Friday, 29 August 2014

No.11176, Friday 29 Aug 2014, xChequer

Excellent one from xC with some awesome cluing in 1d, 8d etc, etc. Kindly send me the cigar at the earliest, xC. Make it a Havana, if you please; if you send me a 'chutta', I will raise a 17 with it ...  On the other hand, I might have missed something and he would be justified in saying 14!

Noticed a few twins in the puzzle like END (clued in as close and object) and HEAD (clued in as boss and chief), but I am not complaining! Great deception by putting in pairs of related words like Groom and bride and gowns and hoods
7 Sounds like drunk's left in wonder for a moment (6) AWHILE (HI~high L in AWE)
8 Charge that's fixed is settled by the boss (8) OVERHEAD (OVER HEAD)
9 Chief's ancestry secures title (8) HEADLINE (HEAD LINE)
10 Flowery discourse about Newton (6) ORNATE (ORATE about N)
11 Soldiers pen gripping narrative (5) STORY (STY gripping OR)
12 Buffet is hungry to accumulate — an obsession? (6) FETISH (T)
          Warren Buffet being hungry and eating a buffet is hilarious!
14 Almost tame gnus eat broccoli! (5,3,2,5) CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR (GNUS EAT BROCCOLI)*
17 Married to bureaucrat, mother raising a stink (6) MIASMA (M IAS M A) on the other hand, mother could be interpreted as MA ... A small doubt whether bureaucrat =IAS or IAS officer. IMO, IAS could be bureaucracy and not bureaucrat.
          No doubt they are called bureaucrats because they believe in filing everything and putting them in bureaus, so that they are never found again!
18 Heart-breaking jerks, they're 13 perhaps (5) THUGS (H in TUGS)
22 Day with close companion (6) FRIEND (FRIday END)
          Today's a Fry day too, with Ganesh Chaturthi eats on the menu, including FRItters ...
23 Trim at the top/cut near base (8) TRUNCATE (T CUTNEAR*)
24 When right, always object — it is worthy of being respected (8) REVEREND (R EVER END)
25 Smear track with concrete mixture perhaps (6) SLURRY (SLUR RY)

1 Blarney: Southern, small-time town (a village essentially), close to Cork (5,4) SWEET TALK (S WEE T T A L K)
2 German children may be more loving (6) KINDER (2)
3 Seek charity at home because that's where it should _____? (5) BEGIN (BEG IN) also as fitb based on the adage "Charity begins at home"
4 Exclamation of joy from excited groom in ecstasy (8) GERONIMO (GROOM IN E)*
          I had heard of this for the first time when I read about some American paratroopers taking a jump
5 Kidnapped editor freed in this city (8) SHANGHAI (SHANGHAIED-ED)
          Don't know which is worse, being Shanghaied or being Bangalored (or should it now be Bengalurued)
6 Details fine deeds (5) FACTS (F ACTS)
8 Too highly rated, old, no energy to peak, team lost in one day (13) OVERESTIMATED (O EVEREST-E,TEAM* in 1D
13 Strange weaves in edges of gowns and hoods (9) GANGSTERS (STRANGE* in GownS)
15 Stewed duck initially served as starter, the beginning of dinner (8) SIMMERED (IMMERSE with S moved up D)
16 Groom and bride infused with spirit (8) BRANDIED (AND BRIDE)*
19 Thick-skinned copper approaching chief of police with a problem (6) HICCUP (tHICk CU P)
20 Type system command (5) ORDER (3)
21 Switch sides in a heartbeat to get a prize (5) PURSE (PULSE-L+R)



  1. In DIY COW this week we had to write a clue for BLARNEY !

  2. THC setters must be thankful to the paper for not insisting that only such-and-such blank grids (i.e., from a library provided by it) to be used or that the number of words should not exceed a particular number or that the number of lines must not exceed a particular number.

    I know that US synomyic puzzle editors do impose such limits. I don't know about UK papers - yes, some of them want setters to use any of the grids determined by them and supplied to setters but I don't know of any wordage or lineage being set. I do not have access to the printed papers to make any study. (Maybe Raju can help with his vast collection of clippings of UK crosswords.)

    THC has fixed space allotted (the height of the column is an unvarying 21cm.)

    Finding that today's font size is palpably bigger than what we saw in the past two days, I did an analysis. (This time I took into account the heads Across and Down and also the clue numbers and enumerations. Blank lines that appear when we copy-paste text from the web edition were removed.)

    Cwd No. - characters - words - lines




    I am trying to draw the conclusion that unlike, say, ToI or NIE using a dreadfully small type, THC's font size depends upon the individual crossword. So we solvers should not grumble about the size of clue text, whether big, or smaller than big, or bigger than small.

    As the number of words/lines will also depend upon the nature of lights in a given blank grid - whether they are longish or short and also upon the number of longish/short lights in a given blank grid, we setters must revel in the freedom that we enjoy.

    1. With news articles, the paper does not tweak the font size but allows fluid vertical space. Wouldn't it be more logical to extend the same principle to the crossword?

    2. In ET for example, I frequently find that in case of telescopic clues the light hiding in the clue is broken strategically so that bits of it come on separate lines. It cannot be a coincidence I think. Maybe ET just pastes up what it gets from the syndication guys, but they most certainly are accommodating setter requests to do so. Does TH do that too?

