Never knowingly undersolved.

Cyclops 444: Oddments and sodments

Posted by jetdoc on June 7th, 2011


Many apologies for the late posting — I wrote this last week, when away from home, but didn’t quite have it ready to post. And the last few days have been absolutely chaotic, so this didn’t get done in time.

I completed this Cyclops puzzle in one shortish session, with no real hold-ups, though I have slight doubts about the finer points of a couple of clues. 17a is a neat topical reference, and the anagram at 24a manages to combine elements of a story that was certainly topical when it Ms Currie went public with it in 2002.

1 ODDMENTS Fancy Desmond Tutu’s capital leftovers
*(Desmond T). ‘Fancy’ is the anagram indicator; T is Tutu’s capital
9 ENSIGN Standard feature of Ken’s ignorance
Hidden in ‘Ken’s ignorance’
11 HONOR Obama’s moral integrity (or nearest offer when pressed by hard right)
ONO = or nearest offer; in HR = hard right. ‘Obama’s’ just means it’s the US spelling.
12 EPIDERMIS Skinny thing simpered playfully — Cyclops ensnarled
*(simpered I), with ‘Cyclops’ indicating I.
13 SKINFUL Binge drinkers will have this bad, squeezing tip of dick
SINFUL = bad; K = tip of dick
15 GENESIS Group seeing off Sting’s opener
*(seeing); S = Sting’s opener
17 ALTERNATIVE VOTE The lost cause of Clegg’s veto, as Cyclops might cryptically put it
VOTE is an anagram (an alternative form) of VETO, so a cryptic crossword setter might clue it that way. ‘The lost cause of Clegg’s’ is the definition.
20 KINGPIN Key figure in government initially, wearing naff pink
IN; G = government initially, in *(pink)
22 MACADAM Brothel-keeper shafted by Bill and stuff in the road
MADAM = Brothel-keeper; containing AC = bill (account). A type of road construction pioneered by the Scotsman John Loudon McAdam in around 1820
24 MEMORANDA Notes Major at first (having screwed Norma and Edwina): “No win!”
M = Major at first; *(Norma Eda), with “No win!” indicating that ‘win’ needs to be removed. John Major, as well as being married to Norma, famously had an affair with Edwina Currie.
28 KEEPER Seaman, say: “Gander’s back on Brenda”
PEEK = gander (look), reversed; ER = Brenda, otherwise know as the Queen. Reference to David Seaman
29 TRUE BLUE Right miserable as a constant supporter of Cameron & co.
TRUE = right; BLUE = miserable. ‘A person unswervingly faithful, especially to a political party represented by the colour blue, orig used of Covenanters’, now often of the Tory party.
2 ODONTIST Do not sit around for a facetious oral prober
*(Do not sit). According to Chambers, this is a facetious word for a dentist.
3/8/26 PEER OF THE REALM UK piss artist? One of many in the House
A member of the House of Lords; also a peer is one who pees.
4 INTERNEE Bury originally named Archer once
INTER = bury; NEE = originally named (born). Jeffrey Archer spent some time as an intern, i.e. in prison, to absolutely no-one’s amusement (not much!)
5 LITMUS I’m awash with lust — could well turn 29, or the political opposite
*(Im lust). Litmus is an indicator that turns blue (29) in alkaline conditions, red in acid.
10 JINGOISM Flag-waving gets Jack elected: “Bash insipid socialist and multiracialist leaders!”
J = Jack; IN = elected; GO = bash (not sure…); ISM = insipid socialist and multiracialist leaders. Chauvinistic, sabre-rattling patriotism
13 SHACK House just about wants Hague’s head in fire
H = Hague’s head; in F = fire. A shack is just about (only just) a house.
14 LEARNING Being a student, inclined to imbibe very last trace of beer
LEANING = inclined; R = very last trace of beer
16 SPERM Come, it could protect many such swimmers
I am not completely sure how the second part of this clue works. Sperm, in the sense of semen, contains (and protects) many spermatozoa, which swim. This could also be a reference to the sperm whale, in which the spermaceti may have a protective function.
18 REPARTEE Bantering, creative stuff, with judge’s bottom grasped by depraved peer
ART = creative stuff; E = judge’s bottom; in *(peer)
19 ODDBALLS Not even crap will do for whackos
ODD = not even; BALLS = crap (rubbish)
21 NUMBER Not so sensitive ’69’?
Double definition, with the choice of number adding double entendre
23 CORSET Holy shit tax once used to keep a corporation in check
COR = “Holy shit!”; SET = the unlamented Selective Employment Tax. ‘Corporation’ can also mean belly.
24/1/6/7 MAKE BOTH ENDS MEET Organise a get-together of a couple of arses to avoid a debt crisis?
Basically, a double definition. Chambers says: ‘to live within one’s income (both ends meaning both ends of the year)’
25 AIR Hot as the stuff of politicians’ speeches?
I’m not sure this clue entirely hangs together, either — politicians’ speeches are said to consist of hot air; but, by itself, ‘hot’ doesn’t quite work as a definition.

How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?
Put it in the microwave until its bill withers.
(You have to say this one out loud)

6 Responses to “Cyclops 444: Oddments and sodments”

  1. pajodr says:

    Shouldn’t 4D be ‘INTERNEE’ as it was 8 letters, not 6.
    INTER = bury; NEE = originally named (i.e. birth or maiden name, ‘nee’ being ‘born’ in French). Jeffrey Archer spent some time as an internee, that is as a prisoner, not as an unpaid employee.

    16D is a single definition, in that ‘come’ or seminal fluid carries & protects many sperm, the swimmers in the clue.

    I have the same questions you did about 10D & 25D though.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog, Jane. I think 16dn refers to the slang usage “come” (or “cum”) = semen.

  3. jetdoc says:

    I did get the ‘come’ part of 16d, but am not 100% sure that the clue works as a whole.

    4d corrected; thanks for pointing out my mistake.

  4. Bamberger says:

    About a two pint solve (not saying how fast or slowly I drink . Last one was 2d -had to be an anagram and had to be odontist but took a few online dictionaries before I found it.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thank you for this. For 10dn, GO = bash works in the sense of “have a go/bash/try” at something.

    Pedantic point about 12ac: I think it should really be I in *(simpered).

  6. fearsome says:

    Thanks for explaining Corset – which I had guessed but couldn’t justify.

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