Posted by beermagnet on November 27th, 2010
A Leo Tolstoy themed puzzle because 20-Nov-2010 was exactly 100 years since the great man’s death.
I started the puzzle early on the day and didn’t know this till listening to the Today program later that morning where there was his great, great, great granddaughter (I may have lost track of the greats) talking very eloquently about the commemoration.
Knowing this helped get going on the restart – I hadn’t suspected that theme even after getting War and Peace (after all that is a common enough answer in many a puzzle).
And, though I was on the lookout for a Nina in the unchecked letters of the top and bottom rows, it wasn’t till I’d finished that I spotted the TOLSTOY Nina down the central column. If I’d seen that coming it would’ve helped with several of those across answers.
When I saw it was an Anax puzzle I thought I might fail as I have for most of his recent puzzles, indeed I wouldn’t have got very far on a normal weekday lunchtime down the pub. But as it was a Saturday (and more particularly I was down to do this blog!) I didn’t feel too bad about using the internet. Armed with references to Tolstoy’s works I got there in the end and learnt a fair bit on the way.
|6||CHIMNEY-TOP CH[urch] I (one) (ON EMPTY)* AInd: running. I got this from the wordplay helped greatly by crossing letters but here I find: An organ-pipe having a small open tube in the middle of the top plate, the effect of which is to sharpen the note. The same effect is sometimes produced in stopped wooden pipes by boring a little hole through the tompion. So now we know – well we do after looking up tompion .|
|7||HASP HAS (is the one with) P[ower]|
|9||MIGRATION MIG (Fighter jet) RATION (control) Def: Flight|
|11||SHIRAZ (HAIR)* AInd: fluffy, inside [erogenou]S Z[one] Def: Red, as in wine named after the grape variety (aka Syrah) that itself is named after the city in southwestern Iran near ancient Persepolis.|
|12||LOUIS D’OR I S (one shilling) inside LOUD OR (for – as F OR – F musical loud) the “apparently” in parentheses indicating all is not what it may seem – a little more helpful than just sticking a question-mark at the end.|
|14||THE COSSACKS Another of Tolstoy’s novels. (SKETCH)* AInd: Comic, around CO[mpany] ASS< (behind rejected)
Comic sketch about company behind rejected book (3,8)
|18||HEAVIEST VIES (is competitor) inside HEAT (race)
Last in, after a struggle. Not sure why now – I just couldn’t think of anything to fit the “tongue in cheek” definition:
Is competitor entering race least likely to succeed as jockey? (8)
|20||TROWEL [a]R[m] inside TOWEL (wrapped in cloth)|
|22||QUENA Hidden in uniQUE NAme. It’s an Andean flute. With one crossing letter I guessed the correct string of letters – to look up (thus clue solving satisfaction – low)|
|23||GOING DOWN (N[o] G[ood] GOOD WIN)* AInd: Spectacularly.|
|24||EVER EVE, R|
|25||LAY HANDS ON (ONLY HAS)* AInd: Doctor, around AND (as well as)|
|1||JINGOIST IN (home) G[uard] inside JOIST (support) Def: Flag-waver. (Wordplay understood – finally think of the correct synonym for “support” – fitting answer appears – thus clue solving satisfaction: High)|
|2||ANNA KARENINA I didn’t twig this till I saw “Vronsky in 2″ in 19′s clue which made it a bit of a giveaway, but I had trouble decoding the wordplay. I think it is: AN AKA (an alias) containing N[itrogen] (gas), RE (enginneers – Royal Engineers), NINA (IN AN)* AInd: awful. But I’m not sure about “assumed” as a containment indicator:
An alias assumed by gas engineers in an awful book (4,8)
|3||KYLIE K[ink]Y LIE (be – has to be, hasn’t it?)|
|4||TOWN HOUSE OWN (private) H[ospital] inside TO USE (to exploit) Def: Urban property|
|5/10||WAR AND PEACE (P[rince] ANDREW A)* AInd: Novel. then ACE (Great)|
|6||CAMISE IS Inside CAME[l] (stunted desert traveller) I had to check camise later to be sure but it was the first answer tentatively in.|
|8||PIERRE PIER (mole – as in a sea defence) RE (about). Pierre Bezukhov is a character in (5/10) War and Peace.|
|10||PRINCE REGENT C[aught] ERE (before) GEN (information) all inside PRINT, i.e. in print – published, and George IV was the Prince Regent for some time.
George IV caught before information’s published? (6,6)
|13||FOG SIGNAL (FLAG IS NO G[ood])* AInd: waving|
|15||SAWHORSE AS< (while climbing), [roger]S (Rogers bottom) inside WHORE (prostitute). Def: Buck. I wondered about the definition till I looked up sawhorse and also found sawbuck.|
|16||CHEQUE Homophone “check” One of those “why didn’t I see it earlier” clues – I find homophones are often like that|
|17||OLENIN Ref Dmitriy Olenin, main character in “The Cossacks” (Ref answer 14). One of the last I put in and I would never have got this without having a shufti through Tolstoy’s works after discovering the theme. Wordplay OLÉ (cry of delight) NIN (erotic writer – ref Anaïs Nin )|
|19||ALEXEI A (first character) (EXILE)* AInd: forced. Ref Alexei Vronsky, Anna’s lover in AK.|