Posted by Eileen on December 31st, 2010
Orlando’s puzzles are always entertaining and I’m pleased to get one of his for my last blog of the year. There’s a good variety of cluing, with smooth, often witty, surfaces throughout, some clever anagrams and amusing homophones – and one piece of wordplay which I thought had me beaten until the light dawned. Thank you, Orlando, for this and your puzzles throughout the year: a very Happy New Year to you and all our readers.
9 AHEAD: HE [man] in bAcArDi [13 across]; a nice piece of misdirection, suggesting a play / film at 13ac.
10 DEATH BLOW: anagram of WHO TABLED
11 GAITSKELL: IT in GASKELL [Mrs Elizabeth, Victorian novelist, author of 'Cranford' and 'North and South']: Hugh Gaitskell, Labour leader 1955-63
12 READY: READ [scan] + [pla]Y
13 BACARDI: AC [centre of attrACtion] in BAR [pub] + D[etective] I[nspector] [policeman]: we’re used to seeing ‘rum’ more often as anagram indicator than definition.
15 HIDEOUT: homophone of ‘high doubt’
17 WRENS: R[un] in W E N S [all directions]
18 DIM: DIM[e]
20 TRIPE: T[ime] + RIPE [ready - 12ac]
22 SILK HAT: anagram of HIS TALK
25 SAD SACK: SAD [regrettable] SACK [dismissal]: an American fictional comic strip and comic book character
26 FLAIR: L[eft] in FAIR [blonde]
27 PREMINGER: [so]NG in PREMIER [first]: Otto Preminger (1905 – 1986) the Austro–Hungarian-born American film director
28 METROLAND: MET [bumped into] + ROLAND
31 ASTER: [m]ASTER
1 BANG: BAN [outlaw] + G[reenwood]: again, ‘report’ is more usually a homophone indicator.
2 MEDIOCRE: anagram of MORE DICE – a very neat surface
3 ODES: ODES[sa]
4 IDLEWILD: IDLE [unemployed] + WILD [crazy]: the former name of JFK International Airport
5 WALLAH: ALL [quite] in reversal of HAW [fruit]
6 SHORT-DATED: anagram of HATTER’S ODD
7 EL PASO: hidden reversal in orlandO’S A PLEasant
8 SWAY: W[ickets] in SAY [for example] – a nice topical one!
13 BOWLS: B[ook] + OWLS
14 RESTHARROW: anagram of HERTS + ARROW [director - not of films this time]: ‘a papilonaceous plant [genus Ononis] with long, tough, woody roots’ [Chambers]
16 TWEAK: W[ith] in TEAK [timber] – clever use of ‘timber frames’
19 MISLEADS: homophone of Miss Leeds [Yorkshire beauty queen]
21 IRANGATE: IRATE [up in arms] around N[icaraguan] G[roup] A[ided]: US political scandal in 1987 involving senior members of the Reagan administration
23 LEAN-TO: LEANT [listed] + O [nothing]
24 TIPCAT: TAT [tasteless articles] around I PC [one computer]: I have not played [nor heard of!] this game – details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tip-cat
26 FUME: reversal [up, 'not down'] of EMU [Australian runner] ‘under’ F[ollowing]: it was a real penny-dropping moment when this finally yielded.
28 IVAN: [d]IVAN: the name of various Russian Tsars, perhaps most notably Ivan III [the Great] and Ivan IV [the Terrible]
29 RARE: double definition: meat cooked rare is red inside.