Posted by beermagnet on January 3rd, 2011
Christmas at the Eye – another year – another big grid with proportionally inflated prize**.
Preamble: Twelve clues, lacking definition, lead to the names of people quoted in Pseuds Corner in 2010.
While solving, I didn’t get very excited this year. The clues are solid, certainly, but pitched at a very similar level of difficulty – I’m sure Cyclops can write trickier clues. That meant the grid was filled steadily with few “Aha” moments as clues fell. The sheer size of the grid meant a couple of sessions were required (there’s only so many pints-worth I can concentrate) and in the second sess it wasn’t as if I had to struggle over stuff I’d tried earlier, many clues had be left unread at the end of the first bash. I did a quick count up after the first pass and noted 40 clues answered which was well over half. The dozen undefined clues were reasonably obvious – there weren’t that many longish answers with 2 or 3 parts – and the wordplay for all was clear.
I had the most fun while creating this blog and looking up the outpourings of the dozen Pseuds Corner candidates, answers highlighted * below.
I never take too much notice of Pseuds Corner normally – yes, I read it – but much of the time I find the silliness of journalist/presenters/celebs either most likely intentional (e.g. juxtaposing serious points with botty humour for effect), or an inevitable consequence of the verbal diarrhoea that infests their professions. Reviewing the year’s columns I had a good laugh.
** If the prize was £324 it would be directly proportional to the total grid area compared to the normal 152, but maybe in terms of number of clues … What? Oh, all right, I’ll get on with the answers …
|10||RESISTANCE ([labou]R CAN SEE ITS)* AInd: alternative Def: Opposition First read, first answered, first entered, but this time it did not give me false sense of superiority as there was so much more to do|
|12||ASHFORD (HAS)* AInd: screwed, FORD (former president) I did spent a moment wondering if there was a village of Hasford near Dover.|
|*14/34||SARAH JESSICA PARKER (CHRISSAKES! APE A JAR)* AInd: pissed, then [ba]R
First of our 12 Pseuds. (I think the hyphen in the given enumeration 5,7-6 is a pure typo)
|*16||CAROL ANN DUFFY CAROL (seasonal song) AN (one) DUFF (crap) in NY (New York)|
|17||LAP OF HONOUR LAP (genital area) OF HONOUR (that’s upstanding) Def: Victor’s round|
|18||DISC DIS (Insult) C[ameron]|
|19||CONGEAL CON (Tory) EG< (backing say) A L[osing candidate]|
|*22/6||ADRIAN CHILES A[ce] DR (doctor) IAN (Paisley possibly) CHILE (a catholic country) S[outh]|
|24||CLEAVAGE DD Two nice defs: 1. Hatchet man’s objective 2. Revealed by wonderbra|
|26||LOZENGE ZEN (religion) inside LOG (record) E[ndorsing] Def: pill|
|28||OFF-ROADING (FORD IN A FOG)* AInd: hapless.|
|31||ENDING Hidden in friEND IN Gordon Def: Close|
|32||SO WHAT SOW (broadcast) HAT (derby)|
|37||SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION SPONTANEOUS (natural) CO (firm) M[edium] BUST (pair of tits) ION (charged particle) Def: Instantly inflames one. Ref: the notion much loved by readers of Fortean Times etc.
