Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 31st, 2011
This was my first attempt at blogging an Anax puzzle, and given how challenging I always find his puzzles, panic immediately set in: while under normal circumstances I would expect to get at least close to finishing one given time, how would I fare with a tight deadline for posting facing me?
My first perusal of the grid produced only three solutions (6, 12 and 22), but then the NE corner slotted itself in, although 7 was new to me. Unlike those puzzles that seem to fall into place once a critical mass of clues have been solved, I had to work hard throughout this puzzle, finding the longer entries relatively early on, but still struggling to slot in the shorter entries around them. The NW corner kept me guessing longest, with 1 and 3 being the last clues to be solved.
Incidentally, I cracked 10/21 from the wordplay and then worked back from that to solve the anagram at 5/18/19. There is some very sophisticated wordplay in evidence in this puzzle, with a higher than average amount of deceptive switching between grammatical forms: e.g. “rivals” in 20 is a noun in the surface reading of the clue, while a verb in the wordplay of the solution; “loose” in 16 is an adjective in the surface reading but a verbal definition of the solution, etc. The compiler’s ability to exploit such ambiguities, for me at least, is often what marks out a difficult puzzle from an average one.
Furthermore, I particularly liked the splitting of iPhone in 15 and of Desert Island Discs in 22. In addition to 7, 3 with its brilliantly hidden definition was new to me, as was the rock band at 24, known to me only as a mythological river until today. I am not convinced that I have correctly parsed the definition at 17.
Overall, thank you, Anax, for an extremely challenging and imaginative, but consistently fair, puzzle. I hope not to be quite so panicked when next it falls to me to blog one of your creations.
*(…) indicates an anagram
|1||ACID||C (=cocaine) in AID (=charity)|
|4||OVERTHROWN||H<e>R<e> (=here regularly, i.e. alternate letters only are used) in [OVERT (=public) + OWN (=personal)]|
|9||POSITIVELY||[O SIT (=everyone stands; i.e. no-one is seated) + I’VE (=I have)] in PLY (=travel); the definition is “without doubt”, i.e. used adverbially, as in “a positively outstanding crossword”.|
|10/21||ALL’S WELL||A + LL (=couple of lines, i.e. 2 x L) + SWELL (=great); the definition is “version of 5/18/19”, i.e. an expression synonymous with 5/18/19.|
|11||QUANTIFY||[NT (=books in Bible, i.e. New Testament) + IF (=when)] in QUAY (=dock)|
|12||COMICS||MIC (=microphone) in COS (=by virtue of, i.e. colloquial short form of because)|
|13||EUSTACHIAN TUBE||EU + *(USA CAN’T BE HIT); “somehow” is the anagram indicator; the Eustachian tube leads from the middle ear to the pharynx and equalises the pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere, hence “relieves pressure”.|
|15||ULTRASONICALLY||[AS (=while) + ON + I + CALL (=i/Phone ; this is split into two parts dealt with separately in the wordplay)] in *(TRULY); “awful” is the anagram indicator; the definition is “so I can’t hear”, i.e. using sound waves of too high a frequency to be audible to the human ear.|
|22||RATION BOOK||NB (=extra, i.e. a no-ball in cricket) in [RAT (=desert, as a verb) + I (=island) + OO (=discs, i.e. 2 x O)] + OK (=well, i.e. the solution at 21); interesting splitting up of Desert/Island/Discs into three parts dealt with separately in the wordplay.|
|23||SORDIDNESS||DID (=worked) in *(SENSORS); “faulty” is the anagram indicator.|
|24||STYX||Homophone of “sticks” (=is jamming, as of a door or drawer); Styx is an American rock band of the late 1970s and early 1980s.|
|2||CLOSURE||[L (=left) + OS (=huge, i.e. abbreviation of outsize)] in CURE (=smoke, i.e. to preserve e.g. meat by smoking)|
|3||DJINN||DJ (=jock, i.e. abbreviation of disc jockey) + INN (=place serving beer, wine); the definition is “spirits”; listed by Chambers as an alternative spelling of jinn, djinn is defined as a class of spirits in Muslim theology and folklore, assuming different shapes.|
|4||ORIGINAL SIN||[GIN (homophone of “djinn”, i.e. the solution to previous clue, indicated by suspensive points …) in *(SAILOR)] + IN; “drunken” is the anagram indicator.|
|5/18/19||EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN IS LOVELY||*(ONE GIVES “HIGHLY VERDANT” ENTIRELY); “new” is the anagram indicator; whimsically & lit.|
|6||TRY||T (=time) + RY (=line, i.e. abbreviation of railway); the definition is “stretch” as a verb, as in to push, test, tax, e.g. to try one’s patience.|
|7||ROAD METAL||[D (=delay initially, i.e. first letter only) in ROAM (=travel)] + ET AL (=with others, i.e. abbreviation of the Latin expression et alia); Chambers defines road metal as “broken stones for roads”, hence “stones in the way”.|
|8||WOLF CUB||[LFC (=Liverpool, i.e. Liverpool Football Club) + U (=United, i.e. abbreviation used in place names, football teams, etc)] in WOB (bow= consent, as in to bow to, yield, concede; “over” indicates a reversal)|
|12||CHANCELLORS||[N (=new) + CELL (=room) + O (=open at first, i.e. initial letter only)] in CHARS (=cleaners, i.e. charladies)|
|14||STRADDLED||STRA<y> (=waif; “mostly” means the final letter is dropped) + DD (=cleric, i.e. abbreviation of Doctor of Divinity) + LED (=guided); the definition is “came across”, i.e. sat astride, spanned.|
|16||LEAVE GO||AVE (=hail, as in ave Maria) in LEGO (=little bricks, i.e. the children’s toy); the definition is loose as a verb, i.e. to slacken (ropes), to let go.|
|17||YELLOWY||Y (=primarily you, i.e. first letter only) + [LOW (=vulgar) in ELY (=see, i.e. the office of a bishop)]; the definition appears to be “suggestive” (of the colour yellow)|
|20||VIBES||B (=soft, i.e. black on lead pencils – HB, 2B – to indicate softness) in VIES (=rivals, as a verb)|
|22||RID||RID<e> (=travel; “no closer” means that the final letter is dropped); the definition is “free” as a verb, i.e. to deliver, liberate.|