Posted by Uncle Yap on October 9th, 2011
A few hard-boiled eggs too many in this Sunday competition puzzle which I found to be more of a drag than a piece of entertainment. Some of the devices may not seem fair but then, anything goes in a competition puzzle; or should it?
In a themed puzzle, certain compulsory words must go into the grid, often creating awkward situations where only obscure and little-known words can fit into the remaining space. My moderator, Dr Brian Skinner always had one instruction for me … difficult words must be balanced by easy clues. But this is not apparent in this puzzle.
I also wonder whether it was a good move to replace Quixote as the regular setter. If the Observer can have Everyman all the time, why not the IOS? It would be interesting to know whether there has been an increase or a decrease in the number of entries to this Sunday competition. All newspaper editors love large responses (which usually translate to/from large sales of the Sunday paper) and if we get compilers setting esoteric puzzles such as this, surely newspaper sale will suffer.
1 CARDINAL Cha of CARD (eccentric) IN ALL minus L for a senior RC clergyman defined as a notable from Westminster (Cathedral as opposed to Abbey as the latter is not Roman Catholic but Church of England which does not have cardinals)
5 VIRTUE *(FURTIVELY minus FLY, hurry away)
1&5 together form CARDINAL VIRTUE (CV), the mini-theme of this puzzle, marked # below
#10 JUSTICE Tichy way of telling the bartender after ordering, say a Gin & Tonic, “No lemon please, just ice” The first of the four CVs
11 ENLARGE *(Guy LEANER)
12 LYING ha
13 TOP DOLLAR *(P, piano or quiet, TOLL ROAD) defined as ‘a bomb’ as in I had to pay a bomb to get that last Rembrandt.
14 MATTER OF FACT Cha of MATT (dull) ER (Queen, Elizabeth Regina) OFFA (King of Mercia in the 8th century) CT (court)
18 RING SPANNERS Cha of RINGS (band’s) PANNIERS (baskets) minus I (one short)
21 DAMASCENE DAM A (rev of A MAD, a cuckoo) SCENE (picture) new word to me
23 INANE INSANE (cuckoo) minus S (suggestion of seriousness)
24 NOTABLE What should I make of this clue? Notable is striking but the other part left me wondering … is the surgeon incompetent (not able) or does he lack equipment (no table) ; or maybe he is taking industrial action. Whatever the case, this is a very unsatisfactory, if not flawed clue
25 GLUTTON GLUT (excess) + TON (rev of NOT) One guilty of 9(temperance)’s converse may be a person who eats too much
26 EARNED LEARNED (scholarly) minus L (learner or student)
27 ALLEGORY *(GO REALLY) John Bunyan (1628-1688), a Christian writer and preacher, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress
1 CAJOLE Ins of A J (judge) in Old King COLE was a merry old soul ….
2 RUSTIC RUST (brown) I C (in charge)
3 ISINGLASS This this? No = Isinglass is NOT in glass, but in curtains with peepholes. Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish and also thin transparent sheets of mica used for peepholes in boilers, lanterns, stoves, and kerosene heaters because they were less likely to shatter compared to glass when exposed to extreme temperature. Such peepholes were also used in “isinglass curtains” in horse-drawn carriages and early 20th century cars. This is one of those esoteric clues on an obscure word which is quite impossible to solve forward (ie from the wordplay to get the solution) but with crossing letter, hazarding a guess and explaining the wordplay backwards … just like a cavity in a premolar being torturously drilled before the filling goes in.
You may be interested to know this cameo-role:
The wheels are yeller, the upholstery’s brown,
The dashboard’s genuine leather,
With isinglass curtains y’ can roll right down,
In case there’s a change in the weather.
From The Surrey with the Fringe on Top (Oklahoma!)
4 AXE SAXE (blue) minus S
6 IGLOO alternate letters in dInGy LoOk Of
7 TYROLEAN *(ORNATELY)
8 EXECRATE EXEC (executive or boss) RATE (pay)
#9 TEMPERANCE Ins of E MP E (English politician & European) in TRANCE (daze)
13 TETRAMETER Ins of TRAM (streetcar) in (TEETERs) line of a verse of four measures. I wonder about the function of the word rockily?
#15 FORTITUDE FOR (representing) TIT (flier) NUDE (bare) minus N
#16 PRUDENCE Ins of RU (Rugby Union, football) D (drawn; I am perturbed as Chambers, my crossword Bible, does not support this abbreviation) in PENCE (small change)
17 ANIMATOR Sounds like Annie Mater (girl-mother)
19 TATTOO dd
20 TEENSY TEENS (kids) Y (last letter of pony)
22 SABRE *(BREAKS minus K for Kelvin) with well-wrought as anagrin and sword as def
25 GEL dd The experiment started to work / gelled with the right catalyst; as for the other, I guess the setter had meant for Sloane to represent Sloane Ranger which is an upper-class female, and ‘gel’ is a facetious rendering of an upper-class pronunciation of ‘girl’. Quite pretentiously unfair. Why not a simple reversal of LEG or stage like Start to work backstage (3)? This reminds me of a setter in Guardian who is prone to spoil an otherwise good crossword with an obscure reference to a remote village in England for a 3-letter word like PAR.
Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram