Sunday 31 May 2020

Special, Sunday 31 May 2020, Doppelganger

Day 68 of 68 Stay safe at home
(Last day of Lockdown 4.0)

Three answers per commenter till 6 PM (Annotations compulsory)
Please submit all your answers in one comment. 


Starred clues are undefined but they belong to the same category.

5   *51 Queen's men ... (6)
7   * ... my French flyer arrested in shelter (8)
9   Different date mix-up holds back Nobel laureate (8)
10 Make certain it's seen mysteriously over the ancient city (6)
11 *Best fruit held back to be offered to a Holy man at first (5-7)
13 *Scratch a wedge used to prevent motion (6)
15 *A high priest of Shiloh detained nine Romans initially (6)
18 *A reprimand over an unhealthy area given after this epidemic (12)
21 *Bowled over with no energy to a novice (6)
22 *Reap if it's in a bad way (8)
23 Continent after follower's model composition (8)
24 *Pontiff without a fight got support (6)

1   *Give a name on World Wide Web (8)
2   Court order makes him squirm (6)
3   Fool! An order held returning parasite (8)
4   In agreement peacekeepers have an issue (6)
6   USA since corrected provision (8)
7   The French comic died for a young Scotsman (6)
8   Missile thrown back during extradition (4)
12 Brae skin without complaints (8)
14 Hard limb to a small extent is benign (8)
16 I twice held back some money but had to start off (8)
17 *Restrained animal, a Gaur? (6)
18 Troubled start across layer (6)
19 City's parish priest held by a sign (6)
20 *Scrollsaw cut oddly! (4)

Across Lite version can be accessed at DOPPELGANGER 30


The Sunday Crossword No 3102, Sunday 31 May 2020

Day 68 of 68 Stay safe at home
(Last day of Lockdown 4.0)

1   Swansea, rather stormy sandy area (7,6) WESTERN SAHARA*
8   PM, less bold, in retreat (4) LAIR bLAIR
9   Opt out with pain, suffering to some extent (2,2,1,5) UP TO A POINT {OPT+OUT+PAIN}*
10 Playwright grovelled, we’re told (6) COWARD (~cowered)
11 With backing of UN, volunteer soldiers in jet (8) FOUNTAIN {OF<=}{UN}{TA}{IN}
12 Church figure with shady past: he’s seen in brothel (2,7) ST PATRICK {PAST*}{TRICK}
14 Yes, in Germany, Wenders – on the fringes – creates film (4) JAWS {JA}{We...rS}
15 Appreciates accommodation (4) DIGS [DD]
16 Basically not fine to manipulate fiancé? Not half (2,7) IN ESSENCE {fINESSE}{fiaNCE}
20 Weak ale? I wobble and worry (3,5) LIE AWAKE*
21 A learner with weapons leads to panics (6) ALARMS {A}{L}{ARMS}
23 Longed to peel off pinched kind of trousers (10) PINSTRIPED {PIN{STRIP}ED}
24 Primarily: systematise / order / rank / type (4) SORT Acrostic &lit
25 Coastal, rather stormy: character of the South (8,5) SCARLETT OHARA*

1   Crossword setters are mostly unfashionable and need replacing (4,3) WEAR OUT {WE}{ARe}{OUT}
2   Some fairy stories about far-off land (5) SYRIA [T<=]
3   Country dancing, caroused with seconds to spare (7) ECUADOR CAROUsED*
4   Most of notifications: ‘New Kind of Menu, Italian!’ This won’t last long (3,2,1,3,4,2) NOT IF I CAN HELP IT {NOTIFICAtions}{N}{HELP}{IT} Not sure of anno 
5   Upwardly mobile head of Uber takes taxi in South Africa? You can count on it (6) ABACUS {S{Uber}{CAB}A}<=
6   U-boat questionably brave to reverse direction (5-4) ABOUT-FACE {U BOAT}* {FACE}
7   Australian gets loose with relatives (7) AUNTIES {A}{UNTIES}
13 Aeneas' age? It's uncertain, but the location is somewhere around Greece (6,3) AEGEAN SEA*
15 Everyman wearing platforms and flowers (7) DAISIES {DAIS{I}ES}
17 Nothing special and, at heart, a bit of a git (2-3-2) SO-AND-SO {SO SO} over {AND}
18 A mountainous place, Cuba, a mountainous place (7) CUMBRIA {C}{UMBRIA}
19 Is it a tree? Yes. A shrub? Also yes. Hardy? … not quite (6) LAUREL [MD]
22 Lost part of Great Seal (2,3) AT SEA [T]

Reference List
Bold = B, Volunteer soldiers = TA, Yes in German = JA, Fine = F, Learner = L, Seconds = S, Italian = IT, Australian = A, Cuba = C

Saturday 30 May 2020

No 12949, Saturday 30 May 2020, Avtaar

Day 67 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)
1   Government dinner spread is beamed (7) GRINNED {G}{DINNER*}
5   Studs save hundreds (7) BUTTONS {BUT}{TONS}
10 Song and dance show that inspired Rajput chiefs (4) STIR (Acrostic)
11 Monstrous strength seen in Spooner’s crop pests (5,5) BRUTE FORCE Anno not clear Spoonerism of  fruit bores?
12 Violet, the main character in popular teenage comics, left for England (6) ARCHIL {ARCHI(-e+L)}
13 Balanced support for ball close to foot before starting to drive (8) TEETERED {TEE}{fooT}{ERE}{Drive}
14 Necessary return is assumed (9) REQUISITE {REQU{IS}ITE}
16 The main part of write-up about reproductive organs (5) UTERI {wRITE-Up*}
17 Animated sex at the upper deck of a boat (5) TEXAS {SEX+AT*}
19 Convey  what the winner of an honour might do? (3,6) GET ACROSS {GET A CROSS}
23 Dark food plates? Atrocious! (8) DEVILISH {D{EVIL}ISH}
24 Purpose of backward integration (6) TARGET (T<=)
26 Sick auntie has a release from suffering (10) EUTHANASIA {AUNTIE+HAS+A*}
27 In Toulouse, black iron is tempered (4) NOIR {IRON*}
28 Lady undressed, starting to swim in river adjacent to a salt-water lake (4,3) DEAD SEA {DE{lADy}{Swim}E}{A}
29 Writer is touched by poverty enveloping natives at birth (4,3) FELT PEN {FELT}{Poverty}{Enveloping}{Natives}

