A quick word today on definitions. The key to finding the solution to a cryptic clue is identifying the definition, but that’s not always easy for the inexperienced solver. The secret is to not be seduced by the smoothly deceptive surface, and to just follow the basics.
Take today’s puzzle for example. Of the 24 clues on offer, 23 of them have a one or two word definition. And in all 23 cases, that definition is either at the very start or very end of the clue. Everything else is wordplay. So there’s the key, hidden in plain view! Simple, right? Yeah, nah.
Another interesting feature today was the scarcity of anagrams. Just one, and even that was only partial, accounting for less than half the answer to 17ac.
Anyway, enough waffling, let’s just thank the setter and get on with it. Thanks Pedro.
Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay. (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’.
|1||Manage the fifth policeman? (4)|
COPE – Well, the fifth policeman could be referred to as COP “E”. I guess.
Would the 25th policeman be a fake? Discuss.
|3||Inadequate way name gets recalled (8)|
|PATHETIC – PATH (way) + ETIC [cite (name) “recalled”]|
|8||Kitchen item? Love tucking into sample (7)|
|TOASTER – O (love) in TASTER (sample)|
|10||Superhero sidekick runs over by trash can (5)|
|ROBIN – R (runs) + O (over) + BIN (trash can)|
|11||Think to study model (11)|
CONTEMPLATE – CON (study) + TEMPLATE (model)
‘Con’ meaning ‘study’ is an archaic definition, but in Crosswordland it has been preserved in amber.
|13||Second pouch containing one artwork (6)|
MOSAIC – MO (second) + SAC (pouch) “containing” I (one)
I think MO was on my list of crossword standards that appeared in the last Quicky I blogged.
|15||I seek advice, ditching company for rude behaviour (6)|
|INSULT – I + NSULT [CONSULT (seek advice), “ditching” CO (company)]|
|17||Ill-advised union is blocking shops — a nice upset (11)|
|MISALLIANCE – IS “blocking” MALL (shops) + (A NICE)*|
|20||Weapon cops initially found in road (5)|
|LANCE – C (cops initially) found in LANE (road)|
|21||Stage? Run out and play guitar (7)|
|ROSTRUM – RO (run out, in cricket) + STRUM (play guitar)|
|22||Gives notice of speed in flight area (8)|
|AIRSPACE – AIRS (gives notice of) + PACE (speed)|
|23||Try to show endless concern (4)|
HEAR – HEAR
Wasn’t sure about ‘heart’ for ‘concern’. I guess it’s in the sense of “have some heart for whoever’s playing the All Blacks this weekend”.
|1||Pet getting a groom in caves (8)|
CATACOMB – CAT (pet) + A + COMB (groom)
I once confessed in one of these blogs to hating cats. Won’t make that mistake again.
|2||Man on board catching river shellfish (5)|
PRAWN – PAWN (man on board) “catching” R (river)
The board in question being a chess board, obviously.
|4||Sudden pressure in routine, following sailor (6)|
ABRUPT – P (pressure) in RUT (routine), following AB (sailor)
AB is an abbreviation for Able Seaman, and definitely one for the list of standards. ‘Sailor’ can also commonly clue tar, jack and salt.
|5||How tough could a manicure be? (4,2,5)|
|HARD AS NAILS – Cryptic def|
|6||Picture Bill going over the water to France (7)|
TABLEAU – TAB (bill) + L’EAU (French for “the water”)
Not sure what “going over” is doing here. It’s either an error or I’ve mis-parsed the clue. No doubt there will be enlightenment (or outrage) in the comments. On edit: Of course, this is a down clue, so “going over” just means “on top of”. Thanks Horryd, Adrian and Kevin for pointing out the obvious. Well, obvious to everyone except me apparently. I was looking for some sort of reversal. D’oh.
|7||Individual in pursuit of cold ice-cream (4)|
|CONE – C (cold) + ONE (individual)|
|9||Detective fiction providing extended relaxation? (3,3,5)|
THE BIG SLEEP – slightly cryptic secondary definition
A novel by Raymond Chandler.
|12||Ship carrying right pennant (8)|
|STREAMER – STEAMER (ship) “carrying” R (right)|
|14||Discussion group in Iran I messed up, partially (7)|
|SEMINAR – Reverse hidden (“up, partially”) in (iRAN I MESsed)|
|16||Minister, say, curtailed action by computer user without hesitation (6)|
|CLERIC – CLIC [CLICK (action by computer user), “curtailed”] “without” ER (hesitation)|
|18||Courage still kept up to protect Queen (5)|
|NERVE – NEVE [EVEN (still) “kept up”] “protecting” R (Queen)|
|19||Request power, having cut electrical conductor (4)|
|PLEA – P (power) + LEA [LEAD (electrical conductor), “cut”]|