The Stickler Weekly 163 Solution

A regular poster around these parts is Arthur Maynard, a cryptic crossword junkie who spends a lot of time trying to pass on his cryptic knowledge to others. He mentioned a short time ago about his attempt to solve a Guardian cryptic by Crucible that contained a theme that wasn’t stated, and lots of slang English terms he didn’t know. It’s a dilemma for solvers in Australia, both novices and experienced ones, as there aren’t many appropriate crosswords that celebrate Australian culture and words and have a style that provides the foundation needed to tackle the celebrated more difficult crosswords. When solvers want to look beyond the locally-produced product, what choices are there? It’s not surprising that UK newspapers carry UK-centric crosswords – that’s their traditional market and there’s no need for them to try and engage the whole world. There are, of course, pockets of UK-born solvers scattered around the world who can access crosswords online and are mostly familiar with the culture and language, but very few newspapers actively seek solvers outside their local sphere. Foreign-based solvers, as such, are forced to adapt to them, rather than the other way round. One newspaper that does make an effort is the Financial Times (FT) which is described on Wikipedia as “an English-language international daily newspaper”. I wrote cryptics for the FT for a couple of years after a friend suggested that it was a potential outlet for me since they discouraged the parochial nature that dominates most of the crosswords in the UK. As it turned out, he was right, and I basically produced Stickler Weekly-style cryptics keeping the Australian references to a minimum.
The FT cryptic has two other things going for it: all the crosswords are available free online (for the time being at least) and there are many different setters, providing a great deal of variety. After you’ve finished the Stickler Weekly this week, gives some a go.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PROVINCE
Area in front of courthouse featured in show (8) [IN + (C)OURTHOUSE] inside PROVE
5 SOFTEN
Tone down opening of song again and again (6) (S)ONG + OFTEN
9 ANIMAL MAGNETISM
An enigmatic mate smiling about mother with personal charm (6,9) AN + anagram of MATE SMILING outside MA
11 ONE-MAN BAND
Soloist on label rewound tape (3-3,4) ON + (NAME reversed) + BAND
12 COPS
Catchers of prime suspects primarily? (4) (C)atchers (O)f (P)rime (S)uspects
13 ALLOWS
Large base bordered by, for instance, green lights (6) (L + LOW) inside AS
15 BEATNIKS
Head of brotherhood takes in terribly young people who are unconventional (8) (B)ROTHERHOOD + anagram of TAKES IN
18 MONEY BOX
One involved in my fight with coin collector (5,3) ONE inside MY + BOIX
19 TAUGHT
Gave lessons in expression of tense (6) Sounds like TAUT
22 TINE
Skin disease without a point (4) TINEA minus A
23 DELIBERATE
Considered food store facing censure (10) DELI + BERATE
26 BERMUDA TRIANGLE
Mature bird changed direction in mysterious Atlantic region (7,8) Anagram of MATURE BIRD + ANGLE
27 ENDING
Finish broadcasting after the conclusion of programs (6) S-ENDING
28 RECKLESS
Inattentive clerk messed up e-sales with alcohol discounted (8) Anagram of CLERK + (ESALES minus ALE)
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PIANOLA
Leader of orchestra pencilled in arrangement of a plain music player (7) (O)RCHESTRA inside anagram of A PLAIN
2 OLIVE
Source of oil and oxygen burning (5) O + LIVE
3 IN A BAD WAY
I catch first of dozens breaking out suffering from serious injuries (2,1,3,3) I + NAB + [(D)OZENS inside AWAY]
4 CAME BY
Century may be incorrectly scored! (4,2) C + anagram of MAY BE
6 OVER
Four fifths of patent is completed (4) (OVER)T
7 TAILORING
Dog washer’s fitting work (9) TAIL + O-RING
8 NEMESIS
Agent of retribution is after recalled seed (7) IS after (SEMEN reversed)
10 GANNET
Large seabird is bothering person returning with catch (6) NAG reversed + NET
14 LENINGRAD
Large number lifted successful student in old Russian city (9) L + (NINE reversed) + GRAD
16 TRADEMARK
Time to comment about commercial brand (9) T + REMARK outside AD
17 BODEGA
Short boy and senior set up wine shop (6) (BO)Y + (AGED reversed)
18 MUTABLE
Changing quantity of drugs carried by smuggler (7) TAB inside MULE
20 TEETERS
Rest re-scheduled after part of course moves unsteadily (7) Anagram of REST after TEE
21 FIERCE
Ferocious wild fire gutted cottage? (6) Anagram of FIRE + C(ottag)E
24 ARGUE
A dishonest person losing round in fight (5) A + (ROGUE minus O)
25 BURN
Cut a Scottish flower (4) Double Definition

 

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4 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 163 Solution

  1. Arthur Maynard says:

    Thank you for the guide to the Financial Times. I will give that a try nest time I finish Stickler early
    Arthur

  2. Steve Ball says:

    I noticed the missing E in 28-ac. I didn’t think to check the puzzle page (though I checked clue hints) as I didn’t think there’d be any discussion until the solution was published. No Dictionary gives “al” as an abbreviation for alcohol, so I don’t accept that as a solution, but e-sales is a real thing and an elegant solution for me.

    25-ac: I got that “flower’ was river and found BURN, though I struggle to equate it with CUT. The closest I can get is disks, but you ‘cut’ a vinyl disc or its master, and ‘burn’ an optical disk. I can’t think of any place they’re actually interchangeable. Am I howling up an inappropriate woody plant?

    1-ac had me stumped for ages (that “in”) as did 27-ac. Some slapping of the forehead followed.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this puzzle’s challenge and my only other comment is that I thought the definition for 26-ac was a little obvious and I didn’t need to look at the wordplay.

    And on to this week’s …

    Thanks,
    Steve = : ^ )

  3. Arthur Maynard says:

    Steve, You are right about the early discussion. My fault, and out of order. I am used to discussion within my U3A group, and got carried away.
    I also had some issues with burn as cut. Google found some references to burn cuts in a mining context – relating to blast holes, but they are rather remote from general usage.
    There are many references to slash and burn, which indicates that they are separate activities. I wound up accepting the concept cutting a disc using the current terminology of burn. To me this equates with changes in usage as exemplified by the use of aps/programs. When I first started working with computers we used applications, later we changed to programs, and now we are back to aps. Are they interchangeable?
    David, the gremlins got into your parsing for 18a and put an I in an inappropriate place.

    Arthur

  4. Arthur Maynard says:

    David, I still ponder burn as cut. I imagine I am not alone. Could you outline the context in which it is used.
    Thanks in anticipation.