You should know the routine by now, after last week’s Birdbrain. Each clue below leads to a contrived phrase that can read the same in either direction. DUMB MUD, say, or LION OIL should help you get the mischief.
(And if you’re still not sure, then SEE REFEREES.) Well, this new set of clues is a little trickier, pointing to another lot of hokey palindromes. GO DOG!
1.Big jewel (4,3)
2. Small barbarian? (4-5)
3. NASA merch (5,4)
4. Deer laugh (3,6)
5. Carers career (6,3)
6. Milkers agogo (5,6)
SOLUTION NEXT WEEK
BB450 SOLUTION: Dumb mud, tuna nut, bosses sob, Rio noir, lion oil, see referees
Back to the Telegraph book of crosswords I kept in my Nepalese anorak on the recent trek. Now and then the likes of Osmosis, Micawber, Messinae, Elgar and Notabilis (among the stand-outs in the stable) would offer a rapturous clue that deserves sharing here – minus the answer.
Consider the gems as reward for your own Oscar-mongering earlier this week. Most aren’t so hard, including one of the lewder in the book, ironically from Osmosis: Protection Romeo used during love affair.
Of course, extra hints will be provided if you’re finding the chicanery too much to crack – but I doubt that will be required. Savour these:
It’s bent to sell drugs (3-3) [Messinae]
I wish one pilot to carry on (2,4) [Kcit]
Fast train disrupted by frost (2,1,5) [Osmosis]
Most food in navy at sea is fish (7) [Jed]
Escape death in operation (4) [Citrus]
Cosmetic surgeon operated, discarding outer layer (5) [Osmosis]
Lobby one college with sign of caution (11) [Messinae]
Leaving road, watchman is abandoning underwear for dip (9) [Micawber]
Can you crack the lot? Blab [with caution] in the Comments. And which clue would you rate as the best?
How remiss of me – an Oscar week and no names to torture! Outrage. So here’s the post to atone: the honour roll opening on three remarkable sheilas. Can you compose a neat piece of wordplay for any name, with no definition needed?
As will become more common this year, we don’t need to enmesh ourselves in voting, or consequent podiums, though I do encourage all players to single out another’s zinger come the week’s wind-down. To that end, for this Oscar game, please use your own byline. And may the best indie Shine.
TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE
At first blush, be that as it may, time will tell outside the box…
The what? Relax. That opening sentence was entirely built of cliches collected by Carlos Lozada, a journalist with the Washington Post. Rather than the usual suspects – like tip of an iceberg – Lozada has pinpointed the modern hack-speak, such as usual suspects.
Here’s the kicker, say. Or fevered speculation. If a poster child isn’t trading barbs, then a game-changer serves as a face-saving compromise. Take a look and get that creeping sense of deja vu. Any more to add to the Lozada List?
A passing conundrum: What two opposites can be spoonerised to create both a type of sound beside a quality of sound? (The two opposites both have four letters.)
And a standing invite: use the Salon as a parish pump for any crossword stuff, clue quandaries or general lexical exchanges. Have a wordy week.
BECKMESSER – ill-informed musical pedant; a nitpicking formalist of classical music [Named after Herr Sixtus Beckmesser, the fussy musical philistine in Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger] The evening of Bach and Beethoven was ruined by an audible beckmesset in the stalls.
Each clue can be answered by a reversible (and somewhat surreal) two-word phrase. Viscous menagerie, say, is OOZY ZOO. Refuse to assent? DON’T NOD – agreed? That’s how the game works, using the most unlikely pairings to create a palindrome.
(See how many of the six you can solve – and try to anticipate in the forum the new half-dozen phrases coming your way next week, in the guise of Oozy Zoo Two!)
- Dense filth (4,3)
- Fish fanatic (4,3)
- CEOs cry (6,3)
- Brazil underbelly? (3,4)
- Regal lubricant? (4,3)
- Note umps (3,8)
SOLUTION NEXT WEEK
BB449 SOLUTION: Crossword (sword), taxes (axe), tungsten (Sten), glockenspiel (Glock), tepee (epee), sprocket (rocket – or rock!), Macedonia (mace), gauziness (Uzi), escudo (Scud), marrow (arrow), Krishna (kris), shivery (shiv)
Sifted the clues over a Sunday coffee, settling on the overall winner. As you know, players had to conjure wordplay and definition for a double-letter word (BELLOW), then the single-letter version (BELOW). And below, you’ll see one cluesmith stood tall, winning Alan Connor’s excellent crossword tribute, Two Girls, One On Each Knee. Before I trumpet the best, here’s a few gems that caught the eye:
NAVVY – Worker shrewd to change direction [Scooter is in form, in the navvy.]
