On Crosaire’s Irish Times Crossword No. 13,901

July 18, 2009

crosaire sat

This is the position after some half-an-hour.

This is my second Crosaire but unlike the other day I have not completed it within allotted time. Some more answers might come after I have laid the crossword aside for some time but I thought I would write this blog in the meanwhile.

I have pleasure in dedicating this post to Bill and the gang at his blog.

As one who has been reading Bill’s blog for the past few days I remembered his recording that the Sat Crosaire has four long peripheral entries with the same string of letters within.

That certainly helped. For Crosaire is a little different from other crossword compilers in that he puts in phrases that are not phrases as we generally understand them and which may not be found in a  dictionary: take THE BOY STOOD ON.  (If you have read the Casabianca poem, you know it. Or else not!  Incidentally, this poem was read to me and my siblings by our Dad when we were children.) So without knowing that useful hint, I might not have got a couple of the long entries today.

As I have said before, Crosaire is an uncoventional setter with a highly personal and individualistic style. You’ve to get used to it before you can complete a crossword of his.



1 MISUNDERSTOOD – Brief and elegant

12 BAIL – usually in crosswords double definition clues are the shortest, probably just two words. Crosaire is expansive even in this clue-type.

17 SAD – this took me a while to get!  The reason is simple, I derive PA, DAD, maybe even OB from Pa. But DA is something new for me. Yet, if I got it, it must be because of reading Bill’s blog. (I suddenly remembered this component from his posts.)

19 YELLOW – simple anagram but the phrase “a shade cowardly” lifts the clue to a higher level.

23 TILLER – I need to check this with Bill’s blog.

25 RANCID – familiar wordplay yet Crosaire gives it the way only he can.

29 OWNS – a deletion clue where the deletion indicator is not too obvious and the surface reading is oh so smooth.

34  OPEN AIR – another anag clue where  the device does not cry out and the surface reading is beautiful.


3 UPON – Wonderful clue.

5 ROUSED – Crosaire has this tendency to use in a crossword something from his previous effort. SKINNY it was the other day. ROUSED it’s today.

14 FANFARE – If this solution was slightly delayed for me, it’s pardonable. With ‘supporter’  I couldn’t get BRA off my mind. (And with ‘something to eat’ I was thinking of  BRAnDISH.)

28 TRYING – Familiar wordplay yet Crosaire gives the clue a new twist by avoiding ‘taxing’ or any other word with the -ing termination.

33 LINO – Excellent clue.

THC (Sun) 2541

July 12, 2009


1 BOTTOM – triple definitions: Weaver (character in Shakespeare’s MND), backside, foot (the lowest point)
5 DOG STAR – Also known as Sirius (which I first came across in Pope’s Rape of the Lock) is the heavenly body, I think. The Lassie part of the clue, I don’t understand.
9 TOTEM – TOTE (carry), M (maiden)
10, 11 HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE – cryptic definition
12 EMAIL – rev. of Liam (Irishman), E (last in office)
15 DEVIL’S BONES – The latter half of this clue I solved just moments before posting this. Dice are made of bones; Devil’s bones because gambling leads to ruin.
20 AWARD – A (a), WARD (rev. of draw)
24 ALIEN – AN (article) going round LIE ( made-up story)
24 NEST-EGG – anag. of SENT, E.G. (say), G (grand)
26 ALECTO – ALEC (boy), TO(-y) (incomplete toy). Alecto is one of the Furies in Greek mythology.


2 OUTJUMPED – OUT (elsewhere), JUMPED (ran)
3 TEMPT PROVIDENCE – TEMPT (draw) PROVIDENCE (US state capital) :: ‘risk failure’ is the def :: Here, as in 8dn, we take B and add it to A to get AB.
4 MOHICAN – anag. of MACHO IN ( ‘comic’ is the anag. signal)
5 DANSEUR – anag. of US André
6 GOLDEN HANDSHAKE – GOLDEN (successful, prosperous as in the “Golden Age of the Guptas”)), HAND (worker), SHAKE (upset)
7 TIBIA – TIB I [rev. of I BIT (chewed up)], A (a)
8 RARELY – R (resistance), A (a), RELY (bank)
9 TOME – to me (how I may want it dedicated)
16 LACKING – deleting S from SLACKING (skiving, evading duty or work) – the def. for word req’d is ‘missing’ – The deletion fodder occurred to me only now after I had given the crossword a rest.
17 BIRETTA – B (black), anag. of ATTIRE (’ghoulish’ is the anag. signal)
18 PARSON – P(page), ARSON (crime)
19 ANON – (-c)ANON – deleting C(cold) from CANON (clergyman)
21 AMISS – A (a), MISS (young woman)

Comments on THC 9579

July 8, 2009


1 Part of the paper carrying adverts from individuals may, however, pall on consumer (8,6) PERSONAL COLUMN*

***Anag. The def is precise, if lengthy. I have no prob. with the anag. Signal ‘however’. The anag. fodder ‘pall on consumer’ is apposite and gels so well in the surface reading.

8 Good man in demand built a cosy home (6)- NE{ST}ED

***C/c. I feel that ‘demand’ somehow doesn’t go well with the surface reading. Perhaps NEED could have been given gratis, when the surface reading would be perfect.

9 Ancient Italian who subdued centaurs (8) ETRUSCAN*

***Anag. Neat. Acceptable AInd. A neat one-word anag fodder.

11 Burmese Inland Revenue, challenged, will pay back costs incurred (9) REIMBURSE*

***Anag. with an abbr. component. Meaningful surface reading. Again, an acceptable AInd. Some solvers might argue that anag signals must indicate some kind of agitation, shake-up, etc, but I am not among them.

