Posted by Dave Hennings on August 12th, 2012
Apologies for the late running of this blog, but having just gone through the trauma of preparing for a house move, and then experiencing it, many crossword-related tasks have been delayed. However, I have now found my computer and hooked it up, with phone line and broadband operational, so I’m back on track.
Two things stood out when starting on this puzzle: a very long, busy preamble and a grid that looked as though it had been printed upside down. However, since the clue numbers were not inverted, it seemed more likely that we were being told that all entries were to be entered reversed or upwards. I wondered whether, if this were a Listener, it would have been given to us as a carte blanche!
The four perimeter entries were unclued and, I assumed, thematic. Those across described how all other across answers were to be entered; those down described what all other down answers did before entry. So all entries were modified. Moreover, one word in each clue had to be modified before solving, different for across and down clues, and the letters involved in one of these modifications gave a hint.
Finally, a nine-letter phrase had to be highlighted.
OK, so that was basically the preamble. Hopefully my brain wouldn’t be too addled by what was going on, which was basically that all clues had to be modified, as did all answers before being entered, although backwards and upwards seemed likely.
Everything eventually became clear. The perimeter entries read BACK TO FRONT, TURNING TURTLE, WITHERSHINS, SOMERSAULT. Thus every across answer had to be entered back to front, or withershins, and every down answer had to turn turtle or do a somersault before entry. The omitted letters in the down clues spelt out ENTER HEAD TO TAIL, and the hidden phrase, in the main NW-SE diagonal, was INSIDE OUT. This explained the modifications required to the clues: in the acrosses, one word had to have its inside two letters put outside the others, eg acts became cast; in the downs, the central letter had to be thrown out altogether, eg poets became pets. The unchecked and mutually-checking letters in the perimeter entries were given in the preamble by ‘unknowns, thus better’.
I’m sure I’m just being picky, but I’m not 100% sure about the use of ‘under control’ in 19dn, nor the apostrophes in 14ac, 28ac and 17dn which just disappear when the word is modified. I don’t know whether the title has any significance other than ‘turning’ and unconventional.
All in all, an entertaining puzzle from Ifor, which had me unsure at times whether I was coming or going!
Definition in clue
X = letters omitted from clues
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
|No||Entry||Clue and Explanation|
|7||PARLANDO||Pardon all incomplete
|9||LAUD||Praise aloud after disheartening
BAEL – A + DAM (restraint)
|11||LEONID||Beginnings of deadly
LONE* + ID< (beginnings of Deadly Irks)
|13||RISP||Knight retreating to start of
SIR< + P (start of Pone)
|14||NUTTER||Crazy opening to
N (opening of Nose) + UTTER (offer for sale, early word)
(CT (interior of oCTa) + IS)*
STAIRHEAD – STAI/D (grave, in two parts)
T (time) + UNITE*
AA (aces) with LG (large) inside
PENSILE (overhanging) – E (Edda’s first)
|26||ROOTED||Turning spade to
reversed in spaDE TO ORes
|27||ANAL||A note on retrospective article for
A N (note) + LA< (definite article in Caen, France)
|28||UNTILING||Removing part of the roof —
UNTIL (till) + BRING – BR (bedroom)
|Clue and Explanation|
I (in) C (compliance) holds (pots) TAIL*
R (take) impeding (ie in) TUES (day, briefly)
EA (mEAl unsheathed, ie uncovered + (RENTS)*
DLES* (DeLvErS, regular letters)
|5||HALO||R||Luminous headring (
Initial letters of Hair Are Less Obvious
|6||INDITE||H||By way of donor insemination
IN (by way of) + DI (donor insemination) + TE
DR (dram) about A + E (drug)
|12||INDIE||A||Music that’s less popular because
IN (because of) + DIE (croak)
(A + IN TURN)*
I (IS with last letter out) + ONTO* holding T (time)
|19||AGLAIA||O||Grace of Indian nursemaid having rough
AIA (Indican nursemaid) with GAL[S]* under control (ie held?)
ET (sounds like EAT, feed) + ON (in advance)
(INCL (including) A (acceleration))*
R (right) after ITS*
regular letters omitted in PlEa LeFt