Posted by Pierre on August 13th, 2012
We’ve had a wide variety of ‘guest’ setters in the Monday slot, and today it’s Morph, whose puzzles always seem to have a contemporary feel. A fine crossword, which it took me a while to finish off; but when I had pinned everything down, I was able to step back and appreciate many well-constructed and elegant clues.
Overseas visitors to the Olympics were no doubt warned that in idle conversation, the default position for the British is usually the weather, and this was our loosely scattered theme this morning. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS is the top across clue; and UNDER THE WEATHER our bottom across clue. In between, we have mention of RAINFALL, NIMBUS, CUMULUS, HAILING, DELUGE, STORM, THUNDER and TORRENT, which pretty much sums up the summer so far. And there’s probably some other stuff that I’ve missed.
Easier to solve than parse in some instances; and there’s still one clue whose parsing I have no idea about, so help welcomed.
cd cryptic definition
dd double definition
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x] letter(s) missing
1 Boss, between 4 and 6, is practically useless?
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
I had a guess once I’d created a few crossing letters; but once you’d got 4 and 6 (NIMBUS and CUMULUS) then it’s HEAD for ‘boss’ and IN THE CLOUDS, for someone who’s a bit dizzy and no good at everyday stuff.
9 School ideology creating division
A charade of SCH for ‘school’ and ISM for the not very convincing definition (yes, I know it’s in dictionaries) of ‘ideology’. CREATIONISM, DARWINISM, BLAIRISM and so on. The SCHI prefix comes originally from the Greek word for ‘split’ and you’ll find it in words like SCHIZOPHRENIA (literally ‘split mind’, although that’s not really what it is) and SCHIST (‘split rock’). And, if it’s not too much information for a Monday morning, in what you might do if you were in a private cubicle next to a 24ac.
10 One’s protected by one’s … one’s exemption
I was never going to get this without all the crossing letters: the definition is ‘exemption’ and it’s an insertion (‘protected’) of UNIT for ‘one’ in I’M for ‘one’s’ and MY for ‘one’s’. I think.
11 Joey maybe messes up at one-all, getting dismissed finally
The little bouncy fellow is a charade of MARS for ‘messes’, UP and I AL[L].
12 Phone enquiry to personnel department in Dortmund area?
Texting, texting, texting … they’re all at it, these young whippersnapper setters, even though texting is so twentieth-century. A charade of RU for text-speak ‘are you’ and HR for ‘Human Resources’, for the more modern name for the Personnel Department. Dortmund is on the River RUHR, in a major German industrial area of the same name.
13 Spice said to make an entrée
Cue homophone debate, perhaps, unless I’m missing something. It’s CUMIN the spice, said to sound like COME IN, an ‘entrée’. First off, for me the clue doesn’t unequivocally tell you which way round the homophone works. Second, I have always said CUE – MIN rather than CUM – IN, so please don’t tell me I’ve been pronouncing it wrong for all these years. But I do know that cumin seeds scattered sparingly over buttered baby carrots certainly does the business as one of the side dishes for the Sunday roast.
15 Breakfast items that man will finish
Great surface: a charade of EGGS and HE’LL for the paint.
16 Where Irish politicians are found covering Egypt thoroughly
The Irish parliament has been centre stage recently: Phi used DAIL in his Friday puzzle last week. Irish members are found in the DAIL (pronounced ‘doyle’ and I think it has an accent on it) and if you insert ET for an abbreviation of Egypt you’ve got your answer. ‘Thoroughly’ is the definition.
18 Where one’s taken for intimacy – being single’s best part?
If a member of the opposite sex asked you to come aside, you might expect some intimacy, I suppose; and those old enough to remember ‘singles’ will know that the best track was always on the A-SIDE.
20 Chain letter
21 Runs by uncovered chicken coops becoming homes for vermin
Never heard of it, but it’s R for cricket ‘runs’ followed by [B]ATTERIES.
23 Irish party with a bit of leg on show, it’s rumoured
We’re having some homophones (in this case, ‘it’s rumoured’) this morning. Can’t argue with this one, though: ‘shin’ for ‘bit of leg’ and ‘feign’ for ‘show’ gives you the Irish political party whose name in English means ‘we alone’ or ‘we ourselves’.
24 One of four in a lavatory?
Hidden in foUR IN A Lavatory. I think this is an &lit, since it’s entirely possible that there would be four URINALS in a gents.
25 We’re groaning with heat after a bit of a storm when cycling – sick of such problems?
UNDER THE WEATHER
This is what I meant when I said that it was easier to solve than parse. More meteorological references: Morph is asking you to make an anagram of (WERE HEAT)* with ‘groaning’ as the anagrind after THUNDER for ‘a bit of a storm’ with the first two letters (TH) ‘cycled’ to the end to give you UNDER TH.
2 Maybe text from old flame results in expulsion from church
More text. If the girlfriend had given you the brown envelope and then was subsequently in touch, it would be EX COMMUNICATION.
3 River south of airless Scottish town getting less rainfall
[AIR]DRIE plus R for ‘river’.
4 Sunrise introducing a small amount of atmospheric pressure – it could bring rain
A reversal (‘rise’, since it’s a down clue) of SUN with an insertion of IMB for 1 millibar, a unit of atmospheric pressure. And NIMBUS clouds can indeed bring rain, often heavy. It was also the name for Harry Potter’s Quidditch broomstick.
5 Precipitation in central parts of ridge heading north – outlook for short range
A charade of HAIL for ‘precipitation’, IN, GDI, a reversal (‘heading north’ in a down clue) of IGD for the central letters of rIDGe, and STANCE for ‘outlook’. The definition is ‘short range’: if someone is within HAILING DISTANCE, then they are in short enough range to hear you without artificial aids. If this were the Cruciverbal Olympics, Morph would perhaps not medal (sorry) in the Conciseness for Clueing race. But the surface is good and if you follow the instructions you’ll get to the answer.
6 Sky coverage increasing steadily – 50 per cent of country
More clouds, or ‘sky coverage’. A charade of CUMUL[ATING] and US for ‘country’.
7 Trouble in new roles is common, perhaps
The definition is ‘common’. It’s (NEW ROLES)* followed by S for ‘is’ as in it’S. ‘Trouble’ is the anagrind.
8 Suffering such mal, trees died right away
DUTCH ELM DISEASE
A kind of &lit. (SUCH MAL T[R]EES DIED)* ‘Suffering’ is the anagrind and ‘right away’ is inviting you to remove the R from the anagram fodder. Lovely clue.
14 Popular benefit cut initially introduced to North East not doing anything?
A charade of IN for ‘popular’, DOLE for ‘benefit’ plus an insertion of C for the first letter of ‘cut’ in NE.
17 Fast stream for hire with a bit of roach in it
An insertion of the first letter of Roach in TO RENT.
19 Get off toboggan, perhaps, in flood
This is outrageous, but funny. If you were competing in the Winter Olympics in the LUGE, and you got off after finishing, you would DE-LUGE.
22 Foolish character with what should be on top underneath and either side
I regret to say that I have absolutely no idea how this works. But somebody out there will put me out of my misery before long, I’m sure.
This was the first time that Morph and I have bumped into each other in the Monday Indy slot. I enjoyed teasing out the solution and writing up the blog, so thank you to him.