April 13th, 2009

balloon

Times 24198 - Surely not Nutella?

Solving time: 50 mins (mostly heart in mouth)

Not the stinker I'd anticipated for my inaugural blog, but I was never going to get the Irish port (my nemesis on any day, be it postprandial or harbourial) even though I once wrote a song about Dun Laoghaire in a different incarnation. Held up mostly in NW corner.

Peter alerted you last week to my incipient existence as a blogger and I offer this short explanation of myself by way of introduction, most of which you may have garnered already. I live in Perth, Australia. I have been in and out of tertiary institutions for most of my life, on both sides of the lectern, interspersed with attempts at real life, busking, loft conversion, etc. All in all, a typical Australian upbringing. Nowadays I teach statistics to those who will listen. Fortunately there aren't many in that category, so I have a lot of free time. Unfortunately, tomorrow is the start of a three day workshop (a torture for all concerned) so I better crack on.

* = anagram; rev = reverse; asc = ascendant

Across
1(b)ASSIST - Pitch in
4FA[LLI]ABLE - apt to err
10(CHINA AMUR)* = MANCHURIA - Historic region is definition with location alluded to in the anagrist
11POS(t)ER - a puzzle
12(ALLEGIN(g))rev = NIGELLA - Nigella damascena a.k.a love-in-a-mist. Just fold in the triple clotted cream.
13EX + PRESS - for a non-stopping train, a newspaper and a say. Speaking of triple cream!
14SOL + TI - conductor Sir Georg Solti
15U[TENSIL(e)]S - implements
18(DOG HEARD)* = DROGHEDA - (pronounced /ˈdrɒhədə, ˈdrɔːdə/) and not like "mad dog" after all (I had the SETA, just couldn't get the "mad") - a town I do know but not as a port.
20(h)OMBRE - a card game well known to crossword aficionados
23LINCTUS - sounds like "linked us" to some in Australia possibly, but not in the Home Counties.
25ROE DEER - Spooner probably wouldn't have said "dough (= money) rear (= back)" on a number of grounds, but we get the idea.
26NOVE(mber) + L - literary work
27ALL THE WAY - double definition for this stirring song
28(DEAR SEEN)* = SERENADE - composition
29(DORSET)* = STORED - laid up. One for Jimbo to make amends for 23.

Down
1A + D[MON(day)]ISH - Warn, not Wam
2(LA + GENES)asc = SENEGAL - former French colony. I liked ascendant so much, I coined some new notation.
3S(trauss) + CHILLING - Old Viennese piece of eight, or was it sixteen?
5AS A GENERAL RULE - double definition, the second cryptic.
7BOSWELL - first letters in "biographer of Samuel ... lexicographer" and biographer of Samuel Johnson, the wonderfully eccentric lexicographer, Lichfield's greatest son. An easy get but a very clever clue none the less.
8(SERGE)asc + S = EGRESS - departure
9(NATURAL DESIRES)* = TREASURE ISLAND - Tale of adventure
16STONE + CHAT - bird, somewhere on this page
17BET + RAY + ED - sold down the river
19RUN OVER - double definition
21BO(x)ER + (RAW)asc = BOER WAR - an African conflict
22PLAN[heaTing]S - flora
24(Ca)TALON(ia) - hooker as in something which hooks
Talbinho

ST 4323 (Sun 5 Apr) - Boa awe

Solving time: 2:46

An easy puzzle but I enjoyed lots of these clues, especially 20ac. Do I detect the hand of Tim Moorey?

A very happy (if slightly belated) Easter to all readers.

* = anagram, "X" = sounds like 'X'.


Across
1MAT + E
3AMBASSADOR - 'In capitals, he' gives HE which stands for 'His Excellency'.
10NORTH; (THORN)*
11ACTUARIES; ACT (= 'turn') + U (= 'universal') + ARIES (= 'stars')
12CENTRAL HEATING; (ENTRANCE + A LIGHT)* - excellent anagram.
14ROUTERS (2 defs) - 'Groovy' because a router is a tool for hollowing out or making grooves, as well as a piece of computer equipment.
15ST + RANGE - not sure if this is intended as ST 'to go over' RANGE, which doesn't work for an across clue, or whether it's 'range' as a verb meaning 'to go over mountains', which also doesn't seem quite right.
17S(C)ANDAL
19MR RIGHT; RR in MIGHT - RR for Rolls Royce. I was amused to see this crossing 'scatterbrained' and 'nightmare'.
20BOA CONSTRICTOR (cryptic definition) - my favourite clue of the puzzle ('It prefers squash to snakebite!'), punning on the drinks squash and snakebite (half beer, half cider).
23ON THE MEND; (NEED MONTH)* - another good anagram.
24ERATO; (TEAR)* + [intr]O
25PLEASANTRY; (PAY ANTLERS)* - I didn't understand this when solving or for a long time afterwards, but eventually I realised that 'five' referred to the answer to clue 5. Perhaps this was a digit in the paper version? I can't see why it wasn't here, since they managed '8' correctly in the clue to 4dn.
26HERB (hidden) - nicely concealed in a hyphenated word ('stretcher-bearer').

Down
1MANICURIST (cryptic definition) - a pun on 'digital' meaning 'of fingers', with the surface reading perhaps referring to digital airbrushing of photos.
2TARANTULA; T,A + (NATURAL)*
4MEASLES (hidden)
5ANTLERS; (ALERT + N[ew] S[oldiers])*
6SCATTERBRAINED; (BRENDA I)* - wordplay in the answer; scatter 'brained' to get 'Brenda I'.
7DEIGN; rev. of GI in DEN
8RAS + H
9CHARLES DICKENS; CHICKENS around (EARLS* + D)
13LETTER BOMB (cryptic definition) - I wasn't convinced by the pun here ('Frankly').
16NIGHTMARE; (HIT GERMAN)*
18LANTERN (cryptic definition) - fairly obvious but well-worded nonetheless.
19MATADOR (cryptic definition) - this time a pun on 'gore' meaning 'to pierce', as a bull, rather than 'blood and guts'.
21OUTRE (hidden)*
22SOAP (2 defs)