A toughie this week. Probably even a stinker judging by TWOC, BRRR and leaving solvers _R_C_S for one of the tougher clues. This was a setter who was in no mood to play nice. Writing this the day after solving it lets me appreciate some of the good clueing on display, but at the time this was a bit of a joyless grind.
As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. While you’re here, I have links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, along with some dusty book reviews and a story of mine.
Still persevering with WordPress’s new editor. It’s a bit like driving with the handbrake on, but at least I can still use MS Word to do much of the work. It’s not a pretty read, but it does what it needs to do.
Till next time, stay safe, mask up, and keep flying the flag for NHS and key workers everywhere.
- Get beaten for holding bible class? That’s hairy! (11)
Answer: BEWHISKERED (i.e. “hairy”). Solution is BE WHISKED (i.e. “get beaten”) wrapped around or “holding” RE (i.e. “bible class”, specifically Religious Education), like so: BE-WHISKE(RE)D.
- Inferior sound device with important second function (6,5)
Answer: MICKEY MOUSE (i.e. slang for “inferior” – I was surprised to find this doesn’t quite chime with Chambers, which suggests something that’s simple/unimportant/cliched). Solution is MIC (i.e. “sound device”, short for a microphone) followed by KEY (i.e. “important”), then MO (i.e. “second”, shortened form of “moment”) and USE (i.e. “function”).
- No going back – so suffer immediately (2,3,4)
Answer: ON THE NAIL (i.e. “immediately”). Solution is NO reversed (indicated by “going back”) followed by THEN (i.e. “so”) and AIL (i.e. “suffer”), like so: ON-THEN-AIL.
- Error diminished old Greek car manufacturer (7)
Answer: BUGATTI (i.e. “car manufacturer”. I’m not sure it’s enough to land the setter a free Veyron, but nice try all the same). Solution is BUG (i.e. “error”) followed by ATTIC (i.e. “old Greek”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “diminished”), like so: BUG-ATTI.
- The crossword editor retained by Express is dull! (5)
Answer: SAMEY (i.e. “dull”). Solution is ME (i.e. “the crossword editor” taken from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “retained by” SAY (i.e. to “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: SA(ME)Y.
- Waiting to connect leg with horse before getting on (2,4)
Answer: ON HOLD (i.e. “waiting to connect”). Solution is ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket) followed by H (i.e. “horse” – both slang words for heroin) and OLD (i.e. “getting on”).
- The woman chasing fairies finds little devil (8)
Answer: PERISHER (i.e. a scamp or “little devil”). Solution is HER (i.e. “the woman”) placed after or “chasing” PERIS (i.e. “fairies”), like so: PERIS-HER.
- Against the current voting system, one’s put in united resistance (7)
Answer: UPRIVER (i.e. “against the [water] current”). Solution PR (i.e. “voting system”, specifically Proportional Representation) and by I’VE (i.e. “one’s” read as a contraction of “one has” or “I have” rather than “one is”) both “put in” between U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and R (ditto “resistance”), like so: U-(PR-I’VE)-R.
- Female suffering terrific stress moved as queue dealt with? (5,4,5,6)
Answer: FIRST COME FIRST SERVED (i.e. “as queue dealt with”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of TERRIFIC STRESS MOVED.
- Religion’s expression of enlightenment in repeated Mass (7)
Answer: BAHAISM (i.e. “religion”). Solution is AHA (i.e. “expression of enlightenment”) placed in BIS (i.e. twice or “repeated” in musical lingo) and followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “mass” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: B(AHA)IS-M.
- Salty food Parisian prepared with article taken from fire (7)
Answer: PRETZEL (i.e. “salty food”). Solution is PRET (i.e. “Parisian prepared”, i.e. the French for ready or “prepared”, as in Pret a Manger, Pret a Porter etc) followed by ZEAL (i.e. passion or “fire”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “article taken from” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: PRET-ZEL.
- With track race put back, athlete finally gets to train (7)
Answer: NURTURE (i.e. “train”). Solution is RUT (i.e. “track”) and RUN (i.e. “race”) both reversed (indicated by “put back”) and followed by E (i.e. “athlete finally”, i.e. the last letter of “athlete”), like so: (NUR-TUR)-E.
- Drive away unauthorised pair of canvassers at the front (4)
Answer: TWOC (i.e. “drive away unauthorised”, i.e. an acronym of Take Without Consent, often in relation to vehicle theft). Solution is TWO (i.e. “pair”) followed by C (i.e. “canvassers at the front”, i.e. the first letter of “canvassers”).
