Posted by rightback on August 14th, 2010
Solving time: Don’t know (clock stopped while solving), but at least 15 mins by the time I concluded that I didn’t know the word at 13ac; 25ac and 15dn also wrong.
I started slowly on this (only 3 answers in the first 3 mins) and continued in the same vein, finishing with three errors. This was probably about right difficulty-wise for a prize puzzle, but there were few convincing surface readings, some dubious wordplays and nothing that will stick in my memory (except hopefully the words I didn’t know!).
Music of the day: A curious Irish folk song, The Banks of Newfoundland, which may not merit more than one listen but might help me to remember the word ‘holystone’.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||STREAMING + COLD – hmm. This might be a reasonably well-used phrase but its validity as an answer is questionable. The normal rule is that all answers have to be dictionary phrases in their own right, so ‘catch cold’ or ‘cold snap’ would be ok but this phrase isn’t any more acceptable than ‘tall building’ or ‘screaming child’ would be.|
|10||CRICKET MATCH – ’11s’ in this case meaning ‘teams of eleven’.|
|11||EARLY ON; EARL (= ‘One of 14 [Lords]‘) + YON (= ‘that’)|
|12||OFFER; OF + FER (= ‘iron from Paris’, i.e. ‘iron’ in French)|
|13||HOLYSTONE; HOLY S[ain]T ONE – wholly unconvinced by this. The breakdown is a nice idea, but there are a number of problems: ‘holy saint’ is tautologous, St Peter was not (a little research suggests) the first saint in any way (that was St Ulrich of Augsburg), although he was arguably the first Pope, but most seriously there is nothing ‘etymological’ about this (‘cryptically’ might have been better). Anyway, to ‘holystone’ means to scrub a ship’s decks with a holystone (sandstone). I didn’t know this and entered ‘hellsbore’ (which isn’t even a word – I was thinking of ‘hellebore’ which is apparently a plant), which looked marginally more likely than ‘hillslope’ or the Batmanesque ‘holysmoke’. [Correction: the wordplay is actually 'holy stone', since 'Peter' comes from the Greek for 'stone'. This also explains 'etymologically' satisfactorily. Thanks to Tokyo Colin for pointing this out.]|
|14||LORDS – as in the House of Lords and Lord’s cricket ground where I had the enormous pleasure of watching England dismantle Australia last year.|
|16||EDGBASTON; (GETS ON BAD)* – where England are, as I speak, thrashing a Pakistan side in a state of total disarray. It’s a shame that ‘Gets on bad’ is so ungrammatical. This was a breakthrough solve for me as I quickly put in the other cricket-related answers.|
|18||ACTION MAN; ACT 1 + ON + MAN (= ‘island’)|
|19||POSIT; P.O. (= ‘postal order’) + SIT|
|20||MARSH ARAB; (ABRAHAM’S R[ight]) – not in Chambers, but these are inhabitants of Mesopotamia.|
|23||DECK + O – a glance.|
|24||SECONAL; SEAL around CON – ‘a hypnotic and soporific barbiturate’. Sounds amazing.|
|25||SIBERIA; I.B. (= International Baccalaureate) in SERIA – apparently ‘opera seria’ is Italian for ‘serious opera’. I thought the answer must be ‘subarea’ but (unsurprisingly) couldn’t explain it.|
|26||FRESH AS A DAISY; rev. of SERF + HAS, + AY (= ‘always’) around DAIS (= ‘platform’)|
|2||TAIL FIRST; (A1 + L +
|3||ESKER; ESK + E + R – a gravelly ridge. Nice clue, although the link word ‘with’ is a bit awkward. The Esk is in Eskdale and (I once discovered to my cost during a mountain race) rather less crossable than you might think. There is a fantastic swimming pool near the top, though.|
|5||NEEDLE GUN; NEED + LEG + U.N. (= ‘international body’) – I knew this phrase but not of its Prussian origins.|
|6||CARD SHARP; D.S. (= Detective Sergeant) after CAR, + HARP (= ‘instrument’)|
|7||LAY TO (hidden backwards) – well hidden, I wasted time trying to do something with ‘booty’ = ‘loot’ and thinking ‘raised’ would give ‘up’.|
|8||SCHOOLMARMISH; SCHOOL (= ‘A lot of fish’) + MARMI[te] + SH (= ‘say nothing’) – having spotted the answer I still took a long time to understand the wordplay because I was fixed on ‘marmalade’ instead of Marmite.|
|9||INTERNATIONAL; INTERN (= ‘Confine’) + AT + IONA (= ‘island’) + L[enin] – apparently an ‘International’ is an international socialist organisation; more here.|
|15||SHOSHONES; SH (= ‘Don’t talk’) + ON (= ‘about’), all in SHOES – another word I didn’t know, and I guessed ‘Shoshunes’ (from ‘shun’ in ‘shoes’, which fits the wordplay if you accept ‘don’t talk’ = ‘shun’).|
|17||TEST CARDS; TEST (= ‘international’) + CARDS (= ‘pack’)|
|21||RE + CUR|
|22||BASTA[rd] – Italian and Spanish, and used in Shakespeare.|
|23||DUBYA; (BUY)* in D.A. (= District Attorney)|