Wednesday, 27 October 2021

No 13387, Wednesday 27 Oct 2021, Karaoke

Solution to 25A has been deliberately left unsolved and is to be answered only by a non-regular / novice commenter, with proper annotation. Those who have answered earlier in the week, please give others a chance.

ACROSS
1   Fancy setters consume a drink (7) IMAGINE {I}{M{A}{GIN}E}
5   Important holy book contains verse about origin of life (7) PIVOTAL {PI}{V}{OT}{A}{Life}
9   Reportedly snaps flowers (5) PICKS (~pics) Iffy definition in my view
10 Up-and-coming Prince played morsing with essential skill (9) PROMISING {P}{MORSING+skIll}*
11 End discussion of a bill — look into the wrongdoing and penalise without initial fears (10) GUILLOTINE {GUIL{LO}T}{fINE}
12 Humorous scene without money, without comedian finally (4) SKIT SKInT
14 Grafts to coaches without initial inhibitions at workshops (11) TRANSPLANTS {TRAiNS}{PLANTS}
18 It gives a facelift when plain story is cooked up with some heroine (11) RHINOPLASTY {PLAIN+STORY+He...e}*
21 Deadly weapon uncovered in exchange of 500 to 1000 (4) NUKE NU(-d+k)KE
22 Recurring advantage with initial expenses in lease withdrawal (10) RETIREMENT {RE{MERIT<=}{Ex...s}NT}
25 Loss of self-respect when sailor lost initial right-of-way (9) A?A?E?E?T (Addendum - ABASEMENT - {AB}{eASEMENT} -  See comments)
26 Enclosures for animals of landowners have no guard in the end (5) LAIRS LAIRdS
27 Die out or regularly seek support (7) ENDORSE {END}{OR}{SeEk}
28 Troublemakers’ chain loses power (7) ROWDIES {ROW}{DIES}

DOWN
1   Criticise one politician’s note about union government (6) IMPUGN {1}{MP}{U}{G}{N}
2   Drug? No, not relating to the North (6) ARCTIC nARCoTIC
3   Quarantine about nuclear radiation (10) INSOLATION {I{N}SOLATION}
4   Maybe Indian in Bangladesh is old loyalist, boycotting riot (5) EXPAT {EX}{PATriot}
5   Poor signs flawed prediction (9) PROGNOSIS*
6   Unproductive blood vessel, it is said (4) VAIN (~vein)
7   Ruler follows weak philosophy (8) THINKING {KING}<=>{THIN}
8   Most insubstantial cock-and-bull story narrated at trial (8) LIGHTEST (~lie){LIGH}{TEST}
13 Childhood companion’s drama casts elf and owl (10) PLAYFELLOW {PLAY}{ELF+OWL}*
15 Eels learn swimming like everything as it should be (3,6) ALL SERENE*
16 There is no escape from it with the introduction of carbon in historic period (4,4) IRON CAGE {IRON {C}AGE}
17 Naughty Malik is cuddled by mid field hand (8) MILKMAID {MI{MALIK*}D}
19 They always come together before Big C (6) GEMINI [C&DD] 
20 Irregular siestas? Stop taking drug, it stops flow of blood (6) STASIS SIeSTAS*
23 Season not beginning, lay to rest (5) INTER wINTER
24 It’s a sign of grief, RIP! (4) TEAR [DD]

Reference List
Holy = PI, Verse = V, About = A, Prince = P, Look = LO, 500 = D, 1000 = K, Sailor = AB, Note = N, Union = U, Government = G, Nuclear = N, Carbon = C, Drug = E


TalePiece
by Dr RKE

Srivaani, the PROMISING young star, was at the GEMINI studios for a screentest. She had to play the PIVOTAL role of Radha-the MILKMAID, in a TV serial ‘Gokulam”. ENDORSEd by none other than the owner of the studio, the director could not IMAGINE rejecting her- the problem was only the prominent beak that Srivaani had. He called Srivaani’s mother and said “I will cast your daughter. Just get her nose a little flattened. You have 3 weeks before I start shooting”.

 Srivaani had grown up THINKING that her aquiline nose was what set her apart from her PLAYFELLOWs in Chennai and was rather VAIN about it. “This is not a mere SKIT, it is a megaserial that may lead me to big screen roles” she consoled herself, “so let me face the GUILLOTINE''. Bracing herself, she went to Mr.Ram Chander FRCS, the famous cosmetic surgeon. He took the photos of the nose and fed it into his laptop and after a few mouse clicks, he had 3 pictures of the girl with 3 different types of noses. “PICK your choice, A here is preferred at Hollywood, B at Bollywood and C at Kollywood.” Srivaani’s mother took over and said, “Doctor, it should be B. My daughter’s destination is Bombay, Chennai is only the stepping stone”. Srivaani, still coming to terms with the surgery, sat silently wiping the TEAR in the corner of her eye. Her mother asked “Is it some kind of TRANSPLANT, there will be no scar on the nose, no?”. The doctor said “oh, not that complicated, all I will be doing is a RHINOPLASTY from within”. “Just sign the forms and make sure you read the part on the PROGNOSIS before you give consent” advised the doctor, “you may have a little STASIS of secretions for a few days”, knowing full well that no one ever reads the fine print.

That very afternoon, Srivaani was wheeled into the operating room. “Why is this place freezing cold as if in the ARCTIC '', she thinks shuddering. The anaesthetist sticks in a needle into her forearm and in a few minutes, it is ALL SERENE. The next thing she knows is someone slapping her cheek saying “it’s all over, wake up, wake up”. “Why am I feeling like I’m in an IRON CAGE?” wonders the girl. “Take a deep breath” urges the doctor but she can make only the LIGHTEST of effort, as she has delayed recovery from the muscle relaxant effect. A few more minutes of assisted breathing and she feels she has been let out of a choking LAIR into the open to breathe fresh air, a new life with a new nose!

Need I mention that the master sculptor, Mr.Ram Chander, has once again delivered a nose that will be zoomed on in close-up romantic scenes, a nose about which lyricists will write poetry, a nose that fans are going to root for, a nose that will keep appearing on the cover of glossies all the way to her RETIREMENT from cinema?

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

No 13386, Tuesday 26 Oct 2021, Avtaar

Solution to 22D has been deliberately left unsolved and is to be answered only by a non-regular / novice commenter, with proper annotation. Those who have answered earlier in the week, please give others a chance.

ACROSS
1   European leaves Asian behind (6) ASTERN eASTERN
4   Boxes having old-fashioned fasteners (8) PADLOCKS {PA{OLD*}CKS}
9   Quench ones thirst, drinking straight (6) HONEST [T]
10 Game old wife mostly played in Warangal, on vacation (8) WILDFOWL {OLD+WIFe}* in {Wa...aL}
11 Vivacious imp delighted about popular children’s game (3,2,3,6) PIG IN THE MIDDLE {IMP+DELIGHTED}* over {IN}
13 Carol sang, accompanied by one playing a horn (3,7) COR ANGLAIS {CAROL+SANG+1}*
14 Order with respect to arresting Avtaar (4) WRIT {WR{I}T}
16 Chief of the private urban community (4) TOWN {The}{OWN}
18 Time when nothing works in Riyad? Ah! (3,4,3) BAD HAIR DAY {RIYAD+AH}* [RA]
21 “The Art of Cooking” — books with novel designs in Word (6,8) WINDOW DRESSING {W}{DESIGNS+IN+WORD}*
23 One surviving, perhaps with pain? That’s shocking! (4,4) LIVE RAIL {LIVER}{AIL}
24 I read about the ultimate in white sugar (6) DEARIE {I+READ}*{w..tE}
25 In the past, stop a rescue at sea after onset of storm (8) SURCEASE {A+RESCUE}*<=>{St..m}
26 Jealous fellow — drunk in every party’s conclusion — goes missing (6) ENVIER {IN+EVERy}*

