Posted by rightback on September 25th, 2010
Solving time: 8½ mins
This puzzle was themed on the nursery rhyme about little boys being made of frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails and little girls of sugar and spice and all that’s nice. There was a Listener crossword on this subject within the last year or so but I was still slow to spot ‘frogs’ (I think the version I originally knew had ‘slugs’).
Despite a couple of pedantic quibbles (e.g. the partial definition at 11ac, the positioning of ‘about’ and ‘out’ in 14ac and 13dn respectively, a questionable geographical reference at 19dn), I thought these clues were mostly very good with accurate cryptic wordings and sound surface readings. Curiously this took me precisely the same time as the previous week’s prize puzzle by Paul, although I think this was probably the easier unless you happened not to know the rhyme.
Music of the Day: Girls and Boys by Blur, clearly.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|9||OUTFOXING; OUTING (= ‘trip’) around F[lying] O[fficer] + X (= ‘times’) – the abbreviation FO for ‘Flying Officer’ (as an RAF rank) is actually obsolete (it’s now ‘Fg Off’ only), but remains in Chambers so is fair game for crosswords.|
|10||RHYME; “RIME” – nice surface reading.|
|11||SUGAR (initial letters)|
|12||TIMIDNESS; (INSISTED)* around M[edium]|
|13||FAR GONE; (RANGE OF)* – very well-disguised anagram.|
|14||NURSERY; (RERUNS)* + [tell]Y|
|17||ORBIT; O (= ‘ring’) + R[everse] + BIT – I don’t think I’ve seen ‘reverse’ indicating ‘R’ before, and it’s not in my dictionaries, but it seems reasonable given that it appears on the gearstick of the car that most of us probably own.|
|19,8||SEA LEGS; E.G. (= ‘say’) in SEALS (= ‘waterproofs’)|
|20||LISLE; ISLE (= ‘Man, possibly’, as in the Isle of Man) after L[arge]|
|21||SCLERAL; (CLEARS)* + L[ine] – ‘selcral’ was a viable alternative but ‘sclerosis’ provided a helping hand.|
|22||SEED + BED – I was surprised to learn that this was unhyphenated. It seems to be crossword convention that all (sporting) seeds are tennis players.|
|24||DIARRHOEA; (HEAR RADIO)* – an excellent anagram.|
|28||SPICE, from EPICS|
|29||BALALAIKA; B (= ‘second-rate’) + A LA (= ‘in the manner of’ in French) + LAIKA – Laika was the first dog in space.|
|3||FOUR-POSTER; (OF TROUPERS)* – clearly an anagram but the cunning definition stopped me seeing it until I had about three checking letters.|
|5||EGOMANIA; (AMIN)* in E + GOA – despite thinking of Goa straight away I overlooked ‘East’ which was very careless as I know Goa is in the south-west. The ‘Amin’ in the definition presumably refers to Idi Amin.|
|7||PYRENESS; PYRE (= ‘Cremation material’) + rev. of SEEN – nice clue.|
|13||FROGS; (FOR)* + GS – ‘G’ stands for ‘Grand’, as in £1000, but would you talk of ‘Gs’? Perhaps a city slicker can confirm.|
|15||ROLLED GOLD; ROLLED (= ‘turned’) + G[ood] + OLD (= ‘mature’) – not quite sure why ‘noble’ indicates gold; arguably they could have the same figurative meaning but rolled gold is the real thing (rolled into a very thin coating for a metal).|
|16||YIELD; rev. of LEI in Y[ar]D|
|18||BALSAMIC; BALSA (= ‘wood’) + MIC (= microphone = ‘Mike’)|
|19||SALCOMBE; COMB in SALE – tough for the geographically-challenged, unless you are a rugby fan in which case you’ll at least have heard of Sale (which in fact is no longer in Cheshire but Greater Manchester).|
|22||SNAILS; NAIL in S,S|
|23||BARRIO; BAR (= ‘Rail’) + RIO|
|25||STARDUST; rev. of RATS + DUST – I didn’t understand the Carmichael reference, but Google tells me that Hoagy Carmichael wrote a song called Stardust in 1927.|
|27,24||REEF; R + rev. of FEE|