Tuesday 30 June 2020

No 12975, Tuesday 30 Jun 2020, Dr. X

Solution to 20D 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   Elite police unit’s hesitation after one escapes in mist (4, 4) SWAT TEAM {S{WAiT}TEAM}
5   Expels eastern residents? Not acceptable (6) EGESTS {E}{GuESTS}
10 Scrutiny of South American country disregarding drug trade (7) PERUSAL {PERU}{SALe}
11 Lie low perhaps, finding large source of fuel (3, 4) OIL WELL  {LIE+LOW}*{L}
12 Some American plant (5) ERICA [T]
13 Come in! Go out with oriental vegetable (9) COURGETTE {COUR{GET}T}{E}
14 Girl in dire state, about to fall apart (12) DISINTEGRATE {G+IN+DIRE+STATE}*
18 Train workers in relevant special jobs (12) APPOINTMENTS {AP{POINT}{MEN}T}{S}
21 Tiger seen around national park (9) SERENGETI*
23 Finish a decanter containing spirit (5) SHADE [T]
24 Effective in most tense scene (7) TABLEAU {T{ABLE}AUt}
25 Rebellious man in attack around Germany, fanatic (7) DIEHARD {DI{HE<=}AR<=}{D}
26 Very angry, sore after English victory (4, 2) EVER SO {SORE}* after {E}{V}
27 Move to install program for trading (8) SWAPPING {SW{APP}ING}

DOWN
1   Soldier’s son, stylish, needs no introduction (6) SAPPER {S}{dAPPER}
2   Skilful lawyer rejected nonsense to catch essence of lie (6) ADROIT {DA<=}{RO{lIe}T}
3   Italian conductor in study breaks into extraordinary rendition heartily (9) TOSCANINI {TO{SCAN}IN*}{r..dIt..n}
4   Very favourable situation resulting from a job at a British tabloid (1, 5, 2, 3, 3) A PLACE IN THE SUN [DD]
6   Restrain university student inside political labour camp (5) GULAG {G{U}{L}AG}
7   Weird prince in faction, killing Khashoggi finally in attack (8) SPECTRAL {S{P}ECT}{RAiL}
8   Delivers jars coated with lustrous metal (8) SILVERED*
9   What guy finding lover’s husband at doorstep might do to disappear? (2, 3, 3, 6) GO OUT THE WINDOW [CD]
15 Turn in match with finest catches snatched primarily at cover (2, 2, 5) GO TO SLEEP {GO}{TO{Sn...d}{LEE}P}
16 Audiotape prepared in class (8) CASSETTE {CAS{SET}TE}
17 Bit of pus in infected ear lobe can be treated by surgery (8) OPERABLE {Pus} in {EAR+LOBE}*
19 Foremost nationalist leaves to take command in African country (6) MALAWI {MA{LAW}In}
20 Old sailor in a little skiff say, tackling trouble (3, 3) ?E? D?G (Addendum - SEA DOG {Sk..f}{E{ADO}G} - See comments)
22 Demands new contracts after firing director (5) NEEDS {N}{dEEDS}

Reference List
Eastern = E, Acceptable = U, Large = L, Drug = E, Oriental = E, Girl = G, Special = S, Germany = D, English = E, Victoery = V, Son = S, Lawyer = DA, University = U, Student = L, Prince = P, Nationalist = N, New = N, Director = D


Dr RKE's TalePiece

Ms. ERICA Summers picked up a CASSETTE of the film “A PLACE IN THE SUN” from the video rentals. Her live-in boyfriend, Jordan SAPPER, was a DIEHARD Liz Taylor fan and so the choice of this movie. He was working in the Boston Police Department’s SWAT TEAM and had promised to come home early after SWAPPING duty with a colleague.  She made his favorite minted COURGETTE salad and set it on a SILVERED tray for this special day- the end of one year of being together.  She was sure, on his part, he would pick up the Burnt Caramel, her favorite ice cream from TOSCANINI’s.

They had met while on a holiday at the SERENGETI last year and it was strange for two Bostonians to meet for the first time half way across the globe. They found each other’s company interesting and extended their holiday spending 3 more days at a resort near Lake MALAWI. On their return to Boston, it was initially a matter of pure convenience for them to share an apartment.  Living together, their fondness only grew but they did not want this beautiful relation to DISINTEGRATE and GO OUT THE WINDOW with the domestic demands of being married.  They had seen such fall-outs in EVER SO many instances with their friends that they felt it was ADROIT to keep away any thoughts of raising a family. But it NEEDS to be said that there was a SHADE of a secret longing to become committed. Did they GO TO SLEEP in their own rooms that night is not a matter with which you or I should be concerned. Suffice it for us to have witnessed a beautiful TABLEAU, one made with the vivid SPECTRAL colors of  human relations.

Monday 29 June 2020

No 12974, Monday 29 Jun 2020, Dr. X

Solution to 10A 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   Serious dispute after expensive initiation of Brexit (8) HIGHBROW {ROW} after {HIGH}{Br...t}
5   Hurt and killed around eastern border of Iran (6) OFFEND {OFFE{iraN}D}
10 Bit of tenderness in stomach? Associate gives drop of medicine (5) G?T?A (Addendum - GUTTA {GU{Te...s}T}{A} - See comments)
11 Entertainment in nightclub confounds! In what way? (5, 4) FLOOR SHOW {FLOORS}{HOW}
12 Enthralled by knocking back pegs, women turn heads in middle of racket (5, 4) SWEET SPOT {TEE{W}S<=}{TOPS<=}
13 Leader of Arabs in chamber gets legitimately slaughtered meat (5) HALAL {HAL{Ar..s}L}
14 Wicket! India’s captain unfortunately gone for duck (6) WIGEON {W}{In..a}{GONE*}
15 The wrong time to embrace a mistress (7) HETAERA {THE*}{ERA} over {A}
18 Cut across bog around ridge of hill (7) HOGBACK {H{BOG*}ACK}
20 Wait! Torrent contains electronic trace of malware (6) REMAIN {R{E}{Ma...e}AIN}
22 Reprimand degenerate stealing a dollar (5) ROAST {RO{A}{S}T}
24 One seen in bathroom by wife in a bash, slyly snorting bit of speed (9) WASHBASIN {W}{IN+A+BASH}* over {Sp..d}
25 Saw revolutionary in battle reach the lowest point (6, 3) BOTTOM OUT {B{MOTTO<=}OUT}
26 Essentially erotic on-screen images (5) ICONS [T]
27 Decanter in restaurant contains a spot of rum (6) CARAFE {C{A}{Rum}AFE}
28 Chokes in matches, losing final of tournament for good (8) CONGESTS CON(-t+g)GESTS

DOWN
1   Most monstrous thugs moving around back of house (6) HUGEST {HUG{h..sE}ST*}
2   Buzz after leading heroine enters opening party (9) GATHERING {GAT{He...e}E}{RING}
3   Defeat decisively and violently expose the inferior members? (4, 3, 5, 3) BEAT THE PANTS OFF [C&DD] Was stuck as I entered RIPS for BEAT
 Style of bowling is substandard with shots all round (3-4) OFF-SPIN {OFF}{NIPS<=}
6   At present, cuddling date before night falls (3, 3, 4, 5) FOR THE TIME BEING {BEFORE+NIGHT}* over {TIME}
7   Type of alcohol they served, primarily liqueurs (5) ETHYL {THEY*}{Li...s}
8   Blue stuff in file on computer (8) DOWNLOAD {DOWN}{LOAD}
9   Feverish after consuming bit of opium, cocaine and hard liquor (6) HOOTCH {HO{Op..m}T}{C}{H}
16 Discharges schoolgirl involved in making noise (9) EMISSIONS {E{MISS}IONS*}
17 Enthralling oriental massage, elegant and heavenly (8) CHERUBIC {CH{E}{RUB}IC}
19 Wife took out a little whip! Kneel submissively (6) KOWTOW {TOOK+W}*{Whip}
20 Drunkard involved in dreadful riot for food (7) RISOTTO {RI{SOT}TO*}
21 Charges of commissions! Leading bureaucrat’s expelled (6) ONUSES bONUSES
23 Redesign interior of international terminal (5) ALTER [T]

Reference List
Associate = A, Women = W, Wicket = W, Electronic = E, Dollar = S, Wife = W, Saw = MOTTO, Good = G, Cocaine = C, Hard = H, Oriental = E


Dr RKE's TalePiece

It was a motley GATHERING of the city’s crime syndicate taking place in a secure underground room of a nightclub in the CONGESTed old city of Ahmedabad. The thumping music from the FLOOR SHOW above could be heard and felt here. Ahmed Shabir, the HOOTCH lord of Gujarat, a dry state, was at the head of the table. A woman rumoured to be his HETAERA, periodically refilled his glass from a CARAFE with what looked like white wine but was actually tonic water fortified with a GUTTA of a Unani liver cure. ETHYL alcohol was a strict no for him after his liver transplant surgery. The main course was always RISOTTO with HALAL ROAST beef.

Shabir said “this is our HUGEST opportunity to BEAT THE PANTS OFF of our rival Vaman Mehta.  Vaman’s market share has BOTTOMed OUT after his chief supplier of illegal booze defected to our camp. I see us hitting the SWEET SPOT within weeks.” Shabir was used to all men in the room KOWTOWing to him and so he was surprised that today a young man actually spoke up.  Naren Patel, the young man, was the son of an ex-gangster who had been killed in an encounter, while working for Shabir. Naren looked quite the misfit in this den of crime, what with a CHERUBIC face, a nerd like manner and the casual clothing of jeans and a tee.

Naren brought out his tablet, clicked some ICONS to DOWNLOAD some data and a picture of a policeman. He said “this is SI Subhash Gandhi. He has all the data about our operations on his system. I have managed to hack his computer network and look at this map of Ahmedabad on his system. Everyone of our sales points are marked in red with dates. I am sure he is going to launch a concerted raid. We need to ALTER our plans FOR THE TIME BEING”. The people gathered there stood up and craned their necks to catch a glimpse of their nemesis. Shabir casually walked to the WASHBASIN, putting up an air of not being OFFENDed or angered by this and said coolly, “Arre, REMAIN in your seats. No Gandhi-Shandhi will dare cross my path. You HIGHBROW computer bachchas don’t know the realities of the street. Leave this policewallah to me”. Just as he was saying this there stormed a posse of fully armed policemen with SI Subhash Gandhi leading them.  The entire lot of criminals (except Naren) was rounded up without a single shot being fired. Gandhi shook hands with Naren and said “well my boy, you have discharged your ONUS to your late father”.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Special, Sunday 28 Jun 2020, Mystique

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

(COMMENTS ENTERED WITH LESS THAN THREE ANSWERS/ANNOTATIONS WILL BE DELTED WITHOUT NOTICE, UNLESS THE COMMENTER SPECIFIES THAT IT IS A COMPENSATION FOR A REPEAT)


ACROSS
1   Charge setter crossing back door (6)
4   Hell for sailors of America (8)
10 Hot fibbing taking deeper into country (7)
11 Seventh planet from our sun -a revolving (7)
12 Pen by mythical river (4)
13 At day's close, send something for association (10)
15 Credit a burden for a Titan (6)
16  A pardon may be given to her for opening a deadly box? (7)
19 Pious Ed turned into mama's boy…. (7)
21 …he, after a good cover, sailed smoothly (6)
25 Prophetic article on Middle Eastern country almost on mark (10)
26 Sir isn't hiding flag (4)
28 Fuel kits at a throwaway cost (7)
29 Long pending end of debt (7)
30 A dozen labours he clears surprisingly (8)
31 Whisperings when Caesar was told to be beware of them (6)

DOWN
1   Postcard carrier somehow lacks aim (8)
2   Wild call is partly brutally honest (5-2)
3   Top class silver put up for mother of 15 (4)
5   In Unison, a lad's name roughly taken (2,3,3)
6   A riddle tad difficult? Bosh! (10)
7   Cowboy managed singer (7)
8   Computer operators unmasked brazen spy. SOS! (6)
9   Tag group showing violent behaviour (5)
14 A mint music played of coins (10)
17 Snip ad without bar? Fail to impress (3,2,3)
18 He wandered for a decade on endless travel to America (8)
20 He is to choose gold? No, leader! (7)
22 Made fun of when free in act (7)
23 Fix to assail with a change at last (6)
24 Simon attacked old king (5)
27 Egyptian water body rose for God (4)

Across Lite version can be accessed at MYSTIQUE 2

Enjoy.

The Sunday Crossword No 3106, Sunday 28 Jun 2020


ACROSS
1   In conversation, nag perhaps is grating (6) HOARSE (~horse)
4   Soldier getting into old woman's starter of entrails, wanting seconds and offal dishes (8) HAGGISES {HAG{GI}S}{En...s}{S}
9   Stir an army, to some extent, somewhere in Albania (6) TIRANA [T]
10 Spooner's fervent penguin perhaps gets soy paste (4,4) BEAN CURD (~ keen bird)
12 'A fancy ship'? That's a joke (3-5) ONE-LINER [DD] (Addendum - {ONE}{LINER} - See comments)
13 Lousy fool about to show respect? On the contrary (3-3) TWO-BIT {TI{BOW<=}IT}
15 You're telling me to wink and nod manically before Congress (4,1,4,2) DONT I KNOW IT {TO+WINK+NOD}{IT}
18 I'll eat gelato endlessly, voraciously (it's Italian fare) (11) TAGLIATELLE {ILL+EAT+GELATo}*
21 Mostly regressive rule suppressing the theologian (6) LUTHER {RULe}<= over {THE}
22 Injured veteran English respect (8) VENERATE {VETERAN+E}*
24 A German refused caffeinated concoction: 'This is not skinny' (3-5) FAT-FACED {CAFFeinATED}*
25 Eat too much, and sulk about hollow icing (3,3) PIG OUT {P{IcinG}OUT}
26 Seek damages about Scandinavians becoming members of African Union (8) SUDANESE {SU{DANES}E}
27 Slider prepared for lazy folk (6) IDLERS*

DOWN
1   Drink offering cold comfort? (3,5) HOT TODDY [CD]
2   One wearing green with silver trim, going well together (8) AGREEING {A{GREE{1}N}G}
3   Thin, asinine grin displayed in Hollywood musical (6,2,3,4) SINGIN IN THE RAIN*
5   Primarily: 'Agreed! Manifestly! Endorsed! Naturally!' (4) AMEN Acrostic &lit
6   We don't weigh thin comic for Hollywood drama (4,4,3,4) GONE WITH THE WIND*
7   He painted horses, mostly fat, on a ship (6) STUBBS {S{TUBBy}S}
8   Some caused a terrifying calm (6) SEDATE [T]
11 Before start of Epsom, support horse that's old (13-19 years) (7) TEENAGE {{Ep..m} under {TEE}{NAG}
14 Expected to be amazed when taking in little island (7) AWAITED {AW{A{Is...d}T}ED} (Addendum - {AW{AIT}ED} - See comments)
16 Poultry served in beer for hoodlum (2,6) AL CAPONE {AL{CAPON}E} Appearing in full for a change in Crosswords.
17 Reminders of monsieur being passionate, stone me! (8) MEMENTOS* {M}{MOMENTS*}
19 Isn't honest with banks (6) BLUFFS [DD]
20 Said 'Full!' having swallowed a bit of tomato (6) STATED {S{To...o}ATED}
23 Goes with 'Look up!' (4) SEES [DD] (Addendum - WEES {W}{SEE<=} - See comments)

Reference List
Soldier = GI, Second = S, Congress = IT, English = E, A in German = EIN, Ship = SS, Support = TEE, Monsieur = M, With = W


Saturday 27 June 2020

No 12973, Saturday 27 Jun 2020, KrisKross


ACROSS
1   Caretaker, for the most part, has appropriate clothes (8) WARDROBE {WARD{ROB}Er}
5   Indian state’s move for improvement (6) UPTURN {UP}{TURN}
9   Crooked guide? (8) SHEPHERD (CD)
10 Two vessels retreating to European city (6) KRAKOW {WOK}{ARK}<=
12 What could be bread for a man with many wives (9) BLUEBEARD {BREAD*} Reverse Anagram
13 Borders of Hungary easily accessible (5) HANDY {H AND Y}
14 Bad fortune from mischievous play, they say (4) ?I?S (Addendum - JINX (~jinks) - See comments)
16 Demonstrating loyalty for soldiers (7) SINCERE {SINCE}{RE}
19 Disgusting small criminal trapped in pound (7) SQUALID {S}{QU{AL}ID}
21 One unable to fly overhead, essentially (4) RHEA (T)
24 Balanced, ultimately tight game (5) EVENT {EVEN}{tighT}
25 Justification to share drink (9) RATIONALE {RATION}{ALE}
27 Man is transformed after welcoming one who is his ancestor (6) SIMIAN {MAN+IS*} around {I}
28 Worthy doctor out to block Corona perhaps (8) VIRTUOUS {VIR{OUT*}US}
29 One smuggling // fish (6) RUNNER (DD)
30 Teacher and kid return playing station (8) GARRISON {{SIR}{RAG}<=}{ON}