    3. I bring this up because it too is one place where a publisher accommodates setters

    4. CV"s comments on size: I have never done much of an analysis I agree that it is very tortuous to peek at the small letters and numerals. The newspapers should decide to have a standard size, readable by all, without resorting to a magnifier . Since our minds are set to think and find answers to the clues, our job could be made easier by user-friendly fonts. By far, I have found the Times of London to be the best and user-friendly. though its lengthwise format is a bit cumbersome.

      In these days of DTP, why can't the newspapers .use the technology available ? Crosswords have always been given step-motherly treatment.After all , the advertisers pay money and hence '' accommodated '' by even screamers and IN YOUR FACE ! This is my answer to Shuchi's comments.

      Incidentally, Aamir Khan's promo for his pic by that semi-nude pic of his begs ( and sucks?)against the gaudy and vulgar ad for the men's briefs? Where is the moral policing here?

  3. The surface reading of some the clues is excellent today.

  4. Raju wrote yesterday: "... when you have to "justify" the annotation once the answer is seen !..."
    What's wrong with that?
    Say the surface reading of some clues is good, some others tortuous or torturous. Fine.
    IMO, there is nothing wrong if occasionally a solver gets a clue's answer first before working out the anno patiently.
    In UK crossword blogs often the blogger says which solutions did not become apparent to him immediately. Sometimes he might even throw up his hands and ask for help from others. This does not necessarily mean that the clues were bad.

    1. When solving in speed mode, I'm sure many of us enter the answer without knowing consciously whether we went from definition to wordplay, or vice versa. Often both fuse together.

      While it is not necessary to work out the annotation to solve a clue, the annotation should be justifiable. If an annotation eludes the solver, it is either faulty, or too clever for the solver. The first case not never OK.

      Re: yesterday's discussion over "Bag Nathaniel's jawless fish" - I don't see the problem with it! Surface makes sense (with "bag" as verb). Cryptic reading makes sense ("bAGNATHANiel" has the answer).

    2. That's what I was saying about yesterday's clue.

    3. Well, I seem to be alone in my critique of the telescopic clue. Perhaps I was hasty in my conclusion.
      My apologies to the setter.
      However, any comment is wrt the clue and to improve our understanding of the art of crossword clue writing.

    4. Shuchi @ 9:53:I filled in 2 DN exactly like that without much thinking; all the crossing letters & one definition " more loving" did help

  5. A happy Ganesh Chaturthi to the Col and all members of the THCC Regiment.

  6. Did comparatively well, considering it is by Xchequer- tough by my standards.
    14A- Got 'cigar' from the anagram, but I did not know about this idiom- Like CV said 'Got but not sure'.
    19D- 'Problem' (as def. for hiccup) to be highlighted. Going by the colour coding of Kishore, he must have had a tough time- after solving the CW fairly quickly!
    Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi to all.

    1. Thanks, Paddy. I solved the puzzle between bouts of veggie cutting, so I got a break to clear up my head. Regarding colour coding, I just pick the first colour in the palette and use it for both the part of the clue and the corresponding part of the anno, (blissfully unaware of the colour) and so on. The primary palette in the blogger has eight colours so I just use them with a numerical code. 1d has 7 of them, which is quite a record, I think. I have seen no other setter use so many components so well. If I require more than 8 colours, I will have to go to the secondary palette (it has 48 colours), but I hope that never happens.

  7. Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi to everyone at THCC.

  8. A hundred cigars should set me up for life! Why a hundred, you ask?!

    Because Cigar xC= cigar x 100 !

    You might well see me giving up my mobile and resorting to smoke signals ... Oscar should be the easiest, others will take practice

  9. I have it from the equine-buccal grapevine that 23a is also an &lit

  10. Kishore,
    Yes, I have also observed that XC uses many components of quite a few words. After reading your comment I went through 1D once again. Yes, it seems to be a record of sorts. I did not note it initially- probably because I could not do it. Cause & effect?

  11. Today's added puzzle- 'Equine buccal grapevine'?!

  12. From the horse's mouth! (I did not have the horse sense to get 'buccal'!)

  13. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all. No holiday here but did partake koykatti(modaks), vaddai & payassam

  14. Beautiful crossword. Got down to it only in the afternoon after the puja and before becoming 16D

  15. Lovely grid today. Thanks XC. Got all but HEADLINE - secures was a bit misleading for me as a connector.

  16. Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi

  17. Went for Golf in the morning followed by guests at home so got around to doing the CW only now, found it tough going.

    I have a doubt on 15D. Is 'initially served as starter' sufficient to indicate that the 'S' is to be selected and then made the starter?

    1. Duck = IMMERSE
      Initially served = S
      as starter = to be moved to the front

      Loved the crossword, as usual. As Kishore has pointed out, some more twins appear today -- conjoined ones, this time. 8A and 9A connected by a HEAD at the ends (ugh!); 8A and 8D connected at the head by OVER.

  18. Excellent brain tickler from Exchequer . Couldn't encash many cheques !

    REVEREND:IT is worthy of being respected:: Usually referred to an ordained minister: The answer , however, respected should mean REVERENT. Hence the word IT doesn't fit in?Shouldn't it be HE?

    Though the anagram of '' gnus eat broccoli'' as CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR is a very clever one, what does the sentence Tame gnus eat broccoli read as? This is an example of what I meant yesterday.

    TRUNCATE is to sever. How then TRIM?

    Others may not agree with my doubts.

    1. reverend = Deserving reverence
      Truncate = Cut short or Shorten