- Kept in hand men’s prize at festival (5,3)
Answer: PALME DOR (i.e. “prize at [film] festival”). Solution is PALMED (i.e. “kept in hand”) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).
- Go crawling along out of gear? (6-3)
Answer: SKINNY-DIP, or swimming around in one’s birthday suit. Clue plays on how “crawling” is a swimming stroke, and how one removing all their clothes would be “out of gear”.
- Tries the lot again, mostly for practice (9)
Answer: REHEARSAL (i.e. “practice”). Solution is REHEARS ALL (i.e. “tries the lot again” in a court of law) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”).
- Scrape trailer filling skip (8)
Answer: ESCAPADE (i.e. “scrape” or exciting or mischievous adventure). Solution is AD (i.e. “trailer”, i.e. a shortened form of “advertisement”) placed in or “filling” ESCAPE (i.e. to “skip” out of something, e.g. school), like so: ESCAP(AD)E.
- Reaction to the cold basics of learning by the book? (4)
Answer: BRRR (i.e. “reaction to the cold” – I wasn’t keen on this one either, especially after TWOC, but it is in the dictionary and with three Rs too, so…) Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) placed before or “by” RRR (i.e. “basics of learning”, being reading, writing and arithmetic, collectively called the “three Rs” despite floods of smartarse schoolkids pointing out only one of those begins with an R), like so: B-RRR.
- Save one’s cheers for the person serving the drinks (7)
Answer: BARISTA (i.e. “person serving the drinks”). Solution is BAR (i.e. “save”, as in “all over bar the shouting”) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) and TA (i.e. “cheers”, both expressions of thanks).
- Knock one over: not exactly sweet! (7)
Answer: TAPIOCA (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is TAP (i.e. “knock”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and CA (i.e. “not exactly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”).
- Noble fellow cheated on the first female? (7)
Answer: GALAHAD (i.e. “noble”, as in “a person notable for nobility and integrity of character” (Chambers), after Sir Galahad, the most noble knight of the Round Table of Arthurian legend). Solution is HAD (i.e. having “cheated” someone) placed “on” or after GAL A (i.e. “the first female”, assuming there was a GAL B, C, D etc), like so: (GAL-A)-HAD.
- Light work made of devout folk – how much punishment’s involved unknown (3,7,2,8)
Answer: THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (i.e. “light work” or comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, which includes the oft-parodied I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General). Solution is THE PI (i.e. “devout folk” – “pi” being a shortened form of “pious”) followed by RATES OF PENANCE (i.e. “how much punishment”) once wrapped around or “involving” Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: THE-PI-(RATES-OF-PEN(Z)ANCE).
- Nearly all choose to accept current condition for peace (7)
Answer: PACIFIC (i.e. “for peace”). Solution is PICK (i.e. “choose”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “nearly all”) and the remainder wrapped around or “accepting” AC (i.e. “current”, specifically Alternating Current) and IF (i.e. “condition”), like so: P(AC-IF)IC.
EDIT – a quick thank you to Michael in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written “condition for peace” as the solution, which should have merely been “for peace” – LP
- Material with which to test cosmetic (8)
Answer: TOILETRY (i.e. “cosmetic”). Solution is TOILE (i.e. “material”) followed by TRY (i.e. “to test”).
- Publisher takes role of petitioner (6)
Answer: ISSUER. Solution satisfies “publisher” and “role of petitioner”, as in one who raises an issue or point of dispute.
- Shaped outlines round first part of encyclopaedia? (5)
Answer: OVOLI (plural of ovolo, or “arc of an ellipse with the curve greatest at the top” (Chambers) i.e. “shaped outlines”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) followed by VOL I (i.e. “first part of encyclopaedia”, as in Volume One). Call me cynical, but I doubt this was the first solution the setter slotted into the grid…
- Fair, perhaps, to have teams in red (7)
Answer: MARXIST (i.e. “red” or communist). Solution is MART (i.e. “fair, perhaps”) followed by XIS (i.e. “teams”, i.e. a plural of eleven expressed in Roman numerals), like so: MAR(XIS)T.
- Real nice uniform that’s worn (9)
Answer: AUTHENTIC (i.e. “real”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worn”) of NICE, U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and THAT.
- Neutral zone of old formerly swallowed up by Polish (6,5)
Answer: BUFFER STATE (i.e. “neutral zone” or country between two states at loggerheads with one another). Solution is ERST (i.e. “formerly”) and ATE (i.e. “swallowed up”) both placed after or “by” BUFF (i.e. to “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: BUFF-(ERST-ATE). “Of old” seems unnecessary in the clue as neither BUFFER STATE nor ERST are flagged as archaic terms in the dictionary.
