Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 430 – Central skulduggery

Posted by beermagnet on November 22nd, 2010


I’m well aware that when we bloggers baldly present the answers and wordplay it can make the solving process seem all too easy. But for some of us our calm exterior belies frantic activity, like a head sticking out of a pool while the legs are treading water like the clappers underneath.
Take for example 8A ALGEBRA: I realized most of the wordplay, but hadn’t understood the definition and thought “putting on” was an insertion indicator. So I tried to put (ALEG)* inside BRA. I have things like BALEGRA and BREGALA pencilled in the margin.
Then there’s the clumsy error that causes trouble: I quickly and gleefully got 6D CRACKLE – then wrote it in the space for 8A. I had an otherwise blank top-right corner till I sorted that out.
I have given up using a pen – pencil only for me.

This crossword was definitely more tricky than many Eye puzzles of late. I was beginning to think I’d never get started. I got down as far as 20A TECHNOCRAT with nothing then took the necessary time to tease out that anagram.
Still. Generally getting the answer after a struggle is more satisfying provided it isn’t of the “should of got it earlier” variety.

7 TIP-OFFS i (electric current) and P[enis] inside TOFFS (swells) Def: Leads. Tip-offs doesn’t sound right – shouldn’t it be tips off – no that’s the verb.
8 ALGEBRA (A LEG)* AInd: shaking; BRA (underwear). Full clue:
In which ‘X’ and ‘Y’ often appear shaking a leg, putting on underwear (8)
10 IN DISGRACE IN (Hot – as in “It’s hot, it’s in, it’s top of the pops!” ) DI’S (revered royal’s) GRACE (divine talent) Another one I had real trouble with. For ages I was looking at I? D?S?R?C? wondering what IN DISTRICT could mean
12 ED MILIBAND (DIM DENIAL B[rother])* AInd: about. One of those “should have got this earlier” moments
13 FILL F[emale] I’ll (Cyclops is going to)
14 SKULDUGGERY U[nstable] L[abour] (GRUDGE)* AInd: stupid, all inside SKY
19 BANANA SKIN A CD that I got with only 1 crossing letter (preen, preen) which I really liked:
Fruity thing that could have you on your back in no time(6,4)
20 TECHNOCRAT (CROTCH NEAT)* AInd: re-engineered. First answer in – I was getting a bit worried by this time
23 ACOLYTE AC (Bill) O (nothing) L[ewinsky] (YET)* AInd: agitated
24 ALSO-RAN AL SO RAN (Gore really tried …) Def: Beaten – as in horseracing
1 ZIP CODE DD/CD I had only read the first half of this clue before guessing the answer – but the second half gave rise to a smile. What Uncle Yap would call a “Tongue in cheek” CD worth repeating here: “Male flasher’s rules of conduct?”
2 BOOTLICKER (LOOT)* AInd: distribution, inside BICKER (row)
3 OFFICIAL ICI (here in Strasbourg) inside OFFAL
4 CLOSED Es (drugs) reversed inside CLOD (idiot)
5/22/18 WEAR AND TEAR CD I wasn’t too sure about this at the time – indeed it was the last in requiring all crossing letters
6 CRACKLE [X-Facto]R inside CACKLE (crow) Def: hiss! I presume this is referring to the crackle and hiss of an open fire. But surely these are two very different notable sounds – hardly synonymous, but we know what he means.
11 DO A RUNNER A (one) inside DO RUNNER (party errand boy)
13 FORESHADOW FORE (warning of course) SHADOW (what Labour’s top guns are now) Def: Indicate.
15 GENITALS L[abour] inside (TEASING)* AInd: crushed.
16 DEFENCE ED< FENCE (criminal) Def: plea in court
17 WINDBAG WIND (turn) BAG (slut)
19 BLOTTO BLOT (Mark) T[hatcher] O (love) My clue-of-the-grid:
Mark Thatcher’s first love under the table (6)
21/9 HALF CUT HALF (small glass of beer) CUT (dropped)

Joke for Ken Livingstone:
A bloke walks into a bar with a newt
Barman says “Thats a nice newt, what’s its name?”
Bloke says “He’s called Tiny
Barman says “Why Tiny?”
Bloke says “Because he’s my newt”

5 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 430 – Central skulduggery”

  1. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks for the blog, Beermagnet. And the joke, very groan-worthy. But “should of got it earlier” ? Tut, very tut!
    I had to give up on 7a and 3d, but didn’t find most of the rest too bad. ALGEBRA was my first – it leapt out at me, having a maths background.
    CRACKLE was one of my last – I just couldn’t reconcile it with ‘hiss’, I still don’t like it.
    I thought the topical 12a was rather neat, and for 5,22,18 I am ashamed to admit that I had to look up ‘frottage’ – though the answer was fairly clear once I had…

  2. sidey says:

    beermagnet, have you read Harry Palmer’s struggles with the Times crossword in The Ipcress File?

  3. beermagnet says:

    Sidey, no I haven’t. Do tell all.
    Or give us a page number to look up!

  4. John King says:

    Yes, a toughie this time. 7A, 10A and 16D were my sticking points.

    As for CRACKLE and HISS I figured they were refering to the noises you get when playing vinyl records. Surely Beermagnet and Mr Beaver have been around long enough to remember? :)

  5. sidey says:

    It’s a bit of a recurring theme beer, as Harry works through the case he keeps altering his answers in puzzles (or possibly the same puzzle) in line with his findings. It always amused me as newsprint at the time resembled blotting paper making fountain pens almost unusable and even pencil difficult. I’m not sure it’s worth reading the book, your comments just brought back what is almost the only thing I remember from it.

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