that people can burst into flames given certain circumstances
|42||COMMANDO COMMAND (direct) O (ball) Surprised Cyclops didn’t use a “lack of underpants” clue here.|
|45||THE ALLIES HE (the man) ALL (everything) inside TIES (trusses)|
|47||FAT-HEADS A (one) inside (SHAFTED)* AInd: screwed|
|49||SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD SKELETON (outline) IN THE CUPBOARD (held by cabinet)|
|*54||NIALL FERGUSON (FRAULEINS LONG)* AInd: touched up|
|56||CRUISE DD 1. A crafty holiday 2. Look for a sexual partner|
|57||EXEMPT EX (partner once) E[nergy] PMT* AInd: stuck|
|60||STEWARDESS WETS< A (DRESS)* AInd: crude|
|62||ELITIST IT (sex) inside E-LIST (Very low-ranking celeb-wise) DEF: not for the hoi polloi. OK who’s going to complain about the tautology of saying “the hoi polloi”?|
|64||PUFFED UP PUFF (non-PC gay) ED (Balls, say – ref Ed Balls) UP (elevated)|
|65||TENNIS (SIN NET)< vice trap back. Def: Courtly pursuit|
|67||COHABIT CO (firm) HABIT (tendency)|
|69||NOSEGAY NOSE homophone “knows” (is familiar with said) GAY|
|72/55/75||PAIN IN THE ARSE PA (father) IN IN (twice occupying) T’ (the Northern) HEARSE (body transporter) Def: drag|
|73||PHILANDERER PHIL (The duke – ref Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh) AND ER (and the Queen) ‘ER (her vulgar). This “phil-and-er” construction has cropped up before|
|*74||CHARLIE PARSONS PARSON (Clergyman) inside CHARLIES (tits)|
|*77/48||PATTI SMITH (TITS TAP HIM)* AInd: Wobbly|
|78||RAUCOUS R[ex] AU[stralian] CO[ke] US (american) Def: Strident|
|79||SUSPENDERS (PUSS[y])* AInd: turning, ENDERS (those seeking climax)|
|1||DEPRECIATION (PAID ERECTION)* AInd: play with|
|*2/4||WILL SELF WILLS (The Prince) ELF (the fairy)|
|3||ON EDGE O (love) (NEED G[usset])* AInd: stimulated|
|5||BABY GRAND (GABY)* AInd: over, inside BRAND (comedian) Ref Jo Brand, I hope – I don’t think Russell counts as a comedian|
|7||COMPANION SET DD/CD This is the “poker, tongs, mini-shovel, brush” set that are “essential” for a fireplace. I discovered they were called “companion sets” some time ago when buying a ludicrously expensive set for a present – there didn’t seem to be any reasonably priced alternative – pre-internet shopping.
Fireside grouping helpful if you need a poke, etc. (9,3)
|8||ARMOURED ARM (member) OUR ED (Ian Hislop)|
|11||TENON (TONE)* AInd: engineered, [gordo]N Def: that would be cutting. A Tenon is the bit that pokes in the Mortice in a Mortice and Tenon joint, but I think here it is simply short for a Tenon Saw, the short small-toothed saw that cuts the Tenon|
|13||DOFFS DO (party) FF (very loud) S[ocialist]|
|14||SKODA K[ing] inside SOD (bugger) A. Def: a banger. That def is a bit dated – I hear the current models are certainly not “bangers”|
|*19||CRAIG RAINE CRAIG (Actor Daniel) (IN A)* AInd: tizzy, inside ER<|
|*20/39||LIZ JONES LIZ (The Queen familiarly) J[ack] [prid]E inside (SON)* AInd: off.
The only one of the 12 I had not heard of.
|23||ANNIE I (one) inside ANNE (princess) DEF: Orphan Ref: Little orphan Annie|
|25||ENSUE E[ye] N[ever] SUE (litigious)|
|26||LAWSUIT (A SLUT W.I.)* AInd: tangling. Def: Case|
|27||EXECUTIONER DD 1. Royal Charles’s nemesis – i.e. Charles I 2. Topping bloke|
|29||FACE-OFF DD 1. Confrontation 2. Taking make-up off|
|30||OOPS (S POO)< I thought the def suitable as an apology for the wordplay: Sorry about that|
|33||ANCIENT ROME (NOMINEE ACT R[eagan])* AInd: corrupt. A long misleading Def: Senate had a big part in this|
|35||RHONE (NERO H[erion])* AInd: pissed|
|36||IMPLANT “I’M PLANT” (rose’s introduction) Def: Breast enlarger?|
|38||PRO-AM PRO (tart) AM (before midday)|
|40||ELDER [g]ELDER (castrator, not good)|
|*41||STEPHEN FRY STEP (pace) HEN (not for men – as in Hen party) FRY (little tiddlers)|
|43||METAL M[ale] LATE< (in a stiff state – i.e. dead) reversed (rising).
