NTSPP – 372
Days Out by Soup
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Since making his debut in our Rookie Corner back in May 2014, Soup has come a long way and now edits the 1 Across magazine, having taken over from Tom Johnson in October 2016.
Started by Araucaria in 1984, 1 Across magazine publishes five high-quality cryptic crosswords (including a Prize Puzzle) every month. Four are brand-new challenges (often with themes or conceits) from their bank of setters, and one is an Araucaria, drawn from our extensive archives.
Download a free sample issue from 1across.co.uk – there’s a subscription form on the website. Subscriptions are great as a treat for yourself, or make excellent presents!
Right … a crossword with instructions which relate to the Across clues, so do what I usually do in these cases and start with the Downs. First one was easy and I got a couple more and then I looked and muttered for quite a while. Things improved when I took a break and looked at my emails and found one that said ‘The instructions for the puzzle might have been clearer if they had said two letters have to be added to the wordplay in each clue to get the definition’. So, BD, there are at least two of us who looked at this from a ‘Days In’ rather than a ‘Days Out’ perspective.
I also found that it was impossible to solve this puzzle using my usual trusty piece of paper method and I had solve online, as for some of the solutions I had to use the check button to make sure I was correct. It does help when you realise that the days follow in sequential order. I also have to thank Mr CS for his assistance – he’s mentioned in dispatches below.
Checking to see whether the review this week would be down to me or Prolixic, I found that Soup had had a Guardian Genius puzzle published – I think we’ve discovered a whole new Saturday afternoon puzzle type – the NTSPP Genius – Guardian Genius puzzles usually have instructions that confuse the solver too!
7a Beaten about, I returned under the influence of spirits (8)
DEMONIAC A reversal (about) of a verb meaning beaten (as an old form of punishment in schools) into which is inserted I (from the clue) and the two letters gives you the wordplay and to get the solution you insert the first two letters of a day of the week.
9a Improve the surface of waterproof sheet (4,2)
TART UP Take an abbreviation for a waterproof sheet and insert the first two letters of the next day of the week
10a Record lament (4)
WEEP Here the first two letters of the next day in the week are followed by the abbreviation for an Extended Play record
11a It’s a mother s duty: cut 1/3 off pasta (10)
PARENTHOOD You should have got the hang of this by now. Insert the first two letters of the next day in the week between a verb meaning to cut or shave off the outer surface or edge of something and the first four letters of a six-letter type of pasta (1/3 of the letters having been removed)
12a Supporter’s one purpose (6)
FRIEND Start with the next day’s first two letters, add an I (one) and a synonym for purpose
14a Agent’s despair when drug goes to the head (8)
EMISSARY Move the E in a synonym for despair (drug goes to the head) and insert the first two letters of the next day….
15a Scrap new festival (7)
WHITSUN Here the next day’s first two letters go between a scrap of something and the abbreviation for New
17a Flask I dropped belongs to those people (7)
THERMOS Drop the I from the possessive pronoun meaning belonging to those people, and then insert the two letters from the day of the week
20a Being back in church… (8)
CREATURE Take the abbreviation for the Church of England, insert another word for back and the required two letters from the day of the week.
22a …. Heaven’s broken link (6)
WELKIN Another word for the sky I knew from both Shakespeare and hymns – the two letters plus an anagram (broken) of LINK
23a Left queen bee flying around heads of amorous, excited drones (10)
BEQUEATHED BEE (from the clue) goes round the abbreviation for Queen and is followed by the ‘heads’ of Amorous Excited Drones, not forgetting to insert those pesky two letters
24a In the middle of Portuguese dance (4)
FRUG A dance craze from the mid-1960s which included vigorous dance to pop music. Follow the next two letters with the ‘middle’ of PortUGuese
25a Oddly, sperm set seed? (6)
SESAME The next two ‘day’ letters inserted into the odd letters of SpErM sEt
1d Investigating, scare her off (8)
RESEARCH An anagram (off) of SCARE HER
2d Well done, me! (4)
SOUP An adverb meaning well and another shorter way of saying done
3d Crystal-clear contents of Mendip millpond brought up (6)
LIMPID ‘brought up’ indicating the lurker found in the contents of MenDIP MILlpond is reversed
4d Dreadful din in store might well be seen here? (8)
I hadn’t heard of this town near Wigan so ‘here’ wasn’t particularly helpful as a definition. Thanks to BD for pointing out that the solution is an inkstand. An anagram (dreadful) of DIN goes into a secret hiding place (store). Question is: was the inkstand named after the town near Wigan?
5d Un-cap pen, taking on case for a large company (10)
ORCHESTRAL For a large company of musicians. Remove the ‘cap’ or first letter for a pen for cattle and insert a large strong box (case)
6d Gags on your and my stench (6)
HUMOUR The possessive pronoun meaning belonging to us (your and my) goes on or after a slang term for a strong unpleasant smell
8d Struck toe and heels of hempen shoe found on the floor (6)
CARPET The checking letters made the solution fairly obvious but ‘why?’ When I said ‘hempen shoe’, Mr CS mentioned the name of the French one and then, because he loves a good reference book, he did a little 1d, and found another hempen shoe from which I could ‘strike’ the first letter (toe) and last two (heels) from to get the solution
13d Beyond the city walls, without means of transport, on a mountain (10)
EXTRAMURAL A preposition meaning without, an electrically-powered vehicle running on rails in the road, and a mountain. The BRB confirmed my thought that Soup would have done better to put river rather than mountain.
16d Hooted when pop star raised a little bear (8)
ULULATED A reversal of a female pop star followed by A (from the clue) and an abbreviated (little) toy bear
18d Not having finished, are you shifting segment inside, written about someone’s death (8)
OBITUARY An anagram (shifting) of ARe (not finished) YOU into which is inserted a segment
19d Spooner s nut crumble is glowing (3,3)
RED HOT The dreaded Reverend might have said that his ‘nut’ was to ‘crumble’ or decay
21d Sailor’s jacket (6)
REEFER A sailor who folds sails in a particular way or a type of jacket
22d Duck with on-time substitution apparatus (6)
WIDGET Substitute the ON at the end of a particular type of duck with the abbreviation for Time
24d Look for an answer: if A is C and B is D then ____? (4)
FISH I’m still wondering where E went, but as Mr CS helpfully pointed out (I think he was hoping I’d stop muttering out loud), what I needed was to ignore E and apply the ‘equation’ to the next letter along – F IS H