2   Pensioner in Eritrea almost completely shifted base (7) RETIREE {ERITREa*}{E}
3   No use heading off towards the Arctic (5) NORTH {N}{wORTH}
4   Venomous louse sucks doctor resulting in clotting of blood (7) EMBOLUS {LOUSE*} around {MB}
6   Craggy regions of Neptune/Venus (6) UNEVEN (T)
7   Wooster regularly travelled in this old convertible (3-6) TWO-SEATER Anno not clear (Addendum - {WOOSTER+TrAvElLeD}* = TWO SEATER OLD  [CA] &lit - See comments)
8   Global body reviewed fine for owning atomic weapons (7) NUCLEAR {UN<=}{CLEAR}
 Stop rambling about baby cheetahs frolicking around, following you noisily (3,2,3,5) CUT TO THE CHASE Anno not clear CHEETAHS=THE CHASE , rest from ? (Addendum - {C}{(~you)U}{T{TOT}HECHASE*} - See comments)
15 One of many works construed as Hindu philosophy's primerultimate in Vedanta (9) UPANISHAD {AS+HINDU+Philosophy+vedantA*} &lit
18 From England — dainty implement (7) EXECUTE {EX}{E}{CUTE}
20 Kindles performance had overwhelmed users in the beginning (7) ACTUATE {ACT}{Users}{ATE}
21 50% of iron and steel building is barren (7) STERILE {IRon+STEEL*}
22 One about to take a vow, perhaps? (6) FIANCE ? (CD)
25 Channel featuring article about storm (3,2) RUN AT {RU{AN<=}T}

Reference List

Government=G, Left=L, England=E, River=Dee,  About = C, Base=E, No=N, Doctor=MB, Global body=UN, From=Ex, Article=An

Colour/Font Scheme

DefinitionSolutionComponent lettersEmbedded linksTheme word Anagram IndicatorC/C indicatorReversal IndicatorHidden word IndicatorLetter Pick indicatorDeletion IndicatorHomophone IndicatorMovement IndicatorPositional IndicatorSubstitution, IndicatorOpposite indicatorLink/Connector, Extraneous

Dr RKE's TalePiece

Medware was a firm supplying the REQUISITE software solutions to hospitals across the world. The firm’s CEO Mr. ARCHIL NORTH, was in a DEVILISH mood when he learnt that the sales TARGET had not been met for the last quarter. He called his sales EXECUTive Mr. Mark Sellers, and said “C’mon, Mark, CUT TO THE CHASE, tell me in a nutshell why the bloody sales figures are so damn poor”.  Sellers, who had come prepared to give the usual tame excuses, had no choice but to blurt out the stark truth. He said “the hospitals think there is a bug in our software. You remember, we had built in a system to warn physicians of allergy to drugs they prescribe. It is working UNEVENly and the software fails to warn the doctor at times. In a TEXAS hospital that uses our software, two women undergoing surgery on their UTERI, died after being given ampicillin to which they had declared their allergy. The word has got around among hospitals. We gotta do something fast”. Mr. North then had a RUN AT the guys in software testing department. He wrote with a red FELT PEN in bold letters on the white board in the scrum room “48 hours”. “That is all the time you have guys, don’t STIR from your seats, use BRUTE FORCE or whatever it takes to find the bug and fix it”, he thundered.

The whole team pushed the panic BUTTONS. Mary Finder, the chief tester, had to sadly miss her date with her FIANCÉ, as she sat a whole day and night trying to find the fault, blithely unaware of the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary EMBOLUS caused by such prolonged sitting. In desperation, she called Mr. Graham Maker, now a RETIREE, who had earlier helped design the software. He said cryptically “look for ‘Biomedic’”and hung up. By diligent work, she found that the software failed to show allergies, not to the generic drug name but only to the specific brand name of Biomedic products. Physically exhausted, she TEETERED on her way to Mr. North’s office to GET ACROSS the message. Now, Biomedic was a pharmaceutical company of which Medware was a subsidiary. The software, it turned out, had been doctored by a rogue programmer to not recognize allergies to drugs made by Biomedic, while allergies to the same drug by other brands was recognized. Presumably, the programmer was a disgruntled employee and had decided to wreak vengeance on the conglomerate that cared little for his talents. Thank God, this sick mind was only a programmer and not in the AVTAAR of a doctor, and heaven knows he might have even committed EUTHANASIA were he one. Then it would have been eerily reminiscent of what one sees in a NOIR novel or movie.   Once identified, the process to make the software STERILE was ACTUATEd.

If you like the mystery in this story, pat yourselves on the back for you have joined the ranks of the Gods. Doesn’t the UPANISHAD say “The Gods love what is mysterious and dislike what is evident”.

Friday 29 May 2020

No 12948, Friday 29 May 2020, Bruno

Day 66 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)


All those who are not regular commenters but who are rookie commenters or silent followers of the blog are requested to post answers with annotations in the comments section. In your own interest please avoid looking up the answers from the interactive version. Don't hesitate to post your annotations, in case you make a mistake in the annotation someone will correct it with the right annotation.


Each commenter is requested to post only 5 answers thereby giving others also a chance to participate. Please provide all your answers in one comment.

Regular solvers/Veterans can post 1 answer each, but after 11 AM only

The regular blog will replace the clues at 4 PM.

Thanks for the response, here's the regular blog.

6   Pale climber carrying gold (5) IVORY {IV{OR}Y}
7   Dangerous very large rattler’s head cut off (8) VENOMOUS {V}{ENOrMOUS}
10 More distant brother finally embraced by one parent (7) FARTHER {FA{b...eR}THER}
11 Old island pass (7) EXCRETE {EX}{CRETE}
12 Spiny plant’s each cut hurt (7) CATECHU*
13 Odd that world body and America adopted Universal language at first (7) UNUSUAL {UN}{USA}{U}{La...e}
14 What limits mother? For one, man and little sibling... (11) PARENTHESIS {PARENT}{HE}{SIS}
19 Secretary turned to leave from set — it came to an end (7) POINTED apPOINTED
21 Revolutionary mobilises billion Indian leaders to quit with grace (7) LISSOME MObiLISES*
23 Fruit’s ripe — so mix it with a little honey (7) ROSEHIP {RIPE+SO+Ho..y}*
25 After dessert, finally, put out chocolate candy (7) TRUFFLE {d...rT}{RUFFLE}
26 One with the will to challenge a peak (8) TESTATOR {TEST}{A}{TOR}
27 Marker made from soft synthetic material not nice to begin with (5) PYLON {P}{nYLON}

1   Nasty odors in front of household animal running up entrance (8) DOORSTEP {ODORS*}{PET<=}
2   Setter’s mostly stupid? That's not real! (6) MYTHIC {MY}{THICk}
3   Inverted, open and under construction (10) OVERTURNED {OVERT}{UNDER*}
4   Cry pulling up end of broken joint (4) KNEE {EEK<=} over {b...eN} (Addendum - K(+n)NEE(-n) - See comments)
5   Business’s backup procuring fertilizer (6) BUREAU {B}{UREA}{U}
6   Dirty sink — Frank punches out John (6) INFECT IN(-j+f)FECT
8   Plans for prisons starting to get 20-fold bigger (4-3) MOCK-UPS (-l+m)MOCK-UPS
9   Traded salted nuts after skipping last class... (5) DEALT sALTED*
13 ... covering work plus theory (10) UPHOLSTERY*
15 Device with which informer secret-agent finally trapped revolutionary (7) RATCHET {RAT}{CHE}{s...nT}
16 These days in San Francisco — perfect cold weather (8) SNOWFALL {S{NOW}F}{ALL}
17 After work time for play (5) OPERA {OP}{ERA}
18 Senior faculty hid engineer’s disgrace (6) DEMEAN {DE{ME}AN}
20 Supplier’s petition breaks one's right (6) ISSUER {1'S}{SUE}{R}
22 Couplets composed lacked poem's essential elements or form (6) SCULPT CoUPLeTS*
24 Core of stone’s hot (4) PITH {PIT}{H}

Reference List
Gold = OR, Very = V, Old = EX, Universal = U, Secretary = PA, Soft = P, Back = B, Up = U, Frank = F, John = J, L = 50, M = 1000, Work = OP, Engineer = ME, Right = R, Hot = H

Dr RKE's TalePiece

VishnuRaj, the Kannada screen idol, was standing at dawn on the DOORSTEP of “Nature Trails”, a secluded forest lodge, listening to the call of the birds. From behind the trees, 3 masked men silently approached VishnuRaj from behind and pounced on him. One gagged him and the other bound his KNEES and the one with a huge moustache and a rifle directed the other two. They carried him to a jeep parked nearby. The film hero, who had DEALT with a bunch of opponents on celluloid single-handedly in MOCK-UP fight scenes, became a tame victim in real life. Thus, began one of the most famous kidnapping cases in the country.

The intelligence BUREAU people felt that the modus operandi POINTED to the IVORY and sandalwood smuggler, Dheerappan. This notorious brigand, roamed free in the forests, shifting his camp ever so often, eluding the police of three states. Dheerappan acted as a savior of the tribals in the jungles and they would never betray him. Dheerappan had always projected to them that the police and forest officials as more VENOMOUS than the snakes of the forest. He had acquired a MYTHIC aura of being untraceable and invincible as he had OVERTURNED the efforts of the police to nab him alive or dead on at least 18 occasions. Unable to face the criticism from the media, the police had to RATCHET their efforts to trace the abductor and the matinee idol. But the FARTHER they went into the forest, the greater the obstacles they faced in this UNUSUAL terrain. Days turned to weeks and then months and they were no closer to tracing the missing actor. Dheerappan, fed by information from informers who INFECT the police ranks and who were in his pay, always stayed a step ahead.

VishnuRaj, meanwhile, had got used to life in the jungle. He was cared for tenderly by Dheerappan’s LISSOME woman commander, Gouramma, to whom VishnuRaj was a demi-god. She even managed to cure VishnuRaj of diarrhoea and fever with a concoction of CATECHU. She made a straw bed for him, an adequate substitute for the fine UPHOLSTERY that he was used to. His health actually improved because of the spartan diet and the clean air coupled with all the exercise of walking miles everyday. Over time, VishnuRaj, became sympathetic to the cause of the captors- I must mention in PARENTHESES that this is called Stockholm syndrome. This was surprising to Dheerappan. Slowly and steadily, VishnuRaj was able to soften the attitude of his abductors, make them see reason and almost got to the point of securing his own release.  The Government, which first thought it was DEMEANing to give into the demands of the villain, finally decided to relent and was about to ISSUE orders for quashing the 28 criminal cases against Dheerappan, in order to secure the release of VishnuRaj.  But Dheerappan knew full well that such a pardon would only mean a more concerted effort by the forces to encounter him and shoot him at sight, without any trial. The police and the administration were pleasantly surprised one morning to see VishnuRaj back near a forest outpost. Dheerappan’s only reward for the kidnapping was the snub he gave to the combined might of the police of 3 states. 

Thursday 28 May 2020

No 12947, Thursday 28 May 2020, Hypatia

Day 65 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

Solution to 27A 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.

Congrats for the 25th Grid
8   Carry bag in Savile Row (6) VALISE*
9   Hint from local University before grant's cut (8) INNUENDO {INN}{U}{ENDOw}
10 Spooner’s European spirit for bar frequently hit by players (8) GOALPOST (~pole ghost to goalpost)
11 A small amount of altitude, while cycling (6) EIGHTH (-h)EIGHT(+h)H
12 Push back, relax and shower (8) RESTRAIN {REST}{RAIN}
13 Big game tour is about Nadal’s comeback (6) SAFARI {I{RAFA}S}<=
14 Trying high risk city, avoiding capital (7) IRKSOME {RISK*}{rOME}
17 Repeatedly teach and bore (5,2) DRILL IN [DD]
20 Dull blind alley, with no exit (6) DEADEN {DEAD ENd}
22 Gathered Bond’s superior dominated and impressed (8) EMBOSSED (~m){EM}{BOSSED}
25 Security feature of say, Amartya’s gold (6) CENSOR (~sen's){CENS}{OR} (Correction - SENSOR {SEN'S}{OR} - See comments)
26 Fewer interrupted by essentially loud response to unexpected outburst? (5,3) BLESS YOU {B{LESS}Y}{lOUd}
27 One can fire Bishop restricting progress (8) ?E?O?V?R (Addendum - REVOLVER - {R{EVOLVE}R} - See comments)
28 Slip away, unwinding in the spa, leisurely (6) ELAPSE [T<=]

1   One who destroys deliberately, turning regret to endless evil (8) SABOTEUR {RUE}{TO}{BASe} <=
2   Gamble, saving unlucky quarters (6) BILLET {B{ILL}ET}
 Soft hat from Europe given to fellow explorer in show (6) FEDORA {E} in {F}{DORA}
4   Fine for husband initiating beating is appropriate (7) FITTING (-h+f)FITTING
5   Troublemaker at home before 25, we hear (8) INCENSER {IN}{CENSER}(~sensor)
6   Even Gulf wars got vindictive (8) VENGEFUL*
7   Lady in charge of paper reviewed it, organizing sections (6) EDITOR [T]
15 Faces Doctor Who in secondary performance, say (8) SIDESHOW {SIDES}{WHO*}
16 Drive gran crazy inside swamp area (8) MANGROVE {M{GRAN*}OVE}
At Mangrove forest in Pichavarm near Cuddalore
18 Speaker distorting echoes around posh igloo, perhaps (3-5) ICE-HOUSE {I}{CEHO{U}SE*}
19 Baby facts detailed by nurse..bottles, bad smell.. (7) NEWBORN {NEWs}{BO}{RN}
21 Lace may pass through this small island, on air (6) EYELET (~islet)
23 Billions Retweet about first lady getting military promotion (6) BREVET {B}{R{EVE}T}
24 Actor Kumar, perhaps leaves Kollywood initially after second outing (6) SASHAY {AkSHAY} after {S}

Reference List
University = U, Gold = OR, Bishop = RR, Europe = E, Fellow = F, Fine = F, Husband = H, Speaker = I, Posh = U, Nurse = RN(Registered Nurse), Smell = BO(Body odour), Billions = B, Retweet = RT, Second = S

Wednesday 27 May 2020

No 12946, Wednesday 27 May 2020, Hypatia

Day 64 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

Solution to 4A 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.

1   Tone down regularly after seconds (6) SOFTEN {S}{OFTEN}
4   Switching sides in a dance before boy gains balance (6) ?P?O?B (Addendum APLOMB {A}{P(-r+l)LOM}{B} - See comments)
9   Free diamonds in card game (4) UNDO {UN{D}O}
10 Cops secured criminal caught skipping established rules (3,7) DUE PROCESS {cOPS+SECURED}*
11 Waiter carrying a royal drink (6) BEARER {BE{A}{R}ER}
12 Had initial debates about holy text caused a stir? (8) AGITATED {A{GITA}TE}{De...s}
13 On returning, despised journalist handed over (9) DELIVERED {REVILED<=}{ED}
15 Bothersome annoyance nagging existence, primarily (4) BANE Acrostic &lit
16 Sort text (4) TYPE [DD]
17 See Grants acting prowess (9) GREATNESS*
21 Wealth is, to rich, flaunting something of great value (8) HISTORIC [T]
22 Heading West, VIP entering road to return to safe custody (6) REMAND {R{NAME<=}D}
24 Uncut nude scene or blue movie, eventually released (10) UNCENSORED {NUDE+SCENe+OR}* Semi&lit
25 Counter next to musical instrument (4) TUBA<=
26 Betraying, losing team’s captain for scoring (6) RATING RATtING
27 Acquire flexibility to conceal gut reaction (6) REFLEX [T]

1   Frank, leaving Church again after misdeed (7) SINCERE {CE}{RE}<=>{SIN} Why leaving? See comments
2   “It’s needed for baking”, perhaps Rose said (5) FLOUR (~flower)
3   Support friend or securely hug (7) ENDORSE [T]
5   Allow what a stylist may do to hair (6) PERMIT {PERM IT}
6   Can I age with no wrinkles another time? (4,5) ONCE AGAIN {CAN+I+AGE+NO}*
7   Is coming up with say, boring spelling test to harass (7) BESIEGE {BE{IS<=}{EG}E}
8   Can we order to do something never done before? (3,1,3,6) SET A NEW RECORD {CAN+WE+ORDER}* [RA]
14 Restless Hypatia is on top of case (9) IMPATIENT {I'M}{PATIENT}
16 How a desperate dieter hopes to remain solvent (7) THINNER [DD]
18 Read big novel to summarize (7) ABRIDGE*
19 Spooner disallowed footwear in play area (7) SANDBOX (~ banned sox to sandbox)
20 Prayer from soldiers is working (6) ORISON {OR}{IS}{ON}
23 Picked up courage to lead, perhaps (5) METAL(~mettle)
Reference List
Seconds = S, Boy = B, Diamonds = D, Caught = C, Royal = R, Journalist = ED, Road = RD, Church = CE, Again = RE, Soldiers = OR

Dr RKE's TalePiece

Vasanth Ram (VR), is the new phenomenon in Kollywood. Having DELIVERED 3 films in a row with a spectacular BOX office RATING in a year, the fans of this director are waiting to see if he can ONCE AGAIN re-create the magic with his new venture, a HISTORICal, based on an ABRIDGEd version of the 4-volume novel, Ponniyin Selvan. Many Chennai film producers BESIEGEd him to ENDORSE the film, as they believe this film can SET A NEW RECORD in collections, but VR has chosen a Malaysian backer to finance the project.

VR has gone through the DUE PROCESS of obtaining the necessary PERMIT for using the Thirumalai Naicker Mahal for the shooting. The IMPATIENT young director, has grown THINNER during the shooting, that often goes on in to the wee hours. He is AGITATED by the numerous hiccups that are BANE in filming this TYPE of a movie. For example, the ASI does not allow him to touch up the peeling plaster on the renowned pillars and so he has to coat them with some FLOUR, to be UNDOne by washing it away after the filming! The saving grace is the hero, playing the role of Vandiyathevan, who is so SINCERE and committed that he even converses with the crew almost by a REFLEX, in classical and not colloquial Tamil.  

 The GREATNESS of the director is the ability to get his actors to etch the character in the minds of the filmgoer indelibly and those who have seen the UNCENSORED rushes are convinced that VR has done this with great APLOMB. Great acting must of course be combined with stunning visuals and a case in point are the scenes shot on the SANDy shores of Kodiakkarai. The music director has chipped in with an arresting background music that is subtly SOFTENed to let you hear the clang of the METAL of the falling sword in the climax scene. Period films are all about getting the costume right and VR’s wife, already a torch BEARER in designing, is said to have surpassed herself in this film. We wait with bated breath for the release of this magnum opus of Vasanth Ram and do wish he will be able to release it on the big screen instead of on Netflix or Amazon Prime!

Tuesday 26 May 2020

No 12945, Tuesday 26 May 2020, Spinner

Day 63 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

Solution to 13A 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.

1   Unsettled ringmaster goes around calling those not doing their job from home, perhaps? (7,7) MIGRANT WORKERS {RINGMASTER}* over {WORK}
10 Art backer cutting loss before money diminishes (5) EASES {EASEl}{S}
11 Policy statement’s same, if not altered (9) MANIFESTO*
12 Doctor lot arent patient (8) TOLERANT*
13 Plague due to gathering after game (6) ?N?E?T (Addendum - INFEST {FEST}<=>{IN} - See comments)
15 Introduction to coronavirus : Once sick, no one’s keeping it quiet! (10) CONCEALING {Co...s}{ONCE}{AiLING}
16 Major sporting event up in the air (4) OPEN [DD]
19 “Pastries, a dozen of these for an Anna!” (4) PIES [DD]
20 Sick at home, cured on picking up Spinner special! (10) INDISPOSED {IN}{D{I}{SP}OSED}
23 Hasty mix-up involving money for transport vessels (6) YACHTS {YA{C}HTS*}
25 Committed establishment overcoming devilish law (8) STALWART {ST{LAW*}ART}
27 Presence of former flame entices unexpectedly (9) EXISTENCE {EX}{ENTICES*}
28 Yellowish mineral having traces of carbon and hydrogen (5) OCHRE {O{Ca...n}{Hy...n}RE}
29 Carriage patron saint arranged with love after unending struggle (14) TRANSPORTATION {PATRON+SAINT+O}* after {TRy}

2   Silence on organized incivility (9) INSOLENCE*
3   Serve red cocktail cold (8) RESERVED*
4   Perhaps, Venus rover’s taking directions with computer network (2,4,4) NO MANS LAND {NOMAD} over {N}{S}{LAN}
5   Flash wife’s tattoo (4) WINK {W}{INK}
6   Concentrate on penalty (6) REFINE {RE}{FINE}
7   With no resistance, guarantee result (5) ENSUE ENSUrE
8   Cut/shaved with edges of table knife (7) SHORTEN {SHOR{Ta...fE}N}
9   Busy architect forgoing art for a change (6) HECTIC arCHITECt*
14 Allegation of India’s workers being forced into tight corners (10) INDICTMENT {INDIC}{Tig{MEN}hT}
17 Weird, is a topic involving husband’s nut (9) PISTACHIO {IS+A+TOPIC}* over {H}
18 With pressure, betray or reveal details (5,3) SPELL OUT {SELL OUT} over {P}
19 Compensation for extremely weary labourers overwhelmed by bug from the east (7) PAYMENT {TAP<=} over {w..rY}{MEN}
21 Hesitate as date’s here, topless (6) DITHER {D}{hITHER}
22 Data includes upper level (6) STATUS {STAT{U}S}
24 Tea infused with peeled mint in earthenware (5) CHINA {CH{mINt}A}
26 Cross domain token revealed (4) INTO [T]

Reference List
Money = S, Spinner = I, Special = SP, Money = C, Wife = W, On = RE, Resistance = R, Husband = H, Pressure = P, Date = D, Upper = U, Tea = CHA

Dr RKE's TalePiece

Ram Pershad was one of those numerous MIGRANT WORKERS from Bihar, who led a hand-to-mouth EXISTENCE in the bastis of Delhi. He naturally could not put any money away for the rainy day from his meagre PAYMENT. On March 24th when the lockdown was announced to contain the spread of coronavirus, that deadly scourge from CHINA, he assumed that it would be only for a week or two and thought he could manage staying behind in Delhi. Well, that was not to be- the lockdown extended INTO the second phase and he was looking for TRANSPORTATION to go back to his village in Samastipur. The Delhi Government had not clearly SPELT OUT its evacuation plan and whether the bus service would OPEN or not.  So, without DITHERing any further, he bundled his paltry belongings on his head and started walking the 1000 km to his village, TOLERANT of the hunger and the heat.   On the outskirts of Delhi, a relief camp had been put up to EASE the hunger of the masses but the HECTIC efforts by volunteers proved insufficient and the food supplied got over in a WINK.   Add to that the INSOLENCE of the officials, who were keener on delivering the right soundbites to the media, rather than actually helping out the hapless.

Ram Pershad reached the Delhi UP border but the UP officials permitted no one to enter. He spent a night at the NO MAN’S LAND between the two states. He was too tired to notice that the place was INFESTed with mosquitoes and he fell asleep in an instant. He had a dream of a yogi with a REFINEd demeanor, dressed in an OCHRE robe, awakening him and guiding him to a RESERVED seat on a luxury bus. What do they say about the power of dreams? There was no CONCEALING of his joy when he woke up and found that the UP government had indeed arranged buses to SHORTEN their journey home.  Ram Pershad was in no doubt about the STATUS of the man he saw in his dream, are you?  

Monday 25 May 2020

No 12944, Monday 25 May 2020, Dr. X

Day 62 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

Solution to 13D 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.

1   Increases speed of walking to twice as much getting more gaps between lines (6-7) DOUBLE-SPACING {DOUBLES}{PACING}
8   Avoid a horribly maintained American state (5) IDAHO [T]
9   Son felt sad about rebellious tiff primarily hurting pride (4-5) SELF-WORTH {S}{ELF{ROW<=}T*}{Hu...g}
11 Emulate move to protect veteran endlessly facing prosecution (6, 4) FOLLOW SUIT {F{OLd}LOW}{SUIT}
12 Amazon native settled around island (4) TUPI {PUT<=}{I}
14 Hooligans yearn to enter fights (7) ROWDIES {ROW{DIE}S}
16 Thrill to receive bonus salary (7) STIPEND {S{TIP}END}
17 Calm because wise person controls union (7) ASSUAGE {AS}{S{U}AGE}
19 Fellows spending money on grand celebration to impress (7) ENGRAVE {mEN}{G}{RAVE}
21 One gets pain around pelvic bones (4) ILIA {1}{AIL<=}
22 Risky choice to install a Republican (10) PRECARIOUS {PREC{A}{R}IOUS}
25 Exotic woman in ultimately revealing thong, one that's worn in bed (9) NIGHTGOWN {W+IN+r...nG+THONG}*
26 A little offensive, sour smell (5) ODOUR {Of...e}{DOUR}
27 Conserving energy, fight and rush around ring to seek vengeance (2, 3, 3, 5) BE OUT FOR BLOOD {B{E}OUT}{F{ORB}LOOD}

2   Unwritten rules in Judaism, old and realistic about everything (4, 3) ORAL LAW {O}{R{ALL}AW}
3   Revolting attempt to spread ghastly bacilli round in this type of warfare (10) BIOLOGICAL {BACILLI+O}* over {GO<=}
4   Stops losing head and relaxes (5) EASES cEASES
5   Mate with damsel over one oriental mattress (9) PALLIASSE {PAL}{L{1}ASS}{E}
6   Overwhelmed by endless expenditure, wife intimidates (4) COWS {CO{W}St}
7   Help to sprint around track, climbing with energy (7) NURTURE {RUN<=}RUT<=}{E}
8   Notice how soldiers march (11) INFORMATION {IN FORMATION}
10 One using shears and drier? (11) HAIRDRESSER [CD] &lit See comments
13 Being finally rather messy, tucking into chicken — need this? (6, 4)  ?I?G?R ?O?L (Addendum - FINGER BOWL {F{BEING+r...eR}*OWL} - See comments) Semi&lit
15 Abstains from exercises eventually and weakens (6, 3) SWEARS OFF {e...eS}{WEARS OFF}
18 Fish for eels and small carp (7) SNIGGLE {S}{NIGGLE}
20 Associate gets largely melancholic on old sherry (7) AMOROSO {A}{MOROSe}{O}
23 Malignancy killing club chairperson? (5) CANER CANcER
24 Westernmost Aleutian island, part of great Tundra (4) ATTU [T]

Reference List
Son = S, Island = I, Union = U, Money = M, Grand = G, Republican = R, Woman = W, Energy = E, Attempt = GO, Oriental = E, Wife = W, Small = S, Associate = A, Old = O, Club = C

Dr RKE's TalePiece

The Bamboo Bazaar you see today in Shivajinagar, Bengaluru has mostly wooden furniture shops and only one or two CANERs still in operation. About 40 years back, walking on the street, one could smell the ODOUR of fresh bamboo because there were many shop-cum-workshops here. Mohamed Sulaiman, owner of Ayesha Rattan Furnitures in this bazaar, had NURTUREd his business carefully for 25 years. His specialty was a sturdy cane jhoola (swing) with a soft PALLIASSE. There were many swings of all sizes stacked PRECARIOUSly on the front of his shop, but his errand boy, Jaffar, could pick out the one you wanted even as Sulaiman saab engaged you in a banter. Since you can't ENGRAVE letters on bamboo, they would only stick a label on the sold product but Sulaiman would assure the buyer that even without the label, his swings could be identified by their unique workmanship in the unlikely event of any repair. 

