Posted by shuchi on April 1st, 2011
A very fine crossword that I wish I could have solved and relished at a more leisurely pace – I’m late with the blog and have rushed through! Alberich is at his best with some lovely &lits, challenging wordplay and a wide range of knowledge domains. The SI at a few places is very devious (4d, 16d) and the penny hasn’t dropped on a couple of others yet (5a, 3d, 17d). // Update: Thanks to Eileen, deke and Lenny for filling in the gaps.
I found the NE corner the most accessible and the SW the toughest.
Alberich uses proper nouns abundantly today – some turn out to be cases of false capitalization – Bob and Frank aren’t the people they seem to be, others like Myshkin and Robin need us to know some background about them to solve the clues.
Favourites? Hard to pick when there is so much to admire. There are the nice cricketing surfaces and clever wordplay of 11a and 18d, the lovely seamless construction of 28a and 2d, the brilliant definitions of 18a and 27a.
On to the clue analysis…
1 STILTED S (bob = shilling) TILTED (inclined)
5 PERSEUS PERSECUTE (to pick on) – CUTE (clever) + US (American)
9 ASPEN S (son) in (PECAN)* – C (opening of ‘cocktail’); ‘aspen’ means shaking but what is the connection with cocktail?
10 TRUNCHEON TR (IVR of Turkey) LUNCHEON (meal) – L
11 PRONOUCE PRONOUN (for example, we) E (English), around C (100)
12 NUDGE EG (say) DUN (to ask for money back)
13 DEPTH [a]DEPT (able, not initially) H[atred]
15 TEMPERATE TEMPE (place of beauty – – I guess this is Vale of Tempe) RATE (price)
18 ADULTERER (LATER RUED)*. What a creative definition – “Man United playing away”!
19 RECTO RECTOR (head of college) – its last letter. Recto is a right-hand page of an open book; the left-hand page is verso.
21 BOOTH BOOT (kick) H (heroin); John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln.
23 INEFFABLE E (English) F (fellow) in IN (popular) FABLE (myth)
25 EVOCATIVE [Mors]E VOCATIVE (case) – the grammatical case of nouns used for calling the thing or person, found mostly in older languages such as Latin and Sankrit. A nice surface about the fictional detective Inspector Morse who happens to be an expert cryptic crossword solver.
26 MOULD dd; to quote Wikipedia on the history of penicillin – “Fleming noticed a petri dish containing Staphylococcus plate culture he had mistakenly left open, which was contaminated by blue-green mould, which had formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mould. Fleming … grew a pure culture and discovered that it was a Penicillium mould, now known to be Penicillium notatum.”
27 THICKET TICKET (pass) around H (hospital), another definition to admire – “a close gathering of elders?”
28 STRINGY STINGY (mean) around R[ace]
1 STAMPED anagram of half the letters of ‘Hemel Hempstead'; an unusual style of anagramming.
2 IMPROMPTU I’M (I am) (PUT)*, around PROM (concert)
3 TONTO double definition: The Lone Ranger’s companion http://www.lonerangerfanclub.com/tonto.html and the National Forest in Arizona.
4 DETONATOR ON T (time) around A (article), in (RED-TO[p])* with “mostly” indicating deletion of ‘p’ and “edited” as the anagrind. The definition is the phrase ‘one sets off bang’.
5 PRUDE P[erson] RUDE (likely to use obscenities) &lit. Nice!
6 RACONTEUR NO CAR (transport) reversed, T[h]E UR (old city) – “deserted” = “left empty”.
7 EMEND ED (editor) around MEN (staff) &lit. Another elegant &lit.
8 SINCERE SINCE (after) R[eal] E[state]
14 HATCHBACK HATCH (to release chick from confinement) BACK (second). It’s funny when we zoom in on every word looking for wordplay and then it turns out that a string of words had to be read together – I’m talking of “HATCH = to release chick from confinement”.
16 MURDERESS DRUM (one that’s beaten) reversed, ERE (before) [hu]S[sy] S (succeeded)
17 AYCKBOURN sounds like ‘ache borne’ (pain suffered)
18 AMBIENT (BATSMEN)* – S, around I (one)
20 OPEN DAY O (round) DAY (Robin) around PEN (prison)
22 OBOLI hidden in ‘OrurO BOLIvia’ – the plural of ‘obol’, a silver coin in ancient Greece, equal to 1/6th of a drachma.
23 IDIOT IT around DI (girl) O (love); Prince Myshkin is the central character of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
24 FEMUR F (female) [th]E, RUM (spirit) reversed