Posted by RatkojaRiku on November 22nd, 2011
This was a puzzle to be savoured, a treasure trove for word lovers, and so perhaps not the ideal puzzle to have to zip through to write a blog.
Nor was it the easiest of puzzles to have to solve while away from home on a business trip, with only an old version of 6 on CD-ROM and on my iPod to refer to! This puzzle goes to show that sometimes there really is no substitute for the paper copy of the cruciverbalist’s faithful friend – how I wished I had had that glossy new volume by my side for this one!
I figured out the theme of the puzzle, prominently positioned as the solution to the first across clue, fairly quickly; as a solution, this may have bemused loyal users of rival dictionaries, although I would imagine that the average solver of cryptic crosswords would at least know of the Chambers dictionary’s existence. Although all the clues were wholly self-standing and could be solved without reference to the theme, a solver who had not understood the relevance of Chambers might have thought the compiler was making-it-up-as-he-went-along given the high frequency of less established words, especially if these were not to be listed in his favourite volume.
As I do not have the 12th edition of Chambers with me, I cannot say for certain what words actually constitute the new entries, although I could have a good guess. I seem to remember reading an article that said that, rather surprisingly, 13/28 was one of them. Suffice it to say that a number of the entries were new to me, and, faute de mieux, I used Wikipedia extensively to confirm and explain my solutions, e.g. 9, 10, 25.
It was also quite sneaky of Scorpion not to indicate where these entries might be lurking, in that it made me think that there would be more of them than there actually were and thus encouraged me to think that I wouldn’t recognise a particular word once solved because it was new, even when it turned out not to be: at 4 I spent ages telling myself there must be some a new expression vest room or west room, when the answer was a well-established expression all along!
As for my clues of the day, I loved the surface reading in the gateway clue at 6 and the well-hidden definitions at 2, 4 and 13D. And who could resist the saucy & lit.-clues at 8 and 23?!
On the other hand, I wondered about the use of “upset” to indicate a reversal rather than an anagram in an across clue – any thoughts Furthermore, I wondered about “de” for “some in France” at 19: isn’t it du, de la/de l’ or des for some, with de reserved for of or from? Perhaps I’m missing the point here, so please enlighten me!
*(…) indicates an anagram
|6||CHAMBERS||MBE (=honour, i.e. Member of the British Empire) in CHAR<t>S (“releasing hiT finally” means the letter “t” is dropped); this is the key to understanding the theme of the puzzle, i.e. new entries in the 2011 edition of Chambers dictionary|
|9||NEET||Reversal (“upset”) of TEEN (=adolescent); a NEET is someone who is Not in Employment, Education or Training, hence “idle person”|
|10||STAYCATION||[TAY (=river, i.e. in Scotland) + CAT (=cat)] in SION (=idyllic place, i.e. alternative spelling of Zion); a staycation is a holiday on which one stays at home to relax, hence “local holiday”|
|13/28||NATIONAL TREASURE||*(ELATE US + NARRATION); “broadcasting” is anagram indicator|
|17||TRIPE||Double definition: TRIPE is “rubbish”, nonsense AND (left-over food) “which a freegan might eat” (and that, as offal, might otherwise go to waste); freeganism is an anti-consumerist movement based around the idea of eating perfectly edible food that would otherwise be discarded by e.g. supermarkets|
|18/15||MAN FLU||M (=marks, i.e. former German currency) + [NFL (=American footballers, i.e. National Football League) in AU (=gold)]; man flu is a common cold the symptoms of which are exaggerated by male “sufferers”, hence “overstated complaint”|
|19||DEFRIEND||DE (=some in France??) + FRI (=day) + END (=object, i.e. aim); to defriend is to remove someone from a “friend list” on a social networking site|
|20/8A||SEASON CREEP||*(OCEANS PER SE); “fluctuating” is anagram indicator; season creep is a phenomenon whereby the timing of the seasons changes, referring especially to earlier springs recorded in the Northern Hemisphere|
|22||TOXIC ASSET||[XI (=football team, i.e. of eleven players) in *(ASCOT)] + SET (=crowd, as in e.g. jet set); “unruly” is anagram indicator|
|25||TARP||Reversal (“rejected”) of PRAT (=idiot); TARP stands for Troubled Asset Relief Program and refers to the US government’s programme to strengthen flagging financial institutions in 2008, hence “bail-out”|
|27/11||GREEN-COLLAR||L L (=lakes, i.e. 2 x L = lake) in *(ECO-RANGER); “sort of” is anagram indicator; & lit. ; green-collar describes someone who works in the environment sector of the economy, cf white-collar, blue-collar|
|1||SHOE||HO-S-E (=socks); “Son (=s), rising” means that the letter “s” is moved to an earlier position in the word (and grid) to give S-HOE (=other footwear)|
|2||CENSOR||C<larify> (“heading used to” means the first letter only is used) + *(ROSEN); “novel” is anagram indicator”; the rather deceptive definition is “perhaps banner”, i.e. one who bans, as an agent noun|
|3||ASIA||Hidden (“belonging to”) in “quASI-Alliance”|
|4||REST ROOM||*(STORE) in ROM (=storage space, i.e. Read-Only Memory in IT); “pants” (in the colloquial sense of rubbish) is anagram indicator; the cleverly hidden definition is “American can (=toilet, in slang)”|
|5||UP TO||PT (=training) in <j>U<D>O (“regularly” means alternate letters only); the definition is simply “doing”, as in What are you doing/up to?|
|7||METAL||<patien>T in MEAL (=nourishment)|
|8||COCOTTE||[CO (=business) + T<erms> (“primarily” means first letter only)] in COT (=bed) + E (=lowest class, as in A, B, C, etc); & lit.|
|12||OFFIE||F F (=females, i.e. 2 x F=female) in <p>O<l>I<c>E (“regularly” means that alternate letters only are used); offie is colloquial for off-licence, hence “wine-store”|
|13||NAIAD||NAI (Ian=Scotsman; “knocked back” indicates a
reversal) + AD (=commercial); a naiad is a river or spring nymph in
mythology, hence “classic spirit”
|14||AMNIO||*(MONI<c>A); “with Cold (=c) avoided” means the letter “c” is dropped from the anagram, which is indicated by “suffering”; an amnio, abbreviated from amniocentesis, is a test to detect abnormalities in a foetus|
|16||UNRAISED||*(SARNIE) in <st>UD<io> (“middle of” means central letters only are used); unraised, or unleavened, bread is made without yeast|
|17||TREMAIN||E M (=Forster initially, i.e. the initials of the forenames of English writer E M Forster) in TRAIN (=school, as a verb); the reference is to contemporary British writer Rose Tremain (1943-)|
|20||SETTEE||SETT (=24, i.e. transposition of the grid entry at 24) + E E (=euros, i.e. 2 x €/E = euro)|
|21||ACT AS||TA (=army, i.e. Territorial Army) in ACS (Sca=Lakeland fell; “climbing” indicates a vertical reversal); Sca Fell is the second highest mountain in England after Scafell Pike|
|23||ORGY||[R (=Romeo, i.e. call sign for the letter “r” is radio telecommunications) in <t>OG<a> (“essentially” means the middle letters only are used)] + <lad>Y (“bottom” means last letter only is used); & lit.|
|24||SETT||SETT<er> (=Scorpion perhaps, i.e. setter/compiler of this crossword; “showing no hesitation (=er)” means the letters “er” are dropped; the definition is simply “sett”, referring to a badger’s home|
|26||RARE||R<ock> A<nd> R<oll> E<ntertainer>; “clips of” means first letters only are used|