Posted by RatkojaRiku on November 10th, 2011
I am rather bleary-eyed after a long journey, so apologies in advance if my blog does not do justice to Nestor’s beautifully crafted and, in my view, highly enjoyable puzzle.
The four 14-letter entries are probably the key to solving this puzzle. Nestor very kindly handed 28 to us on a plate by adding “and contestants humiliated”. However, the other three didn’t immediately reveal themselves to me, even though I figured that 1 would be an ism, that 8 was an anagram, etc. I needed quite a few checking letters before there three solutions slotted into place.
The puzzle is generously peppered with cultural references, some more high-brow than others, offering something for all tastes. The person referred to at 19 was not familiar to me, nor was the film mentioned in the wordplay at 15.
My clues of the day are 28 for its & lit. component, 7 for its economy of language and 11 for its misleading use of “couches”. I used a thesaurus to help me understand the wordplay at 5 and please let me know if my parsing at 3 is wide of the mark. I enjoyed seeing 1 and 15 cross on a “q”.
*(…) indicates an anagram
|1||EGALITARIANISM||[SINAI (=Egyptian peninsula) + RAT (=desert, as a verb) + I (=island) + LAG (=trail) + E (=European); “retraced” indicates a reversal] + M (=mass)|
|10||ENIAC||CANI<n>E (=tooth); “to output any number (=n)” means a letter “n” is dropped; an eniac (electronic numerical integrator and calculator) is an early American electronic computer, hence “old calculator”|
|11||REPHRASES||*(SHARP + <chai>R + SEE); “back of” means last letter only is used; “adjust” is anagram indicator; the definition is
“couches (i.e. as a verb, expresses) differently”
|12||IN SPADES||IN (=wearing) + SPADES (=black suit, i.e. in cards)|
|13||SARNIE||S<chwarzenegger> (“debut” means first letter only is used) + ARNIE (=his, i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, familiar name); the definition is “no classy fare”, i.e. unsophisticated food|
|15||QUARANTINE||QUA (=as, i.e. in the capacity of) + RAN (=Kurosawa film, from 1985) + TINE (=projection, i.e. spike, prong)|
|17||FELT||Hidden (“in”) and reversed (“retreating”) in batTLEField|
|19||IVOR||IVOR<y> (=material for knife handles, etc; “cut” means last letter is dropped); the reference is to eccentric Scottish
poet, songwriter and humourist Ivor Cutler (1923-2006), whose repertoire did actually include a ditty entitled “A Kitchen Knife” on the album “A Wet Handle”.
|20||ANNE BOLEYN||*(ONLY <o>NE BEAN); “nothing (=0) less means that a letter “o” is dropped”; “to deal with” is anagram indicator; “bean” is to be understood as “head”, whereupon the reference is to Anne Boleyn (1507-36), the second wife of Henry VIII, who was beheaded.|
|22||HOOKAH||HOOK (=something catchy) + AH (=that’s satisfying, as an exclamation); the reference is to the Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar that appears is Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.|
|23||SPELL OUT||Straight definition is (to) “detail”, set out in detail; mildly cryptic definition is “a temporary release from prison”, i.e. a spell out of prison|
|26||EPICUREAN||EPIC (=grand) +[EA (=each) in URN (=vessel)]|
|27||AGGRO||GR (=King George, i.e. George Rex) in AGO (=since, as in three years ago/since)|
|28||THE WEAKEST LINK||*(WE SEE TALK) in THINK (=thought, as in to have a think about); “foolishly” is anagram indicator; & lit. ; the reference is to the BBC game show The Weakest Link, hosted by the sharp-tongued Anne Robinson, and where chatty interludes between rounds that serve to embarrass the contestants interrupt the flow of the quiz|
|2||GRITS||G<odber> (“initiation” indicates first letter only) + RITS (STIR=prison; “sent up” indicates vertical reversal); grits is a boiled dish of coarsely ground grain in the US, hence “US version of porridge”, which is misleadingly italicised and capitalised in the clue.|
|3||LACKADAY||LACK A DAY (=to be 24 hours short); lackaday is an archaic (“for the fogeys”) word meaning listless, languid, sentimental (“sad”)|
|4||TURPENTINE||[PE (=exercises) in TURN (=rotation)] + TIN (=can, as a noun) + <guarante>E (“ultimately” means last letter only); the definition is “thinner” as a noun, e.g. of paint|
|5||ROPE||<p>ROPE<l> (=to drive; “away from outer place (=Pl) means that the letters “p” and “l” on the outside of the word are dropped); the definition is “guy, possibly”|
|6||AIR BAG||Cryptic definition: “inflation” is to be understood as filling with air, not as rise in prices, and “crash” as a car accident, not a stock market crash|
|7||INSINCERE||[N (=name) + SINCE (=as, i.e. because)] in IRE (=resentment)|
|8||MASS EXTINCTION||*(SIMIAN CONTEXTS); “revised” is anagram indicator|
|9||RELINQUISHMENT||[INQUIS<itions> (=interrogations; “half of” means only half the letters are used) + HM (=headmaster)] in RELENT (=ease off)|
|14||UNDERPANTS||Straight definition: “intimate clothing”; cryptic definition “doesn’t breathe quickly enough”, i.e. under-pants!|
|16||APOLOGISE||LOG (=journal, as in captain’s log) in [A (=a(n)] + POISE (=assurance)|
|18||ROLL CALL||L L (=lines, i.e. 2 x L) in [ROC (=jumbo flyer, i.e. large bird of Arabian mythology) + ALL (=completely)]|
|21||MANURE||MAN<ic>URE (=perhaps nail treatment; “removing middle part” means the middle letters are dropped)|
|24||ORGAN||<m>ORGAN (=Caribbean pirate; “heading taken from” means the first letter is dropped); the reference is to admiral and pirate Henry Morgan (1635-88), who made a name for himself raiding Spanish settlements in the Caribbean|
|25||BERK||B<rittl>E R<oc>K (“surfaces” means first and last letters only are used)|