Best clue award here for making a surprisingly rude clue for a totally innocuous word:
In a stiff state, rising after male copper? (5)
|44||OAK TREE Single Def really ref the legend of Charles II avoiding the roundheads by hiding in an oak tree
Charles’s historic ‘woody’ concealer? (3,4)
|46||SCHMIDT (DCM SHIT)* AInd: gets (or maybe the “!” exclamation mark) Def: Chancellor no longer. Ref: Helmut S – who I now discover from Wikipedia is still knocking on at 92, and is now the oldest former chancellor in German history. I wonder if he is a good candidate for my ‘Dead Pool’ …|
|*50||LOUIS THEROUX (HER OUT)* AInd: gross, inside LOUIS X (Very old French king)|
|51||CREEP CREE (native American) P[enis] Def: Inch|
|52||OVEREXPOSURE DD whose two halves meld together nicely: 1. Showing more flesh than necessary 2. can ruin a picture|
|53||AFAR [a]RAFA[t]< Def: Remote. Last answer entered – even then initially only from the definition, and it took a while more to get this wordplay: ARAFAT (leader) reversed (stuck up) knock off first and last letters (extremely lacking)
Remote, stuck up leader extremely lacking (4)
|58||PRURIENT (PUTIN REAR – A)* AInd: drilled|
|59||WITTICISM (TWIT I’M SIC[k])* AInd: Stupid|
|61||WENT INTO WE (Cyclops and his ilk), N[ame], (ON TIT)* AInd: plastered Def: Investigated.|
|*63/15||IAN MCMILLAN IAN (Our editor) M[a]CMILLAN (Publisher abandoning A[rcher])|
|66||STASI (SADIST – D)* AInd: beat up. “And throw away key” for remove the D|
|67||CIDER (DIC[k])< ER Def: Booze|
|68||BARROW (BRA)* AInd: fancy, ROW (line) Def: Mound|
|70||SPLASH P[ee] inside SLASH (pee)|
|71||GEESE GEE! (cripes!) [bori]S E[nglish]|
|73||POPE (OP)* AInd: shit, PE (exercise) Def: From whom you night well get bull. (I can’t regard shit as a reverse indicator – got to be an AInd)|
|76||AIDE (IDEA)* AInd: pisspoor|
The Dozen Pseuds
* 14/34 SARAH JESSICA PARKER
Issue: 1253. 8-Jan
On her twin daughters in the Daily Mail 16th December 2009
‘They will be six months at the end of this month and they are physically, intellectually, spiritually, geographically, politically, ideologically and religiously as different as two small six-month olds could be.’
* 16 CAROL ANN DUFFY
Issue 1259 2-Apr
A Poem for Becks (from Daily Mirror 16-Mar)
Myth’s river- where his mother dipped him, fished him, a slippery golden boyflowed on, his name on its lips. Without him, it was prophesised, they would not take Troy.
Women hid him, concealed him in girls’ sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs…
but when Odysseus came,with an athlete’s build, a sword and a shield, he followed him to the battlefield, the crowd’s roar,
and it was sport, not war, his charmed foot on the ball…
but then his heel, his heel, his heel…
* 22/6 ADRIAN CHILES
Issue 1271 17-Sep
On the UEFA Champions League, ITV
The biggest competition on the planet, quite possibly in the whole universe.
* 54 NIALL FERGUSON
Issue 1266 9-Jul
From the Tatler
I really am a wandering scholar, a nomad. I travel constantly: I very rarely spent two consecutive nights in the same place. It’s a curious kind of homelessness when you’ve got multiple houses where you can stay but don’t really feel at home in any of them.
* 74 CHARLIE PARSONS
Issue 1270 3-Sep
Remembering ‘The Word’ in the Guardian 10-Aug
Every item was rigorously vetted by lawyers, so much so that in its five years we only had one threatened libel action (when Malcolm McLaren complained about John Lydon’s live remarks as a guest on the show) and as far as I can recall only one judgment by the regulatory body against us (when a man dressed as Father Christmas was pulled across the studio by his testicles). We were careful to do things properly and responsibly.
