Posted by RatkojaRiku on September 15th, 2011
One of the reasons why I started blogging, and perhaps why my blogs might appear pedantically detailed to some readers, was that I wanted to help a couple of colleagues of mine who are not English-speakers but who are very interested in the English institution that is the cryptic crossword. As you might imagine, when explaining clues to beginners for whom English is not the mother tongue, I err on the side of caution and adopt the approach of explaining more rather than less.
Obviously, to a non-British audience some puzzles are more accessible than others, and I think that this puzzle falls into the latter category, with British cultural references in abundance, in whole or in part, at 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16, although many of these are well-known outside of the UK: the sitcom at 16 was a huge hit in my colleagues’ homeland, for example. As for 18, given the show’s cult following internationally, probably what matters more here is whether or not you are a “trekkie”, rather than whether or not your first language is English. In any case, I rather like the intermingling of cultural references that can, for example, have a Conservative PM appearing in a grid alongside characters from poprime-time TV shows, even if it does put non-UK solvers at a disadvantage.
My favourite clue today has to be 10, for its smooth surface reading and misleading use of “tract”, although the clue in itself was not among the hardest to solve. I also liked the interlinking of clues at 5, 6 and 20.
I struggled to parse quite a few of these entries, especially 29, so please bring any slips to my attention. Furthermore, the wordplay at 23 escapes me completely, so I look forward to being enlightened on that score – now explained, see below!
*(…) indicates an annagram
|8||LONDON EYE||[DONE (=completed) + Y (=year)] in LONE (=solitary); the definition is “landmark in revolution (=spinning, rotating)”|
|9||DENCH||D<r>ENCH (=completely wet, as a verb; “holding back R” means letter “r” is not used); the reference is to English actress Dame Judi Dench (1934-), who has played M in the James Bond films since 1995.|
|11||ASTRIDE||AS (=when) + [R (=resistance) in TIDE (=surge of feeling)]; definition is “having got one’s leg over”, i.e. straddled.|
|12||PREMIUM||U (=plummy, i.e. upper-class) in [MIME (=actor that doesn’t speak) + RP (=BBC accent); “retiring” indicates a reversal]|
|13||USERS||U (=university) + SER<ie>S (=regular feature on TV; “that is (=i.e.) missing” means letters E are not used); the definition is simply “addicts”.|
|15||RED ARROWS||[D<isplays> (“foremost in” means first letter only is used) in REAR (=tail)] + ROWS (=lines); & lit.; the reference is to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, famed for their colourful flypasts.|
|17||ELS||ELS<e> (=other, “back away from” means last letter is dropped); the reference is to South African golfer Ernie Els (1969-), hence “clubber, perhaps”.|
|18||ROMULUS||SULU (=Kirk’s helmsman, i.e. in Star Trek, played by George Takei) + MOR<e> (=again; “docked” means last
letter is dropped); the definition is “home planet of Star Trek race”, featuring prominently in the Star Trek series.
|20||AXE||Hidden (“would be found in”) in XenA XEna (=Xena repeatedly, i.e. written out twice)|
|21||REDEEMING||*(END REGIME); “in corrupt state” is anagram indicator.|
|23||BREED||Definition is “sort of”; B<roken>REED (=weak, unreliable person; “abandoning five characters after the start” means that the initial letter is used but then the next five letters are dropped)|
|24||ICEBERG||IC (=in charge) + [BE (=endure, i.e. last) in ERG (=work unit)]|
|26||RECEIVE||<violenc>E in [REC (=sports ground, i.e. abbreviation of recreation ground) + I’VE (=I have)]; the definition is “to fence”, i.e. receive stolen goods.|
|28||EXILE||XI (=the same number, i.e. eleven) in ELE<ven> (=team; “half of” means only half the letters are used)|
|29||SCAPEGOAT||S (=sons) + CAP (=limit, as in to put a cap on spending) + EGO (=subject, in psychology) + AT (=to)|
|PLEA (=request) + SURE (=certain) + CRUISE (CREWS=shipboard groups; “to be heard” indicates homophone); “floating holiday” is (slightly cryptic) definition.|
|2||GNAT||Hidden (“slice of”) in boloGNA That’s”|
|3||ROTISSERIE||ROT (=decomposition) + IS + S<poil> (“beginning to” means first letter only) + ERIE (=lake); the definition is simply “spit”.|
|4||CEREBRUM||CE (=church) + RE (=concerned with) + BRUM (=Birmingham)|
|5||KEYPAD||KEYP (KEEP=hold; “speaker’s” indicates homophone) + AD (=plug)|
|6||ADZE||Homophone (“can be picked up”) of “ads” (=of which several, continuing from previous clue, hence …); the definition is “something like 20 (=axe, solution at 20)”|
|7||INVIGORATE||[GO (=work, as a verb) + RA (=artist)] in INVITE (=request)|
|10||HAMPSTEAD HEATH||[MP (=politician) in HAS] + [A in TED HEATH (=prime minister]; the definition is “tract, i.e. land not pamphlet, in London”.|
|14||EASY DOES IT||Cryptic definition: EASY (=Stelio’s budget, cf EasyJet) + DOE-SIT (=whimsically, deer-minding service, cf baby-sit); the reference is to Sir Stelios Haji Ioannou (“Sir Stelios”), the founder of UK budget airline EasyJet; the actual definition is “take care” be careful.|
|16||RUST BUCKET||S (=son) in [RUT (=routine) + BUCKET (=character played by Routledge, i.e. Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket in UK sitcom Keeping Up Appearances)]|
|19||LEG BREAK||The definition is “spinner”, i.e. a spinning delivery in cricket; cryptic definition is “something wished on lucky actor”, referring to the expression of good luck “Break a leg!”|
|22||INGEST||<will>INGEST (=most ready to; “Will leaves” means the letters WILL are dropped)|
|25||EWER||*(WE’RE); “thrown” is anagram indicator|
|26||iPOD||Cryptic definition: 1P OD (=overdrawn) is “minimal statement in the red”, i.e. only overdrawn by 1 penny; the
straight definition is “streamlined music gadget”