DOWN
1   Tennis legend has trained England’s #1 (4) ASHE {HAS*}{En...d}
2   Peppier African city (7) TANGIER [DD]
3   They were seen wandering in USSR and Siberia, chiefly (8) RUSSIANS {IN+USSR+And+Siberia}* &lit
5   Web media broadcast featuring runaway hit devotional number (5,4,2) ABIDE WITH ME {WEB+MEDIA* over {HIT}*
6   Story about Count’s boy (6) LADDIE {L{ADD}IE}
7   Harry turned florid, drinking hot stew (7) CHOWDER {C{H}OW}{RED<=}
8   Essay describing book by one European in a prominent manner (9) SALIENTLY {SAL{1}{E}{NT}LY}
12 India stalls spreading plants like the Spanish moss (11) TILLANDSIAS*
13 Beds with hollow wheels seen around ancient part of England (9) COTSWOLDS {COTS}{Whe{OLD}elS}
15 One in Cologne street — a German scientist (8) EINSTEIN {EIN}{ST}{EIN} 
17 Convinced now? (7) WONOVER {NOW}* [RA]
19 Pennies, surprisingly, are about 67% Indian (7) DENARII {ARE+INDIan}*
20 Android — for the people, ultimately a source of enlightenment (2,4) BOTREE {BOT}{foR}{thE}{p...lE} Enu should have been (2,4) See comments
22 Does fine, giving up yield (4) ?E?R (Addendum - DEER DEfER - See comments)

Reference List
European = E, Popular = IN, With = W, Harry = COW, Hot = H, Book = NT, One and A in German = EIN, Street = ST, Fine = F


TalePiece
By Dr RKE

Jim Smith heard the PADLOCKS click after the Arab prison guard shoved him into the cell. He had been off-loaded from the ship on which he was a stowaway at the TANGIER port. The HONEST captain of the ship did what was right in getting rid of the LADDIE at the first port-of-call after he was discovered hiding behind a mast ASTERN, while crossing the English Channel. The young man from a small TOWN in COTSWOLDS, the Captain admitted, had WON OVER many hearts among the deckhands, with his eager face and friendly banter. They had shared their quota of CHOWDER with the boy and that was all he had to eat since boarding the ship at Dover. While the Moroccan police came aboard for Jim, the Captain whispered something into his ears “DEARIE, ................." So saying, he had thrust a few PENNIES into Jim’s pocket. He could not bear to see the worry WRIT over the boy’s face.

Left alone in his cell, Jim fell asleep on the floor. He dreamt of the English summer, when he would go hunting WILDFOWL and DEER, the local tavern where he would play the COR ANGLAIS and further back in time, when as a small boy he would play PIG IN THE MIDDLE with his friends. This idyllic world around him had collapsed when his dear papa, his only living relation, blew his brains out with the hunting rifle one night. Jim just wanted to get away from the pain of it all and like all true blood English laddies, he took the next train to Dover. After some months of doing odd jobs at the port, bitten by the eagerness to sail, he boarded the MV EINSTEIN sailing to Alexandria via Tangier.

Jim hadn’t heard the expression, but the next day at the court was a BAD HAIR DAY. He could not make out what the police and the magistrate asked him in some foreign tongue. He shut himself out with the only prayer song he knew that was repeatedly playing in his mind “ABIDE WITH ME”- particularly the lines..

The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me

Suddenly, he heard a clear voice ring out in English. “Jim, I am here to take care of things”. With some whispers from the stranger to the right ears, some oiling of hands at the right places and some discreet phone calls, the man arranged for Jim to be released soon from detention. Jim still thinks it is the Lord who abided with him when the darkness deepened.

Now, you don’t have to sit under the BO TREE to be enlightened on how this magic came about. He was the brother of the captain of the ship, working in the British Embassy at Morocco. But as they say, we are all instruments of the Lord, aren’t we? And the Lord chooses which instrument to use and when!