December 28th, 2020

Astarte1

QC 1775 by Trelawney

Not much time to say anything this week what with recovering after the hollowed out Christmas which I hope you all managed to enjoy as well as you could in the circumstances.

FOI was the obvious 1A and LOI was 21D as you would expect from a puzzle of this level of difficulty where I found most of the clues to be straight write-ins. My COD was 11D. I don't particularly know why, I just really liked how it fitted together. Many thanks to Trelawney for not taxing my poor little grey cells too much after the Christmas revels.

Hi to plusjeremy with whom I have been corresponding about his project of revisiting the very basics of cryptic clues. I meant to comment on his blog last Wednesday but didn't get to it until the end of the day and as I have said before there isn't much point in posting at that time as everybody has moved on. So just to say quickly here good work and I applaud and support his approach.

Wishing you all a happy New Year and hoping it will be a better one for all of us. Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Furry creature to relax in the country (10)
CHINCHILLA - CHILL (to relax) 'in' CHINA (country).
8 Villain is after British accent (6)
BROGUE - ROGUE (villan) 'after' B (British). A brogue is a type of accent, usually applied to the sound of English spoken with an Irish accent, but it can apply to any regional accent. Another meaning for the word that you will often meet in crosswords is a type of shoe.
9 Footballer you wouldn't want to release? (6)
KEEPER - double definition. Footballer, as in goalkeeper. And a 'keeper' is also something you would not want to release. I bought a guitar recently and I took it to a local guitar shop to get it set up properly, checking the action, frets, electrics etc. When the technician gave it back to me he said: "That's a keeper that one. If it was mine I'd definitely hang on to it."
10 Stagger back and stare (4)
LEER - REEL (stagger) reversed ('back').
11 Praise cook drinking coffee (8)
FLATTERY - FRY (cook) 'drinking' LATTE (coffee).
12 Clear I cooked a rich dessert (6)
ECLAIR - straight anagram ('cooked') of CLEAR I.
14 The lady's adopting a bird — big mistake! (6)
HOWLER - HER (the lady) 'adopting', i.e. 'taking in' OWL (bird) gives one of those things that a 9A is always in danger of committing (viz. recent Arsenal performance in Carabao Cup).
16 Ban for greeting segment (8)
PROHIBIT - PRO (for) + HI (greeting) + BIT (segment).
18 Story's thread (4)
YARN - double definition. A pretty old and big chestnut in crosswords.
20 Italian food around a public square (6)
PIAZZA - PIZZA (Italian food) 'around' A.
21 Make money if port is drunk (6)
PROFIT - straight anagram ('drunk') of IF PORT.
22 Lend heroes recycled gear for Oktoberfest? (10)
LEDERHOSEN - another straight anagram ('recycled') of LEND HEROES. Lederhosen are the traditional German leather trousers worn particularly in Bavaria, especially at festivals such as the Oktoberfest.
Down
2 Mob store, reportedly (5)
HORDE - sounds like ('reportedly') HOARD (store).
3 Earing I prepared for African Country (7)
NIGERIA - straight anagram ('prepared') of EARING I. At first I thought this was a misspelling of 'EARRING' (although it did not affect my solution of the clue because the anagram indicator was so obvious) but when I looked it up I learned that an EARING is "a rope attached to a cringle and used for bending a corner of a sail to a yard, boom, or gaff or for reefing a sail." So now I know. But I bet deckhandiana knew that already. And probably lots more of you did too.
4 Desire to get rid of power tool (3)
HOE - HOpE (desire) 'getting rid of' P (power) leaves HOE.
5 Large furniture shop's popular very quickly (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT - L (large) + IKEA'S ('furniture shop's') + HOT (popular).
6 Spy is a polite fellow (5)
AGENT - A GENT is a polite fellow. As in 'You're a proper gent, Sir'. Abbreviated form of GENTLEMAN.
7 Absurd greed over English qualification (6)
DEGREE - anagram ('absurd') of GREED 'over' E (English). This has to be a down clue as we are instructed to put DEGRE 'over', i.e. above, E.
11 If upset, change the image of troublemaker (9)
FIREBRAND - IF 'upset' i.e. reversed (or even anaground, if you can talk about an anagram of a two letter word) = FI. Add on REBRAND (change the image of) and you have the answer.
13 Expression of surprise over serving American's dogs (6)
CORGIS - COR! (expression of surprise) + GI'S (serving American's, a GI being an American soldier ('GI Joe') roughly equivalent to a British Private ('Tommy').
15 A potential route — bravo! (3,2,2)
WAY TO GO - staying with the Americans, WAY TO GO is a phrase often used across the pond as an expression of encouragement. And I can just imagine Basil Fawlty interpreting the phrase as 'a potential route'. As when an American in one of the Fawlty Towers episodes threatened to "bust somebody's ass" and Fawlty politely translated the threat down the telephone as "he says he's going to break your bottom".
17 Smog left brown colour (5)
HAZEL - HAZE (smog) + L (left).
19 By the sound of it, completely destroy lift (5)
RAISE - another homophone. RAISE sounds like RAZE as in RAZE to the ground.
21 Golfer's target in jeopardy (3)
PAR - hidden word: 'in' jeoPARdy.