Posted by RatkojaRiku on January 18th, 2011
This was my first attempt a blogging at puzzle set by Tyrus and it proved a real teaser. Is it just me or do others find that when they have to blog a puzzle, suddenly the fear of not completing it at all sets in and their solving times go through the roof?
Anyway, it was only when I was on the home straight in terms of the number of clues solved that “our hero” was unmasked, even though his age (answer at 32) had revealed itself to me early on. The task was not made any easier by the fact that the grid contained a large number of short entries: two 3-letter words and as many as ten 4-letter words. 11 and 16 were new words for me, and my favourite clue, not at all related to the theme of the puzzle, was 23.
In Indy grids that have no complete entries around their perimeter, I have learnt to keep my eyes peeled for hidden messages. Eventually, I spotted BAGGS down the right hand side of the grid and then realised that the reference was to the latest series of The Apprentice (answer at 8) on BBC1, where self-made millionaire Alan Sugar sets out to find an apprentice to help run his business empire. The full message around the perimeter reads STUART BAGGS AKA THE BRAND. The reference is to an unsuccessful 21-year old hopeful in this series, who dubbed himself “the brand” and whose annoyingly outrageous claims (no doubt what Tyrus had in mind in clueing 7 and 1) ultimately led Alan Sugar to utter the immortal words: “You’re FIRED!” Some of Stuart’s more memorable quotes are hinted at in the clues at 14 and 28.
Despite not living in the UK, I had been able to follow the series on TV. However, spotting the hidden message merely offered an additional layer of entertainment to a puzzle that could have been completed, if not fully understood or enjoyed, by a solver who had not seen the programme. Indeed, the unsuspecting solver is not even invited to look for any hidden message or formally asked to unmask “our hero”.
Entitling the puzzle “A tribute” and talking about “our hero” is a tad naughty on the setter’s part and surely somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I wonder if anyone else so young has ever been the focus of a crossword in the Indy or any other quality daily – I certainly hope that news of this honour filters through to “our hero”!
In any case, having negotiated their way through to a completed grid, the Lord Sugars of the crossword world would doubtless exclaim: “Tyrus, you’re HIRED!”
*(…) indicates an anagram
|7||ALIENATES||A + LIE (= an exaggeration) + NATES (=bottom, i.e. the buttocks); the clue doubtless alludes to the exaggerated claims that led an antagonised Lord Sugar to fire Stuart Baggs.|
|9||ARAB||A + BAR (=boozer; “backed” indicates reversal)|
|11||INDABA||I + *(A BAND); “arranged” is the anagram indicator; an indaba is a Zulu word defined by Chambers as “an important tribal conference” or “an international Scout conference”.|
|12||NUTS||STUN (=shock; “reactionary” indicates reversal); the definition is “very keen”, as in “to be nuts/crazy about something”.|
|14||FOPPISH||FOP (=“Field Of Poppies? To start with”, i.e. first letters only) + PISH (=that’s silly, i.e. the exclamation); the clue alludes to one of Stuart Baggs’ infamous claims on The Apprentice: “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-trick pony, I have a whole field of ponies – and they’re literally all running towards this job”.|
|16||MEU||Hidden in caME Up; “carrying” indicates the hidden answer; Chambers defines meu as “the plant baldmoney or spignel”.|
|18||AREA||ARE (=live, i.e. exist) + A (=“close to GranadA”, i.e. last letter only)|
|19||LARGE||L (=Leader’s first, i.e. first letter only) + ARG(u)E (=row; not United means that the letter “u” is not used)|
|21||OLEG||O (=nothing) + LEG (=on, i.e. the onside of a cricket field)|
|22||DOT||DO (=perform) + T (=time)|
|23||TRAINEE||AINTREE (=course, i.e. racecourse); “right put back to start” means that the letters “rt” (=right) are to be moved to the front of the word and reversed (“put back”); the definition is 8, i.e. (the) apprentice.|
|25||SLOG||GO(a)LS (=ends; “without a” means the letter “a” is not used); “return” indicates a reversal.|
|27||ROMMEL||*(MEMOR(ia)L); “without a current” means that the letters “a” and I (=current, in physics) are not used; “engineer” is the anagram indicator; the reference is to the famous German Field Marshal of World War II, nicknamed the Desert Fox.|
|29||INTONERS||*(OR TENNIS); “squash” is the anagram indicator; to intone is to chant in musical tones.|
|31||BUST||S (=“Smiling initially”, i.e. the first letter only) in BUT (=yet)|
|32||TWENTY-ONE||WEN (=an enormous congested city, as in “the great wen” to describe London) in *(NOT YET); “working” is the anagram indicator. Stuart Baggs (=“our hero”) was the youngest ever contestant on The Apprentice at the age of 21.|
|1||SAFEGUARD||*(SUGAR FED A); “spurious” is the anagram indicator; the clue doubtless alludes to the exaggerated claims that led Lord Sugar to fire Stuart Baggs.|
|2||TIRO||*(RIOT); “could cause” is the anagram indicator; the definition is 8, i.e. (the) apprentice; perhaps the “a” is superfluous in the clue, although it helps the surface reading.|
|3||UNLAWFUL||UN (=“at St Tropez – one”, i.e. the French for “one”) + L (=large) + AWFUL (=pants, as in the colloquial expression “That’s pants!” to indicate that something is considered worthless)|
|4||ASSISI||AS (=when) + ISIS (=river, i.e. the River Thames at Oxford; “rises” indicates a reversal)|
|5||RAID||RA(b)ID (=like mad dog); “that’s heartless” means the middle letter “b” is to be dropped.|
|6||TABBY||TAB (=bill, as in “to put something on the tab”) + BY (=close to)|
|8||THE APPRENTICE||Cryptic definition: “show” is to be read as “programme”; see introduction to the blog above.|
|13||SMART||S (=succeeded) + MART (=market)|
|15||HOOTS||(s)HOOTS (=films); “S—– going” means the letter “s” is to be dropped.|
|17||SEBORRHEA||*(HEAR ROBES); “disguised” is the anagram indicator; the reference is to “American’s skin condition” since the British spelling would be seborrhoea.|
|20||EDENTATA||EDEN (=garden) + TA-TA (=vale, i.e. the Latin for farewell); edentata are an order of mammals having no front teeth, or teeth at all, such as sloths and anteaters.|
|24||ARLOTT||Homophone of “(h)arlot” (=pro, i.e. prostitute); “Cockney” indicates that the “h” will not be pronounced; “in conversation” is the homophone indicator; the reference is to the late cricket commentator John Arlott.|
|26||TOQUE||*(QUOTE); “fanciful” is the anagram indicator; Chambers defines toque as “a 16c form of cap or turban”, hence “old hat”.|
|28||MYTH||M(asculinit)Y (=“extreme MasculinitY”, i.e. the first and last letters only are to be used) + TH(at) (=“THat’s not half”; i.e. only half the letters are to be used); the clue alludes to another of Stuart Baggs’ infamous claims on The Apprentice: “I have to rein in my own extreme masculinity in this task”.|
|30||NOOK||NO (=lack of) + OK (=support)|