Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 489 – Ad hoc Sovereign

Posted by beermagnet on March 4th, 2013


Similar to the last issue, this crossword was noticeably tougher than the usual difficulty level for the Eye crossword…

… and I for one found that all the more enjoyable for it.  There were a few moments that I thought I might fail to finish, which is a bit of a problem when on blogging duty, but there was enough connectivity in the grid for crossing letters to come to my aid. Particularly from clues spanning more than one light in the grid.  Getting WHIPPERSNAPPER was a godsend to lead to EXPECTANT MOTHER, and so on.


I find I’m posting this just as Brenda has taken ill with gastro-enteritis.  It’s a strain avoiding those jokes about 60 years on the throne …

7 SOVEREIGN Grieve over being pressed by Brian, Brenda? (9)
GRIEVE* AInd: over, inside SON (Brian – The Eye’s nickname for Prince Charles). Def. Brenda (The Eye’s nickname for HM the Queen) At first I thought Grieve might be the definition as Brenda is more usually used in wordplay. Then I spent a while thinking it might refer to Dominic G … Obviously very misled.  The result is a clue I found very tough to crack.  One of the last to fall.
8 DIRGE Sting finally breaking into crap song (5)
[stin]G inside DIRE (crap) First answered giving false sense of overall difficulty
9 LURGY Complaint from guy pissed with Labour’s extremes (5)
(GUY L[abou]R)* AInd: pissed
10/15 EXPECTANT MOTHER “It makes one spit – no alternative – taking on that wardrobe disaster”, Brenda describing Kate? (9,6)
EXPECTORANT – OR, MOTH (wardrobe disaster) ER (Brenda) Another I found particuarly hard to get
13 AD HOC Pisspoor, leaderless House, Clegg chiefly makeshift (2,3)
[b]AD (pisspoor, leaderless) HO[use] C[legg]
16 IMPUTE Say someone did something bad, screwing up time? (6)
(UP TIME)* AInd: screwing
19 DEPOT Got pissed about … Arsenal? (5)
20 ABHORRENT Throb near to crack that’s odious (9)
(THROB NEAR)* AInd: to crack.  I had a feeling that I’d seen that anagram previously in a crossword but I haven’t managed to track it down.
22 CURTAIN UP Top off, “old boy” freed, Kurt Cobain gyrates with hard-on, as a show-starter (7,2)
([k]URT COBAIN – OB)* AInd: gyrates. UP (hard-on).
24/23 TIGHT ROPE Pissed with Cable’s balancing act support? (5,4)
TIGHT (pissed) ROPE (cable) Misleading capitalisation, plus shouldn’t this be one word?
25 LUPIN After U-turn, sod all to protect uranium power plant (5)
U[ranium] P[ower] inside NIL (sod all) reversed
26 FREELANCE Not on the staff unleashed on prick (4-5)
FREE (unleashed) LANCE (prick)
1 OVER-THE-TOP Too much publicly displayed male chest (4-3-3)
OVERT (displayed) HE (male) TOP (chest)
2/5 GREY AREA Rather doubtful ex-PM should get a stretch (4,4)
GREY (ex-PM) AREA (a stretch) Earl Grey was a Prime Minister who liked his tea
3 BIG EARS Boris, broken with age, loveless – a minor TV character (3,4)
(BORIS AGE – O)* AInd: broken. What, Big Ears as an answer with no reference to Prince Charles, or Andrew Marr, or even Alexander Armstrong?
6 TESTICLE Maybe it’s Hitler’s elect circles restricting its uprising (8)
ITS< inside ELECT* AInd: circles. Def. referencing a famous monorchid. Tricky
7 SALON Establishment also contrived Cameron’s end (5)
(ALSO [camero]N)* AInd: contrived
8 DECLAIMER Speechifier Miliband upset with one demanding benefit? (9)
ED< CLAIMER (one demanding benefit). someone on benefits is really a “Claimant” thus the “?”
12 EYESTRAIN Regards exercise as early sign of being a chronic wanker? (9)
EYES (regards) TRAIN (exercise) Def. referring to the old-wives tail – certainly an o-w-t – for instance, apparently Piers Morgan has very good eyesight
14 HOUSE AGENT Commons spy who’s keen to get commission (5,5)
HOUSE (Commons) AGENT (spy)
15 MEDICALS Examinations entailing bites round penis detailed (8)
DIC[k] inside MEALS (bites) Last answered – and I didn’t understand the wordplay till doing the blog.
17 SAWN-OFF Was on manoeuvres with females, so removed from board? (4-3)
(WAS ON)* AInd: manoeuvres. FF (Females) Another I found tricky after being sold a pup into thinking about chess
18/4 WHIPPERSNAPPER Green, jumped-up sort demands a parliamentary enforcer for each paparazzo (14)
WHIP (a parliamentary enforcer) PER (for each) SNAPPER (paparazzo)
21/11 TO THE NTH DEGREE Screwing, end together, clutching article as far as one can (2,3,3,6)
(END TOGETHER)* AInd: screwing. around THE (article)  Thank goodness I got the crossing H before getting too convinced the 3rd word must be NOT.
24 TALK “Horizontal knee-trembler” covers intercourse (4)
Hidden in “HorizonTAL Knee-trembler”

… but, looking at the coppers guarding the hospital door, you’ve certainly got to be “a man and a half” to get a position in the Royal Protection Squad:

5 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 489 – Ad hoc Sovereign”

  1. Bamberger says:

    Agreed not easy. Still don’t really get 6d . Why should “maybe it’s Hitler’s” =testicle? The wordplay means that is the answer but don’t really see the definition part.

  2. lemming says:

    Take cover. Wikipedia incoming …

  3. beermagnet says:

    Thank you lemming.

    I wasn’t explicit about the definition for BIG EARS so thanks for the Wikibomb. Talking about explicit and Enid Blyton I recent stumbled over this (Ah! Innocent times. At least he’s not in a tracksuit):

  4. Bamberger says:

    I am still baffled. The straight clue reads “Maybe it’s Hitler’s ..
    -how does that lead to testicle rather than pullover, swimsuit etc. I accept that the wordplay gives you testicle but I thought that you were supposed to be able to get the answer either way?

  5. Andy B says:

    I saw 6 down as a kind of DBE. Because “it” refers to one thing rather than multiple things, and Hitler’s most famous “one” was his remaining ball as per the song I thought the clue worked.


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