DESERT – Dead, rotten trees where nothing grows [Cacti may quibble, but I warmed to the Cormac class of Mississippi.]
FERRULE – Make a mistake in assembling fuel cap [Maybe adjusting works better, but Loopy’s surface is superb.]
Though the challenge was to engineer the ideal double, and that’s what Aaron the Aardvark managed with this pairing:
CARTOON – “Striptease” actor? No
CARTON – Works undercover in fraud case
Double congratz my anteating friend, whoever you may be. Let me know and I’ll send you Alan’s classy history this week. Thanks for all double agents for contributing to a top-shelf Storm. Chin, chin.
Tramping about in Nepal, I carried a Telegraph collection of crosswords for company – the perfect fix for any snowbound teahouse. Over the next month I’ll be sharing some stylish clues, a few stumpers, a smatter of so-so stuff – and this sort of caper: the Cryptic Court.
This is a feature aimed at clues that will polarise. Are they good or bad? Do their authors warrant applause or solitary? I shall let you – my jury of peers – decide each setter’s fate. And to show there’s no hard feelings, see if you can compose some fresh alternative clues for the same answers.
Relaxing with eleven endlessly to watch the box = TELEVIEW [Myops asks a fair bit of the solver. Not only must you treating ‘relaxing’ as an anagram signpost, or isolate a quaint answer, but the double de-tailing is also unorthodox. Worth a yellow card?]
In past, drop with a jerk = STRAPPADO [Elgar attempts an &lit here, evoking the mediaeval rope torture in the wordplay. Does he succeed, or deserve his own medicine?]
Perch found occasionally in Gironde = ROD [Bit bloody casual from MynoT I reckon, saying a word is sprinkled somewhere in a larger French department. Apply the rod I say.]
Duke during banquet points to gong = MEDAL [No problem with the sandwich: Duke (D) in MEAL, but wondering about Campbell’s red herring of points as a link….]
Both rather embarrassed dreamboat = HEART THROB [Campbell again. Looking past the olde worlde fluff of dreamboat – embarrassed as an anagrind?]
Mum agreed = NODDED [Excalibur’s double definition – or is it a pun stab – sees me shake my head. What about yours?]
Post your verdicts (and zestier redrafts) in the forum.
The answer is PAT-ELLA, a clever charade clue composed by Roger Squires. Appearing in the Telegraph, the clue in fact was the 2 millionth from Squires' desk, making him the most prolific cryptic compiler in history.
The clue is also the title of a scintillating crossword history, written by Guardian blogger Alan Connor, to toast the puzzle’s centenary. And I have two copies – one on each knee – thanks to the generous people at Particular Press, an imprint of Penguin. Care to win one? Here’s the contest:
Keeping with the two-then-one-idea, players are invited to chose a word with a double letter that becomes a new word when that double is slimmed to a single. SLIMMED and SLIMED is one such pairing. DESSERT and DESERT. POSSESS and POSSES. You get the gist.
Clue both words – with both definition and wordplay elements – for a chance to score the Patella novella. To keep things above board, select an alias with a set of doubled letters, and handpick your two best pairs – here in the forum – before Thursday 6pm. Here’s a taste:
GRIPPING – Bigfoot awesome, exciting
GRIPING – Lamenting break in horse laps
By all means, provide an explanation where a clue seems less clear. To join the knees-up, I will be a covert contestant, as well as the sole judge Judy – not Juddy – in order to streamline the end-game. The winner will have wrangled two fine clues, not just one zinger within a pair, so take care with booth subterfuges. God luck to Al.
FOOFARAW [FOO-fuh-raw] – needless fuss; much ado about very little; over-elaborate ornament or architectural flourish [Of unknown origin] The hyped suspense concerning the Corby parole hearing was Foofaraw 101.