Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 472 Stylish tyranny

Posted by beermagnet on July 9th, 2012


Back to a slightly tougher crossword this time.  At least that’s how I found it, both to get started and to find those last pesky couple of answers.

I’ll admit after getting started, there was a mid-solve period of slotting answers in quite regularly, helped by a few crossing letters.  But I wasn’t that fast, as there was a wide range of clue types (albeit solidly Ximenean) along with in-crowd and cultural references in both the clues and answers.


8 WARMONGER Bet that’s holding back negative Mr Tony Blair? (9)
Def. Blair WAGER (bet) “holding” (NO MR)<
10 TWEET Not a boozer to imbibe piss and immediately relay the news to fans? (5)
TT “imbibing” WEE (piss)
11 STROBES Our proprietor’s second best, or crooked (7)
S[econd] (BEST OR)* AInd: crooked. Second must be doing double duty here as Emmanuel Strobes is the (fictional) second-in-command to Lord Gnome, the (purported) proprietor of Private Eye
12 CYNICAL Hardnosed crossword setter in Clancy novel (7)
I (crossword setter) in (CLANCY)* AInd: novel.  Is there a crossword setter in a Tom Clancy novel?
13 MEMBERSHIP Union rank and file politician’s getting “with it”? (10)
MEMBER’S (politician’s) HIP (with it)
15 ODDS Date spiking sad sod’s chances (4)
inside (SOD)* AInd: sad. First clue solved. Furthest I’ve got before finding a “write-in” for some months
17 EDWINA Curry, perhaps, said to be the cause of breaking wind in ‘easy’ stages (just 1 and 2) (6)
(WIND)* AInd: breaking, inside EA (first two letters of EASY)
19 NEEDLE Sting‘s end stimulated with eel (6)
(END EEL)* AInd: stimulated.   Not sure I need to draw your attention to the piscine Tantric imagery conjured up by the surface reading
22/5 COCK-STAND Chef’s prime stock soup, plus erection (4-5)
C[hef] (STOCK)* AInd: soup, AND (plus). Last answered. Not a term I’m familiar with. (Sounds like a perch for your rooster’s early morning doodle-do.) So I had to accurately get the wordplay to make sense of it. For a long time I thought the def. was “Chef” and the answer might be Rick Stein somehow, though I already had an out of place crossing N
23 SELF-PARODY “Auto-extraction of micturition effluent”, aping Will? (4-6)
Double def. One referring to Will Self.  There’s rather a lot of Will-aping here
26 EXTINCT Dinosaur-like pointless copulation can start to contract time (7)
[s]EX (pointless copulation) TIN (can) C[ontract] T[ime]
27 ATLANTA Rusbridger, possibly penning Times leader, thanks City (7)
T[imes] inside ALAN (Rusbridger – editor of the G) TA (thanks). I can’t imagine mild-mannered Harry Potter doppelganger Rusbridger “penning” James Harding.  The reverse maybe.
29 DROSS Pisspoor material from rather formal Motown artist (5)
D. Ross for Diana Ross in a formal manner
1 TWOSOME Conventional couple figure on getting a bit? (7)
TWO (figure) SOME (a bit). I found this clue tricky till I had some crossing letters – can’t see why – just one of those that seem easy when you know the answer
2 BRRR Ejaculation prompted by cold, second-rate mainstays of education (4)
B (second-rate) RRR (the three Rs – mainstays of education)
3/30 DOUBLE DIP RECESSION Lookalike princess no longer with prince, has depression – result of coalition’s pisspoor policy? (6,3,9)
DOUBLE (lookalike) DI (princess no longer) P[rince] RECESSION (depression)
4 FRICTION Heat-raising activity between Cameron and Clegg when queen enters story? (8)
R (queen) inside FICTION (story).  Kind of two defs and wordplay here, to get an allusion to the cooling of the relationship between our current ruling civil partnership
6 PECCADILLO Worsted clad police’s small indiscretion (10)
(CLAD POLICE)* AInd: Worsted.
7 STYLIST Fashionable sort of piggish place, bank (7)
STY or STY (piggish place) LIST (bank)
9 GASES Off message Cyclops ignored farts’ hot air? (5)
([me]SSAGE)* AInd: off. Remove ME from MESSAGE as given by “Cyclops ignored”
14 MEDICATION Pissed comedian taking back sex drugs? (10)
IT< (sex, reversed (back)) inside COMEDIAN* AInd: pissed
16 MEDALLIST Murdoch’s chief hack wants the lot – it’s about being a winner in the field? (9)
M[urdoch] ED (hack) ALL (the lot) (IT’S)* AInd: about
18 APERTURE Orifice of Primate with hernia (having an erection’s out) (8)
APE (primate) R[UP]TURE (hernia – remove UP (erection’s out))
20 SCREEDS Lots of tedious writing from credit-grabbing Stones, maybe (7)
CR[edit] inside SEEDS (stones, maybe)
21 TYRANNY Abuse of power when Blair heartlessly sought office before Brown’s last brief year (7)
T[on]Y (Blair heartlessly) RAN (sought office) [brow]N Y[ear]
24 FRANC France’s ready for a pre-euro time! (5)
Cryptic Def. Ready as in slang for money
25 GNASH Grit causes wound round organ’s tip (5)
GASH (wound) around [orga]N. Grit as in gritting your teeth.  I found this very hard given the 2/5 crossing letters available
28 NEIL Former party leader‘s “Prepare for knighthood” broadcast? (4)
Homophone “kneel” Ref. to Neil Kinnock the “Welsh windbag”.  Here’s one person from the establishment that won’t be kneeling. I believe he is apt to turn down honours on political grounds – whilst at the same time becoming Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty “for practical political reasons”.


