Posted by Pete Maclean on August 25th, 2011
Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of August 13
Well, here is a confounding puzzle from Cincinnus. It includes a good dose of his typically brilliant clues, notably 14A (PAINTERS) and 10D (BARNACLE GOOSE) but also has three clues that strike me as suspect (17A, 22A and 6D). Given how impeccable Cincinnus usually is, I hope that I am missing something in these cases.
1. NO FEAR – O (old) + F[ogey] both in NEAR (close)
4. SCHOONER – anagram of HE CROONS
9. MERIT – TIRE (weary) backwards + M (maiden)
10. BEEFSTEAK – F (fine) in BEES (insects) + TEAK (timber)
11. PALAVER – PAL (china) + AVER (say). “China” is a very Scottish term for a pal, a good friend.
12. ELEVENS – EVEN (regular) in ELS (golfer)
13. RAUL – RA (soldiers) + U[sefu]L
14. PAINTERS – anagram of PARENTIS. With, surely, one of the best anagram indicators ever.
17. HONOLULU – anagram of OH NO (cry of dismay) + LULU (singer). I have a lot to say about this clue. First, I initially got a wrong answer. With H___L___, I filled in HAMILTON (capital of Bermuda). Once I got 5D, which could hardly be ambiguous, I realized HAMILTON had to be wrong and I quickly hit on HONOLULU instead. The trouble here is “about”. It’s a pesky word in crossword puzzles because it could be an anagram indication, a reversal indicator or a surrounding indicator. In this case it seems it must be the first, that is denoting an anagram of OH NO. But this means we have an indirect anagram, a construction that is generally frowned upon except in cases where the measure of indirectness is very small (such as “left” for L). So we have the unusual case where one could argue that a wrong answer, HAMILTON, works better than the correct answer, HONOLULU. Now it is true that “Oh no!” is a somewhat more specific cry of dismay than “Ah!”, but either could do. It must also be true that, at least in Britain, Lulu is better known than Milton (that is Milton Nascimento, the Brazilian singer, sometimes identified simply as “Milton”). So, which is worse: one slightly obscure musician or an indirect anagram?
19. PERI – reverse hidden word
22. POSTBAG – POST (job) + BAG (secure). I wondered about “mail” cluing postbag. It seemed a bit of a stretch to me but we have a good confirmation in comment 6 that this is okay.
24. ILL FAME – anagram of I FALL + ME (myself)
25. WOEBEGONE – O (love) in WE (we) + BE GONE (depart)
26. DRILL – DR (doctor) + ILL (in a bad way)
27. SPLATTER – S[inger] + PLATTER (record)
28. WEIGHT – homophone (“wait”)
1. NAME PART – anagram of TAMPER AN
2. FOR A LAUGH – ORAL (spoken) in FAUGH (expression of disgust)
3. ACTIVE – ACT IV (end of play?) + [audienc]E
5. CREME ANGLAISE – anagram of NAME SACRILEGE
6. OBSCENE – O (Ohio) + B (book) + SCENE (location)??? I suspect I am missing something here. I expect Ohio to clue OH but here there is no H.
7. NIECE – reverse hidden word
8. RAKISH – RAKI (liquor) + S[tomac]H
10. BARNACLE GOOSE – anagram of BARCELONA GOES
15. SEESAWING – SEE (get) + S[tuck] + A (a) + WING (branch)
16. TIME SLOT – TIMES (newspaper) + LOT (group)
18. NOBLEST – NOB (person of distinction) + LEST (in case)
20. SPAWNS – PAWN (pop) in [bru]SS[els]
21. PLEDGE – double definition
23. SWELL – double definition