Posted by Gaufrid on July 1st, 2010
We don’t see Boatman very often which is a pity since he usually provides an enjoyable challenge and this was no exception, despite my having a couple of quibbles (though this could just be me not parsing the clues correctly). Overall, this was definitely not a puzzle for beginners!
The two clues I have reservations about are 13ac and 27ac where I am unable to fully explain the wordplay. I may have missed something and would welcome any clarification or explanation. Elsewhere there were many good clues, too numerous to list in this preamble, and frequent references to newspapers, either generically or specific publications, or to parts of them.
Edit: Quibbles now resolved due to further thought and the helpful comment #2 posted by Max.
7 COUP D’ÉTAT *(PACT DUE TO) – ‘unholy’ as an anagram indicator? Presumably in the sense of ‘outrageous’.
8 SCOLD ‘S COLD
9 ADENOIDAL [agend]A *(ON AID LED) – a reference to the writer and broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg.
10 AMISH hidden in ‘abrahAM IS Holy’
12 APPEAR *(A PAPER) &lit
13 EXAMINER – ‘retired in the Valleys’ could be EX-MINER but I don’t see where the ‘A’ comes from because you wouldn’t say ‘ex- a miner’. Spliting it into EX (retired) A MINER (in the Valleys) doesn’t work for me. needs to be read as ‘formerly a miner’ and then the ‘formerly’ changed to ‘ex’ to give EX A MINER.
14 ABYSMAL *(BAY) SMAL[l] (endless minute)
17 REDACTS RED (bloody) ACTS (deeds)
20 IN CAMERA *(AMERICAN)
22 PLUCKY P (power) LUCKY (to be successful, probably)
24 THEFT THE FT (newspaper) – I liked the definition!
25 ESTRANGED *(AGENTS RED)
26 RAGAS RAG (newspaper) AS (articles)
27 MALEMUTES MUTE (don’t bark) in MALES (not bitches) – there isn’t an insertion indicator in the clue so this should be parsed MALE (not bitches) MUTES (don’t bark) but the second part doesn’t equate. MALE MUTES with ‘mute’ as a noun. Edited thanks to Max, comment #2
1 HOLD-UP H (hour) OLD (on the way out) UP (to Oxford)
2 OPENNESS O[bserver] PEN (writer) NESS (point)
3 DENIER REINED (restrained) reversed – the ‘?’ needs to be removed from the clue to get the definition.
4 FALAFEL LAF (homophone of ‘laugh’, a bit of fun) in LEAF (page) reversed – a deep-fried ball of ground dried chickpeas or broad beans, with onions, garlic, etc and spices.
5 SCAMPI SCAM (money-making scheme) PI (letter from Athens)
6 FLYSHEET FLY (perhaps horse) SHEET (page) – defn. ‘tent cover’. This one took a while to parse with the indirect reference to a horsefly and ‘front’ being used as a direction to put ‘fly’ before a word meaning page.
11 MALE homophone of ‘Mail’ (newspaper)
15 BONEHEAD Spoonerism of hone (polish) bed (divan)
16 APEX APE (predecessor of man) X (times)
18 AQUANAUT AU (gold) in A QUANT (a pole) – quant: a punting or jumping pole, with a flat end.
19 DAYSTAR homophone of ‘daze’ (shock) TAR (boatman) – good misdirection since using the setter’s pseudonym in a clue usually leads to ‘I’ or ‘me’ etc.
21 AFFRAY A FF (very loud) RAY (shaft)
22 PORTER *(REPORT) – an interesting reversal of the parsing of ‘shock report’ cf 19dn.
23 KEEPER PEEK (look) reversed ER (royalty) – ‘retrospective’ needs to be interpreted as ‘look back’.