Posted by Pierre on July 1st, 2012
You know that stuff about buses? You wait ages for one to come along, and then two come one after another? I blogged my first Tyrus when he had the Monday slot a few weeks ago, and here he is again on my watch with the Sunday puzzle. I’ll tell you what, though: this one was a good deal harder than the weekday offering, so félicitations to the winner of the Prize for this Sunday Indy. But I did enjoy the struggle, and had the the d’oh! moment right at the end.
Quixote gave up the Indy Sunday slot a while ago after getting his medal for long service, and since then, the puzzle has followed on from his style, with a generally accessible crossword that gave your Average Joe solver a chance to win all those reference works that he or she probably has already. But this offering was a real stretch, for me at least; and I’m glad it wasn’t a daily puzzle, because even during the long hours of daylight at this time of year, it would have been dark by the time I had solved it and had got the blog posted.
There were some reasonably straightforward clues to get you going; but even when I’d stuck those in, I was floundering a bit. There were also a number of unusual words, all clearly clued. The presence of these unusual words, the grid, and the clue for 7ac screamed out NINA, and in the end, it was thus. The outer letters of the grid, starting with the last letter of 7 across, give us PINTA AND SANTA MARIA. And, as I eventually twigged, NINA was the third ship that COLUMBUS at 16dn had in his fleet when he set sail to discover AMERICA at 5dn. And NINA is crosswordspeak for a hidden theme or message (details of which you’ll find here, if you don’t already know). There are probably other subtleties that I’ve missed, but here’s my take on it.
All definitions are from Collins.
cd cryptic definition
dd double definition
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x] letter(s) missing
5 Female impersonators, when retired, can cut long hair
A reversal of CA[N] and TRESSES.
7 Send son with it (as named or suggested here)
The theme requires you to think of SHIP in its nounal sense; but it’s clued here as a verb. S for ‘son’ followed by HIP for ‘with it’. The bracketed part of the clue is hinting at a hidden theme of SHIPS, with two spelled out (‘named’) and the third ‘suggested’ because NINA is the term for a hidden message. How many Average Joe solvers who aren’t Fifteensquared aficionados know that is another question, so I fancy there might be some confused folk out there in the real world this week. And of course Columbus’ ship was the Niña, which would be pronounced differently from the little girl’s name; but punctuation and diacritics are ignored in cryptics, so the clue works absolutely fine.
9 Team annoyed a little about computer storage information
A charade of (TEAM)* plus a reversal of A TAD. ‘Annoyed’ is the anagrind.
10 Members of council unnaturally retiring around these parts
The plural of ANNULUS for ‘a ring-shaped part’ is hidden reversed in councIL UNNAturally.
11 Somebody helping young woman to come out of her shell
I wanted to put in AIDE as soon as I’d got the crossing letters, but couldn’t see it for ages. It’s [M]AIDE[N], with ‘come out of her shell’ as the clever removal indicator.
12 What trader may say is highly desirable
A homophone of I DEAL, which is indeed what a trader may say.
14 Said to regret loss of PM? No
Another homophone (‘said’) of ‘mourn’, and if it’s not PM it must be AM, or MORN.
15 Extends across lake away from trees
18 Can I do rewrite of verse for Pretty Boy?
(CAN I DO)* gives you the adjective relating to ADONIS, who was allegedly a very pretty boy.
21 End of story, you hear!
A further homophone, of ‘tale’.
23 Passage of 16’s third 7
A slow passage in music is a charade of L for the third letter of CoLumbus and ARGO, which was Jason’s ship.
25 Thirty days for family in Ireland extended
No, I hadn’t either, but it’s in the dictionary: ‘a branch of a tribe or nation, esp in medieval Ireland or Scotland’.
26 Cardinal, one in touch with his feminine side?
Referring to Cardinal John Henry NEWMAN, DD CO (1801-1890), who despite living most of his life with another man and asking to be buried next to him, wasn’t gay. Well, the Holy See says so, so it must be true. ‘NEW MAN: a type of modern man who allows the caring side of his nature to show by being supportive and by sharing child care and housework.’ I thought we were all like that.
27 Choose tenor before getting involved with a show such as this
An insertion (‘getting involved’) of ERE for ‘before’ in OPT and T for ‘tenor’ followed by A.
28 Japanese originals, gold, around home
When in doubt, follow the instructions. ‘A member of the aboriginal people of Japan.’ An insertion of IN for ‘home’ in AU for the chemical symbol for gold.
29 Emmental, ham and a drop of Rioja in hamper
A new one on me, but once I’d twigged that ‘ham’ was the anagrind, then it was a question of getting a few crossing letters. (EMMENTAL R)*
1 Josh under attack initially unworried
Since it’s a down clue, Tyrus is asking you to put TEASE for ‘josh’ under A, the first letter of ‘attack’.
2 Dad, maybe, about to raise crucial point
Your Dad certainly is a relative, and to get there you need to make a charade of RE for ‘about’, LATIV for a reversal of VITAL, ‘crucial’ and E for East, a ‘point’ of the compass.
3 6 is genuine – heart’s uplifted
The State of ISRAEL ‘is genuine’ or IS REAL with the middle two letters (‘heart’) of the second element exchanged, or ‘uplifted’.
4 Are boy and celebrity going up together?
AS ONE MAN
A charade of A SON and a reversal of NAME for ‘celebrity’.
5 Old woman raised girl in country
A reversal of MA for ‘old woman’ and ERICA.
6/20 Declare wealth to be as 16 in in 5d
STATE for ‘declare’ followed by CAPITAL for ‘wealth’ gives you Columbus, the state capital of Ohio.
8 One walking furtively avoids sun lounger
13 Not good to begin with, lady singer’s range
The yummy mummy’s cooker of choice is a removal of the first letter, G, from (Lady) [G]AGA. For the elderly and infirm, she’s a pop singer.
16 Post nearly given to black 5D film director
A charade of COLUM[N], B for ‘black’ and US for 5dn or ‘America’. It’s referring to Chris COLUMBUS, the film director who was involved in the Harry Potter series.
17 7s on this spot when caught
Ships are at SEA. It’s a homophone of ‘see’ for ‘spot’ with ‘caught’ as the homophone indicator: ‘I didn’t quite catch what you said.’
19 See leader once said to be unreliable
(ONCE SAID)* with ‘to be unreliable’ as the anagrind.
22 Local guide has mounting passion for countryman
A resident of Azerbaijan is a charade of AZ (A to Z) for ‘local guide’ and a reversal (‘mounting’, since it’s a down clue) of IRE.
23 Being in a relationship, enjoyed grabbing a bit of nookie
It’s the Sabbath Day, and such impure thoughts should be banished from our minds. It’s N for ‘a bit of nookie’ in LIKED.
24 Finally go and sort out somewhere to sleep
(O SORT)* with ‘out’ as the anagrind.
25 Jane’s novel way to start family tree
Again, when in doubt follow the instructions: put ST for ‘street’ or ‘way’ in front of Ms Austen’s novel EMMA. ‘A family tree, pedigree’, says Collins.
Thanks to Tyrus for an enjoyable and interesting puzzle. I don’t think there’s any special date or anniversary that gives significance to the NINA, but as I said above, I may have missed something.