EDIT: Hat-tip to burleypab in the comments for the typo fix. I’d accidentally written BUFF-(ESRT-ATE) – LP
- Military command dispatched divisions in advance? (7,4)
Answer: PRESENT ARMS (i.e. “military command”). Solution is PRE-SENT (i.e. “despatched…in advance”) and ARMS (i.e. “divisions”).
- Barrack the person that is heard sobbing (6)
Answer: BOOHOO (i.e. “sobbing”). Solution is BOO (i.e. “barrack”) followed by HOO (a homophone, indicated by “that is heard”, of WHO, i.e. “the person”).
- Kids TV shows cave containing possible emperor and queen (5,4,6)
Answer: WATCH WITH MOTHER (i.e. “kids TV shows” – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is WATCH (i.e. “cave” – an alternative meaning of the word is to beware of something) followed by WITH (i.e. “containing”), then MOTH (i.e. “possible emperor”, referring to emperor moths or wild silk moths) and ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).
- Romantic rendering italicised (10)
Answer: IDEALISTIC (i.e. “romantic”). “Rendering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ITALICISED.
- Old ruler shook hands, disappearing outside (4)
Answer: KHAN (i.e. “old ruler”). “Disappearing outside” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, i.e. the outside letters must disappear, like so: SHOO(K HAN)DS.
- What shows highs and lots of plot to remove the old guard? (6,3)
Answer: RELIEF MAP. I suspect this clue contains a typo and that it ought to have read “what shows highs and lows”. While “lots” can refer to parcels of land, this seems to serve more an administrative function than a geographical one. Clue plays on how “removing the old guard” can be to relieve them, and how a plot can be a plan or map. You get the idea.
- Excellent, having cheese in grill (7)
Answer: DEBRIEF (i.e. interrogate or “grill”). Solution is DEF (i.e. “excellent” – fresh from the 1980s, kids!) wrapped around or “having” BRIE (i.e. “cheese”), like so: DE(BRIE)F.
- Radio unit taking great pains to broadcast (9)
Answer: MEGAHERTZ (i.e. “radio unit” of frequency). Solution is MEGA (i.e. “great”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to broadcast”) of HURTS (i.e. “pains”).
- Just leave odd parts for Henry Archer (5)
Answer: CUTER (i.e. “archer” or more cunning – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is CUT (i.e. “leave” – not sure where “just” factors into this, if at all, but then CUT has more definitions than I have fingers and toes) followed by ER (i.e. “odd parts of Henry”, i.e. every other letter of HENRY), like so: CUT-ER. Another for the “trying too hard” file.
- I run peace movement for pleasure (9)
Answer: EPICUREAN (i.e. one “for pleasure” and the pursuit of it – usually one who digs on good food). “Movement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I RUN PEACE.
- Archbishop’s doctors turn out upset: RIP! (4,8)
Answer: MOST REVEREND (i.e. “archbishop”). Solution is MOS (i.e. “doctors”, specifically Medical Officers) followed by EVERT (i.e. “turn out[wards]”) reversed (indicated by upset” – this being a down clue), then REND (i.e. “rip” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: MOS-TREVE-REND
- Calm as king must be prior to being taken to castle (7)
Answer: UNMOVED (i.e. “calm”). Clue refers to a move in chess known as castling, where the king and a rook or “castle” can swap places in a single go so long as neither piece has previously been moved.
- Friend to bear errors excepted long ago (6)
Answer: EEYORE (i.e. “friend to bear”, specifically Winnie The Pooh). Solution is EE (a recognised abbreviation of “errors excepted”) followed by YORE (i.e. “long ago”, as in times of yore).
- Rogues succeeded with much (8)
Answer: SCUMBAGS (i.e. “rogues”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by CUM (i.e. “with” in Latin) and BAGS (i.e. “much”).
- Lectures on horses for touts (5,2)
Answer: TALKS UP (i.e. “touts”). Solution is TALKS (i.e. “lectures”) followed by UP (i.e. “on horses”).
- Penny, coming in flushed after double PE, showered (8)
Answer: PEPPERED (i.e. “showered”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “penny”) placed “in” PE and PE (i.e. “double PE”) and followed by RED (i.e. “flushed”), like so: PE-(P)-PE-RED. The clue’s a bit clunky, but does work. Ish.
- Albert’s heart, pounding inside loose garment (8)
Answer: BATHROBE (i.e. “loose garment”). Solution is BE (i.e. “Albert’s heart”, i.e. the middle letters of “AlBErt”) with ATHROB (i.e. “pounding”) placed “inside” of it, like so: B(ATHROB)E.
