disc’)|
|27||SWISHER; SW (= ‘Cornish’) + ISHER[wood] – referring to the writer Christopher Isherwood.|
|28||AUDITOR; AUDI (= ‘German company’) + TOR (= ‘peak’)|
|1||FAR OUT (1 def, 1 literal def)|
|2||NEWEST; (N + E + WEST) or (NE + WEST) – hence ‘two or three points?’.|
|3,19||LANCASHIRE HOTPOT; (OR CHIPOLATAS THEN)* – yum.|
|4,5ac||PEPPERONI; PEP (= ‘go’) + PERON (= ‘Argentina’s favourite’) + I (= ‘one’)|
|7||INACTION; (I CANNOT I)*|
|8||GATEPOST; (P[lay] A[mbitious] S[hots] TO GET)* – a brilliantly worded cricketing surface reading.|
|13,24||BANGERS AND MASH; (ANGER + S-AND-M) in BASH|
|15||TED DEXTER; (E[nglish] + D.D. (= Doctor of Divinity = ‘theologian’) in TEXTER – I loved ‘phone tapper’ for TEXTER. Ted Dexter is a former England captain and Wisden Cricketer of the Year; the link is to his personal blog. (The blogger is not responsible for external sites etc etc.)|
|16||SOUFFLES; SO + rev. of (SELF (= ‘being’) + FU[ll]) – my last entry, thanks to the complex wordplay and unusual accented ending.|
|17||RIGATONI; RIGA + (INTO)* – Riga is the capital of Latvia.|
|20||UNFAIR (1 def, 1 whimsical def) – ‘thick’ in the sense of ‘excessive’ or ‘intolerable’.|
|23||DERMA; rev. of RED (= ‘apparently sore’) + M.A. (= ‘degree’)|