NTSPP – 031 (Review)
A Puzzle By Tilsit & Prolixic
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Thanks to the devious duo of Tilsit and Prolixic for some excellent entertainment over the weekend. I thought that this puzzle was middle-Toughie standard in terms of difficulty and it had a number of very fine clues and one outstanding one (1a).
There are a few clues where I’m not 100% sure of the explanation so any corrections or additions would be welcome.
1a “I’m new dance bod!” revealed this lady? (3,10)
ANN WIDDECOMBE – a stunning all-in-one clue to start. The lady in question, having shed her Doris Karloff image, is apparently going to take part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (a programme, I’m happy to say, that I’ve never watched!). Her name is an anagram (revealed) of I’M NEW DANCE BOD.
10a Flight direction followed by Frenchman of note (3,6)
AIR TRAVEL – the definition is flight. It’s a charade of AIRT (a Scottish word, new to me, meaning direction) and the surname of a French composer most famous for Boléro (a work which he, apparently, considered trivial).
11a Small state chasing support (5)
TEENY – the standard abbreviation for New York state goes after the support for a golf ball.
12a Attire perhaps once chosen by Blue record carrier (5)
EPHOD – luckily the wordplay here is simple, because I’m not completely sure of the definition. Put together an old record format and the sort of carrier seen on building sites to form an elaborate and ceremonial garment worn by Jewish priests of old. I presume that Blue is a reference to the well-known rabbi, Lionel Blue (famous for his “Hello John, hello Sue” comedy routine on the Today programme), and the clue may be saying that had he lived some time ago he might have chosen to wear an ephod.
13a Condition that Pepys said was lunatic (9)
DYSPEPSIA – an anagram (lunatic) of PEPYS SAID. I wonder whether there’s more to the clue than I’ve seen (otherwise lunatic seems an odd anagram indicator), but although I’ve recently read Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of Pepys, I’m not aware of his having written or said anything significant about dyspepsia or indigestion or even the moon.
14a Where monks may be perfect (2,5)
IN ORDER – double definition.
16a Kosher butcher attempted to embrace revolutionary (7)
SHOCHET – a shochet is someone qualified to slaughter animals according to Jewish ritual. It’s SHOT (attempted, had a go) around the usual South American revolutionary.
18a Former cleaner used pot when back in country (7)
VIETNAM – VIM was/is scouring powder sold as a cleaner. Although you don’t see it around much these days, it is still being marketed so I’m not sure about the “former” bit. Put ANTE (the pot in some card games) reversed (back) inside it.
20a Hatchet man saw off England’s No 1, he wrote (7)
FORSTER – hatchet man is an amusing description of a forester. Remove the first (no. 1) E(ngland) to leave the surname of the author of “A Room with a View” and “A Passage to India”.
21a Subject, one entwined in battle for surrender (9)
RECREANCY – the definition is surrender. Start with RE (which identifies the subject in a formal letter, e.g. “Re your overdraft”) and follow with CRÉCY (site of a victory by the English in Northern France in the fourteenth century – normally transliterated to Cressy in English) which has AN (one) inside it.
23a In recession, disappointing time for school (5)
TROOP – combine POOR (disappointing) and T(ime) and then reverse it (in recession) to get a collective noun for various animals, including monkeys. School (as another collective noun) is the definition.
24a Bilingual agreement to reach other side. (5)
OUIJA – the words for yes in French and German are put together to form a board used by self-styled spiritualists to contact the dead.
25a Such conflicts are a contradiction in terms! (5,4)
CIVIL WARS – cryptic definition.
26a A joint effort to put wild boar in gathering (13)
COLLABORATION – an anagram (wild) of BOAR goes inside a COLLATION (gathering).
2d Santa’s domain? (5,4)
NORTH POLE – ho-ho.
3d Old internet connection jams group of Communists (5)
WIRED – the definition is old internet connection, but I’m a bit confused by the “old” and can only assume that it means relatively mature (compared to wireless). The WI is defined by jams group (brilliant!) and “of Communists” is RED.
4d Someone who classifies explorer embracing self (7)
DIVIDER – a divider is someone who sorts (classifies) things, dividing the sheep from the goats, say. Put an undersea explorer (DIVER) round ID (the self, in psychoanalysis).
5d Recruits new sentinels after losing way. (7)
ENLISTS – first remove NE (direction, way) from SENTI(ne)LS, then make an anagram (new) of what’s left.
6d Regular time for free drinks with rector (not in London) (2,3,4)
ON THE HOUR – the definition is regular time. Start with ON THE HOUSE (free drinks), remove SE (not in London area) and add R(ector).
7d Start of baptism under cross (5)
BLESS – B(aptism) + LESS (under). Cross here is a verb, i.e. make the sign of the cross.
9d Only this part captures start of Cheney’s amazing monster role (13)
LYCANTHROPIST – this is an anagram (amazing) of ONLY THIS PART which has the first letter (start) of C(heney) inserted. It’s an all-in-one clue because in 1941 Lon Chaney played a werewolf (lycanthropist) in the film Wolf Man, a role which typecast him in monster roles for the rest of his career. I’m not that keen on the anagram indicator being so far from the fodder.
15d Venue for marriage of Charles and Jerry? (5,4)
DANCE HALL – this entertainment venue combines the surnames of Charles DANCE and Jerry HALL.
17d Problem to stew over, a leaderless alliance? (3,6)
HOT POTATO – the definition is problem. Put HOTPOT (a type of stew which is much enjoyed in Lancashire) in front of (n)ATO (leaderless alliance).
19d Transport for computer consultants (7)
MINICAB – this form of transport is a charade of MINI (an old type of computer) and CAB (Citizens’ Advice Bureau, consultants).
20d Bridge partner obstructs end of play after opening finesse (7)
FLYOVER – the definition is bridge. LOVER (partner) contains (obstructs) (pla)Y and this all goes after F(inesse).
22d One in transport round capital (5)
CAIRO – I (one) goes inside CAR (transport) and this is followed by O (round).
23d Being available, I leave John (2,3)
TO LET – john is a TOILET – take out the I (I leave).
The clue which I liked best were 18a, 3d, 6d, 9d and 17d, but my favourite was 1a.