Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3354/9th January 2011

Posted by Pierre on January 16th, 2011

Pierre.

Nice steaming cup of coffee, bacon sarnie (lashings of brown sauce) and the Everyman crossword. Sunday morning at its best.

I found this tricky in places, and there’s one I’m not sure about. Otherwise, the usual excellent blend of clever anagrams, four- and five-word phrases, and a word or two you’d (or I’d, certainly) never come across before.  Thank you as always, Everyman, for a most enjoyable, entry-level puzzle to get my brain in gear for the rest of the day.  The only downside was that there were no cricket references to enable me to gloat online about humiliating the Aussies in the Ashes.

dd double definition
cd cryptic definition
* anagram

Across

1 Do exercises in school
TRAIN
A dd, with the ‘school’ part of the clue functioning as a verb, not a noun.

4 Perform with copper and doctor, to a degree, in a sort of play
DOCUDRAMA
A clearly signposted five-part charade to give us a shedload of starting letters for the downs: DO + CU + DR + A + MA.

9 Use the least useful thing available, and fix the lot!
SCRAPE THE BARREL
I did get this once I had a few crossing letters.  The first part of the clue is the definition (ish).  Then I parsed it as SCRAPE (fix as a noun) THE and BARREL (lots, as in a barrel of laughs).  I will, however, fess up to having to phone a friend to get this far*.  Not my favourite clue today, but it could just be me being a bit dim.

*This is allowed under the terms and conditions of Fifteensquared bloggers (and possibly happens more often than you think, certainly in my case).

10 Earliest PM
PREMIER
A dd.

11 Appear in disguise close to ancient balustrade
PARAPET
(APPEAR)* plus ancienT.

12 Swag in sack
LOOT
A dd, helped by the fact that this word, like so many in English, can be both a verb and noun.

13/17 Saying there’s doubtful merit talking with skinhead
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE
(MERIT TALKING SKINHEAD)* Unless this is an attempt at an &lit (which I personally don’t think works), I’m not head over heels in love with this one. The surface is good, and the anagrind is clear once you’ve sussed it; but just to clue this as a ‘saying’ is pretty vague, in my opinion. What do others think?

18 Bird spotted in Leatherhead
RHEA
To my shame, I needed the two crossing letters before I saw this: it’s hidden in LeatheRHEAd.

20 Little Bernard has line in flattery
BLARNEY
An insertion of L (line) in BARNEY, the diminutive name for those called Bernard.

21 Cat shown in newspaper next to pretty girl
RAGDOLL
A charade of RAG and DOLL. This is not the Rosie and Jim type, however (which would be two words). RAGDOLL is, I learned this morning, a newish breed of cat: it’s large, muscular, long-haired and has blue eyes. I find cats sinister, so I’ll move on.

22 Ignored an untidy bleeder in resort
TURNED A BLIND EYE
(AN UNTIDY BLEEDER)* Brilliant surface, brilliant clue.

23 Item on list, part of a shoe
HEELPIECE
Item (PIECE) on HEEL. Again playing on the noun/verb usage: here HEEL means to fall over or to ‘list’.

24 Person beyond saving, individual imprisoned by King George
GONER
An insertion of ONE in GR (George Rex). I’d only been reading in the Observer Review a short time before solving about the acclaimed new film about King George and his stammer. Oscars earwig-o, apparently.

Down

1 High flier up for trial
TEST PILOT
A cd.

2 Drop unresolved argument with side with a greater ego, possibly
AGREE TO DISAGREE
(SIDE A GREATER EGO)* Super anagram and clue.

3 Serviette, sort mostly used after game
NAPKIN
A charade of NAP and KIN (mostly KINd, sort). NAP is a card game, short for Napoleon.

4 Put off, in crude terms
DETER
Hidden in cruDE TERms.

5 Inexpensive, flag of inferior quality
CHEAPJACK
A charade of CHEAP and JACK, the flag. It had to be CHEAP, but beyond that I couldn’t see it; a dictionary trawl revealed the answer.  The SOED gives ‘shoddy, inferior’. A new one on me, but very clearly clued.

6 Drawings of Mardi Gras, not right somehow
DIAGRAMS
(MA[R]DI GRAS)* The R (right) is withdrawn from the fodder before making the anagram.

7 Very little indeed of what returning US astronauts may expect?
A DROP IN THE OCEAN
A cd. The ‘US’ element looks a bit superfluous, but I suppose that Everyman may be making a contrast with the Russian cosmonauts, who come to Earth over the remoter land masses of the country. Whatevs, a nice clue.

8 Earmark a tax to be raised
ALLOT
A charade of A and TOLL reversed (raised, since this is a down clue).

14 Note amateur runs ahead of champion in track event
RELAY RACE
A lovely charade of RE (the second note of the tonic sol-fa, and a drop of golden sun for fans of The Sound of Music) LAY (amateur) R (runs) and ACE (champion).

15 Trivia is what one may get in the pub
SMALL BEER
A cd cum dd. While it’s a pretty familiar expression, I wasn’t sure of its origin, and a quick flirt online wasn’t much help apart from suggesting that it was a synonym for ‘weak beer’.

16 Shallow type involved in leak
SKIN-DEEP
Lovely construction: it’s KIND (type) inserted into SEEP (leak).

18 Urge small number to have good warming drink
EGGNOG
A charade of EGG (urge) NO (small number) and G for good. A mixture of cream, eggs, sugar and a spirit of your choice, and especially popular in North America during winter celebrations.

20 Clubs in English city making a collection
BATCH
An insertion of C for clubs (as in cards) in the beautiful spa city of BATH.

21 Poet may show anger about ending in limerick
RILKE
An insertion of K (ending in limerick) in RILE. No, I hadn’t either. A Bohemian-Austrian poet who died in 1926.  His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and modern poets, since you ask.

3 Responses to “Everyman 3354/9th January 2011”

  1. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre. Did you ask the audience or ask for fifty-fifty before phoning a friend?

    I didn’t know ‘cheapjack’ either, and found it the same way you did, but I am familiar with at least one poem by Rianer Maria Rilke, thanks to a daily prayer and reflection book I had on my bedside table as a younger woman. It’s a real treasure.

  2. Robi says:

    Thanks Everyman and Pierre; always a good way to spend some time on a Sunday.

    13,17 – yes, it is a bit vague but maybe ‘saying’ is sufficient when it is an easily flagged anagram. I thought 7 was fine because, as you say, it is only the American astronauts who drop back in the ocean (although maybe the Russians would be called cosmonauts).

    Lot and barrel; your explanation is no doubt correct. I thought of drawing lots out of a barrel – anyway, it gave me the right answer!

    A very enjoyable crossword – had to look up Rilke, though.

  3. The Trafites says:

    Yes indeed Pierre a good way to start Sunday mornings, must admit though Nick and I did this together on Saturday afternoon, an equally good time to puzzle.A most enjoyable solve. Thanks for the blog pierre and thanks to Everyman.

    Lorraine

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