Posted by scchua on July 19th, 2011
There was a problem with the link to the online version, which meant that I started late. (Thanks to those who responded to my call for help in trying to get the crossword.) When I finally got it in hand, it wasn’t as easy as previous PHSSTHPOKs. The right half was reasonable, but I got held up with the left half, and I’m still not sure of the parsing (nor of the answer too) for my last one in, 25D. (Edit.note: See comment#12) So, a little belatedly, here’s the blog I finally completed, with apologies for being late. Thanks PHSSTHPOK, you’ve made me work, enjoyably, for it. (Definitions are underlined in the clues.)
1 Maraschino cocktail lacked no ability to impress (8)
CHARISMA : Anagram(cocktail) of MARASCHI(maraschino without,lacked no).
6 Seal bone in cupboard (6)
CLOSET : CLOSE(seal) + T(T-bone, as in the steak).
9 Without apron, spill head of lime drink (6)
IMBIBE : IME(lime without,spill head,initial letter) around(without) BIB(apron).
10 Cut and paste at a clear menu (1,2,5)
A LA CARTE : Anagram(cut and paste) of AT A CLEAR.
11 It restrains hooligan who has bomb concealed (4)
ASBO : Hidden(concealed) in hAS BOmb.
Defn: In the UK, Anti-Social Behaviour Order placed on a hooligan, which restrains his activities and movements.
12 One used to torture general’s army (10)
THUMBSCREW : THUMB(I think, General Tom Thumb, the stage name of a dwarf who was an act in P.T. Barum’s circus)’S + CREW(a group of armed men,army).
Defn: Crude instrument where your thumbs (fingers as well?) are inserted and subjected to extreme pressure.
14 Draw a straight flush (4,4)
DEAD HEAT : DEAD(straight,as in dead ahead) + HEAT(a sudden reddening, glow,flush).
Defn: Finishing at the same time, ie. no one single winner, ie. a draw.
16 Ogle king during speech (4)
LEER : Homophone(during speech) of “Lear”, king in Shakespeare’s tragedy.
18 Stand up and join lots in alternate positions (4)
JILT : Letters in alternate positions in JoIn LoTs.
Defn: To break a promise to meet up with, marry, etc. another person.
19 Agreed to go back on board ship with headless corpse for adventures (8)
ODYSSEYS : Reversal(to go back) of YES(agreed) in(on board) SS(ship) +(with) ODY(“body”,corpse without initial letter,headless).
Defn: Adventures over a prolonged period or distance, named after that of the Greek Odysseus aka Ulysses.
21 I am bound to earn some money in opposition (10)
IMPEDIMENT : IM(I am) + PENT(within a pen,bound) around(earn) DIME(some US money = 10 cents).
Defn: Something that blocks,in opposition to one’s progress.
22 Just above line next to vertical axis (4)
ONLY : ON(above) L(line) +(next to) Y(vertical axis in an x-y graph, as opposed to horizontal x-axis).
24 Deviant wears leather-tipped gag (8)
STRANGLE : STRANGE(deviant) around(wears) L(initial letter,tip of the word leather).
26 In pursuit of unknown amount of liquid crystal (6)
QUARTZ : QUART(volume,amount of liquid measured in Imperial units = 1/4 of an Imperial gallon) +(in pursuit of) Z(unknown quantity, especially in algebra, together with x and y).
27 Outline he sculptured briefly on skirt and angora top (6)
SCHEMA : SC(abbreviation,briefly of “sculpsit”, Latin for “he sculptured”) + HEM(as a verb, to enclose,circle round, which in a sense could also mean to skirt,provide with a border) + A(first letter,top of angora).
28 Wild, loud Frenchman had little time to speak (8)
FRENETIC : F(loud,forte in musical direction) RENE(most popular Frenchman in Crosswordland?) +(had) TIC(homophone(to speak) of “tick”, a little duration of time,a moment,an instant).
2 Smell American appetiser (5)
HUMUS : HUM(a bad odour,smell) + US(American).
Defn: The Middle Eastern paste or dip made of chickpeas mashed with oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini and usually eaten with pita, as an appetiser. Not all dictionaries give this alternate spelling to “hummus”. “Humus” commonly refers to soil material produced by decomposed vegetable or animal matter, certainly not appetising.
3 These letters could be dreariest, on purpose (6,5)
RAISON D’ETRE : Anagram(these letters could be) of DREARIEST ON.
Defn: From French, reason for existence,a purpose.
4 Regal route had mushroom colour (8)
SCEPTRED : ST(street,route) around(had) CEP(mushroom, more commonly called by its other name, porcini, in menus) + RED(colour).
Defn: Of sovereignty, the scepter being one of the symbols of royalty.
5 Uncontrollable wolf eats a lone gnu without good camouflage (1,3,4,7)
A LAW UNTO ONESELF : Anagram(camouflage) of WOLF EATS A LONE NU(wolf eats a lone gnu without “g”,good)
6 Temperamental supercomputer captures twp (sic) bytes (6)
CRABBY : CRAY(supercomputer, actually the name of the company that makes them, named after its founder) around(captures) BB(two bytes, 1 byte = B). I’m quite sure that “twp” is a typo.
7 Eggs are in round state (3)
OVA : O(round) VA(abbreviation for US state of Virginia).
8 Extension to bank carries compiler remarkably (9)
EXTREMELY : EXT(abbreviation for extension) RELY(to bank,depend on) around(carries) ME(compiler,setter).
Defn: To be at the extreme end of the spectrum, and hence remarkably.
13 Infections run rampant, though confined to refrigerator (4,7)
COLD STORAGE : COLDS(infections) + RAGE(run rampant, as with fires, epidemics, emotions through forests, populations, etc) around(confined) TO.
15 Mysterious variations precede muscular spasm (9)
ENIGMATIC : ENIGMA(variations, compositions by Elgar) before(precede) TIC(involuntary muscular spasm). A somewhat weak clue, as wordplay and definition are close to each other.
17 The charm of Europe is up my street, with intelligence above all (8)
MYSTIQUE : MY ST(street) +(with) IQ(intelligence quotient, measure of intelligence) above reversal(up, in a down clue) of EU(Europe).
20 Lauding missing daughter’s cooked tongue (6)
LINGUA : Anagram(cooked) of LAUING(lauding without,missing “d”,daughter).
23 Stick to Latin greetings (5)
LATHI : LAT(Latin) HI(greetings).
Defn: From Hindi, a stick usually used by police.
25 Otherwise some English people express alarm (3)
AYE : I think, but not sure, AY(expression of agreement, otherwise,opposed to expression of alarm,surprise) + E(English).
Defn: An expression of surprise,alarm.