A good puzzle.
Very bright future awaits the clue-writers. Any newspaper can empanel the compiler duo.
Only, newspapers in India are slow in accepting setters. They would rather take a syndicated crossword, scan it and put it in a textbox that is shrunken to the maximum limit.
When they do take in original setters, they don’t apply their minds well.
And when once they apply their minds, it is bonded with Fevicol. And the attitude is ‘Chaltha rahe, chaltha rahe’ (said in an extended, tiresome voice).
So mediocrity prevails!
*** The opinions expressed here are my own. They are made with a full sense of responsibility and the writer will stand by them at all times. They may not be quoted anywhere without express and expressed permission of the writer.
1 An order to arrest labourers at the beginning of strike? That’s stupid (6) OB(TU,S)E – c/c
2 A bit of kink shows up after much of pole dance (5) POL K A, – rev/charade
3 Calms down group as left back gets two points (7) SET .TL< E S – charade with rev
4 Quit as from a dead ball situation he let two shockingly (5,2,3,5) THROW IN THE TOWEL – didn’t work it out fully
5 An ideal street commando is one who is unknown (7,8) – PERFECT ST RANGER – charade The def might give just stranger; should the word totally have been added?
6 They bring up weighty matters (7) LIFTERS – CD
7 Model hugging a model to arouse (9) S(T)IMULATE – c/c
8 Fiery policeman, one far removed from the wicked ( – 7) IGNEOUS – haven’t worked out the wordplay – anyway I don’t think the def is correct or is it?
14 Change opinion regarding appearance (5,4) ABOUT-FACE – charade – should the enu be 5-4? – Can ‘about-face’ be used as a verb? One does an about-face. Can one about-face? I have to check.
16 A player reacts bitterly to sledging at first (7) ACTRES*,S – Could do without the initial indef art
18 Quiet! Take note, gangster is at junction. Move with care (7) S(TE,AL T)H – c/c – Good surface reading – in surface reading “move (with care)’ is a verb but it does a switcheroo as def for word req’d, for the sol STEALTH is a noun. Very carefully written clue.
20 Part of gun not allowed in counter strike (7) LOCK OUT – charade – ‘counter strike’ must be one word or hyphenated – not two words anyway
21 Parliamentarians’ head is hauled over the coals (6) (m)EMBERS – del – Good but I can’t make up my mind whether ‘hauled’ (without away) is good enough as del ind
24 In a dialog, imagination is turned on its head my friend (5) AMIGO – rev hidden – I won’t allow the sudden use of US spelling, though. All clues must use either UK or US spelling. There has to be a comma after ‘head’. Surface reading requires ‘my’ but it plays no role whatever in the def, in fact it’s misleading as the solver might look for a phrase such as ‘mon ami’. I don’t know the word for ‘my’ in Spanish!
Choice clues: 2, 7, 16
1 Unlike some Europeans, they attract (8,5) OPPOSITE POLES – charade
9 John not accommodating one for rent (2,3) TO(i) LET – del – Wordplay will be familiar to anyone who has visited a public convenience in India with graffiti writers having to only scratch a letter in TOILET to make some weird suggestion.
10 Thinning not seen often, resistance not offered to cooking in oil (9) RARE F(r)YING – charade cum del
11 A bird acts up, wild owl (7) SWAL LOW
12 Carry out murder (7) EXECUTE – double def
13 What you might call a bearer for…a tot? (8) BASSINET – I know that a bassinet is a basket for carrying an infant – you come across it in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest, I think. The wordplay/classification eludes me. Got it just now. The bassinet is to be carried and so the speaker might call a bearer (one who bears, carries) for that. Tot is a drink; you might call a bearer (waiter) for that. Tot also means a child. Whether someone always has a bearer for their child, I don’t know. Maybe in another period, maybe with the very rich nowadays. But a clue with clever wordplay.
15 Confusion for all to see when followers are upset (5) SNAF U < – rev
17 Produce small prunes (5) CROP S – charade
19 Innkeeper’s head office starting out of studio (8) H O (-a)TELIER – charade cum del
22 What you may beat when you are beaten (7) RETREAT – cryptic def
23 Give approval for a copyright petition (7) A C CLAIM – charade
25 Rascal caught with partner taking booty around (9) S (C ALLY) WAG – c/c
26 A token of peace and love – wickedness overthrown! (5) O LIVE< – charade with rev
27 Thrills come greeting in strange relaxations (13) EX(HI)LARATIONS* – c/c with anag
An excellent set of clues. Impeccable wordplay. All clues have good surface reading and the grammar is perfect. There is entertainment value in the clues. Nice variation in rev indications. No ‘hidden’ clue is used. And surprisingly there is no anag clue either except in 27ac where too the anag is part of a c/c.
Choice clues: 11, 22, 26
I reread this story in a book of short stories entitled “Country” (ed. James Gibson, John Murray, 1982). It is one in The Short Story Series.
Mr Crookhill, a farmer on way to the market in a village, comes across another farmer in an impressive dress riding on a good strong horse. He makes friends with him. After proceeding for some more distance, they decide to stay overnight in an inn. Early in the morning Crookhill quietly dresses himself in his recent acquaintance’s dress and departs after getting the latter’s horse saddled for himself.
Thus begins a charade. Is this robber punished? If not, why not? And what happened to the one who was robbed?
The initial para strongly reminded me of an incident in Kalki’s classic “Sivakamiyin Sabadham” which I am rereading now. It is someone on a slow horse admiring another on a strong horse and drawing level with him and making friends with him and staying overnight in an inn. There the resemblance ends.
Note: Ignore the last six paras after “…hindrance than aid.” They are irrelevant.
Note to friends: I am taking a break now. Will try to resume the series later.
A man takes up lodgings in a large room in a huge old building where the upper-floor storeys had been unoccupied for years.
He retires for the night but soon strange things happen as the building is haunted by a ghost. After some sleepless moments the man gets up and lights the gas.
This ghost story has humour like in “The Canterville Ghost”. Here the man even talks with the ghost seated opposite him!
I read the story in a book titled Tales from Beyond the Grave (Gallery Books, 1982) pulled out from my bookshelf.
… and as I turned a dark angle of the stairway and an invisible cobweb swung its slazy woof in my face and clung there, I shuddered as one who had encountered a phantom.
I have read and reread many Saki stories but I must admit I have never read this before. After I went through it, I felt the need to check whether it was indeed written by him and whether there was any mistake on the website where I read it (though it is highly unlikely). For there were no domineering aunts or presumptuous uncles, no mischievous or prodigious children or any similar hallmarks of his writing.
It is a moralistic fable much in the mould of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Happy Prince’ or ‘The Selfish Giant’.
A songbird comes flying to the parapets of an imposing cathedral and tries to find a resting place in one of the crevices there. But other birds already nesting there discourage it and so the newcomer is forced to resort to a niche in a particularly grotesque figure among the carvings there.
(ignore mistake in the title in the link above)
Every day, through the long monotonous hours, the song of his little guest would come up in snatches to the lonely watcher, and at evening, when the vesper-bell was ringing and the great grey bats slid out of their hiding-places in the belfry roof, the brighteyed bird would return, twitter a few sleepy notes, and nestle into the arms that were waiting for him.