DOWN
1   Plant used to be somewhat short (6) WASABI {WAS}{A BIt}
2   Foul regularly, breaking rule, confused and repentant (6) RUEFUL {RULE*} around {FoUl}
3   Cure using a herb (5) REHAB {A+HERB*}
4   Boyfriends pinching half your furniture (7) BUREAUS {B{yoUR}EAUS} (Correction - BUREAUX {B{yoUR}EAUX} - See comments)
6   Seat belt can break in the middle possibly (9) PERCHANCE {PERCH}{CAN*}{brEak}
7   More cruel one involved in drunken dancing (8) UNKINDER {I} in {DRUNKEN*}
8   Just married — want to go around with extremely lovely wife (8) NEWLYWED {NE{W}{LovelY}{W}ED}
11 Dads working for tots (4) ADDS {DADS*}
15 Chased by a flirt, KrisKross will be uncomfortable (3,2,4) ILL AT EASE {I' LL}{A}{T EASE}
17 He tests stupid people, therefore, with a bit of revision (8) ASSESSOR {ASSES}{SO}{Revision}
18 Star filled in by American agent about a fantastic role (8) SUPERMAN {SU{{AM}{REP}<=}N}
20 Earth is tired out, with no energy (4) DIRT {TIReD*}
21 Man is terribly upset sampling wine (7) RETSINA T<=
22 Knives and arrows starting to zip around woman killed (6) RAZORS {ARROwS+Zip*}
23 Argue about a boy (6) REASON {RE}{A}{SON}
26 Animal, say, gets beheaded for nothing (5) OTTER {(-u+O)TTER}

Reference List

Indian state=UP, Soldiers=Re, Small=S, Criminal=Al, Pound=Quid, One=A, Playing=On
One=I, With=W, Wife=W, American=Am, Agent=Rep, Energy=E, Woman=W, About=Re, Nothing=O

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

Argus Papadakis married RHEA Makri in a colourful EVENT at the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens on 3rd May (mark this date now, more about it later). The NEWLYWEDs had a blissful first year of marriage. Then, one day, PERCHANCE, while dusting the WARDROBE in their house, Rhea stumbled upon a photo album of Argus. There were pictures which showed him in wedding attire with 3 different women. When she questioned him, his proffered REASON, that they were pictures shot in the plays that he had staged as an amateur stage actor, were unconvincing, to say the least. Although ILL AT EASE with the discovery, Rhea decided to make a SINCERE effort to trace the 3 women in the pictures.  

Looking at the pictures with a magnifying glass she found the date stamp on the photos and they all had been shot on 3rd May but each was 2 years apart from the other. When Argus was away at KRAKOW, Poland for a business trip, she took the pictures to the Greek BUREAU of marriage registration. Her friendship, with a clerk in that office (a schoolmate) came in HANDY to dig out the DIRT. The clerk was surprised that the date was 3rd May, as it is considered a JINX in Greece to get married on that date.  Only a handful would get married that day. So it was easy work for the clerk to get all the weddings registered on that day in each of those years but there was no name of Argus Papadakis. The clerk made enquiries over phone to the brides in the list and in the third try, she found that the woman, a Lydia, had died 5 years back at the age of 28.  Few more calls and she confirmed one more similar “accidental death”. She passed on the information to a RUEFUL Rhea.

When Argus returned from his trip, she treated him lavishly at a dinner with RETSINA, the Greek wine, famed for loosening one’s tongue. Argus called out to her “Lydia, my dear”. The alarm bells went off in the head of the VIRTUOUS Rhea’s head. “It ADDS up” she thought. She went to the police with her suspicions and they were initially unconvinced of her RATIONALE. Nevertheless, they launched an investigation and traced all the 3 women in the photos who had died under uncannily similar circumstances. The insurance ASSESSORs had made huge payments to the deceased’s husband in every case. Though the name of the husband was different, the graphology experts confirmed that the signatures in the insurance papers were all the same and matched with that of Argus. The files of these 3 cases were reopened and Argus was soon arrested.

The SQUALID details were out in the papers and on TV. Argus was called the BLUEBEARD by the press. Nothing could be UNKINDER for Rhea and her ilk than some sections of the media, portraying Argus’s conquests as if he were a SUPERMAN.  

Friday 26 June 2020

No 12972, Friday 26 Jun 2020, Sunnet

RULES FOR POSTING COMMENTS ON FRIDAYS ONLY

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.

PLEASE NOTE, SOLUTIONS WITHOUT ATTEMPTING THE ANNOTATIONS WILL BE DELETED

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.

ACROSS
1   Brew of choice after operation is over (6) POTION (OP<=TION}
4   A chance to house helpers (8) ABETTORS {A}{BET}{TO}{RS}
10 Pine for example is always fresh (9) EVERGREEN {EVER}{GREEN}
11 Alto’s gentleman’s vehicle (5) AGENT {A}{GENT}
12 Gypsy’s design finally is from an Italian city (5) ROMAN {ROMA}{d...gN}
13 Helpful woman is given a gold coin by one (9) EDUCATIVE {E{DUCAT}{1}VE}
14 Caught girl’s jokes (7) SALLIES (~sally's)
16 Bag and belt without cap (4) TRAP sTRAP
19 Unite for a suit (4) CLUB [DD]
21 Breather for boy getting back on trail after disappearance of adult (7) NOSTRIL {SON<=}{TRaIL}
24 Foreigner had daughter transferred (9) ALIENATED {ALIEN}{ATE}{D}
25 Fascinating magazine has one chapter (5) MAGIC {MAG}{1}{C}
26 Part of bank lending (5) ANKLE [T]
27 A parasite ruined some title (9) MISTLETOE*
28 Relish grooming (8) DRESSING [DD]
29 Trips to judge relatives (6) JAUNTS {J}{AUNTS}

