This was medium difficulty for me, about 10 minutes, although I cannot be exact as I have just been all over the place the past couple of weeks with too much going on and not being able to find any time to sit down with a few minutes to myself. I haven’t even been able to do that many QCs and this is the first one I have looked at for days.
I don’t know about you, but for me the 15 x 15 is my therapy. It is my daily reassurance that all is right with the world. I can have any number of pressure situations going on, but if I can get some time to work happily through the 15 x 15 then somehow all the wrinkles of the universe are ironed out and serenity comes over me in the same way that it apparently does for people who contort themselves into painfully impossible shapes with yoga, or who grind themselves into the dust with gruelling road runs, or who fill the holes in their heads with multicoloured mantra stuffing. I know that if I can take on the 15 x 15 and finish it then nobody is going to be able to get to me for the rest of the day.
Well two weeks ago my serene solving bubble was punctured. On one or two days it took me a lot longer to finish than normal and overall I was struggling. It felt like I had lost the ‘knack’. Got the yips as the sportspeople like to say. I thought about giving up these silly games. What was the point?
But the phase passed, and last week normal service was resumed. I came to look upon the previous week’s endeavours as a learning experience. It hadn’t killed me; it had made me stronger. But it had definitely thrown my rhythm out and made me dispense with the QCs for the time being.
Anyway, tackling this entertaining offering from Teazel has, I feel, got me back on track. Rebooted my software so to speak. Rehabilitated me.
Not too difficult with some straightforward double definitions and anagrams forming the main structure. FOI was the obvious 9A, and LOI was 8A as I had not met the concept in that form before (see blog comment below). COD is difficult to choose as I felt some of the surfaces were a little strained but probably 5A is the most economical and pleasing. Many thanks to Teazel.
Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as plainly as I can manage.
|1||More short argument the following day (6)|
|MORROW – MOR (MORe ‘short’) + ROW (argument.|
|5||Tax cut (6)|
|EXCISE – double definition.|
|8||Single interval in plays to demonstrate skill (4,4,5)|
|SHOW ONES PACES – ONE SPACE (single interval) inside SHOWS (plays). I don’t think I had met the exact phrase before but I had obviously heard of ‘putting someone through their paces’, and the cryptic leaves little room for doubt.|
|9||Out of custody without charge (4)|
|FREE – another double definition.|
|10||Replaced a grim, long-established flower (8)|
|MARIGOLD – anagram of A GRIM (‘replaced’) + OLD (long-established).|
|11||Scarf, new, taken by thief (6)|
|STOLEN – STOLE (scarf) + N (new).|
|13||Falsely said marine put down weapons (6)|
|DISARM – anagram of SAID (‘falsely’) + RM (Royal Marine)|
|15||Comfortable seat for such a critic? (8)|
|ARMCHAIR – another double definition.|
|17||You will scream (4)|
|YELL – YOU WILL contracts to YOU’LL. If you use the dialect form of YOU as in YE (although this is not indicated in the cryptic it is pretty standard to substitute YE for YOU in Crossword Land) then you get YE’LL.|
|19||Top technician reviewed cigarette substitute (8,5)|
|NICOTINE PATCH – straightforward anagram of TOP TECHNICIAN (‘reviewed’).|
|21||Guard southern way in (6)|
|SENTRY – S (southern) + ENTRY (way in).|
|22||Improvise to attend party (4,2)|
|MAKE DO – to improvise is to MAKE DO, and cryptically if you manage to get to a party you can be said to ‘MAKE’ the “DO’.|
|2||Different parent, not married (5)|
|OTHER – parent = MOTHER. Remove the M (‘not married’) and there you have it.|
|3||Poor bargain for untreated wood? (3,4)|
|RAW DEAL – RAW = untreated, DEAL is a type of wood.|
|4||Now from the bottom, finished first? (3)|
|WON – reverse NOW (‘from the bottom’ in this down clue) and you have WON!|
|5||Duck taking in a second year film (4,5)|
|EASY RIDER – EIDER (duck) ‘taking in’ A S YR (a second year) gives us this classic road movie.|
|6||Good to support family, sound as a bell (5)|
|CLANG – CLAN (family) ‘supported by’ G (good) making a sound as a bell [does].|
|7||Witch, perhaps, one dictating letters? (7)|
|SPELLER – a witch casts spells, so could cryptically be seen as a ‘SPELLER’, with the straight definition being someone who spells out the letters of a word when dictating.|
|10||Lying to get candy item changed (9)|
|MENDACITY – another straight anagram, CANDY ITEM ‘changed’.|
|12||So-called ant: call it eastern (7)|
|TERMITE – TERM (call) + IT + E (eastern) gives TERMITE, a ‘so-called’ ant. Termites are not ants, and evolutionarily are not even very closely related, although they do behave similarly and live in colonies and so on. Thus they could get called ants by people who can’t tell the difference.|
|14||Singer’s TV fun (7)|
|SKYLARK – SKY (a digital TV provider) + LARK (fun).|
|16||Add to committee foolish person who welcomes power (2-3)|
|CO-OPT – COOT (could be a foolish person as well as a type of bird) ‘welcoming’ P (power).|
|18||Regularly flout detectives, that’s clear (5)|
|LUCID – fLoUt ‘regularly’ gives LU. Add on CID (detectives) and the case is solved.|
|20||Wood used in pelmet (3)|
|ELM – hidden word: pELMet.|