Jumbo 745 (Sat 8 Mar) – Laughing Kavalier

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
Solving time: 18:52

Not a fast time but I’m reasonably pleased with it as I thought this was quite hard. There are some difficult words and cultural references, most of which I didn’t know, but other than 13ac I was fairly confident of all my entries.

Some of this puzzle’s difficulty came in numerous clues where several words had to be read together to give just a small amount of wordplay, or the definition, but where splitting these words looked a likely bet. Examples: 5ac (‘officers aboard ship’ for WARDROOM), 25ac (‘night that’s unconventional’ for NITE), 36ac (‘people with biased story’ for SPINNERS), 6dn (‘deceptive manoeuvre with ball’ for REVERSE PASS), 34dn (‘type who is amorous’ for ROMANTIC). This is all perfectly fair but does make breaking down clues harder. It’s quite a distictive style and I think I could probably pick this setter next time (s)he comes round, though I’ve no idea who he is.

Music of the day (37dn): I don’t think there’s an etymological connection but PERESTROIKA reminded me of Prokofiev’s Troika.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

9 SA(A LA)M – Sam Weller was one of Dickens’ first characters, in The Pickwick Papers.
13 DER ROSENKAVALIER (anag.) – one of those clues where a bit of general knowledge can make a big difference to the overall time. This was a clear anagram but I needed all the crossing letters, and a bit of German knowledge, to piece together the answer, an opera by Strauss.
21 AIR TERMINAL; rev. of ME in (REAL TRAIN)* – ‘fantastic place to start journey’ is an amusing sentiment given the current chaos at Terminal 5.
25 A NI(SET)TE – hard, and my penultimate entry; ‘night that’s unconventional’ for NITE is pretty sneaky.
26 S(O)AP – my last entry, and a good clue.
41 A + EROS + PACE
44 COLD-HEARTED – refers to the letter ‘C’ in the middle of the two names, but the clue is naughtily constructed to make it look like an anagram of ‘and Lucia are’.
49 TEE + S
50 D + RUMB(E)A + T
56 A + U + TOPSY – Topsy was a slave girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

4 TREE WORSHIP – should have spotted the pun on ‘elders’ much earlier.
5 WAKE (double definition) – clever; not ‘come’ and ‘to watch’, but ‘come to’ and ‘watch’.
6 REVERSE + PASS – another one I should have got sooner, but the wordy (though perfectly fair) definition put me off.
7 ROLE-PLAYING; (LORE)* – wordplay in the answer.
12 MA(RITA)L[e] – but this is from the same root as ‘marriage’, so I didn’t think much of this clue.
28 FA[g]IN – luckily ‘Fagin’ was the first 5-letter villain I thought of, because I could easily have struggled on this; don’t think I’d have got it from the definition (‘willingly behind the times’).
32 A + F + FI[n]ANCE – ‘finance’ to ‘fiancĂ©’ is such a crossword clichĂ© that I got this straight away.
34 A + ROMA[n]TIC
37 PERESTROIKA; (RISK OPERATE)* – fortunately I knew this word and solved this quickly, otherwise (like 13ac) it would have slowed me significantly. It’s a Russian word meaning ‘reconstruction or restructuring, specif. the restructuring of political and economic systems carried out in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s’ (Chambers).
40 DITHYRAMB; (MY BIRTH AD)* – another obvious anagram but again I needed all the crossing letters and still considered ‘dirhytamb’.
32 S + TOR + M(B)ELT – I think ‘storm belt’ is just a generic term of which the Roaring Forties is an example; if that’s the case this really needs a question mark or other indicator that this is ‘definition by example’.
43 SHRILLER; from THRILLER – I’m not keen on clues where you’re told to change a letter but not what to change it to.
44 CREWMAN; “CREWE MAN” – hopefully today’s Boat Race crews can avoid sinking in the expected gale. Best of luck to the Light Blues.

One comment on “Jumbo 745 (Sat 8 Mar) – Laughing Kavalier”

  1. Thanks to talbinho for writing this report at short notice after I’d botched the scheduling arrangements. Just chipping in on Rosenkavalier: it’s one of the last gasps of pre-World War I European culture. It seems like a step backwards by the composer of Salome and Elektra but is a piece I’ve yet to tire of. Searching YouTube will find you dozens of clips, including a fairly unsubtle depiction of what the overture is all about. But listen to the opera, not the Suites, which are a bit cobbled together.

    Sorry about the Light Blues …

    Edited at 2008-03-29 07:23 pm (UTC)

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