Posted by beermagnet on December 17th, 2011
After the usual gulp upon seeing Nimrod at the top of the Prize Puzzle when on blogging duty this turned out to be less evil than many of his puzzles – at least to get started. The number of clues solved on first pass was into double figures (!) but that includes the wrong answers. I spotted the Nina far too late for it to offer a lot of help – though it did allow me to find that pesky last answer (14).
Circumference Top and Bottom: SENIOR MOMENT
Left and Right: STATLER WALDORF
Statler and Waldorf are the two old timers in the Muppet Show who sit in the theatre commenting and criticising proceedings from their box, I see they’re in the wings on this puzzle. I suppose they are both seniors and have their moments.
Is this a celebration of the return of the Muppets as recently reported?
How can they surpass the cinematic perfection that is “The Muppet Christmas Carol“? (Aside: Can’t be done.)
And apart from the obvious geriatric nature of those two, how does SENIOR MOMENT relate?
(I thought of a joke at this point but now I have forgotten it.)
|7||SIN TAX||Rules on air that smoker will resent (3,3)
Homophone “Syntax” (rules on air) and &Lit. I found this very difficult as I had never heard the phrase so this was one of the last answers to fall. It is indeed a tax on naughtiness of various kinds
|9||UNDERTOW||Current, unforeseen new Tudor building … (8)
(NEW TUDOR)* AInd: building. First answer entered
|10||TURN TAIL||… which might be one if it does this run (4,4)
DD I think this is a Double Def. One is “run”, and the other some from “(Undertow) might … if it does this” but I’m having difficulty seeing it clearly. I have a strong suspicion there is wordplay I’m missing such as a reverse anagram of TAIL.
Thanks to RH in Comment 1: UNDERTOW becomes UNDER TWO when its tail is turned, which might be one. Very significant and complex use of the ellipsis
|11||ATAXIA||Inability to coordinate actions of drinkers that were thrown out of cab? (6)
TAXI inside AA. A bit more serious than a Senior Moment
|12||AT STUD||Used to breed domestic animals, yielding first in championships and No 2 – but not No 3 (2,4)
[c]ATS (domestic aminals yielding first) TU[r]D (No 2 – No 3) Little bit of lexical coprology entering the puzzle. Not sure whether championships come into the wordplay or are there to enhance to def.
AC at Comment 3 points out that the’ first in Championships’ is the C
|14||AASVOGEL||Engine experts taking gloves off African flyer (8)
AA (Engine experts – Automobile Association) (GLOVES)* AInd: off. Last answer entered. This required a dictionary search. These are South African vultures. This word must be one for the Scrabble players who have just started memorising the dictionary.
|15||THE END OF THE ROAD||Work freehand to do the curtains (3,3,2,3,4)
(FREEHAND TO DO THE)* AInd: Work.
|18||LANOLINE||Fat revolutionary loves occupying bit on the side of Kent? (8)
(NIL O)< loves, reversed inside LANE (ref. Lois LANE, Clark KENT)
|20||TOMATO||Love apple core to be spewed out by robots? (6)
Indirect hidden in auTOMATOns. The central part of an Indirect reference. Sneaky.
|22||ERRANT||Esther Rantzen’s straying! (6)
Hidden in EsthER RANTzen
|23||ZERO HOUR||Start of Operation Midnight? (4,4)
Double Def. (sort of?) 00:00 is the zero hour and O is first letter of Operation
|25||ROAD SIGN||Bearer of warning maybe so daring to violate (4,4)
(SO DARING)* AInd: to violate.
|26||ITSELF||The thing, I stress, is left for disposal (6)
(IS LEFT)* AInd: for disposal
|1||STUN||Put out for the count? It would be mad to get up (4)
|2||EXPANDED||Relatively broad cross carried by old man over crates (8)
ENDED (over) contains (crates) X PA (cross and old man). I like crates is a container indicator
|3||NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE||Disarming location? Nodding head in doubt on breaking ice (7-4,4)
UNCLEAR (doubt) with its head “nodding” – so its lead letter U nodding down a position. Then ON inside FREEZE
|4||IDEALS||Is about to trade 100%? 10 out out of 10? With capital, more would want these (6)
DEAL (to trade) inside IS, then a couple of examples of totality or perfection which are enough definition by example of ideals for me, but I do not understand what the last phrase contributes?
Thanks to RH in Comment 1: With a capital, more is More ref. Thomas More who wrote Utopia and undoubtedly desired ideals.
|5||ORGANOGRAM||Visual basis for Dilbert’s action, or analysis of argon in school? (10)
OR (ARGON)* inside GAM (school in the sense of a group of whales) This turns out to be what I know of as a “management hierarchy diagram” much derided in Dilbert cartoons. Warning! Further perusal of this site will lead to loss of many hours of your life!
|6||ROTIFERA||We look as though we’re going about a restoration of machinery or wheels (8)
A REFIT OR all reversed (RevInd: wheels) Brings back memories of studying pondlife.
|8||INUIT||Suddenly see timeless Arctic Circle (5)
IN[t]UIT Circle in the definition is a circle of people.
Initially, I confidently wrote in CIRCA from ARC[t]IC* AInd: circle, with the def from “suddenly see” by thinking suddenly is an abbreviation indicator, and “see” a homophone for C. Yes, I realise now that there is no homophone indicator. When I cold solved this I thought what a great clue and what a great bit of solving. Naturally, this held up the top left corner for a very long time.
|13||TREMOLANDO||A Merlot upset by drunken Don, quite shaky in the bar (10)
(A MERLOT)* AInd: upset. (DON)* AInd: drunken. A way of disguising you haven’t quite hit the right note.
|16||HEADROOM||Play up? (8)
Headroom being free area above your head so sort of “play” as in leeway “up” above. Do we categorise this as a CD or an &Lit or simply a SOAC (Swine of a clue)
|17||HOT-BRAIN||He doesn’t think to resettle in Hobart (3-5)
(IN HOBART)* AInd: resettle. Yet another word I had to check, though the anagram was reasonably clear. Turns to be an obsolete version of hot-head
|19||IN TRIM||Where Giants made a Causeway with one-for-one fit (2,4)
ANTRIM with I for A Well worth a visit, especially on a non-windy day (rare) so you can have a go on the vertiginous rope bridge nearby – always been too windy when I’ve been there.
|21||TRULL||Lady of the Night at first royally entertained by Jethro (5)
R[oyally] inside TULL (Jethro of seed drill – and prog rock – fame) Another that needed looking up: Link to Dictionary
|24||HOST||One who entertains a large group of people (4)