Posted by rightback on June 5th, 2010
Solving time: 9 mins
This was a puzzle not of four quarters but two halves: I solved very few answers (only six or so) in the first five minutes before spotting the theme (from 23/8ac) which was American football teams. That’s by no means my sporting forte but I managed to write in the other three teams straight away from the checking letters and then the rest of the grid fell out very quickly.
I’m a big fan of Paul but this puzzle left me just a little disappointed, with the spotting of WASHINGTON at 23ac the only real ‘ah!’ moment; the wordplays to the other teams didn’t contribute to the solving process and the same was true of most of the remaining answers for which the definitions and checking letters sufficed. Strangely, if I hadn’t been able to write in the teams’ names but had needed to deduce them from the wordplays I’d probably have enjoyed this more. I was also in doubt over the thematic clues for which the teams were defined only by ’10 24′ or ’10 24’s’ (FOOTBALL or FOOTBALL’S) which doesn’t seem sufficient (even if you accept that ‘football’ is the sport in question, with which I have difficulty in this English crossword).
Music of the day: A UK #4 from 1982 for Chicago, Hard To Say I’m Sorry.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|9||ODOUR; rev. of DO[g] – ‘setter’ as in ‘red setter’, although this really needs a ‘perhaps’ or similar. Alternatively, ‘setter’ could refer to the crossword compiler Doc in which case the clue is fine as it stands, although I suspect the former reading was intended.|
|10,24||FOOTBALL; rev. of LAB in FOOT,L – lovely clue, referring to the much-maligned Michael Foot and the phrase ‘political football’.|
|11,26||PITTSBURGH STEELERS; PEELERS (= ‘Policemen once’) around (RIGHTS BUT)* + ST (= street = ‘way’)|
|12||GANDER (2 defs) – my last entry.|
|14||PROMPTER (2 defs)|
|17,25||CHICAGO BEARS; CHIC (= ‘hip’) + A GOB + EARS – excellent wordplay. I carelessly put in ‘Chicago Bulls’ (the basketball team) before correcting it.|
|20||INVEIGLE; E[cstasy] after G[uards] in (IN VEIL)|
|22||DESPOT; DOT around E.S.P. (= extra-sensory perception)|
|23,8||WASHINGTON REDSKINS; (ANSWERS KIND)* around (SHINTO around G[od]) – the breakthrough clue. I saw the likely anagram and ‘Godhead’ = G so just needed a 6-letter religion, and SHINTO quickly came to mind.|
|24||BUST (2 defs)|
|1||DEBONAIR; rev. of ED, + O in (BRAIN)* – I thought ‘used up’ was a bit stretched.|
|2||PSST; SS in P.T. (= phyiscal training) – ‘over here’ (in the sense of ‘come over here!’) being the definition.|
|3||KIPPER (1 def, 1 whimsical part-def) – the question mark is needed because ‘in bed?’ alone doesn’t suffice as a second definition.|
|4||I SO TOPE|
|5||FORSOOTH; FORTH around SO O[ld] – spent a while trying to force ‘veracity’ in here.|
|6||HOCUS-POCUS; (CUSP in O,O) in rev. of SUCH – nice breakdown but the surface reading suffers.|
|7||BROGUE (1 def, 1 whimsical part-def) – similar to 3dn in that the second part of the clue is only an allusion rather than a genuine definition.|
|13||DUNDERHEAD; [be]D + UNDER HEAD|
|16||ORGANISE; (AS REGION)*|
|18||GLOSSARY; GARY [Glitter] around LOSS (= ‘death’)|
|19||L(EFT)IST – fortunately I knew ‘newt’ = EFT so this went straight in. Had I not, this puzzle might have taken me a lot longer (this answer crossed WASHINGTON at 23ac which I spotted next and which gave me the theme).|
|21||NEARBY; rev. of (YEN around BRA) – ‘X to hold up Y’ would more normally indicate a reversal of Y only (inside X); I’m not sure the word ‘up’ can fairly apply to both bits and so indicate reversal of (X around Y), as here.|
|22,15||DENVER BRONCOS; VERB (= ‘something to do, say’) in ENRON (= ‘corrupt business’) + CO[mpany], all in in D[ire] S[traits]|