Xtra 902 – Freedom Pass – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Xtra 902 – Freedom Pass

Freedom Pass by Enigmatist

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Xtra 902 – Freedom Pass

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle will be distributed at the Sloggers & Betters meeting in Sheffield today.

This is a superb puzzle from Enigmatist/Elgar which really required a thinking-cap. As explained in the instructions 10 of the clues (which I’ve highlighted in blue) need a word chopped off the full answer before it’s written in the grid (inside the brackets for these clues are the full answer with, after the slash, what actually has to be written in). Although ten words have to be cut out there are only five different ones (with each of the five featuring in two clues). There is a theme to the missing bits which is explained at the bottom.


Across Clues

1a  Number 12 in force advanced by Yard (5)
{FIFTY} – ’12 in(ches)’ is of course one foot. The abbreviation for that is preceded (advanced) by F(orce) and followed by Y(ard).

5a  21  Club (5)
{BLACKJACK/BLACK} – double definition, the first a card game also called vingt-et-un.

9a  Song rendered in turn by one (4)
{ARIA} – this an all-in-one clue for a song performed by a solo artist. Reverse (rendered in turn) another word for a song after a synonym for one.

11a  Honours only even? That’s dreary for the Scots (5)
{OORIE} – the even letters of hOnOuRs followed by the abbreviation for ‘that is’.

12a  It’s growing trouble at the OK Corral, did Spooner say? (3)
{FUNGUS/FUN} – Spooner might have called this bit of trouble gun fuss.

13a  I have a November feast: spread that’s rare sandwiches also (4)
{ST ANDREW/DREW} – a verb meaning to spread or scatter contains (sandwiches) a conjunction meaning also. I presume “that’s rare” is a hint that the verb to spread is not used much.

14a  Visibly lecherous on Emerald Isle breaks (4)
{LEERING/RING} – another word for the on side in cricket with an old name for Ireland splitting it.

16a  Where you’d find Burton barring Eliot (5)
{NOTTS} – I wrote this answer in from the wordplay, just assuming that Burton-upon-Trent was in this county. Now, writing the review I find that it’s actually in Staffordshire, so I don’t know if this is a mistake – there is a village called Burton Joyce in this county but that doesn’t seem terribly satisfactory. We want a word meaning barring or except for, then the initials of the poet, Mr Eliot.

18a  Solitary cavalier? (5)
{ROYALIST/A LIST} – another all-in-clue with the answer being a single cavalier. It’s an anagram (cavalier) of SOLITARY.

21a  Joiner greeting topless bird seen devouring fish round back (5)
{ENROLLEE/ENROL} – a greeting without its initial H (topless) with a fish-eating seabird around it, with everything then being reversed. Did you, like me, spend some time thinking that ‘en was the topless bird?

23a  Protection in the garden over half of God’s week’s work! (5)
{OCREA} – this is a botanical term for a sheath-like bit of a plant. Start with the cricket abbreviation for over, then add the first half of what God is supposed to have sorted out in seven days.

27a  Very brief love admitted by cold governor (4)
{VICEROY/VICE} – V(ery) followed by the Greek god of love (and by derivation love itself) without his final S (brief) inside an adjective meaning cold.

28a  Expanding used to be Yankee’s characteristic behaviour (4)
{WAYS} – the letter for which Yankee is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet with a verb meaning ‘used to be’ expanded around it.

30a  Nuts joining athletic club diving into a little pool (3)
{JACKPOT/POT} – the abbreviation for athletic club and a well-known brand of nuts go inside (diving into) a word for a small amount.

31a  Representation for one friend, turning back (5)
{IMAGE} – the abbreviation of ‘for one’ or for example is followed by a friend across the Channel then the lot is reversed.

32a  What provides help for you, psychologically? The old drinking bout (4)
{UPSY} – this is an old word for a carousal or drinking bout. It’s hidden (… provides help for …) in the clue.

33a  To Romeo, Juliet gets nothing right (5)
{LOVER} – the word for nothing in tennis followed by R(ight).

34a  Holiday  departure (5)
{LEAVE} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Fumbling fingers are finally failing to open (4)
{FAFF} – somewhat to my surprise this word can be a noun as well as a verb. It’s the opening characters of four words in the clue.

2d  Detailed penalties imposed by judges of language (6)
{FINNIC} – start with two penalties that judges can impose (the second a slang term) then remove the final letter of each (detailed).