DOWN
1   New pictures of a sweet base (3,5) PIE CRUST*
2   Winter wear got from the right shopping areas after spending money (8) THERMALS{THE}{R}{MAlLS}
3   Rag or nag badly (5) ORGAN*
5   Bar’s peaceful without some idiotic feast (7) BANQUET {BAN}{QUiET}
6   Rowdies divide a street and society (9) TEARAWAYS {TEAR}{A}{WAY}{S}
7   Exile Bond’s revolutionary superhuman character (6) OBELIX [T<=]
8   Easy catch for a model (6) SITTER [DD]
9   Note on tax break (6) RECESS {RE}{CESS}
15 Perhaps English setter slurs (9) ISLANDERS {I}{SLANDERS}
17 Cow’s just inside the swamp (8) FRIGHTEN {F{RIGHT}EN}
18 They don’t like working with Cockney girl in informal trousers (8) SLACKERS {SLACK{'ER}S}
20 Spot upper class gentlemen with roofing material (7) BITUMEN {BIT}{U}{MEN}
21 Demand for payment is raised by first naturist (6) NUDIST {DUN<=}{1ST}
22 Tough to take a final letter and guess (6) HAZARD {H{A}{Z}ARD}
23 Bored the French peasant’s representative? (6) SICKLE {SICK}{LE}
25 Take liquor to a Mediterranean island (5) MALTA {MALT}{A}

Reference List
Operation = OP, House = RS(Rajya Sabha), Alto = A, Adult = A, Daughter = D, Chapter = C, Judge = J, Right = R, Money = L, Society = S, On = RE, Upper class = U, The in French = LE


Dr RKE's TalePiece

The Misadventures of Asterix

“The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the ROMANs. Well, not entirely…One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders…

All efforts by Gluteus Maximus to TRAP Asterix, in the EVERGREEN Boulogne forest while on his way to buy a new SICKLE at Lutetia have failed, thanks to the might of his friend OBELIX. The CLUB swinging Obelix owes his superhuman strength to the MAGIC POTION (made of MISTLETOE by the druid Getafix) into which he had fallen as a baby, when his baby SITTER was snoozing. The duo manage to hoodwink the devious Clovagarlix and his ABETTOR Navistrix and lay their hands on a secret underground store of golden sickles.

On their JAUNT back to the village, their NOSTRILs are hit by the scent of roast boar, being cooked for the annual BANQUET. Asterix tells Obelix that PIECRUSTIX, the chief cook for the banquet is an AGENT of Inspector General Overanxius and he could have poisoned the wine to render them comatose. Dogmatix, their faithful canine, SALLIES forth, jumping over the stockade around the village, built by Overanxius to keep the rebel villagers ALIENATED from the rest of Gaul.  Obelix tries the same trick but sprains his ANKLE. Getafix applies a DRESSING and prescribes rest for 2 weeks.

When he is cooling his heels Obelix, normally a SLACKER, hits upon the idea of selling menhirs to Preposterus. Since he cannot carry the menhirs in his indisposed state, he employs ISLANDERS from MALTA. These people, who were NUDISTS back home, resent wearing the THERMALS made of bear skin to protect them from the cold winter of Gaul. Obelix FRIGHTENs them that they run the HAZARD of their ORGANS jellying into BITUMEN, if they TEAR AWAY the bear skin robe….”

Here comes the RECESS in this EDUCATIVE(!) movie, The Misadventures of Asterix, scripted by RKE Goscinny and illustrated  by CGB Uderzo. Await the second half, a saga of valour and cunning, profound and profane, classic and yet modern!

Thursday 25 June 2020

No 12971, Thursday 25 Jun 2020, Sunnet

Solution to 12A 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   Ancient Indians of unknown caste developed outside (6) AZTECS {A{Z}TECS*}
4   Classic message title (8) TEXTBOOK {TEXT}{BOOK}
10 Healer of that woman near Island Street (9) HERBALIST {HER}{BALI}{ST}
11 Old Portuguese territory nearly came back to Australia (5) MACAU {CAMe<=}{AU}
12 Point/Points to a fifty-fifty chance of winning (5) E?E?S (Addendum - EVENS {EVE}{N}{S} - See comments))
13 Again uncorking one gin per cocktail (9) REOPENING*
14 Early sign (7) INITIAL [DD]
16 Endlessly long time (4) YEAR YEARn
19 King has destroyed Henry (4) SHAH {HAS*}{H}
21 Extraordinary growth in chess rating held by my mother (7) MYELOMA {MY}{ELO}{MA}
24 Tory rings for flowers (9) BLUEBELLS {BLUE}{BELLS}
25 Brand-new french net is without cover (5) FRESH {FR}{mESH}
26 Add the previous numbers to get a rowing team (5) EIGHT {2+6=8}
27 Cleaned blood on U.S. coins (9) DOUBLOONS*
28 Doctor stayed with us every third day of the week (8) TUESDAYS {STAYED+US}*
29 Liked to correct before (4,2) TOOK TO {TO}{OK}{TO} Second TO from? See comments

DOWN
1   Strong room on top of a house found around exotic Leh (8) ATHLETIC {AT{LEH*}TIC}
2   10 may use this in old city breaking complicated metric (8) TURMERIC {T{UR}MERIC*}
3   Excellent form (5) CLASS [DD]
5   Randomness of operation in admission (7) ENTROPY {ENTR{OP}Y}
6   Clement’s anger had.. (9) TEMPERATE {TEMPER}{ATE}
7   ..a goblin half hidden by flower (6) ORCHID {ORC}{HIDden}
8   Top of kite’s glued messily? That is an inelegant solution (6) KLUDGE {Kite}{GLUED*}
9   Replaced trim aluminium valve (6) MITRAL {TRIM*}{AL}
15 Settled Indian custom and excise duty initially (9) INHABITED {IN}{HABIT}{Ex...e}{Duty}
17 In pursuit of after school activity (8) HOMEWORK {HOME}{WORK}
18 Toughness of weathered chamois covering maiden (8) MACHISMO {MACHIS{M}O*}
20 Vacation time after Indian festival (7) HOLIDAY {DAY}<=>{HOLI}
21 Queen visiting some ruined place of worship (6) MOSQUE {MOS{QU}E*}
22 Without one having blackmailed (6) ABSENT {A}{B}{SENT}
23 Psychiatrist is taken to the French forest (6) JUNGLE {JUNG}{LE}
25 Leaf following one around (5) FOLIO {FOL}{1}{O}

