Posted by bridgesong on February 25th, 2012
We don’t often see Puck in the prize slot and I wonder whether this puzzle was intended as a prize puzzle because it seemed to me to be very much on the easy side, with several friendly long anagrams to help solvers get off to a quick start. I didn’t keep a note of my solving time, but it was less than my usual hour (yes, I know many of you will have done it much more quickly). I thought one or two of the clues were rather clever but I do have a few quibbles over some of the wordplay. The only unfamiliar words were MACIES (because it was wrong!) and COPAL, both of which were easy to deduce from the wordplay.
9 Tree providing cover in the middle of a kingdom (5,4)
CAP in A REALM
10 Girl getting diamonds cut in time (5)
IC(e) in ERA
11 Didn’t rush boy about to tell a story before dinner starts (7)
LAD (rev), LIE, D(inner)
12 I reflected about girl being too old (7)
VERA in EGO (rev)
13 See 4
14 Most fastidious sort of diet — it’s not allowing for starters (9)
*(DIET, IT’S, N(ot) A(llowing)). Took me a long time to work out the correct wordplay, and I’m not sure the clue is entirely sound since there is nothing to indicate which words are to be used for their initial letters as part of the anagram, although of course the enumeration does make it obvious.
16 Fiancee limit: one-off, never to be repeated? (4,2,1,8)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
*(FIANCEE LIMIT ONE)
19,21down Where one is kept in for ENT observation (9,6)
I think the point of this clue is that ENT is the centre of DETENTION. Of course, the letters ENT also appear in CENTRE. I’m not sure it quite works.
21 Resin from joint buddy? (5)
22 Romanian readies animal to go around unknown city (7)
LEI (Romanian currency), Z (unknown quantity) in PIG.
23 Order some bananas with drink (5,2)
HAND, SUP. The definition is “order”.
24,8 Cat returns with secret source of sweetener (5,4)
GUS(rev), ARCANE. I think that this is a reference to Gus, the Theatre Cat in T S Eliot’sOld Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
25 One caring about lack of awareness (9)
*(ONE CARING). “About” is the anagrind.
1 Tree destroyed a lawn? So odd (10)
*(A LAWN SO ODD)
2 Greek girl in elegant style, topless (8)
ELLEN in (c)HIC
3 Disease that is found in some Scotsmen? (6)
MACIES RABIES IE in MACS. This word isn’t in Chambers except as a Latin word meaning “leanness” given as the root form of “emaciated”. I don’t know if it’s in Collins, although it is in the OED, where it’s shown as obsolete 19th century medical jargon. The question mark at the end of the clue seems justified. Clearly I should have checked the annotated solution yesterday; I should have realised that MACIES was unlikely to be correct. Thanks Neil. 4,13 Drug-free hell? Bad luck! (4,5)
H(e)LL. A bit of an outmoded phrase I would suggest. Ll is given in Chambers as an abbreviation for “lines”.
5 Puck’s set in place a punishing task (10)
6 Drug writer put in mostly lower case (8)
PEN in NETHE(r).
I can’t find anything to support this usage of NETHER.
7 Vocal onslaught from Siamese? (6)
Sounds like “THAI RAID”. This one did make me smile.
8 See 24
14 Row about inexperienced doctor in item destined for noticeboard? (7,3)
RAW IN GP in DIN. For this clue to work properly, it would have to read something like “Row about inexperienced in doctor item…” See Neil’s explanation @3
15 See 23
17 Air conditioning devices reordered — essentially wrong size, one’s admitted (8)
*((w)RON(g)), 1, SIZE). Although it was easy enough to guess this from the definition and crossing letters, the wordplay was harder to spot.
18 Making 5 grand (8)
Cryptic definition, and very easy once you’ve solved 5 down.
20 Time to complain, say it’s a pain (6)
T, W(h)INGE. The placing of the comma is misleading, but not unfair.
21 See 19
22 Stroke of luck — after seeing horseshoe, openings appear (4)
Initial letters (“openings”) of “Luck After Seeing Horsehoe”. Definition is “stroke”. I confess to not seeing this at first.
23,15 Help! Instep hurt playing game (4,3,7)
HUNT THE SLIPPER
*(HELP INSTEP HURT)