I found this a tough offering from Wurm. After hoping in yesterday’s blog that today’s puzzle would be easier, since I was blogging, my hopes are dashed. This took me 22:56, so I’ll have my pick of the sofas in the SCC today.
I had issues with a couple of the clues: I’m looking forward to learning what I missed in my parsing of BEAVER; there’s a very dodgy homophone and a couple of definitions that I thought were a bit dubious. Also not my favourite grid: it is so much harder without first letters!
Picking up on the discussion from the last couple of weeks about how little time the speedsters need for thought: I solved this on paper, then transcribed it to the web site to obtain the blog skeleton. With a fully-completed grid, and (for once!) no typos, it took me 1:42 just to type in the letters. So the real speedsters are taking just a couple of seconds per clue to solve. Good grief.
Definitions underlined, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in strikethrough.
|7||Busy worker rejoices at first pint (4)|
|BEER – BEE (busy worker) + R
|8||Rough Timor Sea that generates spray (8)|
|ATOMISER – Anagram [rough] of TIMOR SEA|
|9||Wood and minerals wrapped in pink paper? (6)|
|FOREST – ORES (minerals) wrapped in FT (Financial Times, a newspaper printed on pink newsprint, hence a “pink paper”).|
|10||Old article about new things to be done (6)|
|AGENDA – AGED (old) + A (indefinite article) enclosing [about] N (new).
I tried to make “ye” or similar be the “old article”, before realizing that I needed to lift and separate.
|11||Pot displayed in Kyiv as example (4)|
|VASE – Hidden [displayed] in “KyiV AS Example”.
I’m amused by the fact that “displayed” is used to mean “hidden”, when in normal usage it is the exact opposite. Welcome to cryptic crosswords!
|12||Creature roaming randomly round south (8)|
|ORGANISM – Anagram [randomly] of ROAMING including [round] S.|
|15||Be right about witty writer in puzzle? (8)|
|BEWILDER – BE + R (right) around WILDE.
“Puzzle” as a verb, not as a noun. My LOI. Wilde as in Oscar, of course.
|17||Top dog did you say? (4)|
|PEAK – Homophone [did you say?] of PEKE.
“Peke” being short for “pekingese”, which has just taken me several attempts to spell correctly.
|18||How dam constructors work hard? (6)|
|BEAVER – I’m not certain of my parsing of this one, but it’s something to do with “beaver”, the noun (semi-aquatic mammal), and “beaver”, the verb (to work (hard?)).
The best I can come up with is that it’s just a cryptic definition. I’ve tried to make it a double definition, but “how” messes it up: “Dam constructors work hard” would have been a DD, since the plural of “beaver” is also “beaver”, but I can’t make the clue as printed work.
|21||Unsteady having joined company (6)|
|INFIRM – IN (joined, as in “I’m in”) + FIRM (company).|
|22||Kind Shakespeare showing benevolence? (8)|
|GOODWILL – GOOD (kind) + WILL (Shakespeare).
“Good” for “kind” seems a bit loose to me.
|23||Rugby forward in bar (4)|
|LOCK – Double definition.
A “lock” forward in rugby is one of the pair of players who form the second row of the scrum. The second definition is “bar” as a verb, as in “bar the gate”.
|1||Forlorn lad to see distressed (8)|
|DESOLATE – Anagram [distressed] of LAD TO SEE.|
|2||Stop dead in this wintry weather? (6)|
|FREEZE – Double definition.
This took me an embarrassingly long time: I needed all the crossers before the head-slap moment arrived.
|3||Closer after dispute? Amen! (4,4)|
|LAST WORD – Double definition.
The first definition refers to having the last word in an argument, that last word being the “closer”. And “Amen” is the last word in many prayers.
|4||Furniture up till now not finished (4)|
|SOFA – SO FA
|5||Farm animal one cooked for winger (6)|
|PIGEON – PIG (farm animal) + anagram [cooked] of ONE.|
|6||On radio not many would quarrel (4)|
|FEUD – Homophone [on radio] of “Few would”.
Well, homophone-ish. “You would” is commonly abbreviated to “you’d”, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen “few’d”. And trying it out loud to myself, I always pronounce “few would” as two distinct syllables – at least when I’m listening to myself!
|13||Fish served with mead animated cat (8)|
|GARFIELD – GAR (fish) + FIELD (mead).
In something I once read, characters talked about “speaking forsoothly”, and one of their examples was “ye flowery meads”. Now I know what they were talking about. I’d always thought it was an odd phrase. A little thought suggests – and a dip into the dictionary confirms – that “mead” is the source word for “meadow”. “Mead” is marked in my dictionary as “now poetic and dialect”, forsooth.
I had a MER at “animated cat” for Garfield, but a little research shows that there have indeed been TV shows and films featuring the gluttonous feline.
|14||Plant fake diamond? (8)|
|SHAMROCK – SHAM (fake) + ROCK (diamond).|
|16||Storm in Virginia extremely destructive (6)|
|INVADE – IN + VA (standard abbreviation for the US state of Virginia) + first and last letters [extremely] of D
|17||Nonsense from fine female in tall building (6)|
|PIFFLE – F for fine + F for female in PILE (tall building).
Neither the SOED nor Collins have “tall building” for “pile”. They both have “large”, and the SOED also has “a group of tall buildings”, but I’m unconvinced by this definition.
F for “fine” is a commonality, but now I come to look it up, the only meaning I can find is in the scale of hardness of pencils used in the UK, where “F” apparently designates a pencil that can be sharpened to a fine point. Is there another abbreviation that I’m missing?
|19||Lover-boy among white roses (4)|
|EROS – Hidden in [among] “whitE ROSes”.|
|20||Headless bear in collapsed state (4)|
I tried to make EDDY work here. But it doesn’t.