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23,429 - a fair test

Solving time: Irrelevant - somewhere around 10 mins on the day.

The last of the three puzzles in my preliminary round of the championship. A fair amount to explain, but nothing horribly difficult. Two fairly easy long down answers should have given everyone a good start. Completed by 50% of solvers inside the time limit, which is a fairly high number even with the old 30-minute limit.

1M,ALICE - ref. that AA Milne poem about going up to London with Alice to watch the changing of the guard.
4FREE,FORM (form = set of classes = Brit school lingo - something like "fourth form" equates to say "ninth grade" in the US, and a school of any size splits the kids in each form into separate classes. Except that now, most Brit schools use expressions like "year six" instead.)
11PLA(I)N - patent as in patently obvious
12SIC = Latin for 'thus', used to indicate reported misspellings in print.
13LIE DETECTOR - sooth means truth.
14HUMBLE as in 'eating humble pie', which various people did in the afternoon if not the morning...
16SPINACH - can in hips = fruit (rose-hips), all rev.
22THE HEBRIDES - anag. - a change from the usual wedding-related clues about the Hebrides.
25NO H - the xwd setter's instant summary of Cockney speech.
26TOSCA - O in anag. of acts
28C.,ON,CERT,I - one well-fancied horse fell at this fence with "CONCERTA" - wrong on two counts - (a) not even a (expetive deleted) word! (b) uses one=A rather than I, apparently not done in the Times puzzle

2LOST CAUSE - There's some quote about Oxford being a home of lost causes.
3C,R,EEL - a fish basket
6EUPHEMISM - hidden word - probably my favourite clue in this puzzle. In the pub session, several people had to be convinced by printed evidence that a hidden word clue for this word was possible.
8MONARCH(type of butterfly),Y(tail of "butterfly").
15BROKE,RAGE - the usual split for this word
17ARSEN(I,C)AL Non-Brits:Arsenal = a football club
18EC(lipse),STATIC - a nice bit of phrasing to make you think of something like corona or Bailey's beads.
21WHOLLY = "holy" - I have a feeling this was the last answer I wrote in on the day
23ESSEN - German city, all letters being quarters = compass points
24S(I)TAR - Indian instrument, not that far from the guitar with which it rhymes.

Indie 6248 - Dac
Took 4:59 - straightforward but included some good clues, such as the very apposite Family starts regal upset in this drama (4,4). And today's 'up-to-date' musical reference was only to DANCE BAND, not a blues singer like the one that troubled me a few weeks ago.


Oct. 25th, 2006 09:09 am (UTC)
Well, that just goes to show - I'm no speed merchant, as you know, but I had this cracked (almost) in 20 mins also.

Sadly, I slipped up on 23D - thinking it was ESSIN for some reason (ESS + "in"), thereby looking for 'brackets' that were never there. I knew it sounded familiar but wondered why I couldn't find any mention of it on Google...