Reference List
Unknown = Z, Street = ST, Point = EVE, Points = N,S, Henry = H, French = FR, Old city = UR, Operation = OP, Indian = IN,  Maiden = M, Queen = QU, Black = B, The in French = LE, Following = FOL


Dr RKE's TalePiece

“CLASS, pay attention, your HOMEWORK is to write an essay on the AZTECS of Mexico. You should submit it on TUESDAY, neatly written on one side of a FOLIO sheet.  Remember, from this academic YEAR, your class assignments will carry 25 marks and the final examination will be for 75 marks. So, please also inform your friends who may be ABSENT today to complete the task” said Nazreen SHAH, a history teacher in the BLUE BELLS High School, as she left the classroom.

Nazreen Shah was a FRESH appointee who came after a month of the school’s REOPENING following the summer HOLIDAY. The students of standard EIGHT immediately took a liking for her teaching method. She did not merely repeat whatever was in the TEXTBOOK, as their previous Ma’am would, but TOOK TO spinning an engaging story, mixing the facts in seamlessly. The students who hated studying history INITIALly, became her devoted fans. They EVEN began to love the challenge of unusual assignments she gave. They vied with each other to dig up unusual facts for the projects. For example, one student found out that the Aztec HERBALISTs prescribed a tonic of vanilla ORCHID and chocolate to improve the stamina and make them ATHLETIC. Another wrote “the JUNGLEs around the Rio Grande,  provided a cover for some time to the native Aztecs, who fled from the great cities they had INHABITED for centuries, unable to face the persecution by the MACHISMO of the invading Spaniards”.

So, the class was sad to learn that this much-loved teacher would not come for some months. She had to have an operation for replacing her MITRAL valve, damaged by rheumatic fever in childhood. Their English teacher had taught them Alfred Tennyson’s lines “More things are wrought by prayer/ Than this world dreams of ”. Muslim boys, who had never been to a MOSQUE earlier,  were seen praying there for their teacher. A Hindu girl tied up a piece of TURMERIC in a cloth and placed it in front of the Gods in the pooja room of her house and vowed to drop it at the temple, when her teacher got well. Some others KLUDGEd together a gift of a heart held in the palms and presented it to her. We sincerely hope that their prayers would not go in vain.  

Wednesday 24 June 2020

No 12970, Wednesday 24 Jun 2020, Afterdark

Solution to 2D 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
9   Cold and hot times become disorderly for pharmacist (7) CHEMIST {C}{H}{TIMES*}
10 Concern at home against love that’s odd (7) INVOLVE {IN}{V}{LOVE*}
11 Fugitive at last got cover in South Dakota and got away (7) ESCAPED {f...vE}{S{CAPE}D}
12 Blind dog getting tense and primarily aggressive at home (7) CURTAIN {CUR}{T}{Ag...e}{IN}
13 So free, dancing topless at Times hotel for inaugural event (9) THEREFORE {T}{H}{fREE*}{FOR}{Ev..t}
15 Wife’s the first lady to get a braid (5) WEAVE {W}{A}{EVE}
16 A new date bungled? Have a small preferably (7) INSTEAD {1}{N}{DATE*} over {S}
19 Perhaps officer is in complete security (7) SHELTER {SHE{LT}ER}
20 Lively beer, right? (5) ALERT {ALE}{RT}
21 Complain on record to Jesus, perhaps (9) CARPENTER {CARP}{ENTER}
25 Claim it, a terrible suppressing of copy (7) IMITATE [T]
26 Foolish to lose half of the cash while taking grant (7) SHALLOW {caSH}{ALLOW}
28 Mostly unnecessary points... (7) NEEDLES NEEDLESs
29 ...concerning atoms, relative with new advancement at Russia to begin with (7) NUCLEAR {(+n)NU(-n)CLE}{At}{Ru...a}

DOWN
1   Stress on bill to get change perhaps (6) ACCENT {AC}{CENT}
2   Save on spending first, stimulus to come later (6) ?E?C?E (Addendum - RESCUE {RE}{Sp...g}{CUE} - See comments))
3   Stagger to border avoiding military leader (4) LIMP {LI{Mi...y}P}
4   Custodian can be sacked mismanaging the workshop (6) STUDIO cUSTODIan*
5   Provisions (some cereals and livestock) provided at cooking places (8) KITCHENS {KIT}{Ce...s}{HENS}
6   Primarily eccentric, so wife and her direction is all over the place (10) EVERYWHERE {Ec...c}{VERY}{W}{HER}{E}
7   Satisfying prayer with an Indian holy man (8) PLEASANT {PLEA}{SANT}
8   Restriction on rivers for animal (8) REINDEER {REIN}{DEE}{R}
14 Match at centre court with partner finally (10) EVENTUALLY {EVENT}{coUrt}{ALLY}
16 Antiviral distributed, after vacating Vatican and Rome primarily; scare starts for these people (8) ITALIANS  {ANTIvIrAL}*{Sc..e}
17 Sample spice mixed with meal halfway, not in the beginning (8) SPECIMEN {SPICE*}{MEal}{Not}
18 By December, virus essentially will abate and diminish (8) DECREASE {DEC}{viRus}{EASE} Let's hope it happens earlier than that!!
22 Riot is contained within group (6) RISING {R{IS}ING}
23 Probably a telemarketing agent, out of college takes time to become greater (6) TALLER (-c+t)TALLER
24 Pay on delivery first to avoid confrontation (6) REWARD {De...y}<=>{RE}{WAR} (Correction - {RE}{De...y} around {WAR} - See comments)
27 Cars crash on curves (4) ARCS*

