The Stickler Weekly 115 Solution

I’ve mentioned before a great site called Crossword Unclued that I think is the best crossword website out there. It covers every aspect of cryptic crosswords, slots posts into smart subject groups, and it gets regularly updated. One yearly post is My Top Ten, which lists the site’s author’s choice for the best clues of 2015. They are from “the crosswords I (the author, Shuchismita Upadhyay) have attempted” and they all happen to be from the English dailies. I really love looking through such lists, as I think it reveals a lot about the current state of cryptic crosswords and cryptic solvers. As a setter I obviously like to know what solvers (especially discerning ones) find the most appealing, and I’m often surprised by what’s chosen. Here’s the first clue in the list: PIN number? (4,3). It’s a cryptic definition and the answer is DEAD LEG. Sometimes I think solvers are almost duped by the idea or concept of a clue and fail to see (or are happy to overlook) its inadequacies. A DEAD LEG is a condition that results from a blow to the leg causing numbness. To be accurate, the clue should be PIN numbed defining what a DEAD LEG is, but that wouldn’t work. The idea is good though, so the mismatch of clue an answer is effectively ignored, so much so that it is designated a great clue.
Here’s another from a different list of so-called great clues: Enough clues in fifty puzzles (12) – it’s an anagram of CLUES IN FIFTY using “puzzles” as an anagram indicator. Answer: SUFFICIENTLY. I’d be happy with “puzzled”, but “puzzles” is just wrong as an anagram indicator. How does that work from a language perspective? It doesn’t. Here’s another: Must’ve? (5,7,3,3) This one has no definition and is not solvable without first obtaining all the crossing letters. The clue was presented cold in a list – it would be an almost impossible task to solve it in those circumstances. Even if I told you the answer, there’s a good chance you might not be able to easily match it to the clue. (THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – MUSE outside TV). However, it’s clear that this type of clue appeals to some, enough for it to be celebrated.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 CASTOR
Spread or top cover made of fur (6) CAST + OR
4 SPECIMEN
Exhibit glasses mostly given by one firm’s employees (8) (SPEC)S + I + MEN
9 PRUDENT
Sensible puritan not giving up love (7) PRUDE + (NOT minus O)
11 REINS IN
Checks on accommodation about Spanish agreement (5,2) RE + (INN outside SI)
12 BREATHES FREELY
Relaxes by consuming brewed fresh tea and roll (8,6) BY outside (anagram of FRESH TEA + REEL)
14 LETHAL
Formation of heat in middle of galley could be destructive (6) Anagram of HEAT inside GA(LL)EY
15 OINTMENT
Lotion worked into hands and feet ultimately (8) Anagram of INTO + MEN + FEE(T)
18 TENON SAW
Fine cutter wasn’t holding one back (5,3) (WASNT outside ONE) reversed
20 BISTRO
Selection offered in club is troubling food provider (6) cluB IS TROubling
23 GROUNDBREAKING
Innovative course taken by barge confused person in charge (14) (ROUND inside anagram of BARGE) + KING
26 ADOPTEE
One taken in by a school recalled feature of course (7) A + (POD reversed) + TEE
27 MAESTRO
Accomplished performer or playing group turned around opening of show (7) (OR + TEAM) reversed outside (S)HOW
28 DISPERSE
Broadcast is essentially shown after start of December (8) (IS + PER SE) after (D)ECEMBER
29 PEERED
Waste matter, the colour of blood, looked hard (6) PEE + RED
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 CAPABILITY
AC/DC appearing in new building of a typical faculty (10) BI inside anagram of A TYPICAL
2 STUDENT
Apprentice died oddly in a dare-devil act (7) (D)I(E)D inside STUNT
3 OVERTRAIN
One in public managed to exercise too much (9) I inside (OVERT + RAN)
5 PARAFFIN
Fuel’s standard established by a fluorine stabiliser (8) PAR + A + F + FIN
6 CRIME
Part of the Ukraine peninsula cleared of a law violation (5) CRIMEA minus A
7 MOSELLE
White growth of hair vendor cut short (7) MO + (SELLE)R
8 NO-NO
Touching up more than once – it can’t be done (2-2) (ON + ON) reversed
10 TREK
Mother leaving market prepared for a long walk (4) Anagram of MARKET minus MA
13 STRONGHOLD
“Keep right wearing thongs” – drunken veteran (10) R inside anagram of THONGS + OLD
16 TAIWANESE
Asian person drops in a tie especially made (9) WANES inside anagram of A TIE
17 BALDNESS
A number of retired doctors send laboratory evidence of ageing perhaps (8) doctorS SEND LABoratory
19 NERVOUS
Vow not totally kept by troubled nurse suffering from anxiety (7) (VO)W inside anagram of NURSE
21 TWITTER
One stupid term almost finished off social network (7) TWIT + (TER)M
22 TRIM
Endless fun – running around spruce? (4) (MIRT)H reversed
24 UNTIE
Relative not securing a release (5) AUNTIE minus A
25 LAND
50+ acres? (4) L + AND

 

This entry was posted in Stickler Weekly Solutions, The Stickler and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Stickler Weekly 115 Solution

  1. Steve Ball says:

    Hi David,
    I totally agree re puzzles/puzzled, and also agree re the clue for MUST’VE, but I wonder if there isn’t some salvation for DEAD LEG.

    I’ve always thought of a dead leg as a *procedure*, and giving someone a dead leg is akin to giving them a Chinese burn. A Chinese burn is a procedure that produces a burning sensation on the arm, but I don’t think that ‘Chinese burn’ is the result. For a start there’s nothing Chinese about the result.

    Likewise with the dead leg: the result is indeed a numb or deadened leg, but I also call the procedure – a knee to the thigh muscle – a ‘dead leg’ and the sentence “I gave him a dead leg but it didn’t work” makes complete sense to me, even though there was no deadened leg.

    So to me, a dead leg may well be a ‘pin number’. I can’t see any justification for capitalising “PIN” (and the fact that the ‘N’ in PIN stands for “number” anyway takes a bit of the shine off, though “PIN number” is common enough in usage).

    Just my 2¢.

    Thanks,
    Steve = : ^ )