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A group of us are taking over the reins here in the Sunday slot while Dave is convalescing. This is about as close as Dean Mayer gets to a simple puzzle – simple, but elegant and most enjoyable. 34 minutes.


1 HECTIC – ‘furious’ sounds like HECK and TICK (beat as in tick tock).
5 SOFT SOAP – ‘flannel’; OFT in SS followed by OAP.
9 OPEN UNIVERSITY – ‘home studies’; found (initially) in favOUr.
10 TENNYSON – sounds like ‘tennis on’. The kindest thing I can say about this clue is that it's a bit like one of my backhands.
11 WHENCE – ‘from which things’ (as a consequence of which) ; W[ork] + HENCE.
13 PATISSERIE – ITS PIES ARE* (anagram).
15 ALSO – ‘further’; a hidden answer
17 WEAN – ‘child’; E in WAN. As well as being what you do to a child, ‘wean’ can be a child itself in northern parts.
18 ANY OLD IRON – a music hall song first recorded more than a hundred years ago that cries out to be parodied; artists that have obliged include the Muppets and the Beatles in the excellent animated film ‘Yellow Submarine’.
20 TROWEL – ‘one spreads’; R in TOWEL.
22 RADIALLY – ‘turned inside out’ ('diverging in lines from a common centre' – like radii or indeed rays); (L[ake] + LAID) reversed ('turned') - on edit with a nod to Nonnie in RAY.
24 FAIR TO MIDDLING – ‘not bad’; FIDDLING around AIR TOM (‘imaginary cat?).
25 WHODUNIT – ‘detective story’; W + HO[o]D + UNIT.
26 SONATA – ‘piece of music’; NOT AS A*


2 EXONERATE – ‘pardon’; EX + ONE (‘a certain’, as in ‘one John Smith accosted me') + RATE.
3 THE ANCIENT WORLD – ‘what used to be’; CERTAIN WHEN TOLD*.
4 CLUBS – a double definition: groups of people with shared aims + the suit in a pack of cards.
5 SPINNER – ‘[a type of] bowler [in cricket]’; INNER (deer, as in ‘the inner, more profound meaning’) after S[li]P.
6 FREEWHEEL – ‘coast’; REEL (air – as well as being a dance, a reel can be the tune to which the dance is danced) around WHERE* [on edit: FEEL = air, in the 'distinctive quality' sense)
7 SYSTEMATISATION – ‘process of organising’; TEAMS I SAY ITS NOT*.
8 ATTIC – ‘room’; A + TT + I +C.
12 EGO – ‘I’; the second vowel E followed by GO (‘become’).
14 SMALL-TOWN – ‘narrow’ (parochial, provincial); MALL in ST + OWN. My COD.
16 SPOTLIGHT – ‘put in the public eye’; POT in SLIGHT.
17 WIT – ‘repartee’; WIT[h].
19 YORKIST – the clue is the definition; RISKY TO*. I defer to others with better historical knowledge than me, but I think the idea is that within the loose dynasty called Plantagenet, there were a number of different Houses (Wikipedia gives Angevins, Plantagenet, Lancaster and York), so a Yorkist might be dangerous to a Plantagenet who was of the House of Lancaster, say, although the way those chaps intrigued, he was probably at as much risk from one of his own House.
21 ROACH – ‘fish’; [b]ROACH (as in ‘broach a subject’).
23 DADOS – ‘wall sections’ (lower parts of an interior wall that is decorated differently from the upper part); SO+DAD all reversed.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
6 d
Dear Sirs,

Grateful if you would pass on my best wishes to Mr. Perry for a full recovery.

Regarding 6 d: it's not reel around where but feel. Can feel = air?

Adrian Cobb
May. 4th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
Re: 6 d
Thanks, Adrian. A victim of the one-week gap between solving and blogging! Feel = air, in the 'distinctive quality' sense.
May. 4th, 2014 07:50 am (UTC)
Re: 6 d
I suppose it's in the way of "This pub has a nice feel/air about it."

And, of course, Phil Collins could feel it in the air, but that's irrelevant.
May. 4th, 2014 07:44 am (UTC)
Beautifully economical cluing and a downright pleasure to solve.

The image for FAIR TO MIDDLING caught my imagination, and the PATISSERIE clue is a cracker.

A very enjoyable 37:35 here. Thanks, Dean.
May. 4th, 2014 07:47 am (UTC)
Brain malfunction
No time for this, partly because I got interrupted a lot, and partly because I made a complete pig's ear of it.
I got to the end and couldn't make head or tail of 22ac. In the end I just bunged in the only thing I could think of that fitted the checkers, which was RADIALLY, and submitted. I wasn't particularly surprised to see that I had an error, so I spent the next twenty minutes or so scratching my head and trying to find an alternative. I made liberal use of aids, and even considered the possibility that one of the crossing answers might be wrong (although they all looked right), but to no avail. Completely baffled, I gave up.
When I came back to the puzzle a couple of hours later I immediately saw that I had put in SONAJA, which also gave me SPOTLIGHJ.
May. 4th, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
Most enjoyable.

ulaca, you don't mention it (presumably as it is too obvious) but 19dn is an anagram.

Edited at 2014-05-04 09:11 am (UTC)
May. 4th, 2014 09:23 am (UTC)
No, forgot - thanks. Duly amended.
May. 4th, 2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
36 minutes for one of Dean's puzzles is pretty good for me. I struggled with SYSTEMATISATION and didn't understand how 6dn worked but otherwise it was reasonably straightforward.

FAIR TO MIDDLING was a bonus as it also turned up in last Sunday's Everyman which I solved immediately before tackling this one. It was clued there as: About average on violin, having committed tune to memory originally.
May. 5th, 2014 07:43 am (UTC)
Fine effort from Dean.. 13, 15, 18 and 24ac are all fantastic clues. 13ac best clue of the year so far, for me
May. 25th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
ST 4587
This puzzle was in yesterday's Vancouver Sun.
As a minor point re your explanation of answer to 22 ac, Isn't it the words "inside out", not "turned inside out", that provide the definition of "radially" (from the inside out)? I believe "turned" is an instruction to reverse L and LAID.
Jun. 3rd, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: ST 4587
Thanks - blog amended accordingly.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )