Some tough clues for the QC today, with lots of possibly challenging parsing required. 5ac may have stumped a few; 21ac sets the imagination running; and 6d (my COD, clue of the day) required more than some thought. Food of various sorts makes several appearances, as do school French and a relatively obscure Latin word. Just three anagrams, continuing a trend noted last Friday.
Thanks to Des for making us think!
1 Nice, open arrangement for seed-producer (4,4)
PINE CONE – An anagram (arrangement) of ‘Nice, open’. Took me years to realize where the seeds are in a pine cone.
5 That is, I hesitate to say, dross (4)
SCUM – SC (that is) UM…(I hesitate to say) = scum (dross). It may be new to some solvers, but ‘that is’, usually written as i.e. for the Latin id est, can also be given by sc. = scilicet, Latin for ‘namely’ = ‘that is’.
9 Show vicar up — embarrassing initially (5)
REVUE – vicar = REV, up – embarrassing initially = UE. A revue is a funny sketch show, topical and musical, (which may well ‘show up’ vicars or indeed anybody else). There is a continuing discussion on this forum about whether vicars are reverends.
10 Celebrate noisily one being included in catalogue (7)
ROISTER – I included in ROSTER = catalogue. A marvellously old-fashioned word.
11 Some criminal — add in scavengers — finding place with valuables (8,4)
ALADDIN’S CAVE – the phrase is included in the clue, and was not that easy to spot. Was Aladdin a criminal? – you decide.
13 Sources of wood and metal on the coast? (6)
ASHORE – ASH ORE. I have some doubts about this clue. ASH is a wood, not a source of it. ASHORE can easily mean ‘on land’ (think a boat on a river, not near the coast), but the question mark at the end of the clue allows the answer.
15 Cream the French used as accompaniment to cheese? (6)
PICKLE – PICK = cream LE = the in French. Cheese and pickle is a traditional sandwich or, along with crusty bread, the main ingredients of a ‘ploughman’s lunch’.
17 US president’s take on English county (12)
LINCOLNSHIRE – (Abe) LINCOLN’S HIRE = ‘take on’. Lincolnshire is very flat, (apart from its cathedral, which is so prominent it was used as a landmark by returning bomber crews during WW2), and grows lots of cabbages.
20 Italian dish to drop, getting in the way (7)
LASAGNE – More food, this time SAG (drop) in (getting in) LANE (the way).
21 Married female exploited (5)
FUSED – F (female) USED (exploited) – rather an odd way to describe ‘married’, but maybe some couples are joined by melting together.
22 Teddy bears, say, coming in twos? Yes, regularly (4)
TOYS – Definition is ‘Teddy bears, say (= for instance)’, given by ‘TwO’sYeS’, every other letter. And if you’re not singing ‘ If you go down to the woods today…’ you are too focused.
23 Cooperate in drama and dance (4,4)
PLAY BALL – PLAY = drama, BALL = dance, to ‘play ball’ is to cooperate
1 A hairstyle for every month (4)
PERM – PER = for every, each M for month. Are perms still restricted to elderly ladies? Short for ‘permanent wave’.
2 On the way up, left a vehicle connected to ships (5)
NAVAL – L (left) A VAN (vehicle) backwards (on the way up, this being a down clue). From Latin navis – a ship.
3 Cheese feast in English tourist attraction (7,5)
CHEDDAR GORGE – CHEDDAR (the most popular English cheese, 55% of all household cheese purchases) GORGE (feast, or rather eat too much too quickly) gives the very famous limestone feature in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.
4 Fantasy world of eccentric in Aran (6)
NARNIA – An anagram (eccentric) of ‘in Aran’, gives the land through the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’s wonderful tales. Not the Scottish island Arran, but could be the islands in Galway Bay. However, I’d never heard of the latter, so the surface did not work against me.
6 Stage where Queen, maybe, go missing? (7)
CATWALK – CAT (a queen is a female cat) WALK (go missing). Again the surface may not work, as it’s pretty hard to imagine Queen disappearing.
7 Finished off rearing of French racehorse (8)
MURDERED – backwards (rearing) DE (‘of’ in French) RED RUM, three-time Grand National winner. Definition is ‘finished off’ = MURDERED. Though definitely a horse who won races, RED RUM was a steeplechaser (over jumps). After retirement, he spent a lot of time opening supermarkets, and appeared on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show.
8 It’s most unlike bacon could go up! (4,5,3)
PIGS MIGHT FLY – being generous and assuming no typographical error, ‘unlike’ here is Shakespearean for ‘unlikely’. Clue reminds me of Manuel in ‘Basil the Rat’.
12 American season, note, to fizzle out (4,4)
FALL FLAT – FALL = American for ‘autumn’ FLAT. Some notes of the scale are called flats (they’re the black keys on the piano, and can also be called sharps). However, describing a performed (played or sung) note as ‘flat’ means that is lower in pitch than it should be, and probably discordant.
14 Best policy, perhaps, dispatching the nosy (7)
HONESTY – Anagram (dispatching) of ‘the nosy’, recalling the phrase ‘Honesty is the best policy’. Across the pond they claim that this was coined by Benjamin Franklin, but it was around in sixteenth century Dublin.
16 Poorly in Paris one spring (6)
UNWELL – Definition is ‘Poorly’ = ill. UN (‘one’ in Paris, that is, in French) WELL = spring.
18 Adherent of religion: one elevating a foreign emperor (5)
RASTA – A TSAR backwards (elevating)
19 Hero doing nothing to speak of (4)
IDOL – A homophone (sounds the same) = ‘to speak of’; idle = doing nothing. Bit loose here, ‘idle’ usually means ‘lazy’ rather than ‘doing nothing’, and although an idol may be a hero, they usually aren’t, so maybe a ‘maybe’ or question mark should be in the clue.