* 77/48 PATTI SMITH
Issue 1257 5-Mar
Extract from her memoir ‘Just Kids’
When Robert came home, he was surprised by pleased. “What possessed you?” He asked. I just shrugged. But when we went to Max’s, my haircut caused quite a stir. I couldn’t believe all the fuss over it. Though I was still the same person, my social status suddenly elevated. My social status was suddenly elevated. My Keith Richards haircut was a real discourse magnet.
* 2/4 WILL SELF
Issue 1255 5-Feb (accompanied by nice little cartoon of Will hisSelf transandentally “flying”)
From New Statesman of 14-Jan
To sit in Pizza Express eating a pizza is to partake in a mystic communion with the cosmopolitanisation of the British bourgeois in a way that no other chain restaurant experience quite achieves.
Now write a clue for ‘cosmopolitanisation’ (19)
* 19 CRAIG RAINE
Almost inevitably the only Pseud with two entries that I found
Issue 1255 5-Feb
From ES Magazine 8-Jan “Talent spotting: the ones to watch in 2010″
Poet Craig Raine nominates Jen Hadfield, 31:
‘There was much scepticism in the poetry world when poet Jen Hadfield won the TS Eliot Prize 2008 with her second collection of poems. I opened her book, Nigh-No-Place, and read ‘Under the broiler/ turned sausages ejaculate’ and I thought, ‘This girl can write.’
Issue 1259 2-Apr
From The Guardian 6-Mar – on his hero Patrick Marber
In 1996, I spent prolonged periods on Patrick’s lumpy sofabed when he was directing my verse play 1953 at the Almeida. One afternoon, as he was vanishing with Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse under his arm, he mused: “Just think, you’re the only person in the universe who knows that I’m taking a shit. Apart from me.”
* 20/39 LIZ JONES
Issue 1266 9-Jul
Reviewing Allison Pearon’s novel ‘I Think I Love You’ in the Evening Standard
But this book is about big things – friendship, motherhood, love, loss – seen through the prism of smoke from a joss stick, set to jingly jangly music that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, produces a shiver not unlike that from a Fox’s glacier mint, and makes me almost, but not quite, want to wet my pants.
* 41 STEPHEN FRY
Issue 1265 25-Jun
On ‘Tristan und Isolde’ on Radio 3
Really it’s the greatest act of western civilisation … really to this day it is far from pretentious to describe it as orgasmic … It’s as if Isolde is working herself into an erotic frenzy … You can hear the pelvic thrusts as it builds to a climax …
* 50 LOUIS THEROUX
Issue 1270 3-Sep
From the Radiotimes
Who’s been a surprise in real life? I’ve been round to Jonathan Ross’s house a couple of times, and always found him to be a sensitive and thoughtful guy. He gets pilloried for being crass, but he’s more highbrow than people give him credit for – he reads Nabokov.
* 63/15 IAN MCMILLAN
Issue 1265 25-Jun
The other day I saw a sight as culturally and artistically significant as, say, the Angel of the North spreading its rusty wings by the A1 or that long and oddly moving crack they sliced into the floor of Tate Modern a few years ago. I saw a lad in a baseball cap clamber off a bus clutching a pair of battered drumsticks.
He wasn’t just holding drumsticks, of course: he was holding an interface of art and science; he was holding a societal paradigm; he was holding a couple of long wooden tickets to a strange glowing land built of rhythm and sweat.
So who is the Top Pseud this year?
Most of them actually have redeeming features – some multiply so.
For some, I cannot help but think their contributions are totally intentional, and, as Uncle Yap would say, “tichy” – tongue-in-cheek. Surely this is the case for Will Self, Carol Ann Duffy and Ian McMillan (if he could just stop himself writing things like “societal paradigm”).
Some don’t profess to intellectualism do they? Surely that is a prerequisite for a fully-fledged Pseud. Thus the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Adrian Chiles and Liz Jones fall by the wayside.
So … inevitably really … My vote goes to: Craig Raine
This is not just because he has two entries – that is merely a symptom of his malaise.