Posted by bridgesong on June 16th, 2012
No editorial mistakes this week, with a themed puzzle which was, I felt, below Paul’s usual very high standards. The theme was plays by Alan Ayckbourn, and while this offered a wide choice, it proved possible to guess the themed answers fairly quickly from the enumeration and the crossing letters. I didn’t have to resort to Google for a list of the plays. Some of the clues to the plays were more than usually cryptic, without this being indicated (perhaps to increase the difficulty).
1 Crosses behind old English city (6)
X, FORD after O(ld).
4 Tree where laid-back snake bitten by half-cut monkey (6)
BOA(rev) in BAB(oon).
9 Alcoholic drink improved, less teetotal (4)
10 Socialist leader, despite amazing success initially, unfortunately resigns (5,5)
S(ocialist), *(DESPITE A(mazing) S(uccess)). “Unfortunately” is the anagram indicator.
11,16down 13′s simian pri or leading princi? (6,7)
priMATES and princiPALS. Isn’t it tautologous to speak of a leading principal?
13 Writer taking you back in play — that’s service! (9)
*(YOU BACK), RN. By coincidence, there was a review of an Ayckbourn play (The Norman Conquests – not featured in the puzzle) on the previous page of the paper.
15,12 Howard, perhaps, mild — if eccentric — cleric (4,8)
*(MILD IF), RECTOR. Presumably referring to Ron Howard.
16 Sweet sucker (4)
17 Familiar bore, oddly kind and personal (4,5)
WELL, KN(odd letters in KiNd), OWN.
22 Second corner knocked over ending in space, head back (2,4)
MO(ment), HOG(all rev) (spac)E. The last one in for me.
24 Act of containing people not starting with Roger (10)
(m)EN CASEMENT. By another coincidence, Roger Casement also featured in today’s Guardian (p 10 of the Review section).
26 Figure out old East/West divide? (6)
SUSS, EX. A rather loose definition.
1 Spend too much where in France, admitting something to do with money, ultimately (7)
VERB (“something to do with”) in OU (French for “where”), (mone)Y. Not the most elegant surface.
3 Short bone under Italian dish (7)
RI(b), SOTTO (Italian for “under” – as in sotto voce). The pick of the clues, for me.
5,27,21 13′s praise and long runs? (6,6,8)
ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR
*(PRAISE LONG RUNS). ABSURD is not directly clued.
6 Bovine to eat etc, mashed with one fork (9)
*ETC, I in BISON.
7,2 13′s boredom? (7,5)
*BOREDOM. Again, one word of the play’s title is unclued.
8 Warm bottom among three rated wobbly (6-7)
END in *(THREE RATED).
14 Shop over which bird weed (9)
KNOT, GRASS. A knot is a type of bird, apparently (well, it was new to me anyway).
18 Heading for aggro between supporters, one succeeds (7)
A(ggro) in LEG, TEE. I don’t think that you succeed to a legacy (as opposed to a title).
19,25 13′s Brashein? (5,2,4)
WOMAN IN MIND
SHE in BRAIN. So far as I can tell, Brashein is an invented word with no Ayckbourn connection.
20 Top of shaft (6)
23 Rotten thing, swimmer’s heart not in dip (5)
(swi)M(mer) removed from HUM(m)US.