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I'm sitting in for Don today who will return in two weeks. At 8 minutes this was a straightforward solve for me but as always I shall be interested to read how others found it.
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We have a new, one-off crossword today and finding it interesting, I thought I would totter off the subs bench and blog it for you.
I have been a fan of PG Wodehouse for many years. Whether you respond to his style of writing or not, he was a complete master of it, arguably our best ever comic novelist. I haven't read anything by Ben Schott and I wish him well, but he certainly has big boots to fill.
As he does with the crossword, popping it up here in The Times premier league. But I think it holds together quite well, taken as a '30s crossword with a modern twist. Those of us who do these things daily will look askance at one or two of the clues, but being an easygoing bunch I am sure we will give credit where it is due. I don't care much about convention, so it is right up my street and if my first published crossword is as good and clear as this one is, I shall be quite happy.
The article that explains the background is here. It says that this is the grid for Times Crossowrd 829, published in the first week of October 1932. I note that although it looks quite standard, it does give us 38 clues, which is eight or nine more than usual.
So, we will take off our Ximenean hat, and put our unwritten rules to one side, and off we go:
anagrams are shown as *(anagarm)
1 Upset ear doctor, one who changes rooms (9)
decorator - *(EAR DOCTOR)
6 Finding a penny during repast gets an award (5)
medal - D, the sort of penny they had in those days, in MEAL
9 Just past eight, you get squiffy! (3,4)
one over - as in, "one over the eight." For me it only takes about three, these days
10 Encountered after choice fruit fall (7)
plummet - PLUM (choice fruit) + MET (encountered)
11 Soar out of prison almost (4)
excel - as in EX CEL(L)
12 Weirdly alert sons learn to draw etc. here (3,6)
art lesson - *(ALERT SONS) .. a purist might say the "etc." is not really needed
15 Point out ineptitude, partially (4)
tine - hidden in ouT INEptitude
16 Polygamist agreeing with 26 (2,2,1)
so do I - see 26dn. Well, here we are half way through the acrosses and so far, there has been nothing to scare the horses. I am not sure this quite works.. though I can sort of see where he is coming from
17 Forecast front will come off wicker vessel (6)
oracle - (C)ORACLE .. I liked this clue .. but isn't an oracle a forecaster?
19 After adjusting tie, can’t blink (7)
nictate - *(TIE CAN'T). I did know nictation, though I'm not sure where from
21 In the distant past, silver article I must hide (3,3)
age ago - AG (silver) + A in EGO (I) .. The 1930s were an age ago .. it does work, I think
23 Exhaling very very loudly during exercise (5)
pffft - FFF (very loudly) in PT (exercise). None of the usual sources have pffft, but all of tham have pfft, even the OED. And I am sure we can allow Bertie an extra F, can't we?
25 Place to convalesce, not quite (4)
lieu - LIE U(P) another one pushing the boundaries a little, but again, the answer is clear, especially with three crossing letters..
27 Silly pater, nearly dead drunk (9)
fatheaded - FATHE(R) + *(DEAD)
30 Look to include uranium for fine fabric (5)
gauze - U(ranium) in GAZE
32 A pro putt almost acceptable (2,2,3)
up to par - *(A PRO PUT(T)) .. seems to be missing an anagrind
33 One not grabbing snake, cornered (2,1,4)
in a spot - ASP (snake) inside I NOT. Bertie was in one of these most of the time ..
34 Such a bore! (5)
tidal - what can I say? A very old Times clue... and it needs more than an exclamation mark to make it acceptable nowadays
35 Agitato’s played. Why aloud? One needs to speak! (1,5,3)
I gotta say - *(AGITATO + Y) .. the Y being "why" aloud. Hmmm//
1 Medic with singular low hum (5)
drone - DR (medic) + ONE (singular). A write-in, for anyone who knows even the first thing about Bertie
2 Made over poetically in cricket club by editor (7)
coerced - OER (over, poetically) in CC (cricket club) + ED(itor)
3 Nasty vicar’s lot drunk with gin (9)
revolting - REV (vicar) + *(LOT + GIN)
4 Coat of black and yellowish-brown material (6)
tartan - TAR (black) + TAN (brown). I will accept tar = black, but is tartan a coat? Discuss .. On edit: as Sawbill points out, the definition is "material," and the TAR is a "coat of black."
5 Transplant for one who drinks up (5)
repot - TOPER reversed. a neat clue, though the surface a little strange perhaps. But liver damage, we've all been there, haven't we?
6 Just one of James’s Madame’s family in the shade? (5)
mauve - don't ask me how I know this, but Henry James wrote about Madam Mauve
7 Death before a hundred is dry enough (4,3)
demi sec - DEMISE + C. I put an X against this clue, because demi sec is nowhere near dry enough these days. In the Thirties though, maybe..
8 Classic exam, most recent containing one set of books (5,4)
latin test - I + NT (one set of books) in LATEST (most recent)
13 Salesman put on hat, snakeskin? (7)
reptile - is a reptile snakeskin, or just a snake?
14 Spin tool for ill-gotten gains (4)
loot - TOOL reversed
16 Trust fair to supply something juicy (9)
starfruit - nearly an anagrind, but not quite. And I must take the setters word that a starfruit is juicy, I don't think I've ever eaten one
18 Disrupt urgent nap? Disgusting (9)
repugnant - *(URGENT NAP)
20 Some affection admitted for island (4)
iona - hidden, guess where?
22 Landed after expedition initially declared (7)
estated - E(xpedition) + STATED (declared). Yes, it really is a word
24 Fake father, I hear, is tactless in France (4,3)
faux pas - FAUX (fake) + PAS (sounds like Pa) .. tactless in England too, I think. :-)
26 He said, she said — get knotted (1,2,1,2)
I do I do - what you both must say to be legally married. Taken together I thought this and 16ac a bit much but hey, it's the 1930s crossword, right? Still I didn't quite know what to underline as the definition
28 Drive away dead skin (or most) (5)
expel - EX PEL(T)
29 Risk attempting Prufrock’s peachy question? (4,1)
dare I - "Do I dare, Disturb the universe?" .. or better still, "Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?" .. as Johninterred points out, below. From the love song of J Alfred Prufrock
31 Short dash to attempt admission (5)
entry - EN (short dash, not to be confused with an EM) + TRY (attempt)