Posted by Eileen on August 24th, 2011
Well, this was a surprise for a Wednesday – especially as I was convinced we were due for a Gordius – but I’m certainly not complaining! It was quite a tough work-out but there were some very satisfying moments when various pennies dropped. There might be some eyebrows raised at ‘parochial’ sayings / references but there were, as always, some really excellent clues. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Many thanks, Enigmatist, for a really satisfying puzzle.
1 SMASH HIT: MASH [pulp] in anagram [newly remixed] of THIS: [I couldn’t help thinking Paul might have clued this rather differently. ]
5,24 OCTANE RATING: anagram [school] of NOT A CATERING: Petrol’s octane rating is a measurement of the fuel’s ability to resist engine knocking. Great clue!
9 OF COURSE: OF[f] COURSE [lost]
10,26 IMMUNE SYSTEM: anagram [dodgy] of TUM MY NEMESIS: there doesn’t seem to be a definition here but I think it can be seen as an & lit
12 POINTILLISM: this caused some head-scratching: IN TILL I [presumably ‘leaving home at one’] in [acquired by] POM [‘Southern Englishman’ – cheeky!] Edit: stupid error: [thanks, molonglo] it’s not ‘Southern Englishman’ – I’d overlooked the S
15 ODEON: ODE [lines] + ON [about]
17 COLLECTOR: COL [pass] LECTOR [reader]
18 GREENROOM: reversal of NE’ER [never] in GROOM [married man]
19 TARAP: A [one] in TRAP [mouth]: I’d never heard of this – but then neither had Chambers, Collins, SOED or even Wikipedia, it seems, except as ‘a village and Union Council situated on the bank of river Sawan’ but I did eventually find this fruit . To be fair, it had to be that or ‘tirap’ and the hunt for that was completely unproductive!
20 PUERTO RICAN: anagram of UP TO ERIC RAN – and what a lovely surface!
25 BEHEMOTH: EH [what?] + reversal [pinned back] of ME in BOTH [the two]
27 ASCENDER: sounds like A SENDER [a man in Post Office?]: in typography, an ascender is ‘the portion of a minuscule letter in a Latin-derived alphabet that extends above the mean line of a font’
1 SNOWPLOUGH: NOW [presently] P[arking] in SLOUGH [ Berkshire town]: Slough might be known to people outside the UK from Betjeman’s poem which begins, ‘Come. friendly bombs, and fall on Slough’ – but perhaps that’s even more parochial.
2 ARCHIMEDES: CHIMED [agreed] in [to interrupt] ARES [Greek Olympian – god of war] – superb surface! [‘Principled’ from Archimedes’ principle that ‘any floating object displaces its own weight of fluid’.]
3 HAUNT: more head-scratching! It’s ‘frequent’ as a verb, which is the first hurdle, then A [tip – first letter – of adviser] in HUNT: Collins gives ‘in the hunt’ as ‘having a chance of success’. I really liked this – once I got it!
4,11 IT’S BLACK OVER WILL’S MOTHER’S: M[ass] in an anagram of TO CBS TV SHOW SERIAL KILLER – how wonderful is that! This was my second entry, signalled by my first [13dn] but I really couldn’t believe it – I thought Enigmatist was a Southerner! Admittedly, round these parts it’s ‘Bill’s mother’s’ but still I’m pretty sure it’s a Midlands expression, which will no doubt put the cat among the pigeons – but I absolutely loved it!
6 CAMEMBERT: CAT [whip] around [arrests] MEMBER [MP]
7 ABUT: A [American] BUT [objection]
8 EPEE: hidden in lifE PEErs
13 STORMCLOUD: anagram of SLUR DOT COM – I like it!
14 DROP ANCHOR: DR [medicine man] + OR [other ranks – soldiers] around [besieging] PANCHO [Villa]
16 NINEPENCE: cryptic definition, referring to the saying ‘right as ninepence’. There are various explanations of this but, apparently, according to Brewer, this is a corruption of ‘nice/right as nine-pins’. ‘Nine-pins’ is a game (skittles) in which the nine ‘men’ are set up with precise exactitude in three rows’.
21 REEVE: RE [about] EVE [first lady] – another nice surface, referring to the Reeve who was one of Chaucer’s pilgrims and therefore had a tale to tell.
22 EROS: reversal [heading for the top] of SORE [tender]; an old favourite reversal but this is a particularly good version of it.
23 IT IS: the suffix ‘itis’ as in ‘appendicitis’ indicates an inflammatory condition