Reference List
Cold = C, Hot = H, Against = V, Tense = T, Time = T, Hotel = H, Wife = W, New = N, Small = S, Offiecr = LT(Lieutenant), Right = RT, Bill = AC, Direction = E, River = R, College = C, On = RE


Dr RKE's TalePiece

Angelo Piccini, an ITALIAN CHEMIST, had ESCAPED from the Fascist regime of Mussolini and sought SHELTER in the USA. He was known for his work on NUCLEAR fission. THEREFORE, he was EVENTUALLY recruited for the Manhattan Project, that INVOLVEd the concerted efforts of several scientists. Only the military commanders and Robert Oppenheimer, the chief scientist in the project, knew that the sole aim of the project was to make an atomic bomb. There was an iron CURTAIN of secrecy and the rest of the scientists were only given to understand that they were working for harvesting atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

Angelo Piccini was born as the son of a CARPENTER from Padua. RISING out of his poor circumstances, he was the first from his family to receive a university degree. He had even won a REWARD for the best student scientific paper. While he was engaged in research at Rome, WW II broke out and Italy joined the Axis forces alongside Hitler’s Nazis. EVERYWHERE in the academic circles there was fear that scientists would be forced to work for the war. Piccini, who was strongly anti-Nazi, made the wise move to flee to the US, INSTEAD of being conscripted. He had made his adventurous escape across the hills to France,  fracturing his leg en route. He was RESCUEd by an ALERT shepherdess and sent to Paris. The injury left him with a permanent LIMP.

His scientific passion kept him working on nuclear fission but this PLEASANT natured man did not expect any political power to actually be foolish enough to use the atomic bomb. Piccini was bitterly disappointed when on 6th August 1945, that SPECIMEN of heartlessness of humans, the Little Boy was dropped over Hiroshima. He resigned his job as a protest and became one of the TALLER champions of the antinuclear lobby. He recorded many impassioned pleas under the ARC lights of the STUDIO, in films, appealing in his Italian ACCENT “Say No to the A-bomb”. It is a sad reflection on the SHALLOWness of human nature that such sane voices could do nothing to DECREASE the pile-up of nuclear armaments over the years of the cold war.

Note: This character of the hero of this tale has been WEAVEd imaginarily.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

No 12969, Tuesday 23 Jun 2020, Afterdark

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.

ACROSS
1   It’s a mistake to be airborne drunk, flying over a territory primarily (10) ABERRATION {AIRBORNE+A+Te...y}*
6   Books, arrests a rabblerouser primarily for sarcasm (4) BARB {B}{A}{Ra...r}{B}
10 Harry, old army officer's heartless chief of town (4,5) LORD MAYOR {OLD+ARMY}*{Of...eR}
11 Communication’s about to retreat and go to the back and cover (5) LAYER (-re)LAY(+re<=}ER
12 University matches after work; left to chances (13) OPPORTUNITIES {UNI}{TIES}<=>{OP}{PORT}
14 One run getting past point; England’s top score gets closer (5) NEARS {A}{R} after {N}{E} and {Sc..e}
15 50% scheme on spectacles; loot primarily to dupe student (9) SCHOOLKID {SCHeme}{OO}{Loot}{KID}
17 Sen is upset on glass vials not having class in tests (9) ENSAMPLES {SEN*}{AMPuLES}
21 Small capital provided to take a genre of movie (3-2) SCI-FI {S}{C}{IF}{1}
22 A scam; it’s a wonder perhaps to mastermind (7,6) PYRAMID SCHEME {PYRAMID}{SCHEME}
24 Exhausted don takes whiskey at close (5) WEARY {WEAR}{w...eY}
25 A shot without substance, right before stump and across (9) ASTRADDLE {A}{ShoT}{R}{ADDLE}
26 Verity? No, virtual reality to make a mythical beast (4) YETI vErITY*
27 School is in delight to get uniform (10) ?O?S?S?E?T (Addendum - CONSISTENT {CON{S}{IS}TENT}- See comments))

DOWN
1   Say, Garfield Sobers is everything; complete player, no joking (3-7) ALL-ROUNDER {ALL}{ROUND}{playER}
2   Perhaps English are open in a way, barring upper class at central Essex (9) EUROPEANS {ARE+OPEN}* over {U} and {esSex}
3   Comments on characters (7) REMARKS {RE}{MARKS}
4   Hawkers around the periphery of roadway face trials (7) TRYOUTS {T{Ro...aY}OUTS}
5   Perversely bad orgies arranged at hotel (7) OGREISH {ORGIES*}{H}
7   A ship skirts bay, crossing a gulf (5) ABYSS {A}{SS} over {BaY}
8   Lock new shed (4) BARN {BAR}{N}
9   A little bear, first seen in Ohio is one that suffers from pigmentation issue (6) ALBINO {A}{Li...e}{Bear}{IN}{O}
13 Careful consideration to be given to commercial; point on right is missing (10) ADVISEMENT ADVertISEMENT
16 Geek fined perhaps on border (5-4) KNIFE-EDGE*
18 Persecute shop by end of day on writing (6) MARTYR {MART}{daY}{R}
19 Placing order on new album is a pain in the back (7) LUMBAGO {ALBUM*}{GO}
20 Pacifies border state at meetings (7) SEDATES {StatE}{DATES}
21 Ali gets disciplined in college/school after some silly overtures at gatherings (7) SOCIALS {C}{ALI*}{S} after {Some}{Ov...s}
22 Factory worker is behind power and money (5) PLANT {ANT}<=>{P}{L}
23 Ottawa youth arrested outside (4) AWAY [T]

