Today’s challenging puzzle from Rongo set all this off by diverting me onto a culinary tangent (for which apologies). Several long clues were hold ups and then there’s the 1ac/1dn pair which were my final hurdle. Chock full of tasty clues, it took 12 minutes to enjoy and rather more to digest how the ingredients all came together. Here are my notes in the margins of the recipe book – don’t miss la pièce de résistance at 15dn.
1. BESTIARY – animal book – a moralizing medieval collection of descriptions (and often illustrations) of real and mythical animals. Our first Michelin starred difficulty clue – take one ‘It’s’ and turn backwards (STI), fold into ursine creature (BEAR) and garnish with an unknown in maths (Y). Master chef here we come. If I’d have known bestiary or ursine this would have been a ‘piece of cake’.
5. AWED – in a state of wonderment, (A)nglicans, marry (WED).
8. SNOUT – muzzle. Tin (SN), not fashionable (OUT).
9. PRECISE – accurately detailed. Anagram (exotic) of RECIPES.
11. TERRESTRIAL – connected to land. The English river in question is the TEES and test is TRIAL which ‘keep’ (contain) both sides of river – (R)ive(R).
13. AGENCY – one that supplies temps? (A)ilin(G) (E)uropea(N) (C)ompan(Y).
14. CARTON – box. Farm vehicle (CART) attached to (ON).
16. DUPLICITOUS – deceitful. Northern Ireland party (DUP), allowed (LICIT), contents of house – h(OUS)e.
18. AIRHEAD – one who’s simple minded. Broadcast (AIR), boss (HEAD).
19. AWAIT – expect. Homophone (to be announced) of an ounce, say – A WEIGHT.
20. LADY – peeress. Boy (LAD) with yen (Y).
21. KNEE-DEEP – flooded above calf height? Require (NEED) to enter (so put inside) hold (KEEP).
1. BASH – triple definition (what a fine dish to set before the king). Excellent clue which did cause a delay. Attempt (have a bash at), to criticise (bash/lambast), party (office bash).
2. SHORT-TEMPERED – irascible. Anagram (strangely) of STEPMOTHER followed by embarrassed (RED).
3. INTERACTIVE – responding to input. Bury (INTER), law (ACT), I have – I’ve (IVE).
4. RAPIER – sword. Anagram (poor) of REPAIR.
6. WHIP INTO SHAPE – vigorously train. Continuing our culinary journey here’s a cryptic word play – to prepare egg whites for meringues.
Tip 4 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them on medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted. (Thank you BBC).
7. DWELLING – house. Democrat (D) experiencing an upward surge (WELLING).
10. EXTRAPOLATE – to make projections. Additional (EXTRA), put circular shape (O) inside dish (PLATE).
12. HANDRAIL – support for unsteady walker. Feel unwell (AIL) is put after all the rest – hospital (H), a (A), new (N), doctor (DR).
15. HIDDEN – concealed. Great cooking doesn’t have to be complex but can, like this COD, be simple yet elegant. Depending on your taste – like an oyster nestling in its shell or jam lurking in a doughnut – this HIDDEN clue is carefully concealed in part of orc(HID DEN)ied.
17. STOP – prevent. Anagram (getting broken) of POST.