Posted by Pierre on December 17th, 2012
Punk on the oche again for the Monday offering. I did enjoy this one: some folk might think the setter’s taken one or two liberties, but I like the fact that there is a variety of styles among the Indy compilers. Generally an accessible puzzle, I thought, as is normal for the Monday slot; but if my reasoning is right we might have to have a stewards’ enquiry about one of the clues. Most importantly, however, it made me smile in a few places, which is my main criterion for judging whether a crossword is pleasing or not. There are some interesting words and derivations, so as usual I have wittered on a bit.
It seemed that there might be a theme, with a number of cross-referenced answers, but I think it’s just a case of some loosely-connected clues and solutions (he said, nervously waiting to be proved wrong …)
cd cryptic definition
dd double definition
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x] letter(s) removed
8 Some soldier perhaps finding God, peace non-starter
I invariably start with the first across clue but quickly gave up on this one. I eventually got it with only a few left. It’s a charade of THOR for the Norse God who’s responsible for Thursday being the fourth day of our week, and [P]AX for the Latin word for ‘peace’ (as in Pax Vobiscum for all you lapsed Catholics out there) without its first letter. The definition is ‘some soldier perhaps’. A ‘soldier’ is an ANT and an ant, like all the members of the class Insecta, has three body parts: a head, a thorax and an abdomen. So a THORAX is some part of an ant. Why do compilers set the hardest clues for the first across?
9 Highest range making cock a hen, by the sound of it?
Typical Punk, which raised a smile once I’d cracked it. I was fixated with HIMALAYAS, which is what we’d normally call the range in English, so couldn’t see it for a while. But if you decided to make a cockerel a hen, you’d make ‘him a layer’.
11 Tribute as drink’s consumed
An insertion of AS in TOT for ‘drink’, and an &lit, or ‘all-in-one’ clue.
12 Those once charting the fall of apartheid
(APARTHEID)* with ‘the fall of’ as the anagrind and a reference to the dizzy heights of the 1970s when we all waited anxiously once a week to see who would be top of the charts. Happy days.
17 Number proceed quickly, neither straight _____ for the 9-n guide
I do like a good surface, but for me this isn’t one. I thought at first it might be a misprint for 9dn, but there is no 9dn. Punk occasionally uses this _____ device, which I personally think is best left to the quick crossword. 9-n is asking you to put N on the end of HIMALAYA to make HIMALAYAN and the HIMALAYAN GUIDE is TENZING NORGAY: a charade of TEN, ZING and somebody who’s neither straight NOR GAY. In fact, imho the whole thing is nonsense. Perhaps not one of Punk’s most elegant clues.
21 Element that’s consuming god
An insertion of ODIN for another Norse god in IE for that is, id est. A halogen, and the tincture that surgeons rub on you before they slice you open, leaving you with purplish stains for days afterwards.
22 Tour tiny empty church, viewing work of art
A charade of TRIP for ‘tour’, TY for ‘tiny’ emptied of its middle letters, and CH. A TRIPTYCH is a painting made up of three sections.
25 Another handle turning fat, one for the barbie?
The definition is ‘another handle’ with ‘handle’ in its ‘name’ definition. Then it’s a reversal of OS for ‘fat’ and BRIQUET. I’d always spell it BRIQUETTE, but Punk’s variation is in dictionaries, so as our Australian barbie fans would say: no worries (and pass me another tinnie).
28 Just delivered a short story on gas
A charade of A TAL[E] after NEON.
29 Redial incorrectly to come off the line
(REDIAL)* with ‘incorrectly’ as the anagrind.
1 Christ the Redeemer, perhaps, about right height
Punk is referring to the imposing STATUE of Christ above Rio de Janeiro, and asking you to put an R in it to get your answer.
2 7 13 was in this underwear touring political division, and topless
VANESSA REDGRAVE was one of the main characters in HOWARDS END, the 1992 film based on E M Forster’s novel. It’s an insertion of WARD for ‘political division’ in HOSE for ‘underwear’ followed by [A]ND. HOSE in this sense is not really heard in modern British English, but if you’re familiar with the traditional song The Lyke-Wake Dirge, then you’ll remember
If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Sit thee down and put them on
where ‘hosen’ means ‘stockings’. And Americans say ‘panty-hose’ for what we would call ‘tights’.
3/4 Dreamer’s island funny, as Spooner would say
My least favourite clue type, but that’s just me. A suggested Spoonerism of MALTA WITTY for the fictional fantasist.
5 Thoughtless having wine on cruise ship captain finally abandoned
A charade of CAVA for the sparkling wine and LI[N]ER.
6 Knock up a soldier
More Punk smut. Since it’s a down clue, it’s a reversal of RAP and A.
7/13 Current indicators on sex appeal, and socialist, serious actress
Well, she could certainly be described as a socialist and a serious actress. A charade of VANES for ‘current indicators’, SA, RED and GRAVE.
10/27 Highly pressurised stuff – having a laugh about it?
This is where I initially really bollocksed myself. Scanning through the clues for some first entries and without any crossing letters, I looked at this and confidently entered NITROUS OXIDE, which is ‘laughing gas’. Please tell me this also works. In fact it’s an insertion of HAVING in SCREAM.
15 fff pb?
Ximeneans should look away now. As far as I can work out, this is fff for the musical abbreviation for fortissimo or fortississimo (very loud) or HEAVY followed by Pb for the chemical symbol for lead, which is a METAL. If someone has a better idea, do the sum below and let me know.
16 Nut going nuts, pity the story
A charade of (NUT)* and RUTH for ‘pity’. I always used to struggle with RUTH for ‘pity’ until someone on this thread pointed out that it was a backward derivative of RUTHLESS.
18 Not entirely crazy business set up over a beer, ultimately, in land off East Africa
The definition, and therefore the solution, is pretty obvious once you’ve got some crossing letters; but the parsing I found more complicated. ZAN[Y], BIZ reversed (‘set up’ in a down clue), A and R for the last letter of beeR.
19 Leg aroused 13’s co-star
Not Vanessa but Steve REDGRAVE, Matthew PINSENT’s partner through I can’t remember how many Olympics. A charade of PIN for ‘leg’ and SENT for ‘aroused’.
20 Thumb thing that’th a thign?
Decide whether you like this or not. The definition is ‘thumb thing’, since you put a THIMBLE over your thumb when as a consequence of the treble-dip recession you’re darning your socks rather than replacing them with new ones. Then as far as I can see, Punk’s suggesting that it’s the way that someone like Violet Elizabeth Bott (who threatened that she would ‘thcream and thcream till I’m thick’) would say SYMBOL, which is a thign/sign.
23 Pale, something to do with one’s nose, say
Please. Obviously one of the things that you can do with your nose is to ‘pick it’, a homophone (‘say’) of PICKET, which is a synonym of ‘pale’ in the fencing sense. Which is why we say ‘that’s beyond the pale’.
24/14 Fundamental needs universal – in harm things abused
(U HARM THINGS)* U as in the cinema classification.
26 One’s bound to show reserve
Many thanks to Punk for today’s puzzle. I did think at one stage that there would be a pangram, but I think we are one letter short. And on the Fifteensquared thread in Another Place last week it was mentioned that Punk and his wife have just had a baby boy, so congratulations!