Reference List
Book =B, About = RE, Work = OP, Run = R, Point = N, England = E, Spectacles = OO, Class = U, Small = S, Capital = C, Right = R or RT, Upper class = U, On = RE, Hotel = H, Ship = SS, New = N, Point = E, Writing = R, Order = GO, College = C, School = S, Power = P, Money = L


Dr RKE's TalePiece

George Munro’s father had been MARTYRED in the Third Carnatic war. As a SCHOOLKID, he had been taken back to England by his mother, mainly to protect his ALBINO skin from getting burnt in the heat of India. Even when AWAY in England, the young George, was dreaming of career OPPORTUNITIES back in the land of his birth. He was an ALL ROUNDER, excelling in cricket and horse riding as much as in studies.

George Munro returned as an agent of the British East India Company in 1793 to Chandanagore, where his WEARY father had laid down his life 30 years ago fighting the French.  George Munro, though an EUROPEAN, (unusually for his times), had a kind heart that went out for the coloured. He was one of those few in the Company, who walked the KNIFE EDGE of being loyal to the masters and also being compassionate to his subjects. He earned at the same time excellent REMARKS from the Governor of Madras and the affection of the natives.    His elevation as the LORD MAYOR of Madras city in 1805, at the young age of 45 was not seen as any ABERRATION.

As Lord Mayor, he was also responsible for dispensing justice to Indians, as the established Madras court only TRied OUT disputes between the white men. In this capacity, a case that came in for his ADVISEMENT appeared quite unusual. The allegation by one Karuppusamy, a  farmer, was that his BARN was repeatedly raided every night and grain stolen. He blamed his neighbour, Vellaiyan, for the theft. Vellaiyan pleaded that he was innocent. George Munro set out solo to investigate. He was ASTRADDLE his horse that evening riding 30 miles to the village near Conjeevaram. Going round the barn, he found a gaping hole in the BARBed picket around it. He left his horse at a distance and AFTER DARK, he lay in wait for the perpetrator, unseen in LAYERs of dark clothing, hidden by the PLANTS around, unmindful of the LUMBAGO, caused by crouching for long.

In the dead of the night, an OGREISH figure appeared made its way through the hole in the picket and was about to get away with a sac full of grain, when the strong arm of the Mayor, gripped its hand. Munro tore off the mask of the thief. Lo and behold, it was Karuppusamy himself! It was revealed that he was doing this to settle scores with Vellaiyan, whom he suspected was in a clandestine affair with his wife. Karuppusamy had naively SCHEMEd of framing Vellaiyan for the theft.  The kind hearted Munro, called the three of them the next morning, gave them sage counsel, warned them and let them off. CONSISTENT dispensations of justice in this manner earned him the sobriquet “vellai dorai”, the Lord who is white in the skin and at heart.

Note: This tale is entirely fiction

Monday 22 June 2020

No 12968, Monday 22 Jun 2020, Skulldugger

Solution to 24A 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   Dull dog running amok in filthy place (6) STODGY {ST{DOG*}Y}
4   Scolding sailor (6) RATING [DD]
9   Bond secured by banknotes (4) KNOT [T]
10 Saw repair easily done (4,4,2) LAID EYES ON*
11 Mystical symbol found in British island or Asian territory (6) BRUNEI {B}{RUNE}{I}
12 Central principle in toy seen by Kirkpatrick (8) KEYSTONE {Ki...k}{TOY+SEEN}* What is the Anind?
13 Love poems by loony lasses overwhelmed regent (9) MADRIGALS {MAD}{RI}{GALS} RI/Regent?
15 Exploits laws (4) ACTS [DD]
16 Reddish-purple benches for the audience (4) PUCE (~pews)
17 Attractive-looking after side change (9) APPEALING APPEA(-r+l)LING
21 Rum label redesigned for protection (8) UMBRELLA*
22 Revolutionary’s stone-filled coffers (6) CHESTS {CHE{ST}S}
24 Winters when the bears in limbo (10) ?I?E?N?T?S  (Addendum - HIBERNATES* &lit- See comments)
25 Jagged hill by mountain side (4) TORN {TOR}{m...iN}
26 Understood right away and spoke breathlessly (6) GASPED GrASPED
27 Nation is legitimate after a promotion (6) ISRAEL {IS}{R(+a)AE(-a)L}

DOWN
1   Crooned revolutionary tune with drink (7) SANGRIA {SANG}{AIR<=}
2   Regularly decimal! (5) OFTEN {OF TEN}
3   Unmanned horse! (7) GELDING [CD]
5   Primate from Madagascar? Yes, indeed (3-3) AYE-AYE {AYE}{AYE}
6   Foreign dialect is not at all dissimilar (9) IDENTICAL {DIALECT+IN}* Is or In?Seems to be an error here
7   Dogs run amok in estate surroundings (7) GROUNDS*
8   Lens kit largely happens to improve boozy visions (4,9) PINK ELEPHANTS {LENS+KIT+HAPPENs}*
14 Archivists’ instruments (9) RECORDERS [CD]
16 Persistently questioning ditching duke for prince (7) PUMPING (-d+p)PUMPING
18 Tolerates old flame’s pointless bad language (7) EXCUSES {EX}{CUsSES}
19 North-flowing brown river not man-made (7) NATURAL {TAN<=}{URAL}
20 Deflect German weapon (6) GLANCE {G}{LANCE}
23 Outside art retrospective by person in Bollywood scene (5) EXTRA {EX}{ART<=}

Reference List
British = B, Island = I, Side = L,R, Stone = ST, Right = R, Duke = D, Prince = P, Old flame = EX, German = G


Dr RKE's TalePiece
No tale today as the Dr is busy