This proud craftsman of high SELF WORTH was in a turmoil as he aged. He had no BIOLOGICAL heir to hand over his business to, as his only son employed in the merchant navy, was killed in a shipping accident off ATTU island near Alaska. Many similar shops in the vicinity had closed down, unable to face the competition from modern wooden and steel furniture shops but Sulaiman did not FOLLOW SUIT. A commercial property developer who had acquired the neighbouring shops, wanted to demolish the half-century old buildings to build a huge furniture showroom and was OUT FOR Sulaiman's BLOOD, irked by the old man's refusal to give up. ROWDIES had been sent to threaten Sulaiman. They roughed him up but in spite of sustaining fractures in his ILIA, Sulaiman refused to COW down. His erstwhile errand boy Jaffar, now a grown man, was there to ASSUAGE Sulaiman and looked after him as his own father. Sensing his end was near, Sulaiman, who had paid Jaffar only a meagre STIPEND all these years, called him one day and handed over a document neatly typed in DOUBLE SPACING. Sulaiman had bequeathed the shop and the business to Jaffar with the condition that it must not be sold as long as Sulaiman was alive. I gather INFORMATION that Sulaiman died shortly thereafter. Jaffar has sold the old shop and moved to Sultanpalya, where he continues the tradition in a newer, bigger place called "Sulaiman Cane Zone".

Sunday 24 May 2020

Special, Sunday 24 May 2020, Rennar

Day 61 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

Welcome to our new setter RENNAR. Bouquets and brickbats welcome.

Three answers per commenter till 6 PM (Annotations compulsory)
Please submit all your answers in one comment. 


1   Tedious to observe perhaps (7)
5   Die hard priests possibly (7)
9   Seasons of gold and broken nuts around beginning of March (7)
10 License to kill mum (7)
12 Be specific about distributing sail pieces (10)
13 Work hard in spent oilcan factory (4)
14 Bones buried in mortar silt (5)
15 An event featuring fashionable investigator and specialist (8)
17 Make love accelerate in and leave fast (5-3)
19 Broken almond not new, average (5)
21 Street child with a conditional clause (4)
22 Chef cooked double corn (6, 4)
24 My uncle mostly spreads a slander (7)
25 Calm sailor with your initial song (7)
26 Prison time to extend (7)
27 Deal won’t change without a disappointment (7)

2   Provide two-third horsepower (5)
3   Doorman delivery (7)
4   Asian norm broken in Capital city (3, 6)
6   Superior drunk in East England (5)
7   Fragrant small decent dressing (7)
8   No elastic made in parts (9)
11 Lie to girl in class, we hear (9)
14 She tore a garment on Tuesday (9)
16 Compile about old city’s calmness (9)
18 File suit about very loud American spread (7)
20 Expert lost blood that splashed (7)
22 Inefficiency nicely conceals faultfinder (5)
23 The Spanish tie joint (5)

Across Lite version can be accessed at RENNAR 1


The Sunday Crossword No 3101, Sunday 24 May 2020

Day 61 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

1   Become reconciled to US rock band (and what they wear) (4-3-4-2) KISS-AND-MAKE-UP {KISS}{AND}{MAKE UP}
8   Averse to walnut oil every now and then (4) ANTI {wAlNuT}{oIl}
9   Prince Andrew, say, visibly ashamed: it’s a big deal (5,5) ROYAL FLUSH {ROYAL}{FLUSH}
10 Japanese discipline, computing, hard to get to highest point (6) ZENITH {ZEN}{IT}{H}
11 Old drunkards hurl crockery (8) TOSSPOTS {TOSS}{POTS}
12 Set off explosive in pursuit of bit of sediment here? (5,4) STRIP MINE {TRIP}MINE} after {Se...t} &lit
14 Scandinavian with some belief in Nordism (4) FINN [T]
15 Fill up with seconds devoured? (4) SATE {S}{ATE}
16 Times of day when sight wilts almost hazily? (9) TWILIGHTS {SIGHT+WILTs}*
20 Dancing seen around here drunkenly? (4,4) BEER HALL {B{HERE*}ALL} &lit
21 Gestures showing respect; king, on reflection, observed around 50 (6) KNEELS {K}{S{L}EEN<=}
23 Timeless, warmer, quiet composition of Britten? (3,7) WAR REQUIEM {WARMER+QUIEt}* Composition on double duty
24 Comic character landed? Not half (3,1) ALI G ALIGhted
25 Feel overwhelmed? Town begged God for release (3,6,4) GET BOGGED DOWN*

1   Almost all German children say ‘thankyou’ at first: most agreeable (7) KINDEST {KINDEr}{Say}{Th...u}
2   Primarily, stories concerning imagined fantastical impacts? (3-2) SCI-FI Acrostic &lit
3   A Hindu god, minutes later, becomes Jewish patriarch (7) ABRAHAM {A}{BRAH(-m)A(+m)M}
4   Creating barriers, arousing any strong-willed characters (3-5,7) DRY-STONE WALLING*
5   Finally, he with weight on shoulders given time (2,4) AT LAST {ATLAS}{T}
6   Covering up European cuts in Guardian’s leader (9) ECLIPSING {E}{CLIPS}{IN}{Gu...n}
7   Afghan people joke about a quiet time (7) PASHTUN {P{A}{SH}{T}UN}
13 Revamped teleprinter, ignoring the French, to decode (9) INTERPRET TElePRINTER*
15 Informed about Hebrews’ affair (7) SHEBANG {S{HEB}ANG}
17 According to Spooner, Everyman’s dressed hurriedly (4,3) LIKE MAD (~ my clad)
18 To make up tale about Khuzdul, for starters – and Sauron, in the end – he did! (7) TOLKIEN {TO}{L{Kh...l}IE}{s...oN} &lit
19 Shakespearean character, Caliban, quotable to some extent (6) BANQUO [T]
22 Muse sequester a tourbus? Not entirely (5) ERATO [T]

