Posted by beermagnet on April 16th, 2012
This crossword was unusual in two respects.
It had a large number of clues: This grid design gives 32 lights and only one clue involved two lights, whereas Cyclops often creates longer answers using more than one light.
It had “accessible” clues – all except one, 11A, “le mot sauvage et obscur” a surprisingly rare word for an Eye puzzle. I certainly had to check the dictionary.
Solving went like a dream for most of the puzzle. The measure I have taken to noting down is how many unsolved clues there are at “First Pass” which I define as the point when I have dealt with the last unread clue. This is not through tackling clues in any strict order. I tend to build on crossing letters as much as possible and minimise cold solving. So this “First Pass” number may give a measure of how easy it is to get going on a puzzle more than overall solvability. Anyway, in this case I can report only 4 unsolved clues which I think is some kind of record. I didn’t notice how long that took, but I did notice that enjoyed it. Some particularly fine surface readings this time too.
Definitions underlined in the clues – except where I can’t decide which of a “Double Def” should be underlined, so I have used the “perhaps both, maybe neither” solution.
|1||OVERTHROW||Public barney about leader of House – oust the government? (9)
OVERT (Public) ROW (barney) around H[ouse]
|6||SCRUM||Blair at last is in dirty film: ‘Pushy Bunch‘ (5)
[blai]R inside SCUM (dirty film) That is scum as a dirty film on top of your bath, rather than the film “Scum” (which it inevitably reminded me of). That film can’t really be described as dirty – gritty yes. An early outing for Ray Winstone when he was still Raymond, well before he was graphically processed into a cyborg Beowulf
|9||TERSE||Blunt set out to trap Brenda (5)
ER (Brenda – The Queen in Eye-speak) inside SET* AInd: out
|10||UNGROOMED||Go round ‘em, dithering, Boris Johnson-fashion? (9)
(GO ROUND ‘EM)* AInd: dithering. Def. is with ref to our very own BoJo’s coiffure known as the Metropolitan haystack. I see he’s also made an early entry to the new Olympic exhibition sport: Swearing in a lift
|11||FAROUCHE||Shy, antisocial four, each pissed (8)
(FOUR EACH)* AInd: pissed. Last answer in as I didn’t know this word so it had to wait till I checked Chambers. French speakers may have got this more easily, but even then the French speaker I keep at home tells me that a bland definition of shy and/or antisocial doesn’t do it justice. The meaning is shy and antisocial /because/ it is wild – like the Yeti or Bigfoot
|12||CLINIC||Old president losing weight with chip surgery (6)
CLIN(ton) IC (chip – Integrated Circuit) Blimey, “Integrated Circuit” now sounds like a quaint term. We’ve almost forgotten there are actual electronic circuits on the modern microprocessors that have n-hundred gazillion transistors etc.
|14||JUMP||Pause in talking to penetrate law enforcer (screw) (4)
UM (Pause in talking) inside JP (law enforcer). Jump = screw in the sexual sense
|15||NOW OR NEVER||Clinton’s ultimate painful ejaculation, nothing right, nerve broken, no second chance (3,2,5)
[clinto]N OW (painful ejaculation) 0 (nothing) R[ight] NERVE* AInd: broken
|18||BANANA SKIN||Knockabout slip on this fruity thing? (6,4)
|20||AGES||Shag, especially holding Times (4)
Hidden inside ShAG, ESpecially
|23||BEFOUL||Perpetrate doggy-style act on the street of blue rocks? (6)
(OF BLUE)* AInd: rocks. One of those with a lengthy Def. compared to the wordplay which can be cleverly misleading. Befoul: A word indelibly linked to the signage indicating the penalty associated with dogs and footpaths
|24||GLEE CLUB||Society with airs (bloody hell, admitting Labour leader) gets some stick (4,4)
L[abour] inside GEE (bloody hell) CLUB (some stick) Second last in, which, from the crossing letters, kept me wondering what a “Blue Club” was, and trying to match that with the wordplay for some time
|26||STANDARDS||Tries to get elected, admitting “right swamped with publicity” – flags (9)
R[ight] inside AD (publicity) inside STANDS (Tries to get elected)
|27||SMEAR||Streak of sadomasochism? Attention! (5)
SM (sadomasochism) EAR (Attention)
|28||NELLY||Kinnock: one abandoned, unprofessional, gutless dope (5)
NE[i]L L[a]Y That amazing awful clue certainly gets the top clue sticker.
|29||HUSH MONEY||Yes, ho-hum, twittering about Brown’s end – here’s a means of shutting up the blabber-mouth (4,5)
(YES HO-HUM [brow]N)* AInd: twittering about
|1||OUT OF A JOB||From a biblical book: “Thus, it came to pass, were the News of the Screws hacks” (3,2,1,3)
Double Def. (sort of) First answer entered – whenever there’s a reference to a book of the bible in a clue Job is the first port of call
|2||EARDRUM||Vibrating part of organ‘s murder if stimulated without one (7)
MURDER* AInd: stimulated, around A (one)
|3/17||THE SUN ON SUNDAY||Rupert’s tabloid replacement making thousands (funny!) “accepting end of sleaze” – F-off! (3,3,2,6)
(THOUSANDS FUNNY [sleaz]E – F)* AInd: making
|4||ROUGH-HOUSE||Right old set-to when draft put before Commons (5-5)
ROUGH (draft) HOUSE (commons)
|5||WAGS||Footballers’ mates? Clowns (4)
|6||SCOTLAND||Pathetic Salmond gutted with uninitiated Act, revealing his origins (8)
(SAL[m]OND [a]CT)* AInd: pathetic
|7||ROMANOV||Maroon nuts: very royal family! (7)
(MAROON V[ery])* AInd: nuts
|8||MEDIC||Miliband into microphone: “Quack” (5)
ED (Miliband) inside MIC[rophone]
|13||SOCIALISTS||Labour party’s constitution, once stoical, is slapdash and small (10)
(STOICAL IS)* AInd: slapdash, then S[mall]
|16||RASPBERRY||Cane that’s grown to be a vulgar retaliatory response (9)
Double Def. One of the few that didn’t fall during the “First Pass”. I completely missed equating raspberries with canes, despite growing some of them in my time.
|19||NAFF ALL||Not a thing to stick up groupie on trip (4,3)
FAN< (groupie up) FALL (trip)
|21||GALLEON||Coward, maybe old con, tipped over vessel (7)
NOEL (Coward) LAG (old con) all reversed
|22||JETSAM||Black, relatively deprived America that’s gone overboard (6)
JET (Black) [uncle] SAM
|23||BOSUN||Personal stink associated with Murdoch title, officer (5)
BO (Personal stink) SUN (Murdoch title)
|25||ARCH||Shrewd liar, no hesitation (4)
Breaking news flash!
An archeological dig under Shakespeare’s house has found an enormous mass grave of some kind.
Millions of broken quills and at least as many monkey skeletons.