Posted by Eileen on December 19th, 2011
Since I started blogging, just over three years ago, this is the third Rufus pre-Christmas puzzle that has fallen to me and, once again, Rufus has managed to include a seasonal allusion in every one of the clues, which is no mean feat, and it raised a few smiles.
It seemed to take me rather longer than usual, especially the top half, but, looking back, I’m not quite sure why. It’s the usual mix of anagrams and double / cryptic definitions but there’s lots here to enjoy, I think.
Many thanks, Rufus, for this and for all the entertaining puzzles throughout the year – and a very Happy Christmas!
7 THRASH OUT: THRASH [party] OUT [unconscious]
8 SNIPE: double definition
9 ASIA MINOR: an amusing anagram [cooking] of MARIAN’S [or, rather, MARIAN IS - thanks Roger: another instance of not looking back at the clue when writing up the blog] and O [duck]
10 COMET: double definition; this was one of my hold-ups – I didn’t know / remember the complete list of Santa’s reindeer
12 ASTERS: anagram [wrongly] of ASSERT: there’s a cryptic element for us here in the ‘wrongly’, too, as asters are summer flowers, but I realise our Antipodean friends may well have asters at Christmas.
13 PERTNESS: anagram [swapping] of PRESENTS
14 NOWHERE: NOW HERE – two more meanings of ‘present’
17 ALADDIN: A LAD [a boy] + odd letters of DjInN – &lit
20 SNOWBALL: double / cryptic definition: I first thought of this as a charade but I’m happier to think of a ‘snow ball’ as a winter dance than to take ‘snow’ as synonymous with ‘winter’
22 ORCHID: anagram [spoilt] of CHOIR + D[eck]: I really laughed at this one, because ‘Deck the Halls’ was one of the items in our choir concert on Saturday evening: fortunately, everything went well this time! I loved the use of ‘blooming’ and would defend it as a definition by taking it as a noun: it’s not in any of my dictionaries but I’m going to be a bit of a Humpty Dumpty here, becase I like the clue so much.
24 AMASS: A MASS
25 COMFORTER: double definition, referring to the saying, ‘Job’s comforters’, after the friends of the righteous Job in the Bible, who made his sufferings worse by telling him he shouldn’t complain.
28 ENDOW: E [note] + anagram [new] of DOWN – and a fourth meaning of ‘present’!
27 ADORATION: A DO [party] + RATION [helping]
1 GHOSTS: [toastin]G HOSTS [party-givers]: an excellent surface with the play on ‘spirits’ and also perhaps a whiff of ‘A Christmas Carol’
2 NAZARETH: anagram [using] of TEHRAN A-Z: I know it practically wrote itself in – but it’s a very clever anagram and paints a lovely picture! [Come to think of it, I suppose the Magi had sat-nav. ]
3 CHAINS: anagram [unusual] of CHINA’S
4 RUDOLPH: cryptic definition: ['Rudolph, with your nose so bright, Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?']
5 INBORN: anagram [around] of ROBIN and N: ‘around’ seems to be doing double duty: Edit: no double duty – it’s an anagram of ROBIN + N[oel] – thanks Neil and Andy]
6 APRÈS-SKI: cryptic definition
11 ORAL: [m]ORAL[iser] minus ‘miser’ [ someone like Scrooge]
15 ORNAMENT: cryptic definition
16 REAL: hidden in faRE ALways
18 DECORATE: double / cryptic definition, referring to the ‘decorations’ of, say, Order of Merit or Order of the British Empire
21 WISDOM: cryptic definition
22 OFFERS: [c]OFFERS [boxes] minus first letter [top]
23 ICEBOX: ICE [diamonds] + BOX [present]