Reference List
Computing = IT, Hard = H, Seconds = S, King = K, 50 =L, Time = T, Minutes = M, European = E, Quiet = SH

Saturday 23 May 2020

No 12943, Saturday 23 May 2020, Dr. X

Day 60 of 68 Stay safe at home
(I am maintaining lockdown till 31 May)

1   Urge only son to tackle humiliation resulting from failure (3, 2, 4, 4) EGG ON ONES FACE {EGG ON}{ONE}{S}{FACE}
8   Appears in sober, ethnic cap (5) BERET (T)
9   Trouble in oil rig! Mob goes berserk (9) IMBROGLIO {OIL+RIG+MOB*}
11 Erroneous warning of a large animal entering ranch (5, 5) FALSE ALARM {F{A}{L}{SE AL}ARM}
12 Disastrous day for fellow in sack (4) DIRE {(-f+D)IRE}
14 Unfaithful cheat thrown out fast (7) INSTANT {INconSTANT}
16 Island besieged by giant iguanas (7) ANTIGUA (T)
17 Foolish people scoring ecstasy, loosened remarkably (7) NOODLES {LOOSENeD*}
19 Clue is a little difficult to crack, getting drained (7) SLUICED {CLUE+IS+Difficult*}
21 Essentially revolutionary idea to isolate atom (4) IOTA (T<=)
22 Furious about inconsiderate swimmer (10) DAMSELFISH {MAD<=}{SELFISH}

25 Member of infantry battling near ridge (9) GRENADIER {NEAR+RIDGE*}
26 Ill-suited husband leaves bash to take rest (5) INAPT {hI{NAP}T}
27 Criminal, relentless, turning into a horror (13) CONSTERNATION {CON}{STERN}{INTO+A*}

2   Ripples caused by government forces arresting liberal (7) GURGLES {G}{URG{L}ES}
3   Where menu might be //  up for discussion (2, 3, 5) ON THE TABLE (DD)
4   Partly raise remarkable ironclad bay window (5) ORIEL (T<=)

5   Oriental mob outside blockade starting to roar in distress (9) EMBARRASS {E}{M{BAR}{Roar }ASS}
6   Carnivorous mammal around stream (4) FLOW {WOLF<=}
7   Embrace a trainee entering job (7) CALLING {C{A}{L}LING}
8   Supporting boy extinguishing fire raging inside (11) BEFRIENDING {B}{E{FIRE*}NDING}
10 Gates: What we do is  // straightforward (4-3-4) OPEN-AND-SHUT (DD)
13 Start to thwack and smack revolting drunk in a bar as fast as possible (2, 4, 4) AT FULL TILT {A}{Thwack}{FULL}{LIT<=}{T} Smack=Full?
15 Reject tendency to accept a little openly rebellious impudence (4, 5) TOSS ASIDE {T{Openly}{SA SS<=}IDE}
18 Mobile phone got damaged, no power (2, 3, 2) ON THE GO {pHONE+GOT*}
20 Smart associate joins force in American city (7) CHICAGO {CHIC}{A}{GO}
23 Seductress is wrong to embrace husband, leaving girl upset (5) SIREN {SI{hER<=}N}
24 Girl in group wants cocaine (4) LASS {cLASS}

Reference List

Son=S, Large=L, Ecstacy=E, Husband=H, Government=G, Liberal=L, Oriental=E, Trainee=L, Bar=T, Power=P, Associate=A, Cocaine=C

Colour/Font Scheme

DefinitionSolutionComponent lettersEmbedded linksTheme word Anagram IndicatorC/C indicatorReversal IndicatorHidden word IndicatorLetter Pick indicatorDeletion IndicatorHomophone IndicatorMovement IndicatorPositional IndicatorSubstitution, IndicatorOpposite indicatorLink/Connector, Extraneous

Dr RKE's TalePiece

The ANTIGUA national stadium at St.Johns is so close to the sea that on a quiet day, you can hear the GURGLES of the Ayer's Creek, when in full FLOW, SLUICing into the sea. CHICAGO FC, the famous football team was to play Antigua in this picturesque stadium.Jack Smith, the captain of the visiting team was admiring the view from the ORIEL in his hotel room, when a sexy SIREN, walked in through the open door of the room. She hugged him from behind and much to his CONSTERNATION whispered something into his ear. She left in an INSTANT. At first Smith thought of CALLING the police, but he wasn't sure if it was only a FALSE ALARM. He certainly did not want to have EGG ON his FACE and EMBARRASS his team. Smith went AT FULL TILT to the manager of the FC who TOSSed ASIDE the cup of NOODLES that he was eating ON THE TABLE and paid full attention to his captain. The manager said "Jack, you play your game, I'll look after the matter". 

The manager conferred unofficially with the Superintendent of the Police, whom he had BEFRIENDed at the welcome party, the previous evening. The SP had not an IOTA of doubt that the LASS had been sent by a bookie, who would have lost much if Chicago FC had won the game. She had tersely told Smith "Watch out, baby. You lose today, I'm all yours. You win and you are dead meat". The police chief, removed his BERET, stroked his balding pate thoughtfully for a while and said "it is an OPEN AND SHUT case. Go, tell Smith to play well, I can FISH out that DAMSEL and also the creep who is behind her". The SP, an ex-GRENADIER in the British Army, swung into action as only an army man can. The girl was picked up sunbathing on the beach. The SP made a short work of getting her to squeal. The bookie was booked and while ON THE GO,  they picked up evidence of many similar offences in the past. The lightning action by the cops prevented a DIRE IMBROGLIO.