Posted by rightback on November 6th, 2010
Solving time: 12 mins
The last 3 minutes of this, at least, were on 6dn (CHATELAINE) which I found much the hardest clue, although if I’d solved this a month ago it would have taken me a lot longer (see 5dn for why). There were several other tricky answers or bits of wordplay in this, and while old hands will probably have found it only of moderate difficulty, I suspect that the general consensus might be that this was a hard puzzle.
I can’t explain the wordplay for 27ac (ROOKERY) and would welcome explanations.
Music of the day (19dn) – Neptune from The Planets by Gustav Holst.
* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.
|1||SWEEP UP; S + WEE (= ‘very small’) + PUP|
|5||TOC EMMA; (CAME TO + M)* – which is old signallers’ code for TM, i.e. ‘trench mortar’.|
|9||LUMINANCE; LUM (= ‘chimney’) + IN AN + C.E. (= Church of England, i.e. ‘establishment’)|
|10||A + FRIT|
|12||BAYONETING; (IN BYGONE T.A.)* – the double-T form is also acceptable.|
|14||RE + BECK – a rebeck, or rebec, is a mediaeval stringed instrument like a mandolin.|
|16||TRADE-IN; D,E (= ‘successive [musical] notes’) in TRAIN (= ‘followers’)|
|18,15||GIN AND ITALIAN – ‘gin’ can mean ‘trap’ and ‘it’ is short for ‘Italian vermouth’, as in ‘gin and it’, but this means that the second half of the wordplay is just the same as the definition. You could argue that the abbreviation ‘It.’ gives ‘Italian’ independently of the drink, but then ‘it’ would need a capital.|
|20||INARTISTIC; (IRIS[h] TACT IN)*|
|21||S + PEW|
|24,1||TONIC SOL-FA; TONIC (= ‘sequel to 18′ as in ‘gin and tonic’), + L[eft] in SOFA (= ‘seat’)|
|25,26||ANGOSTURA BITTERS; ANGERS (= ‘infuriates’) around (STOUT)* around RA[b]IT – I’d never heard of this but with the checking letters in place the wordplay seemed unambiguous. This is apparently a trademarked name which originally comes from the town in Venezuela, so named because ‘angostura’ means ‘[the] narrows’ in Spanish. From the definition, presumably gin turns pink when made with Angostura bitters.|
|27||ROOKERY? – I’m afraid I can’t explain this one. I initially thought it was OK (= ‘authority’) plus E.R. (= ‘queen’) all in ROY, but I don’t know why ‘old king’ should give ROY (I think ‘Rob Roy’ may have submliminally reassured me when solving). It may simply be an old word for king (cognate with ‘royal’ and the French ‘roi’, perhaps) but it’s not in Chambers which seems to be Araucaria’s favoured reference for obscure or archaic vocabulary.|
|2||EN MASSE; (SESAME)* around [seaso]N – I thought ‘Sesame seed’ meaning ‘anagram of sesame’ was lamentable.|
|3||PINK – this word has eight separate headword entries in Chambers, most of which have several different meanings. In the sense of the colour pink, it can mean a pink hunting coat or the person wearing it, hence ‘Huntsman’, which might pass for the definition but I’m not sure why wordplay was eschewed here. The ellipsis is used because the answer also acts as the first word of the next clue.|
|4||PIN BACK ONE’S EARS; PINK around rev. of CAB, + (SEASONER)*|
|5||THE MOVING FINGER; (FRINGE)* – wordplay in the answer. By coincidence I solved a crossword in The Magpie only last month based on this line from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (or rather Edward FitzGerald’s translation) which helped enormously with this clue and hence the whole of the right-hand side of the grid.|
|6||CHATELAINE; CHAT (= ‘conversation’) + ELAINE – some Googling tells me that the Lily Maid was Elaine of Astolat from Arthurian legend. I didn’t know this or the answer word (a female keeper of a large household or château (castle)) and took a long time to get to this, via a dalliance with a -NANNY ending.|
|7||MARTINI; MARTIN (= ‘swallow’, as in housemartin) + I (= ‘one’)|
|8||ANTIGEN; ANN around TIGE[r]|
|13||RECEPTACLE; CEP (= ‘mushroom’) in (CLARET)* + E[arth] – I think ‘E’ = ‘earth’ is an abbreviation used in the electrical sense (as opposed to, say, live or neutral) but I could be wrong.|
|16||TWIN-TUB; WINT[er] in rev. or BUT|
|17||AGAINST; AGAIN + S[ain]T (= ‘good guy’)|
|19||NEPTUNE; rev. of PEN. + TUNE|
|22||WEARY; WEAR (= ‘be clothed’) + Y (= ‘unknown’ as in algebra)|
|23||OSLO; OS (= outsize = ‘Large’) + LO – I liked ‘request to look at’ = LO.|