The Stickler Weekly 165 Solution

A couple of weeks back I have to admit a wry smile came across my face when I read a quick comment by Steve Ball:
“1-ac had me stumped for ages (that “in”) as did 27-ac. Some slapping of the forehead followed.”
This was from The Stickler Weekly 163: Area in front of courthouse featured in show (8) [IN + (C)OURTHOUSE] inside PROVE, giving PROVINCE.
The “in” that caused Steve trouble is strategically positioned to potentially trip up solvers as it is commonly used as a linking word. That is, Definition in Wordplay. There are a number of linking words like this, most of them short: BY, FROM, IS etc. I have a special fondness for short words that normally provide sentence structure and not much else in everyday language, as these are often ignored by solvers as a matter of course. We are conditioned to pick up key elements of sentences and to overlook the inconsequential words even though, as solvers, we know great care must be taken with every element of a clue. Little words such as AT, TO, IS, AN, ON, OF, OR, IN and SO often appear in ordinary words, in fact, these ones appear as whole words in more than 20 words in this paragraph alone (up to this point). For this reason, I intentionally hunt them out and try to use them (often “in the clear”) in my clues. The more a clue looks like ordinary language, the better chance a solver will read it as ordinary language, and the more chance a vital piece will be initially overlooked. I like economy, so all components should have a role, and generally I won’t use a linking word unless I really have to. Always check the clue help as sometimes where I’ve used common little words that look insignificant, but actually have a role, I’ll flag that “nothing is wasted” in the clue hint for that clue.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PALISADE
Fence, one blue with white trim (8) (I + SAD) inside PALE
5 UNSAFE
Exposed fitting of gun’s a feature (6) gUNS A FEature
9 TEA-HOUSE
45 minutes in rib restaurant? (3-5) (HOU)R inside TEASE
10 STORED
Put aside some seconds to reduce (6) secondS TO REDuce
12 ALERT
Disconcerted realist, giving up, is quick to react (5) Anagram of REALIST minus IS
13 PURCHASER
One who consumes most of unmixed drink (9) (PUR)E + CHASER
14 INTERCESSION
Home is private about planned prayer (12) IN + (IS + SECRET) reversed + ON
17 ILLUSTRATION
One on trial confused about strong desire, for example (12) I + (anagram of ON TRIAL outside LUST)
22 INSURANCE
One nurse worried about an epileptic’s final safeguard (9) I + anagram of NURSE outside [AN + EPILEPTI(C)]
23 EPOCH
Time is disregarded in development of hospice (5) Anagram of HOSPICE minus IS
24 WAITER
Attendant, one wearing hose (6) I inside WATER
25 THRASHER
Flood handled by the river bird (8) RASH inside THE + R
26 REGINA
Control divided up by head of government and a queen (6) REIN outside (G)OVERNMENT + A
27 OPERATED
Did surgery rank in distribution of dope? (8) RATE inside anagram of DOPE
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PATHAN
Journey taken by an individual with roots in Afghanistan (6) PATH + AN
2 LOAVES
Really likes eating a bakery’s offerings (6) LOVES outside A
3 SHORTEN
Reduce amount of squash or tennis (7) squaSH OR TENnis
4 DISAPPEARING
Relocation of gaspipe and drain should be leaving no trace (12) Anagram of GASPIPE and DRAIN
6 NOTCHES
Small indentations on overturned, broken chest (7) ON reversed + anagram of CHEST
7 ACROSTIC
? and ? mostly used to complete a word puzzle? (8) [(CROS)S + (TIC)K] after A
8 ENDURING
Permanent dune shifted round (8) Anagram of DUNE + RING
11 CRACK THE WHIP
Inflictor of pain in court cut in to assert authority forcibly (5,3,4) RACK inside CT + HEW + HIP
15 CIVIL WAR
He kept away from vicar while involved with domestic dispute (5,3) Anagram of VICAR WHILE minus HE
16 FLASHING
Weatherproof material remains covered in pitch (8) ASH inside FLING
18 SURGEON
Strong desire admitted by child’s doctor (7) URGE inside SON
19 ONE PAIR
Open moulded vent with weak hand (3,4) Anagram of OPEN + AIR
20 SO WHAT
Who cares to broadcast derby, say? (2,4) SOW + HAT
21 SHARED
Small fragment sealing a joint (6) SHRED outside A

 

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7 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 165 Solution

  1. Steve Ball says:

    14-ac I’m missing how “planned” gives ON. Please put me out of misery.

    It’s simple, but I loved 20-dn.

    Thanks,
    Steve = : ^ )

    • David Stickley says:

      As in “the match is on/planned for Friday” or “anything on/planned after dinner?”

      These examples come from a couple of my references.

      • Steve Ball says:

        I read all the definitions of ON in Chambers and the Complete Mac without making the connection but, on doing it again, I guess “agreed upon” from Chambers approximates “planned”.

        Thanks,
        Steve = : ^ )

  2. richard sternes says:

    Hi Steve – my take was
    home = “in”
    is private about = “secret” & “is” in reverse
    about = “ON”
    “planned prayer” is the ENTIRE definition.
    I can always stand correction!!!
    Agree about 20d & too many others to list – as always………

  3. richard sternes says:

    David posting at the same time. I’d go with that as well.
    I was thinking – “ABOUT” a subject = “ON” a subject.

  4. Arthur Maynard says:

    I just have to get into this discussion.
    For me, “planned” is part of the word play, so the definition is prayer, and the answer is intercession.
    In my experience intercessions (apart from those for the Sunday services) are seldom planned, but ad libbed. The person praying will generally be “led by the spirit” and pray accordingly. The prayer may be verablised or silent.
    Having decided on intercession as the answer, the only issue I had was accepting “on” for “planned”. Going outside the square I asked “Are we still on for Friday?” which equalled “Are still going to do what we planned for Friday?”
    Beauty, and crossword solutions are in the eye of the beholder.
    So that is my two bob’s worth.