Posted by Pete Maclean on June 10th, 2010
Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of May 29
This puzzle is a brilliant feat by Cinephile in that all the symmetrically paired across clues are anagrams of each other — a fact that I did not even notice until Sil pointed it out to me. (See comments below.)
I found it a bit harder than most Cinephiles, especially the top-right corner. From it, I learned that Dorothy (and the variants of the name in the puzzle) means gift of God. And I like that! And I like the ingenious triple definition in 21D (RATTLE), plus 14A (CHARISMA) and 15D (ABSTINENT).
1. RECENT – RE (about) + CENT (money)
4. THEODORA – THE (the) + ODOR (smell for American) + A (a)
10. POLYESTER – LYE (caustic solution) in POSTER (publicity)
11. IRATELY – I (I) + RAT (desert) + ELY (cathedral)
12. IN TEARS – A[rtichokes] in INTERS (plants)
13. LIES – double definition
14. CHARISMA – CHAR (domestic help) + IS MA (has children)
17. ARCHAISM – ARCH (knowing) + IS (is) in AM (earlier hours)
19. ISLE – homophone (“aisle”). Would this clue not be better written as “…being impossibility without water”?
22. RETSINA – S (southern) in RETINA (eyepiece). Nice cryptic cluing here.
24. REALITY – RE[g]ALITY (kingship with G removed)
25. PROSELYTE – PROSE (plain language) + LYTE (insubstantial sound). Is LYTE intended as a homophone here? Chambers gives “lyte” as a variant spelling of “light”.
26. THERE – THE (the) + RE (technical branch — Royal Engineers, I assume)
27. DOROTHEA – HE (man) in DO (party) + ROTA (list)
28. CENTRE – C (roughly, as in circa) + ENTRE[at] (appeal, at lost)
1. RETRIALS – RETR[o] (faux-antique style abandoning love) + I ALS[o] (so do I [abandoning love])
2. CARTAGENA – CARTAGE (transportation) + NA (North America)
3. NEEDED – DEE (river) in DEN (retreat) all backwards
5. HOLD IN RESERVE – HOL (break) + DIN (row) + RE (about) + SERVE (tennis stroke)
6. ORESTES – ORES (deposits) + TES (upset!)
7. OSTIA – OS (large) + TIA (liqueur for Maria)
8. ARREST – homophone (“a rest”)
10. PSYCHOANALYSE – anagram of NASHES PLAY COY
15. ABSTINENT – AB (sailor) + TIN (money) in SENT (dispatched)
16. TERYLENE – RYLE (former astronomer) in TENE[t] (incomplete belief). The astronomer in question is Sir Martin Ryle, an eminent radio astronomer and one-time Astronomer Royal. It does strike me as a bit odd to refer to him as a “former” astronomer — it’s not like he gave up astronomy and took up a different career.
18. CHICEST – IC (first century) in CHEST (large box)
20. TRIPOD – RIP (old rogue) in TOD (fox)
21. RATTLE – triple (!) definition
23, 9. TWO OR THREE – O (nothing) in WORTH (value) in TREE (plant)
I have been writing this blog for three years now and am moved to reflect on how the experience has changed my solving. For a start, it has made me a better and faster solver after 20 odd years of more casual crosswording. I think there are two chief reasons why I have improved. First is because I have to be more analytical about clues in order to blog them. Previously I would frequently guess answers without ever fully figuring out the wordplay involved. Second is because I am forced to finish each puzzle whereas before I would occasionally give up! The process has also made me more attuned to particular setters and their respective devices. I remain diffident about criticizing clues negatively but, I am happy to say, very rarely find any temptation to do so. By contrast, I take great relish in singling out exemplary clues and do so with increasing confidence. And I look forward to continuing.