+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ***
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Fat Tuesday edition of the back-page blog, coming to you this week from across the pond. There’s not much in the way of food and drink in this puzzle, so if you’re seeking sustenance I suggest heading over to the Toughie blog later because, as this picture shows , kitties do love their pancakes. I found this crossword a rather delicious mixture of clue varieties, with some easy starters preparing the way for several meatier clues to follow. I’m not going to speculate about the setter, but perhaps they’ll follow the fine example set recently by Mister Ron and post later so that we can thank them directly? (hint, hint).
In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought.
6a Picture of dream life in retirement (4)
FILM: Hidden in (of) the reversal (in retirement) of the remaining words in the clue.
9a Intermediary in affair (7)
LIAISON: A straightforward double definition.
10a Local girl offering endless foolish help (7)
BARMAID: Link together a synonym of foolish, minus its last letter (endless), and a three-letter word for help.
12a Arrangement subject to rank (13)
UNDERSTANDING: A charade of synonyms of “subject to” (a queen, for example) and of rank or reputation.
14a Male attending racecourse, one bringing good fortune (6)
MASCOT: A charade of M(ale) and a well-known horse-racing course.
15a Exchanges views about island’s trees (8)
CONIFERS: A synonym of “exchanges views” contains the single-letter abbreviation for island.
17a Attacking tactic in round, getting on, close to hole (5,3)
ROUTE ONE: A charade of a round (of a postman, for example), ON from the clue, and the final letter (close to) of holE. The answer is a simple style of football often derided as being boring or desperate.
19a A gun I pulled out facing a reptile (6)
IGUANA: An anagram (pulled out) of A GUN I followed by the A from the clue.
22a Novel and daring symphony? (5,3,5)
BRAVE NEW WORLD: Follow a synonym of daring with the popular name of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 to get a well-known futuristic novel written by Aldous Huxley.
24a Terse editor filled in (7)
BRIEFED: Link together an adjective meaning terse and the usual two-letter abbreviation for editor.
25a Phone about vase during the day (7)
DIURNAL: A dated verb synonym of phone contains (about) a type of vase popular with crossword setters.
26a Woman in poem, ‘Maud’ (4)
EMMA: This lady is hidden inside (in) the clue.
27a Soldiers, rangers, die on manoeuvres (10)
GRENADIERS: An anagram (on manoeuvres) of RANGERS DIE.
1d Function of register to be announced (4)
ROLE: A type of register or list spoken aloud (to be announced) sounds like a word meaning the function of an object or person. One XXXX of Ms Riley is to do maths on the television.
2d Trifling sum or what could make up a packet? (7)
PEANUTS: At one time you got a packet of these when flying.
3d Overcome with worry concerning the others? (6,7)
BESIDE ONESELF: Taken literally, the answer could refer to everybody else.
4d Take no notice of bombed region (6)
IGNORE: An anagram (bombed) of REGION.
5d I’m in boat at sea achieving goal (8)
AMBITION: An anagram (at sea) of I’M IN BOAT.
7d Conceive of silver being discovered in one excavation (7)
IMAGINE: The chemical symbol for silver is inserted into (being discovered in) the Roman numeral for one and a type of excavation.
8d Crazy story going round about king in large island (10)
MADAGASCAR: Concatenate a three-letter synonym of crazy, the reversal (going round) of an epic story, a standard abbreviation for about, and the single letter abbreviation for king. This large island is famous for its population of fantastic creatures, such as this gecko.
11d Show up and spin band’s disc (3,5,5)
RUN RINGS ROUND: A charade of a spin (perhaps in a car), a circular band, the ‘S from the clue, and a synonym of disc.
13d Unlikely I’m in favour of very small person, about fifty (10)
IMPROBABLE: Concatenate the I’M from the clue, a short word for “in favour of”, and a very small brand-new person containing (about) the Roman numeral for fifty. You might have thought that KitKat sushi is unlikely, but it really is a thing in Japan. It’s sweet and it contains no seafood. Well, except for the seaweed. That’s real.
16d Cause General to board small boat heading off (8)
ENGENDER: A small boat minus its first letter (heading off) contains the three-letter abbreviation for General.
18d Greek character in a game, rising element (7)
URANIUM: Chain together the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet, IN and A from the clue, and the two-letter abbreviation for the national game of New Zealand. Then reverse the lot (rising, in a down clue).
20d Play moderately slowly with stake money (7)
ANDANTE: A charade of a conjunction meaning “with” and the bet placed in a game of poker before the cards are dealt.
21d Country we study after onset of storms (6)
SWEDEN: Follow the first letter (onset) of Storms with the WE from the clue and a study or room at home used as an office.
23d A short final, unfortunately (4)
ALAS: The A from the clue followed by an adjective synonym of final minus its last letter (short).
Thanks to today’s mystery setter for an enjoyable solve. I put ticks beside 17a, 22a, 2d, 3d, 8d, 13d, 18d, and 21d. Of those, my pick for favourite is 13d, with 8d in second place. Which clues did you like best?
The Quick Crossword pun: DOUGH+SEDGE=DOSAGE
There’s a second pun on the bottom row (thanks, DT, for pointing that out): SCREW+TINNY=SCRUTINY