- Give in to the French: what’s expected (5)
Answer: ENDUE (i.e. “give”). Solution is EN (i.e. “in to the French”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by DUE (i.e. “what’s expected”).
- One presumably telling too little about article illegally acquired (5-3-7)
Answer: UNDER-THE-COUNTER (i.e. “illegally acquired”). Solution is UNDERCOUNTER (i.e. “one presumably telling too little” – “telling” in this case meaning “mattering” or “counting” for something) wrapped “about” THE (i.e. “article”).
EDIT: Michael makes a good point in the comments, saying that “telling” could also refer to a bank teller, which probably chimes better with what the setter had in mind. Cheers, Michael! – LP
- FA’s forerunner came down on one with a certain force (7)
Answer: MILITIA (i.e. “force”, usually armed). Solution is MI (i.e. “fa’s forerunner” in solfège, or do-re-MI-“FA”-sol-la-ti-do and all its variant forms – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by LIT (i.e. “came down” or landed) then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and A.
- Play area closed – leaves to the right (5)
Answer: RECTO (i.e. “leaves to the right” – a printing term: recto refers to the right-hand pages of a book, verso the left). Solution is REC (i.e. “play area” or recreation area) followed by TO (i.e. “closed”, as in leaving a door closed to).
- In dire need of film company dismissing English fellow (8)
Answer: INDIGENT (i.e. “in dire need”). Solution is INDIE (i.e. “film company” – often describes some record companies too) with the E removed (indicated by “dismissing English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of English) and the remainder followed by GENT (i.e. “fellow”), like so: INDI-GENT.
- Serializes a fine novel, not interfering with anything? (7-5)
Answer: LAISSEZ-FAIRE (i.e. “not interfering with anything”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of SERIALIZES A and F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”, used in grading pencils).
- What’s somehow keeping everything out of Chelsea net? (5,5)
Answer: CLEAN SHEET. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of CHELSEA NET. Clue plays on a game of football, where to keep the opponent from scoring i.e. keeping the ball out of one’s net is referred to as a clean sheet. Nicely done.
- Friends, perhaps, in the main revolting, however (2,2,5)
Answer: AS IT COMES (i.e. “however” – taken to mean “however it is made” or “in any way whatsoever”, e.g. when ordering food in a restaurant). Solution is SITCOM (i.e. “Friends, perhaps” – other sitcoms are available) placed “in” SEA (i.e. “the main”) once reversed (indicated by “revolting” or uprising – this being a down clue), like so: A(SITCOM)ES.
- Cliff, Charlie and I, dividing homework, finish off (9)
Answer: PRECIPICE (i.e. “cliff”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) and I both placed in or “dividing” PREP (i.e. “homework”) and followed by ICE (i.e. to kill or “finish off”), like so: PRE(C-I)P-ICE.
- Like normal, bland sweetener (9)
Answer: ASPARTAME (i.e. “sweetener”). Solution AS (i.e. “like”) followed by PAR (i.e. “normal”) and TAME (i.e. “bland”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.
- Lecture Mark completed (4,3)
Answer: TICK OFF. Solution satisfies “lecture” and “mark completed” – ignore the misleading capitalisation.
- Be too generous, glaring at paltry sum (7)
Answer: OVERTIP (i.e. “be too generous” – depends on your perspective…). Solution is OVERT (i.e. “glaring”) followed by IP (i.e. “paltry sum”, i.e. 1p expressed as a Roman numeral).
- Being collected in a Post Office, large computer storage unit (6)
Answer: APLOMB (i.e. “being collected”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) placed “in” A and PO (ditto “Post Office”) and followed by MB (i.e. “computer storage unit”, short for a megabyte), like so: A-P(L)O-MB.
- Writes off to a dictator, the king (6)
Answer: WRECKS (i.e. “writes off”). “To a dictator” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of REX, Latin for “king”. Sneaky.
- Film star in fur coat putting king in his place in Ireland? (5)
Answer: TARKA (i.e. “film star in fur coat”, referring to Tarka the Otter. Way to ignore the book there, setter.) Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”) placed “in” TARA (i.e. “[king’s] place in Ireland, referring to the Hill of Tara, inaugural place of old for the High Kings of Ireland), like so: TAR(K)A.
- Inflammation contracted last year (4)
Answer: STYE (i.e. “inflammation”). “Contracted” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, found by removing or contracting the outer letters of LA(ST YE)AR.
No music accompanied this week’s post. Lots of sport was had instead: a blend of live footie and game 4 of the World Series. (Let’s go, Dodgers!)