Posted by RatkojaRiku on January 15th, 2013
This is my first encounter with Donk as a blogger and only my second or third with him as a solver, although I may well have caught sight of him recently on the fringes of a crossword event.
As no more than an armchair sportsman, and no fan of football, I fear that I may well not have done justice to Donk today, since there are doubtless references to the great game that have simply escaped my notice here, either in the clues or in the grid.
I know enough, however, to be able to identify this puzzle as one of those reverse theme puzzles, where the clues are themed, in that most of them include some reference to football (or rugby, at least at 16A), but where the grid entries are of a general nature. I imagine that this took quite a lot of time to compose, since some of the devices used in the wordplay – e.g. at 13, 14/22 – are fairly sophisticated, but I suppose that Donk is a football fan and relished every moment of setting this puzzle and squeezing a sporting reference into every clue.
Once I had completed the grid, I spotted the word GOAL along each of the top and bottom rows, as if reproducing the layout of a football pitch; the position of (the) HALFWAY (line) across the middle of the puzzle, with CENTRE CIRCLE around it, reinforces that image. Perhaps there is more to the image that I have spotted?
18 was new to me but I think I have tracked it down via Google. My favourite clues were 2 and 16D for their surfaces. I am not sure about my parsing of 21, as the reversal indicator was unfamiliar.
Many thanks to Donk for creating a puzzle to stretch and entertain even someone for whom the great game has always been something of a mystery!
(…) indicates an anagram
|9||LOCAL||CA (AC=club from Milan, i.e. football club; “over” indicates reversal) in LOL (=funny, i.e. Laugh Out Loud, in SMS speak)|
|10||VOLTE-FACE||*(LEFT) in [V (=very) + O (=old) + ACE (=great)]; “out” is anagram indicator|
|11||BLUBBER||[BB (=books) in BLUE (=adult, i.e. of movie)] + <strike>R (“at the death” means last letter only)|
|12||ON THE GO||<m>ONTH (=part of season; “start off” means first letter is dropped) + EGO (=self-confidence)|
|13||LOIN||O (=O) in LIN (NIL=O; “backed” indicates reversal); the definition is “cut” (of meat, e.g. pork loin)|
|14/22||CENTRE CIRCLE||MID (=centre) + O (=circle, i.e. pictorially)|
|15||PSI||Hidden (“entertaining”) in “toP SIdes”; definition is “one employed by Socrates”, i.e. letter of Greek alphabet|
|16||FLY HALF||FLY (=rise) + HALF (=50%)|
|18||WAY TO GO||WAY (=tactic) + TOGO (=African side, i.e. African country with football team); “way to go” means “well done”, “that’s great doing” in US slang, hence “amazing”|
|20||IMP||<madejsk>I <stadiu>M (“they close” means last letters only) + P (=parking)|
|24||AGUE||U (=United, as in Man U) in AGE (=time)|
|26||FIREDOG||FIRED (=shot) + OG (=own goal); the definition is “(wooden) logs supporter”, i.e. fireside receptacle for wood|
|27||ALFONSO||ALF (=manager Ramsey, of England football team in 1963-74) + ON (=working) + SO<t> (=drunk; “mostly” means last letter dropped); I suppose the definition is merely “man”, i.e. a man’s name|
|29||ANTENATAL||*(NEAT) + NATAL<z> (<z>LATAN; “header missing” means first letter dropped; “over” indicates reversal); “play” indicates an anagram|
|30||WISPY||W (=with) + I-SPY (=game requiring initial suggestion, i.e. I-spy with my little eye something beginning with “a”)|
|1||GLOBAL||LOB (=pitch, i.e. throw) in GAL<l> (=to get to, i.e. irk, annoy; “short” means last letter dropped)|
|2||SCRUTINY||S<toke> (“wanting draw =toke, puff on a cigarette” means letters “toke” are dropped) + *(CITY RUN); “complicated” indicates an anagram|
|3||GLIB||G<ao>L (“gutted” means middle letters dropped) + <h>IB<s> (“wingers taken off” means first and last letters are dropped)|
|4||OVERLEAF||*(LEAVE FOR); “Bent” is anagram indicator; the definition is “on the other side (of the page)”|
|5||ALL-OUT||<f>ALLOUT (=unfavourable results, e.g. of nuclear explosion); “last six” means final six letters only are needed|
|6||LEATHERY||Footballs used to be made of leather, hence “as old balls”|
|7||LACE-UP||LA (=in France the; i.e. the French word for the) + [<gold>E<n> (“5th place” means fifth letter only) in CUP (=tournament)]; the definition is “(e.g. football) boot”|
|8||GERONIMO||O (=ball, i.e. pictorially) + MINOR (=under-18) + E.G. (=say); “turning” indicates (here total) reversal|
|16||FLIMFLAM||F<ootbal>L (“heart ripped out” means only first and last letters remain) + IMF (=financial organisation, i.e. International Monetary Fund) + LAM (=clout, i.e. hit, strike); the definition is “rot”, i.e. rubbish, nonsense|
|17||ACCEDING||*(C<arling> C<up> + GAINED); “originally” means first letters only; “in surprising way” is anagram indicator|
|18||WALHALLA||W (=won, on a scorecard) + A + L (=large) + HALL (=room) + A|
|19||ORGANISE||[I (one) in ORGANS (=hearts, i.e. body parts)] + E (=European)|
|21||PIRATE||ETA (=when one’s expected, i.e. Expected Time of Arrival) + RIP (=burst); “on the counter” appears to indicate a (here total) vertical reversal; the definition is “(to) appropriate stuff”, i.e. take as one’s own|
|23||RIGHTO||RIG (=kit) + *(HOT); “laundered” is anagram indicator|
|25||EPONYM||P<ele> (“first” means first letter only) in *(MONEY); “spent” is anagram indicator|
|28||FOWL||Homophone (“being announced”) of “foul” (=ref’s decision, e.g. in football)|