3d  A bit of rest advised (3)
{TAD} – hidden (of) in the clue.

4d  Discovered guy in attempt to put up tent (4)
{YURT} – (g)U(y) (discovered, i.e. without his covering letters) goes inside the reversal of an attempt.

5d  Ruddy-faced woman missing start of long haul (5)
{BOWSE} – a word for a ruddy, fat-faced young woman without the first letter of L(ong).

6d  Learning name (Sofia Scicolone, initially) (5)
{LOREN} – a word for traditional, passed down learning followed by N(ame).

7d  After explosion, coal-miner’s severed arm requiring disinfectant (6)
{CINEOL} – the letters of arm are removed (severed) from CO(a)L(m)INE(r) and an anagram (after explosion) made of what’s left. There ought really to be some indication that the letters being removed are not in order.

8d  Means to keep beer base, in thousands of grams (4)
{KEGS} – the letter standing for the base of the natural system of logarithms goes inside the abbreviation for thousands of grams, with the whole clue possibly being a justified criticism of the type of beer kept in these containers.

10d  News withheld from hired killers, sent some mail (3)
{GUSSET/SET} – start with GUNS (hired killers) SENT then take out both the N(ew)s.

15d  United, beginning to languish, fail to perform somersaults in September (6)
{ULTIMO} – this one is a bit naughty. It works in October when we first saw this puzzle, but not now that we’re in November. Start with U(nited) and the start of L(anguish) then reverse (somersaults) a verb meaning fail to perform.

17d  Program within program, uncovering concert spirit (6)
{GRAPPA} – the application used these days for a program on a mobile device goes inside the word program after the abbreviation for a promenade concert has been removed (uncovering).

19d  Timeless spirit uplifted leader of enduring attack (5)
{SIEGE} – reverse (uplifted) a word, from German, for spirit without its final T (timeless) and add the leading letter of E(nduring).

20d  Tugboat‘s  highpoint? (5)
{TOWER} – double definition, the first cryptic.

22d  Top chap for it! (4)
{EVIL} – this is a sort of circular clue which you only really understand when you have the answer. The top chap for bad things is, of course, Old Nick. Take off his top (first letter) to leave what he does. My first thought here was stud!

24d  One providing wind-up makes Brown BROWN? (3)
{CAPSTAN/CAP} – this is an old device for winding up ropes or cables on a ship. Cryptically it uses a keyboard key to put a word meaning brown into upper-case.

25d  Monarch, perhaps, advanced across railway line (4)
{RYAL} – this is an old word for a blue-blooded person. A(dvanced) goes between the abbreviations for railway and line.

26d  Nasty eye infection? (4)
{STYE} – hidden (infection) in the clue.

29d  Petition for children one’s initially disowned (3)
{SUE} – start with a legal term for children and take away the I (one) and the ‘S.

You may have noticed that the five different words that you’ve had to remove from the answers are all male names. If you look at the answers to 1a, 28a, 34a and 33a I’m sure that you’ll see the theme and it will all make sense. If it doesn’t, have a listen to the song below.

Thanks to Enigmatist for a real treat.

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8 comments on “Xtra 902 – Freedom Pass

  1. Thanks to the birthday boy for the brainstretching puzzle. I eventually understood all the wordplay (I think) and the special instructions but I’m sure I’m missing some of the theme. My favourite clues were 30a and 2d.

  2. Young Tilsit keeps trying to make me solve barred puzzles. Like Gazza, my brain was well and truly stretched and I do think I understood most of it but.. thanks to Elgar for the challenge.

      1. Had he got a wicked glint in his eye when he said it? :)

        Clever Gazza has worke dout what it’s all about since we both posted our comments above.

        1. Gazza is cleverer than I. Didn’t see the glint , Gnomey Liz Bufo and I solved a few over lunch at table , not helped by the fact the few we solved were the same:)
          I’m not giving in though, kept a copy…….

  3. This one totally defeated me. I have spent ages trying to make sense of it, reading and re-reading the instructions too, without any success at all. Eventually abandoned it with just a few answers tentatively penciled in. Looking forward to the review.

  4. I’m with KiwiColin. Thanks for the review (and the puzzle!) but I’m still struggling to make sense of it, even with the explanation . . .

  5. Slowest solver ever award, taken me a week of glimpses and headaches, cap doffed to those who solved on the day. Only now I understand 22d. . Cheers all

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