Eight more clues that still puzzle me, half of them drawn from a Times book, published 2016.
On paper, I might have solved them, yet somehow their wordplay continues to gnaw me. What have I missed? A classical allusion? A bit of UK vernacular? Only your insight will ease my plight.
If you can see what I'm not seeing, let me know. How does each clue work? And can you craft your own clue for any of these same answers? Cheers.
1. Take away copper and half of lead from rear of toy? = MINUS [Times 11,800]
2. Duty that could be tinier possibly? = RESPONSIBILITY [Times 11,800]
3. Military ruler’s command to soldiers about bad error in the field = SHOGUN [Times 11,816]
4. Cover case before dispatching a dozen in box = SUM UP [Times book]
5. Networks = TOILS [Times book]
6. Fast runner often in form = HARE [Times book]
7. Cooler sort of house where shades may close on boy = PRISON [Times book]
8. Ape downs energy drink = MEAD [Sunday Times 1212]
BAGASSE [bah-GAS] - the leftover pulp from refined sugar cane, used as fuel or paper stock [From French via Spanish bagazo - dregs - from baga (husk), and further back, Latin's baca, or berry] You can't make sugar without generating a little bagasse.
MOULDY FIG - strict adherent of older jazz genres. [Origin unknown] Hepcats and beatniks are a tad too ad-lib for the trad-loving mouldy fig.
CHONMAGE [CHON-maij] - traditional topknot sported by sumo wrestlers and samurai warriors [Japanese] It's believed the chonmage (or 'mage') style arose in the 600AD period of Japanese history.
CHAULMOOGRA [chawl-MOO-gruh] - tree found India and SE Asia whose seed yields an oil valued for its treatment of leprosy. [From Bengali, cāul rice, plus mugrā hemp.] Modern medicine may have eclipsed the pharmacological allure of the chaulmoogra.
FEUILLETON [FULL-it-on] - newspaper segment devoted to lighter themes and entertainment; a novel published by instalments. [From French, feuillet (page), via feuille (leaf) - ultimately from Latin, folium] Wordwit, crosswords, Target and comic strips appear in the Nine-Fairfax feuilleton.
SCOPPERIL [SKOP-purr-uhl] - a spinning top; perforated bone serving as a button; folk name for a squirrel; slang for a hyperactive child. [From skoppa, Icelandic - to spin] Swigs of red cordial will convert any demur child into a turbocharged scopperil.
JUMENTOUS - smelling like horse urine [From Old French jument, originally Latin iumentum - beast of burden; pack animal] Home-brewers can admit to the odd jumentous potion in their quest for a craft elixir.
EPIKEIA [air-PICK-aya-ah] - a principle in ethics stating that a law can be broken in order toacheive a greater good. [From Greek, epieíkeia, reasonableness.] Civil disobedience can often enshrine epikeia.
TEXTROVERT - one who feels more comfortable in communicating via SMS than face-to-face [Neologism - based on extrovert, (variant of extra-, more) + -vertere to turn] The modern Cyrano de Bergerac, a maestro of the written word, is likely the textrovert.
Owing to the Iso Age, I've been doing a bit more clue-wrangling, gobbling grids in ill-advised numbers. Hence the surge in Huh posts over the the last month or so.
Most of these bafflers hail from an old Times collection, unless otherwise stated. Their logic hovers just within my grasp, needing your nudge be fully grabbed.
I'd appreciate any insights you can add. For the more spirited buffs, see what alternative clues you can devise for the same answers.
1. Bloomers made here in Coventry = OVEN [Clearly a hidden recipe, but bloomers?]
2. Film director with a good score when shooting = WINNER [Times 11769 - since when is a director a winner?]
3. Pale nut found under tree = ASHEN [Sunday Times 1198 - en as nut?]
4. Serious art making money? = EARNEST [Same puzzle - different quandary]
5. One being short of training is a firing offence = ARSON [Ditto]
6. Dope runs across grass becoming increasingly active = SPRYER [Times 11776 - SP as dope?]
7. Diamond-shaped tablet is a success = ACHIEVEMENT [The what?]
8. Location for play people without exception remember = RECALL [Times 11799]
9. Picture latter half of a trip to Santiago? = IMAGE [Same puzzle, and I remain at sea]
DROGULUS - something that exists, and yet its existence is unverifiable owing to its intangibility; plural - droguli [Coined by British philosopher AJ Ayer, in association with dracunculus - dragon in Latin.] Faith is an evident drogulus for its want of hard evidence.
RIBAZUBA - walrus ivory [From Russian words fish + tooth] Scrimshaw pieces in ivory are likely to be works of ribazuba.
FINNESKOE - a soft-hide boot designed for winter travel. Traditionally, reindeer hide is used, insulated with grass for water absorption. [From Norwegian - Finn (Lapp) + skoe, or shoe.] The finneskoe is superior to hard leather as the boot can survive subzero temperatures overnight.
Covidiot. Quarantini. Ronavations. Isoholic.
COVID-19 is fast creating its own glossary, and thanks to SK - decorated cluesmith both here and in The Big Issue - the virus can brag its own cryptic crossword. Perfect diversion while passing your lockdown hours.
Hard to single out my favourite clues, but 5ac, 7dn and 23dn would be jostling on the podium. As would most SK samples. You're in for a treat.
In fact, please subscribe to the Big Issue on the same link, as sales have dipped since our streets have emptied. Make a small difference for those who need a hand, with a fine crossword your karmic reward.
Feel free to share your feedback and oblique hints in the Comments below.
ZABERNISM - abuse of military power; unwarranted aggression from an officebearer. [From Zabern, the German name for Saverne, where a subatlern executed a cobbler for smiling in 1912.] As executive powers shift during COVID times, citizens must be watchful of a zabernism rise.
ANANYM - a word or alias derived from reversal, such as Harpo - Oprah's media company - or mho, a reciprocal ohm [From Greek, ana - backwards, plus nym - name] British crossword setter, Jonathan Crowther, derived his Azed alias from the Spanish inquisitor, Frey Diego de Deza.
KIRIGAMI - a style of origami where paper-cutting is allowed. [From Japanese - kiri (cut) and gami (paper)] Rather than creasing, the school of kirigami is sharply increasing.
MARCESCENT [mah-SESS-unt] - withering without shedding [From Latin marcere - to wither] Autumn leaves are often marcescent for weeks, shrivelling without dropping off their branch.
In these strange days of self-exile, I thought I might pigeon-post some more baffling clues from UK puzzles past. Below I present ten mind-bogglers, where I can grasp elements of each, but never the entities.
In contemplative self-isolation, can you fathom how these clues operate? And for extra sport, can you devise a clue for any of these same solutions?
1. Borrow, say, from one who may have some cheques = TRAVELLER [I know about George Borrow, but can't cotton onto Part II]
2. Hog a lot of time available for business = PIGEON [The charade is clear but not the secondary element]
3. Temporary relief from wild plant? Not always = ESCAPE
4. It enables one to get the message - after reflection, naturally = HELIOTROPE
5. Support for growing girl’s need = CAKE STAND [I hate to think...Is there more to this?]
6. Shaking violently following wild creature – no end of quest = ROCKING
7. Many an Anglo-Saxon runner needing a drink = MANHATTAN [Get the drink, just not the chaser]
8. Justice of the Peace? = BENEFIT
9. He came to a dreadful end, in agony = BAKER
10. Shortly about to run off without paying for this orange = NAVEL