Posted by Pierre on September 27th, 2010
There was one solution I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, but there were a couple as well that I thought were very cleverly constructed.
Definitions come from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED). Its big brother has a cameo at 25 across.
9 OVERREACH A charade of OV (half of OVid), ERR (sin) and EACH (separately).
10 IGLOO A charade of I (first person) and GLOO (near darkness, being most of GLOOM). In grammar, ‘I’ is the first person singular, as opposed to ‘you’ (second person) and ‘he/she/it’ (third person).
11 SLUMBER A charade of S (Sunday) and LUMBER, ‘move in a clumsy or blundering manner’. S as an abbreviation for Sunday? When I started doing cryptics I was constantly surprised at the range of abbreviations used by setters. It’s not in the SOED, but I suppose that on little calendars you’ll see Sunday abbreviated to ‘S’. In fact, if you cast your eyes to the top right of this very webpage, you’ll see an example.
12 LUCKNOW A charade of LUCK (success) and NOW (right away). Not perhaps the best known of cities, but the setter’s kindly told you that it’s in Northern India, so fair play.
13 IVAN Ivan IV, aka Ivan the Terrible, a Russian Tsar and a nasty piece of work by all accounts. A charade of I (one) and VAN (VANity with the second half missing).
14 AMBIVALENT Our first anagram (running around) of LIVE BANTAM. For me, ‘ambivalent’ means having contradictory feelings about something, so ‘hesitating’ wouldn’t be my first choice of synonym.
16 INHUMAN An insertion of HUM (half of HUMped) and A (one) in INN (pub). Personally I didn’t dwell too long on the image that the surface reading conjured up here. The hyphen just about saves it.
17 TAKINGS A charade of TA (thanks) and KINGS (monarchs).
19 EVEN-HANDED A cryptic definition, I suppose, but unless I’m missing something, it doesn’t quite work for me.
22 INCA Hidden in (somewhat) INCApable. As well as the people, INCA also refers to their sovereign (I learned this morning).
24 NUDISTS An insertion (cracked) of DIS (SID turned round) in NUTS. ‘Nuts cracked’ made for a nice surface.
25 OMITTED Insertion of MITT in OED, the Oxford English Dictionary, the daddy of them all.
26 SONGS Insertion of NG (no good) in SOS.
27 LEAF-GREEN An anagram of FEEL ANGER. This was my last to go in, and even then I couldn’t see why. A very cleverly disguised anagram indicator (makes you) and a fine clue.
1 LOWSPIRITEDNESS A cryptic definition, which works okay, but I’m not convinced about the word. Even when I saw that the middle letters were SPIRIT, I still couldn’t see it. Neither it, nor any of its potential derivatives, are in the SOED, but I suppose it’s a word. Anyone else feel it’s a bit clunky or is it just me?
2 BEQUEATH I thought this was a very clever clue, and my favourite today, but it’s perhaps a tough one for a less experienced solver. The definition is ‘will’ (‘transitive verb, to leave instructions in one’s will or testament; bequeath by terms of a will’). It’s a charade of BE, QUE (half QUEasy) and an anagram (funny) of HAT.
3 BRIBE An insertion (holding) of RIB in BE. I don’t think I’ve come across the rib = wife connection before in a crossword, but it’s from Genesis 2:21, where God takes one of Adam’s ribs and makes a woman out of it. Clever stuff.
4 DAIRYMAN An anagram (coming from) MAIN YARD.
5 CHILLI An insertion (going round) of HILL in CI (Roman numerals for 101).
6 GIMCRACKS A charade of GIM (Jim, they say, in other words a homophone) and CRACKS (splits). ‘A useless ornament; a knick-knack.’ Not a word perhaps in most people’s active vocabulary, and with the two devices in the clue (three if you count the move from James to Jim) maybe a bit difficult for a beginners’ puzzle.
7 BLONDE An insertion (wants to take) of LON (half of LONdon) into BDE, an anagram (untidy) of BED.
8 NOTWITHSTANDING A cryptic definition, and one I liked when I finally saw it.
15 EMPHASISE Our first (and only) double definition: the word can mean to highlight, and in language, to mark a stress pattern.
17 TEETOTAL Definition is ‘dry’. A charade of TEE (as in tee-shirt) and TOTAL (as in 2 and 2 makes/totals 4).
18 NINETIES A cryptic definition: more than eight cravats is NINE TIES.
20 ENDING The S is removed (don’t start) from SENDING. Denouement: ‘the final resolution of a play, novel or other narrative’. As you’d guess, it comes from the French dénouer, to unknot.
21 NESTLE A charade of NEST (bed) and LE (half LEft). Is Nestle a chocolate? It’s a firm that makes them, no? This ‘half’ device is clearly Mr P’s favourite one, used no fewer than six times in this puzzle.
23 BINGO A simple charade of BING (Bing Crosby, the famous crooner) and O (nothing).