The Stickler Weekly 108 Solution

If you read this blurb regularly you’ll know that I do a weekly search using google.com.au to see if anything is happening with cryptic crosswords in Australia. The actual search I do is “cryptic crosswords -youplay -lovatts”. The search will exclude any results (apart from paid ads) that contain the dash words, -youplay and -lovatts, as these tend to dominate the results and I’m not interested in them. The next step is to use Search Tools in Google to limit the results. Under All I select Country: Australia, then Any Time: Past Week. These results are presented as Sorted by Relevance, and I often change this to Sorted by Date. Nothing much changes from week to week – it’s a matter of sifting through the results looking for a newbie or something a little different possibly in a blog post. A while back I did this and multiple entries appeared containing exactly the same wording about a grid/clues mismatch, all on different regional newspaper websites. It turned out that the same crossword (and clearly the same publishing process) was used in dozens of regional papers owned by the same company, and therefore the same mistake hit them all. It highlighted a number of things for me: almost no-one is employed in sub-editing any more; there are just a few newspaper groups controlling many newspapers; there’s so much shared information that regional papers no longer represent their local community as they used to; and one (cheap) crossword now services a huge area making crossword setters almost redundant.
My weekly search also makes it clear to me that there’s no growth in the solving of cryptic crosswords, if anything there’s a steady decline.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PLOT
Secretly plan power cut (4) P + LOT
4 CHANSON
Popular German name featuring in kid’s song (7) HANS inside CON
10 AGITATION
A soldier in US base missing initial unrest (9) A + GI + S(TATION)
11 ALBUM
A long punk record (5) A + L + BUM
12 SHINER
Body part, ear, without a sign of trauma (6) SHIN + (EAR minus A)
13 FIVE-STAR
One piece of underwear, in a good way, is excellent (4-4) (I + VEST) inside FAR
15 SETS
Groups like leaving economic resources (4) ASSETS minus AS
16 DELUSIONAL
Understanding about wrong in soul based on false impressions (10) DEAL outside anagram of IN SOUL
18 BIG BROTHER
Authoritarian leader relocated brig in case of trouble (3,7) Anagram of BRIG inside BOTHER
19 FELT
Experienced bloke not handling low temperature (4) (FELLOW minus LOW) + T
22 ALARMING
A legion primarily preparing for military action is causing apprehension (8) A + (L)EGION + ARMING
23 BARBER
Live in public house, right, with hairdresser? (6) BE inside (BAR + R)
25 DRIFT
Stray close to armed conflict (5) ARME(D) + RIFT
26 PARTIES ON
Clergyman, entertaining couple, continues to celebrate (7,2) PARSON outside TIE
27 RING ROT
Disease identified by members of cluster in grotto (4,3) clusteR IN GROTto
28 WEAK
Delicate timepiece’s sound? (4) Sounds like WEEK
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
2 LEADEN
The French national capital is oppressive (6) LE + ADEN
3 TWIN
Couple hit the jackpot after little time (4) WIN after T
4 CONFIGURED
Preserved food, say, containing available fruit, may be arranged (10) CURED outside (ON + FIG)
5 ACADEMIA
A rascal with email greatly disrupted life at university (8) A + CAD + anagram of (EMAI)L
6 SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Replace a coach after position taken on ecstasy and misapplication of drugs (9,5) SUB + [(A + BUS) after STANCE] + E
7 NUMERAL
Figure scattered manure on lawn at the front (7) Anagram of MANURE + (L)AWN
8 LASSES
Young girls left more than one behind? (6) L + ASSES
9 DISINTEGRATION
Damaged stein found in dig next to allotment is falling apart (14) Anagram of STEIN inside DIG + RATION
14 MELTING POT
Last bit of chemical, in unusual pigment, returned to crucible (7,3) CHEMICA(L) inside anagram of PIGMENT + (TO reversed)
17 PROMOTER
One who backs way of working in doctored report (8) MO inside anagram of REPORT
18 BOARDER
List containing a lodger (7) BORDER outside A
20 THRONE
Article supporting king working? (6) TH (R + ON) E
21 MARINA
Damage in a docking facility (6) MAR + IN + A
24 DRAW
Depict section of hospital the wrong way (4) WARD reversed

 

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4 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 108 Solution

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    Always look forward to your editorial David, often read it more than once & always learn something I didn’t know before.

  2. Jenny says:

    Editorials always interesting and informative. Sad to see that cryptic crosswords have such a gloomy future. Please don’t give up on us yet David, I’m sure I’m not the only one who really enjoys your challenge each week. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Arthur says:

    I finally got around to this. I am usually much later getting to them. Had trouble with 1 until I realised about the cut.
    I really enjoy the challenge, and look forward to the commentary with each solution.
    I wonder whether the decline in solvers is due to the quality of the crosswords. I in find the puzzles printed by APN to be so appalling that I have given them up. Therefore I need my fix of David’s challenges and those from the Guardian. I am certainly glad I was introduced to Stickler before the support was withdrawn.

  4. Greg Mansell says:

    I’m sure that the decline in interest in cryptics is due to the same causes as reduced participation in golf, lawn bowls, squash etc: People now have a huge number of options for how they spend their leisure time — so the “traditional” leisure activities are getting squeezed out. Also, those with children seem to have an ever-increasing number of kid-related commitments, and therefore very little genuine leisure time. Learning how to solve cryptics requires a time commitment that not too many people are prepared to make these days.

    All we can do is to keep rewarding those who provide us with quality cryptics — by regularly attempting them, and making a financial contribution where possible.

    By the way, I loved 12ac, 8dn, and especially 20dn.