In the sample clues below, the links take you to explainers from our beginners’ series. The setter’s name often links to an interview with him or her, in case you feel like getting to know these people better.
The news in clues
Yes! It is one of the semi-regular disruptions to our regular schedule. There are two dates approaching in the crossword calendar that mean today is another roundup-cum-competition.
The newest US president will, I presume, not feature as frequently in puzzles as his predecessor – and many of us will appreciate the change. His name is still made of decent letters, though, as we see in Paul’s clue …
27ac This melt-down transformed one wet acre (3,5)
[wordplay: anagram (“transformed”) of I (“one”) with WETACRE]
[definition: something that has melted down]
… is a geographical feature such as a SPRING or ICE WATER that you could imagine you’re on, in or somewhere near.
Our latest offering of Healing Music Recorded in 2020-21 to Accompany a Solve or Even Listen to is from Simon’s fellow Lake District fan, Taylor Swift.
I especially enjoyed the alarming imagery Carpathian offered in her clue …
… for PLAGIARISE, because “plagiarist” used to mean …
... a kidnapper. Let’s turn instead to a less criminal sense of CRIB and a game that was supposedly invented by the cavalier poet John Suckling.
I have recently been hugely enjoying the reports of Suckling’s antics, especially the one where he sent decks of cards to various stately homes with the rules of his new game. He then turned up at them to play and made £20,000 on account of having marked the cards he had sent.
So, reader: how would you clue CRIBBAGE?
Thanks for your clues for TURKISH DELIGHT. Special mentions to BethLacan and TonyCollman for dodging anything obvious in “Sweet schadenfreude when Greeks lose?” and “Edmund’s temptation behind the wardrobe”.
And among strong competition, the audacity award goes directly to PeterMooreFuller for “Sweet little candle reminiscent of a highland dagger, says Spooner”.
The runners-up are ComedyPseudonym’s stark “Thug hired kilts for dancing – sweet!” and Croquem’s touching “Sweet kid hurt his leg playing at road junction”. The winner is Catarella’s sensible “Incredible Hulk gritted his teeth threatened by this, perhaps”.
Kludos to Catarella. Please leave entries for this fortnight’s competition – and any of your picks from the broadsheet cryptics – below.
Clue of the fortnight
1d Lastly, shake anti-viral fluid before opening it (7,8)
[wordplay: anagram (“fluid”) of final letter of (“lastly”) SHAKE and ANTIVIRAL, then (“before”) synonym for “opening”]
[anagram of EANTIVIRAL, then MOUTH]
… for the drink that, as we noted in our roundup of boozy clues, is still referred to as “it” in crosswords: ITALIAN VERMOUTH. Cheers.
The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book by Alan Connor, which is partly but not predominantly cryptic, can be ordered from the Hlcarpenter.com Bookshop.