Posted by Pierre on July 2nd, 2012
Bonjour! Punk and I cross swords again on a Monday – in a friendly sort of way, of course. I loved this one, but I’m not sure everyone will be quite so keen …
It was certainly a solver-friendly grid – there were so many white squares that I practically had to get the Ray-Bans out, but the theme might not have suited everyone. It’s cricket, so I personally am going to be loving it, aren’t I? Cricket and cryptics are BFF, and this was for me a delight once I’d got the gateway clue at 34ac, which was CRICKETER; but I can imagine that if you haven’t got any interest in the sport, then you might have struggled, since a good number of answers referred to cricketers, and there have been lots of famous ones since the game was invented in … whenever it was. Anyway, it gives me a chance to chunter on about the featured 34 acrosses; so if you’re bored already, you might just want to skip to the end.
As well as the clued cricketers, there were many surfaces that made reference to the game which has proved so fruitful to setters over the years.
cd cryptic definition
dd double definition
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x] letter(s) removed
1 Timewise, breakfast and brunch are for 34
Our first 34. Sir Ian, most famous for his heroics in beating the Aussies against all odds at Headingley in 1981, and now an opinionated but entertaining commentator. Since breakfast and brunch are morning meals, they are BOTH AM.
4 34, scorer
And our second. Andrew STRAUSS is currently England’s test captain, an intelligent, modest and articulate leader of the team. I know less about classical music than I do about cricket, but there are at least a couple of composers called STRAUSS that have ‘scored’ music, although to my knowledge neither of them opened the batting.
10 Back regular characters among several touring Tolkien’s realm to find home of metal birds?
Possibly not Punk’s most elegant clue ever. ‘Metal birds’ are planes, whose home is an AERODROME, which is a reversal (‘back’) of EEA, the even letters of ‘sEvErAl’ with an insertion of MORDOR, one of the kingdoms in J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
11 34’s elegance
Referring to William Gilbert GRACE, the famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) cricketer from the late 19th and early 20th century. ‘They came to see me bat, not you bowl’, he is alleged to have said after being bowled for a golden duck, replacing the bails, and taking guard again.
12 Runner almost getting 0
NIL[E] ‘Runner’ as in ‘river’, rather than the batsman who comes in to do the running for a team-mate who has sustained an injury during his innings.
13 Large sum of money, perfect
A dd. ‘She’s earning a mint at the moment.’ ‘That is mint.’
14 Sex god beginning to tan in the south of France
An insertion of T for the first letter of ‘tan’ in SUD for the French word for ‘south’. A STUD would be a ‘sex god’ only in his opinion, I guess.
15 Score not made by 34 as lesser player
Another dd. If a run is scored and not credited to the batsman (34), then it’s an EXTRA, but counts towards the overall total. The other definition is for a spear-carrier in a film.
17 Spinner spinning nine out, having restricted runs
Another cricketing surface, although Jim Laker was one of the few to achieve that, at Old Trafford in 1956 (he also got ten in the other innings). (NINE OUT R)* with ‘spinner’ as the definition and ‘spinning’ as the anagrind. A NEUTRINO is a sub-atomic particle and has been much in the news recently because of the experiments at CERN. Does it really spin? Where’s a physicist when you need one?
18/36/22 Divine wedding of Lucifer the fallen angel?
A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
A dd cum cd. Lucifer is indeed the ‘fallen angel’, having started off in a high place and then fallen to a lower one. And ‘Lucifer’ is also a word for a MATCH that you use to light the fire, for example.
23 Dresser cuts expletive, seeing 34
This would be difficult to get if you didn’t know much about cricket, I fancy. It’s LINT for ‘dresser’ in the surgical sense inside F OFF, which is certainly an expletive. Andrew ‘Freddie’ FLINTOFF made his England debut in 1998 but will be most remembered for two things: his awesome performances in England’s successful 2005 Ashes series, and for trying to steer a pedalo when completely off his head.
26 Floor blanket
A dd, with the word being used in its verbal and nounal senses.
29 34’s domain, three balls perhaps before a half century
The OVAL is one of London’s two Test venues, so that’s the definition; I’m going to have a crack at parsing it as OV for half of an OVER, which is six balls and A L for A and the Roman numeral for ‘fifty’, which is a half century.
30 Christian medico orbiting the moon
An insertion of IO for one of Jupiter’s moons (as well as a crossword setter) in DR for ‘medico’. Why ‘medico’ and not just ‘medic’, I don’t know. Christian DIOR.
31 Some characters achieving turn
Hidden in charACTers.
33 Bid from umpire overturned
A charade of OF and a reversal of REF.