12 Manifold evil revealed in a pithy dramatic work (5) HYDRA

***Hidden. Nice def. Some may say that there’s a word hanging in the hidden fodder but where it improves surface reading I don’t mind it at all. However, here ‘drama’ itself might have been enough.

13 Wild horse in frenzied state, a no-good (7) MUSTANG

***Charade. Must, a N G. The comma is there because the verb is omitted. Clue reads like a newspaper headline.
Surface reading is meaningful.

15 Proteins like pepsin, renin etc (7) ENZYMES


17 Send a rogue to the gallows with this kind of downcast look (7) HANGDOG

***Charade. But this is derived from the phrase “Send a rogue to the gallows” as a whole. As ‘hangdog’ is elliptical from the phrase ‘hangdog look’, the clue has “this kind of”.

19 Gas consumed a newborn child (7) NEONATE

***Charade. Grim event but neat wordplay.

21 Wads of currency needed for a posh car (5) ROLLS

***DD. True statement as well.

23 Sailors swindle the German escaper (9) ABSCONDER

***Charade. Neat, with not a word wasted.

25 Former journalist, accepting fee, is praised (8) EXTOLLED

***C/c. Plausible surface reading.

26 Cheap decoration from cans, Spanish article (6) TINSEL

***Charade. Here the last component is not handled well.

27 What a fiancée may get — a “busy” tone on phone? (10,4) – ENGAGEMENT RING

***DD. DDs are usually pithy but I also like this sort of dual statements.


1 The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog (7) PANGRAM

***Clue by example. I would expect the clue to say this is an instance of what it is.

2 Indian sage of Irish extraction (5) RISHI

***Anag. Neat with good AInd.

3 Where to go if too enthusiastic? Into the water! (9) OVERBOARD

***Interpretative. Raises a smile.

4 Precious stone that makes a gossip audibly suspire (4,3) CAT’S EYE

***Homophone. We have to read the whole phrase “that makes a gossip audibly suspire” to get the ans. What a beautiful word in ‘suspire’. Susurrating!

5 Sound happy (5) – LAUGH

***CD. Pithy!

Evergreen material for road-making I begin applying (9) MACADAMIA

***Charade. Neat surface reading.

7 Odd coins, about 50, in recorded history (6) ANNALS

***C/c. Typo here. ‘Odd’ should have been ‘old’. Should the def have been ‘historical records’ to make it clear that the word req’d is plural. For the def now can give just ‘annal’.

10 Daughter with a worn garment, what a transvestite may wear (4) DRAG

***Charade. An unusual meaning of a known word.

14 Solitary person who made just one century (9) SINGLETON

***Charade. But you have to read the whole phrase “person who made just one century” to get it.

16 He studies animals in Kalamazoo logistically (9) ZOOLOGIST

***Hidden. K. is a place in Michigan (a good discovery) but I feel the word containing the latter part of the word req’d does not go well in the surface reading.

17 Hothead, sporting a gun, caused injury (6) HARMED

***Charade. Perfect English.

18 Good boy, I say, gets an amorous look (4,3) GLAD EYE

***Neat charade with a homophone.

19 Frontal feature, very big in one direction (4) NOSE

***C/c. Good def. I do come across such a thing in someone who is a stranger but whom I come across at an event to which I go from time to time.

20 Individual sound filter (7) EARPLUG

*** Straightforward. Why ‘individual’? Because it is singular whereas the device goes always in a pair.

22 Student in comfortable seat can sing to musical syllables (3-2) SOL-FA

***C/c. Invokes a pleasant image.

24 Old statesman with novel ideas (5)

***Anag. Neat surface reading, ‘old’ and ‘novel’ in contrast with each other.

Adversarial effects of sweet

July 7, 2009

Let’s take the FT clue:
A bit of ecumenical intelligence (6) A CUMEN
Here ‘A’ gives A and ‘bit of ecumenical’ gives CUMEN.
No problem about the clue being charade with a hidden element. The hidden fodder is there (ecumenical), the hidden ind is there (bit of), though there is no def for the hidden component (which is the nonsensical letter string cumen).
Let’s take the other FT clue:
Put some tinsel round the cradle and your name in the book? INS(CRIB)E
Here too in ‘some tinsel’ we have hid ind and hid fodder; INSE goes around CRIB (cradle). There is no def for the hid component (which again is the meaningless letter string INSE) as we generally have in a clue of this type.
Now turning to
Sweet party in call centre DO LCE
I don’t find anything amiss in def and wordplay order.
We have def and then wordplay with a word (DO from party) and then a hidden component.
But there is no ind for the hidden aspect.
I do realise that ‘in’ is not a c/c ind; it may be taken as a connector or a position ind.
Now after DO what do we add in the charade? I feel that with “in call centre” we cannot be expected to pick up LCE, a part of ‘call centre’.
Suppose we rewrite it as
Sweet party for some in the call centre
Sweet party for a section of call centre
Sweet party tucked away in the call centre
In all the three examples it is clear that after DO we have to add some letters picked from ‘call centre’.
‘some in’ or ‘a section of’ or ‘tucked away’ suggests that you have to take part of the following words.
I do not buy the argument that ‘in’ itself suggests that some letters have to be taken from ‘call centre’.
In a regular hidden clue such as
Language of North India (5) HINDI
such an indication may not be necessary though even here purists might argue that the hid ind is weak.
My considered opinion is that the particular clue in the Neyartha crossword somehow fails to achieve the effect that the clue-writer attempted.