The Stickler Weekly 173 Solution

On the odd occasion a solver may say that an answer is obscure. I realise that this is an opinion, unless it’s backed up specifically by a dictionary entry, however, I’d like to tell you little about what I think is obscure. First, it’s nothing to do with the words that I know or have heard of – I have a limited vocabulary and would very quickly start repeating myself if I had to rely on it for grid filling. Second, I have to rely on references to guide me – there’s no other way.

 

For me an obscure answer is one that is:

  • Listed in just one reference or can only be found by searching Google
  • Listed as an alternative (secondary) spelling in two or less references
  • Listed as archaic, obscure, obsolete or poetic
  • Specific to a particular region of the world

Note that definitions (and wordplays) in clues can be qualified in order to use some of these obscures words. For example, “before in poetry” would be “ere”.
There’s an imperfect way to judge the suitability of a word that I might be undecided about using, especially when multiple spellings are in play: do a simple Google search. The number of hits of the different spellings will soon tell you what’s most popular although there’s a US bias on the web that must be considered.
I tend to stick to concise dictionaries when writing daily cryptics but will expand to full dictionaries when writing weekly cryptics. I generally know when a word or term isn’t widely used in everyday conversation, so, if I use that as answer, I’ll endeavour to write a straightfoward clue.
Same rules apply when using uncommon meanings of words in clues. Meanings must be backed up by more than one reference and regional differences come into play here.
In this crossword LAMELLIBRANCH caused some discussion: it appears in all my major references as well as all my concise dictionaries, so I felt OK about using it, especially as key letters in the answer were obtainable for crossing answers. It’s not an exact science but including words that not everyone knows is inevitable and necessary to create a balanced crossword with variety that presents a challenge for all.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 BUTCHERED
Tough deer, prepared and cut up for food? (9) BUTCH + anagram of DEER
6 GAIN
Win card game holding ace (4) GIN outside A
10 SEEDS
Top competitors understand limitations of diets? (5) SEE + (D)IET(S)
11 TEAR APART
Modern music and art after tea should be separate (4,5) (RAP + ART) after TEA
12 COLONIST
Settler on island invested in horse (8) (ON + IS) inside COLT
13 INVEST
Use capital to make money in underwear (6) IN + VEST
15 SOCKEYE SALMON
Fish definitely included in cook’s meal upset one’s gut? (7,6) YES inside anagram of COOKS MEAL + O(N)E
18 LAMELLIBRANCH
Unsatisfactory statement about farm’s oyster, say (13) LAME + (BILL reversed) + RANCH
22 MUTANT
Freak, one bitten by dog (6) AN inside MUTT
23 STILETTO
Weapon ignited when retreating in a fight (8) LIT reversed inside SETTO
26 INSTALLER
Insert all customised software needed to get a program running (9) Anagram of INSERT ALL
27 COPED
Law enforcer with little education muddled through (5) COP + ED
28 DYED
Coloured items featured in trendy edition (4) trenDY EDition
29 SUBEDITOR
Newspaper worker’s foundation in pocket of person known to court (9) BED inside SUITOR
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 BASICS
Integrated circuit put into guitar with staples (6) IC inside BASS
2 THE ALPS
End of snowdrift helps crossing a mountain range (3,4) [SNOWDRIF(T) + HELPS] outside A
3 HAS ON
Tricks, for instance, admitted by sweetheart (3,2) AS inside HON
4 ROTISSERIE
Cooking device that is connected to the back of faulty resistor (10) IE after anagram of RESISTOR
5 DRAW
Appeal withdrawal of charge (4) WARD reversed
7 ANAHEIM
An object filled with helium in Disneyland site (7) (AN + AIM) outside HE
8 NOTATING
Writing music in symbols not with a metallic sound (8) NOT + A + TING
9 MAINTAIN
Important metal found outside a claim (8) MAIN + (TIN outside A)
14 HEART-THROB
Brother that nearly murdered idol (5-5) Anagram of (BROTHER THA)T
16 CALENDAR
Tourer, say, accepting a loan schedule (8) CAR outside (A + LEND)
17 OLYMPIAD
Head of consulate pulled out of diplomacy involved with international sports meeting (8) Anagram of DIPLOMACY minus (C)ONSULATE
19 MATISSE
Fauvist painter is getting back to basics with friend about (7) [IS + BASIC(S)] inside MATE
20 HOT SPOT
Popular nightclub host distributed cannabis (3,4) Anagram of HOST + POT
21 BOLDER
Elder, when behind bishop, is more enterprising (6) OLDER after B
24 LACED
Backing of transfer is tied up (5) DECAL reversed
25 PLUS
Benefit may be lavish to a large extent (4) (PLUS)H

 

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3 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 173 Solution

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    This ‘Pearl’ has to be strong contender for Word of The Year.
    Daylight second……..

    • Arthur Maynard says:

      In several organisations I hear how to defer dementia. The speaker almost always pooh-poohs crosswords, and says one should learn a language. Well I’m learning English, and enjoying the experience.

      Keep up the challenges David. Words and meanings new to me or forgotten through lack of use.

      I agree about the Oscar so far, but that would be tempting fate.

      Incidentally Richard you may suffer from the same illness I have when posting. My computer cannot spell, so sometimes I give an incorrect email address. The blog disappears. This week, it reappeared where it should be. I think that is because David’s computer has now recognised my slipup.

      • Richard Sternes says:

        Yes to All of The Above Arthur.
        But then there’s that ever present Peril of Auto Spell-check.
        Insists that it ALWAYS knows better.
        Can often lead to minor embarrassments.
        Be Alert – be Very Alert.

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