Posted by Pierre on May 21st, 2012
Quixote is twelfth man today, so Tyrus is running up to the crease this morning to bowl us some googlies and doosras. I was slightly concerned when I saw his name on the team sheet, because when he’s in full-on bouncer and yorker mode I do find his puzzles somewhere between tough and impossible and usually retire hurt. But he’s given us enough straight-up-and-down deliveries this morning, I think, and while I played and missed a few times, I was in the end able to raise my bat modestly to the sparse crowd. And in case you’re concerned that that’s a spoiler, worry not …
No cricket (sadly) but a bit of deviance going on. There’s a theme running through the crossword, with both clues and answers including CRIMINALS, CRIMES, INSIDER DEALING, ROBBERS, CROOKS, BANDITS, VILLAINS, TERRORISTS, THE MOB, THIEVES, GANGS, MURDERS, SWINDLERS, BRIBES and MISCREANTS. There is also mention of the leaders of the three main political parties, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence. Or, actually, maybe not …
I think it’s just one of those themes that wanders across the clues and answers to give the solver an extra bit of pleasure. There were some fine surfaces here as well.
cd cryptic definition
dd double definition
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x] letter(s) removed
7 Caught swindler on staff
I lied. There is a cricket reference. A charade of C for ‘caught’ and ROOK. ‘A greedy or grasping person’ (SOED).
9/17dn Evil chief a topline criminal? He could be
VILLAIN OF THE PIECE
(EVIL CHIEF A TOPLINE)* Here’s where you had to sort out that ‘criminal’ is an anagrind. An &littish clue, and a good one.
10 Yes, reportedly they shoot terrorists
The abbreviation for the Irish Republican Army is a homophone of AYE for ‘yes’, and RA for the Royal Artillery.
11 English fit in somewhere in Surrey
A charade of E and WELL. Might have seen this a few times before, but the setter’s reasoning will be that there’s naff all else that fits E?E?L, so we’ll forgive him.
12 ‘Jerk!’ said Liberal briefly to fan of Nick
Don’t get me started about Clegg and tuition fees or we’ll be here till next Monday. My son at university is incapable of saying the two words ‘Nick Clegg’ without putting in front what I think grammarians call ‘an intensifier’. Anyway, it’s (SAID LIB TO)* with ‘jerk’ as the anagrind.
13 Studied for a degree after employment
A charade of PER (‘for a’) USE and D for ‘degree’.
14 Maybe heartless and misguided
‘Not on the right track; mistaken’, says the SOED; so a dd. I think.
Edit: I was undone by the reverse swing here; hounddog has a much better explanation at comment no 2, for which thanks.
16 International record accepted as rubbish
An insertion of EP for ‘record’ in INT. As in ‘I am so rubbish at spotting ninas’.
17/24 Criminals (not us) steal without resistance
A charade of THEM (who are not us) and [R]OB.
18 Lots of laws passed – occasionally some rejected
Hidden reversed in pasSED OCcasionally.
19 Welcome competition with European doctor
The definition is ‘welcome’ and it’s a charade of E, MB for ‘doctor’ and RACE, but I’m not convinced the clue unequivocally tells you to put the EMB before the RACE.
21 Amusements here not just provided by female
A charade of F and UNFAIR.
22 Craftsman’s role doing repairs
(ROLE DOING)* with a pun on ‘craftsman’.
23 Tania attacked her
25 That man as indicated breaking law on return – odd
An insertion of HIM (‘that man’) and SIC (‘as indicated’, used – especially in newspapers – to indicate that there’s a misspelling in the original text that is reproduced) in LAW reversed.
26 Talk of thieves taking money from girl
I’d always understood this to be the jargon or slang of any social group, but the SOED says ‘originally criminals’ slang’, so fair enough.
1 Gang murder’s within one’s capabilities
An insertion of KILLS in SET.
2 Didn’t meet party leaders – one’s upset
Can’t say Tyrus is not being politically correct here: we’ve had Nick, now we’ve got caring sharing Dave, and red Ed. It’s a reversal (‘upset’) of DAVE and then ED.
3 Unaided, catches international criminal
An insertion of CAP in ALONE for the Chicago gangster. CAP in the sense of sporting cap: ‘He’s an England cap/he’s an England international’.
4 Going to witter on about bribe
Well, the nearest I can get to explaining this is that ‘bribe’ is the definition; ‘going’ is OFF (‘I’m off/I’m going’) and PAY is a reversal of YAP for ‘witter’. But how the clue tells me to put PAY before OFF I can’t see. So help with the parsing of this one appreciated.
5 Daring sideline fighting crime
(DARING SIDELINE)* with ‘fighting’ as the anagrind. There are some very clever anagrams in this puzzle.
6 Way to identify criminal in suit (not British)
[B]EFIT for the modern way of producing a mugshot of a suspected criminal. Used to be called PHOTO-FIT, I fancy.
7 Activist – one spied round street by St Paul’s
The street behind St Paul’s Cathedral (where the Underground station is) is a charade of CHE (Guevara), A, and (SPIED)* with ’round’ as the anagrind.
8 Inhuman robber baron demanded endless kinky sex
Please … it’s Monday breakfast and this will have those i solvers converted from the Telegraph crossword spluttering into their coffee and writing further letters to the editor. It’s (BARON DEMANDE[D])* plus IT for ‘sex’ with ‘kinky’ as the anagrind. I’m not head over heels in love with ‘inhuman robber’ as the definition, but the enumeration is a big help, and the surface made me smile.
15 Crimes solved by one-time criminal
Great surface. ‘Criminal’ here is the definition: Tyrus is asking you to make an anagram (‘solved’) of (CRIMES)* and then add AN for ‘one’ and T for ‘time’.
18 Mineral on counter offender picked up
The mercuric ore is a homophone – ‘picked up’ – of ‘sinner’ for ‘offender’ on BAR for ‘counter’.
20 Drinking party not about to wake up
I thought CAROUSE was only a verb, but it’s a noun as well. Take C for ‘about’ off the front of it and you’ve got your answer.
21 Criminal gang emptied lorry fast
A charade of FIRM and LY for LorrY ‘emptied’ of its middle three letters.
22 Got bigger? Take out dress
Deviously clued, I thought, and it took me a while to see. It’s G[R]OWN, and the ‘take out’ instruction is inviting you to remove R for ‘recipe’, the Latin imperative for ‘take’, used (at least in days gone by) on prescriptions.
Fine puzzle from Tyrus, and my first chance to blog this setter. Thank you to him.