In general, it is best not to anthropomorphise inanimate objects.
They hate it when you do that.

(For proof see the new film, Ted, featuring a talking teddy bear)

14 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 472 Stylish tyranny”

  1. sidey says:

    The most amusing Cyclops for a while. A little more difficult thhan usual but non the worse for it.

  2. pajodr says:

    20D was last filled – not a word I’ve come across before. Almost succumbed to a crossword solver – until I spotted ‘screed’ used in this issue and realised it fitted.
    Could Cyclops be giving sub-liminal assistance to his less sesquipedalious solvers?

  3. Jon88 says:

    Agreed, tougher than usual. I had to put it down for a couple of days and come back to it.

  4. John says:

    My find was like yours; more difficult than usual, and difficult to get started. First one I got was ODDS, as you did, then it took a while to progress. Only one left open before I looked: got SELF, but not PARODY (but I could have found it in a crossword solver). I guessed at PISS TAKING, but that was clearly wrong after a short time. I should never boldly put in my guess at the beginning.

  5. John says:

    I arrived home from holiday about two weeks ago, and found three Private Eyes waiting for me. Only just made it to the last one. One of the joys of my life is the PE crossword. Generally, it takes about 30 minutes, but this one certainly took one hour, and I still didn’t have PARODY.

  6. StuPid says:

    Of course it was ‘Stylist’ (as in the text) not ‘Stylish’ (as in the crossword)

  7. beermagnet says:

    Yes Mr Pid, I have put the wrong answer in the grid image. Not only that I then went and used Stylish in the blog title. It’s a bit late to fix it now. Let’s let these comments serve.

  8. lemming says:

    I’d have accepted it anyway, but I did spend several minutes searching thesauruses to find one that did actually explicitly link “list” and “bank”, as I tend to think of them as different types of “lean over”.

    I keep intending to note down my progress and sticking points, but then forget. I’m interested in the psychology of the solving process, and individual differences. Ideally it would be nice to have an add-on to Across Lite that logged the solver’s progress.

    While looking at their website, I noticed that they now have an iPad version too (whatever an iPad is).

  9. rrc says:

    it two of us about an hour in the pub to complete

    loved 2d with an almight groan 28d

  10. rrc says:

    it two of us about an hour in the pub to complete

    loved 2d with an almighty groan 28d

  11. Will says:

    25d last in for me too, but the crossers were 2/4 not 2/5.

  12. beermagnet says:

    Replying to lemming:

    “I keep intending to note down my progress”

    When I’m due to blog I make a number of notes.
    I note order of solving by the simple expedient of writing A,B,C,… etc against clues as I solve them. Thus I can tell you solving was in the following order:

    15A, 7D *,
    12A, 6D, 10A, 27A, 24D, 3D/30A, 28D, 14D, 13A, **
    17A, 18D, 26A, ***
    4D, 19A, 16D, 23A, 21D, 1D, 8A, 9D, 11A, 2D, 20D, 29A, ****
    22A/5D, 25D

    * I wrote in STYLISH – only corrected it in the blog when I went back and analyzed the wordplay for the blog, thus the grid image/title error

    ** This point I define as the “1st pass”, the point where I have attempted all the clues. I like this as a measure of the crossword’s difficulty. Only 11 solved on this grid is lowish for an Eye. The way I work around the grid is to attempt the top and/or leftmost lines first if they deliver first letters, e.g. 1D and 20D in this grid, then work through the Across clues in order, and then the down clues in order if necessary. Each time I get an answer I attempt any crossing lights favouring those with given first letters over the others, then those with high proportion of given letters etc. i.e. generally shorter answers attempted first. I detect “1st pass” when I find myself reading a clue I’ve read before and then have a quick check to see if I missed any, then write “1st pass @ K” near the grid. Using this method, by this point I should have attempted all clues with any given crossing letters showing. It’s really not as methodical as I make it sound.

    *** What I don’t do is attempt to time myself. I see for this solve I noted that I was interrupted by the real world at N (26A) and there was a long break before restarting, so I probably came back to the last half of the crossword in a different state of mind.

    **** I made a note here because I was stuck at this point with 2 to go. For both I had to work back from the wordplay, and COCK-STAND needed checking in a dictionary.

    Many years ago I suggested to Neil W (founder of 15^2, when he was obergruppenführer here) that I do the blog in solving order – it looked awful and I didn’t publish it.

    I’d better reiterate: I only make notes like this when I’m due to blog the crossy!

    Will: On 25D by 2/5 I meant 2 out of 5 i.e. 40% letters crossing. I presume by 2/4 you meant leter positions 2 and 4 are crossing.

  13. Bamberger says:

    Thanks Beermagnet .I remember sometime ago you got one wrong and reckoned your entry would be picked for the first and last time and be rejected. I had arrr for 2d -a being the second letter of rate and arrr being the sort of disgusting noise you make when having a stinker of a cold . My chance of £100 has gone.

  14. Will says:

    @beermagnet: 2/5 vs 2/4
    Ah yes, I see what you mean now.

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