34 Point one may be at, where 5’4″ ruler applied to six footer
If I’m going to be critical, this gateway clue is pretty much essential to solving the puzzle, and it’s not exactly a gimme, since you have to have a knowledge of the game to have a chance to solve it. Fair enough, ‘six footer’ is going to point you in the direction of an insect, but still … A CRICKETER may indeed be ‘at point’, since that’s a fielding position square of the wicket on the off side. CRICKET is of course one of a squillion insects. And Brenda (sorry, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, or ER) could loosely be described as a ‘ruler’, depending on your point of view, but most certainly is 5’4″ tall. Which is why Nicolas Sarkozy enjoyed his state visit so much a while ago.
35 Most points bagged by 34 back for the team
If you don’t like sport, you won’t have liked this. Arsene Wenger’s lot are an insertion of SEN for three points of the compass (‘most points’) in a reversal (‘back’) of LARA, for Brian Charles LARA, the legendary West Indian cricketer who still holds the record for the most runs scored in first-class cricket, 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994.
1 34, villain about right
Another cricketer: Punk’s asking you to put R for ‘right’ in BAD MAN to give you Don BRADMAN, who famously fell agonisingly short of averaging 100 in Tests when he was bowled for a duck in his last appearance in that form of the game, needing just four runs to make the landmark. And of course another setter. This is turning into a setters’ love-in, I think.
2 Not entirely brown design natural for large arachnid
An easy clue to get you going if you didn’t twig the cricket theme. TA[N] for ‘not entirely brown’ followed by (NATURAL)* with ‘design’ as the anagrind.
3 Bowling success taking out opener and tail, someone in assistance
Definitely a setters’ love-in, since Punk and Tyrus have clearly been sitting at the back of class and copying. In my blog of Tyrus’ Sunday Indy puzzle yesterday, he had ‘Somebody helping young woman to come out of her shell’. Punk’s take on it is along the same lines: [M]AIDE[N], but with the cricketing reference, since a MAIDEN would be a ‘bowling success’ because it’s an over a bowler delivers without conceding any runs.
5 In conclusion, score’s retained
The definition is ‘in’. It’s an insertion (‘retained’) of END for ‘conclusion’ in TRY for a ‘score’ in rugby.
6 View fish
7 Rod’s fleece
I spent some time mentally searching for a synonym of ‘fleece’ before reminding myself that this was a Punk puzzle. A dd.
8 Point out no good 34
Again, obvious to me once I’d got the gateway clue, but since it’s a proper noun, maybe tough for those who aren’t into cricket. But that’s what crossing letters are for. (POINT)* plus NG for ‘no good’ with ‘out’ as the anagrind. Ricky PONTING: even as an England fan, I’ll acknowledge that the Australian captain is one of the greatest cricketers of his generation. However, I do fondly remember the time when he got a bag on at Trent Bridge when he was run out by a substitute fielder.
9 Angel cuts up pitch in the end
A synonym for ‘angel’ is a reversal of PARES for ‘cuts up’ and H for the last letter of ‘pitch’.
16 Plane perhaps, every engine running true, starts up
A reversal of EERT for the first letters of Every Engine Running True.
19 A state, but not a pit
M[A]INE, referring to the American North-East Coast state.
20 John up in gossip, not half – that’s insufficient
Because it’s a down clue, it’s an insertion of LOO for ‘john’ reversed in TITTLE, which is half of TITTLE-TATTLE for ‘gossip’.
21 Jump into well – or dive?
An insertion of LEAP for ‘jump’ into FIT for ‘well’.
22 Small building century as 34
Referring to Sir Len HUTTON, the Yorkshire and England cricketer. A charade of HUT for ‘small building’ and TON for ‘century’, and in my imagination at least referencing Gladstone Small, who played for England but never scored a century.
24 Computer language where army post processed
A flashback. The computer language of the 1970s is a charade of FORT for ‘where army post’ and RAN for ‘processed’.
25 Opener skies pull before tea
Another nice cricketing surface. Punk is nothing if not contemporary: WOTCHA is slang for ‘how are you doing?’ or in other words an opening gambit in conversation. It’s a reversal (‘skies’, since it’s a down clue) of TOW for ‘pull’ and CHA for ‘tea’, which is the afternoon interval during a cricket match. An abbreviation of ‘what cheer': in the North-East, you’ll hear ‘What cheor, bonny lad?’
27 Direct from the north or south
‘Direct’ is the definition, and the clue works both ways (‘north or south’), since it’s a palindrome.
28 34, spinner ultimately in decline
Well, I’m not going to call this &lit, because Warney will be on my case, but it’s an insertion of R for the last letter of spinneR in WANE for ‘decline’. The Australian Shane WARNE was without doubt the best spinner of his era, and announced his arrival on the Ashes scene by pitching one a foot outside leg stump and clipping the top of off to bowl Mike Gatting, one of the best players of spin at the time, whose startled expression was pictured in the papers the next day.
32 Bird fastening pin to one’s ear?
A homophone (‘to one’s ear’) of SKEWER for a ‘fastening pin’ for your kebab. Since a SKUA is a bird, you’re going to get a rare link.
Thanks to Punk for the Monday puzzle, which I much enjoyed. I’m interested, though, to know what others made of it.