Posted by Eileen on December 15th, 2012
A quick skim through the clues made me think I might not enjoy this theme much, because I didn’t expect to know some of the answers. ‘North American food’ didn’t sound like my cup of tea!
However, although some of the answers [1ac and 6,25 dn] were totally unknown to me, the cluing was so precise that I was able to get within googling distance of the answers and learned something on the way.
As for the rest of the clues, there was lots to admire and smile at. I seemed to be even more than usually tuned in to Paul’s wavelength, so the solve turned out to be quicker and easier than I expected – and / but very enjoyable. Many thanks, Paul – and congratulations! [see later].
[Definitions are underlined.]
1 Large flat round burger — ultimately good North American food
CONDO [large flat] round R [last letter - ultimately - of burgeR] + G [good] – an excellent surface for this snack
10 “Danke” translated almost as “German vehicle”
MERC[i] – almost a French translation of German ‘thank you’, to give the abbreviation of Mercedes, the German vehicle: I enjoyed that one
11 That which controls temperature by a few switches about right?
THAT around reversal [switches] of SOME [a few] around R [right]: I’m not entirely happy about this: the question mark, I think, takes care of the double duty of ‘that’ but I can’t see an indication that we have to put it round the rest of the wordplay: it’s well on the way to being an &lit, I think – perhaps I’ve missed something, so help would be welcome: and help duly came – from a predictable source! Thanks, NeilW @4
12 Swan in prison, no finale for Shakespearean actor
COB [male swan] in JAI[l] [prison without final letter] for the Shakespearean actor, Sir Derek Jacobi, who is currently delighting many of us in ‘Last Tango in Halifax’
13 Chinese food
14 Cheap rope, funny in knots
anagram [in knots] of ROPE FUNNY
I haven’t actually come across ‘fourpenny = cheap’ : ‘twopenny’, yes, but I suppose that’s inflation for you, although I’d be hard put to it to name anything you can get now for even fourpence [in either old or 'new' money] – so that just proves the validity of the clue!
17 Baby son on show
S [son] + PROG[ramme] [show]
I prepared this blog immediately after solving the puzzle last Saturday and had this down as one of my favourite clues. I’m not a twitterer and so I’m indebted to liz, who told us on Thursday that Paul had announced, a week ago, the arrival of a baby son [at about the time many of us were doing this puzzle, I guess] – which turns the clue into a rather wonderful kind of &lit. Many congratulations to Paul and Taline – and welcome to Aram Paul!
19 Personnel not quite catching on, journalist incapable in the end, picking nothing up?
STAF[f] [personnel not quite] round [catching] ON ED [journalist] E [last letter of incapablE]
23,16,5 Here crunchiest kind of battered North American food
SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
clever anagram [battered] of HERE CRUNCHIEST KIND OF
24 Writer munching food so unnatural? A North American food
BIC [writer] round [munching] GM [genetically modified - food so unnatural] + A
26 Rejecting dog, gourmet after milky mixture including eggs for a start, as North American food
KEY LIME PIE
E PIE [EPI[cur]E – gourmet rejecting cur [dog] after anagram [mixture] of MILKY round [including] E [first letter of Eggs]
I’m not sure where this came from but the crossing letters I had somehow helped me to dredge up some fuzzy recollection from the back of the mind, as Bamber Gascoigne used to say, and the impeccable wordplay confirmed it
27 Nation formerly in my command?
I RAN – I rather liked this one
28 Revolutionary, for example, with report to carry
reversal [revolutionary] of EG [for example] + STATE [report]
29 Virtuous type has a drop hidden away
ST [saint - virtuous type] + A + SHED [drop] – this surface made me smile
2 Herb taking North American food, gobbling horse up
OREO [North American food] round [gobbling] reversal [up] of NAG [horse]
I only had the final O when I came to this one: there are not many herbs ending in O and the NAG was obvious, so, with little confidence, I googled OREO and – bingo! - there it was: don’t you just love it when that happens? – great cluing! [I see from this Wikipedia entry that it's available here in the UK - but I've never heard of it. Paul calls it North American food, so maybe I'm not alone]
3 North American food, bit chipped off?
NA [North American] + CHO[w] – or CHO[p] – take your pick [food, bit chipped off] – definitely &lit, I think
4 Cricketers back in the pavilion, or in the field, perhaps?
double? / cryptic definition: I know enough about cricket to be aware that the SIDE who are OUT are back in the pavilion
6,25 Hash is on my right, North American food
anagram [hash] of IS ON MY RIGHT
my last entry: it was obviously an anagram but I had to try several combinations to come up with a googlable conclusion, to find that it is a kind of porridge, so I didn’t want to learn any more!
7 Island with something black, another colour featured prominently as well
charade of COS [island] + TAR [something black] + RED [another colour]
8 Cut up Paul’s check
reversal [up] of AXE [cut] + MINE [Paul's]
9 Many captivated by new image, plan for English town
TONS [many] in [captured by] anagram [new] of IMAGE PLAN
my first entry, from the enumeration – and it’s not far away from me
15 Tenant wanted agent to include Turkish capital in search
ROOM TO LET
MOLE [agent] round [to include] T [Turkish capital] in ROOT [search]
18 Language unit — I await your call?
I’ve always thought that this word is a gift to crossword compilers – and I don’t see the need for the question mark
20 Certainly not confirmed as most imperial
NO [certainly not] + BLEST [confirmed - received into full religious communion]
I’m not very enthusiastic about the definition here: noble = imperial?
21 Quickly found an expert like Fred Astaire?
AT A PACE
Fred Astaire was A TAP ACE – and how! Have a look at this
22 Frog‘s uphill walk about 880 yards?
reversal [uphill] of TREK [walk] round MI [half of MI[le] = 880 yards]: I love this kind of clue – same device as Paul’s FO = 6 inches on 30th November – and a great surface!