20 thoughts on “Early Bird Commenting for 20th February

  1. Just a general comment…After my initial astonishment at the group of related clues, to my great relief I cracked their theme almost immediately. However I’ve found many of DA’s other clues quite devious this week, and have hit the wall with 9 still unsolved.

  2. I’m hoping (sort of) that one day DA will set-up an entirely circular cross-referenced puzzle, such that every clue has a cross-reference to another. Likewise have 9 gaps remaining …

  3. I found it a curate’s egg, I liked the piggy references but I reckon some of the clues strain the language a bit too much. Surely ‘involving’ would have been better then ‘entailing’ in 9A and 22D? And 10A, 25A, 1D, 8D, 16D, 18D, had me doing more double-takes than Cary Grant in ‘Arsenic and old lace’!

  4. What’s the story on wee-wee-wee-wee? In just about every google reference there are three wees. What’s the official version? And if the official version is three wees, is there a tell in the clue that makes it four-wees? Or is DA just taking the wee?

  5. Tony T: I can’t speak for google, but the version used in our house is consistent with DA. You also get 33% more tickles that way.

    We have nine gaps; and on our “solved” clues, about three that we can’t completely justify. 10A, if we have it right, is just horrible.

  6. Well, I struggled mightily with this week’s crossword, but judging from the above comments I’ve done pretty well. I have 3 gaps. Like LK, I think we had all four wees at our house too (despite the google references showing only three). And like JG, I felt the language was occasionally being strained to breaking point. Though I must confess I did like 24D (spin-off teddy) once I’d cracked it.
    11A: This looks like TRANSOM (matrons treated). But the rest of the clue?
    25A: D-R-O-D. No idea.
    19D: -R-Y-L-. No idea. Thought it was CRAYONS at first [cray on s(ea)].

  7. 11A transom, in the sense of a fanlight above a door, that you open with a cord or lever.
    19D is ‘crayola’, a proprietary name for crayons, as used by KINDERgarten artists, and is ‘ray’ in ‘cola’.
    25A is horrible, ‘dermoid’, being Mr Ed the talking horse backwards, and ‘void’ without ‘v’ (starting off vacancy). But ‘dermoid’ is an abnormal growth on the skin, so is hardly ‘skinny’, and ‘void’ for ‘vacancy’ is stretching things.
    RB, please explain 24D, I haven’t the foggiest.

  8. Thanks JG.
    11A: I didn’t study my dictionary closely enough! I thought transom was just the lintel above a door, but as you say it can also be a small window above the lintel. And I guess “opener” refers to door.
    25A: Dermoid isn’t in my Shorter Oxford, but googling did provide support for DA, yielding “resembling skin” in Wiktionary.
    24D: Ah yes! Very tortuous.
    #1-5 = numbers one to five i.e. all five little piggies i.e. TOES
    spin-off teddy = teddy minus spin = teddy minus eddy = T
    TOES clutch T = TOTES = bears

  9. I also had 9 gaps (including the first word of 9A!):
    1D, 9A, 7D, 8D, 10A, 11A, 24D, 25A, 19D.

    I should have gotten 19D. I even realised that kinder = kindergarten.

    Put me out of my misery. What is the first word of 9A (_ _ I _)?!

    Thanks for explaining 11A, 19D, 25A and 24D.
    Please help me with 1D, 7D, 8D, 9A, 10A.

  10. 7D is ‘agespots’ =’blemishes on the old. ‘block’ = stop, ‘game-maker’ = SEGA, and ‘repulsed’ = driven backwards, so ‘stopsega’ gives ‘agespots’.

  11. To answer NC’s queries:
    9A: First word is THIS

    1D: Tense = STIFFEN
    Frames = fits up (Think TV crime shows: “I’ve been fitted up guv”) = STIF
    bog = FEN
    Don’t know what function the word “possibly” is serving here.

    8D: Bantams = PYGMIES
    22-down = porker = pig, so 22-down heard = PYG
    semiquaver = anagram of semi = MIES (I liked that bit!)

    10A: Pay for = FOOT(as in “foot the bill”)
    fashion = WAY (as in “do it in this fashion”)
    course = FOOTWAY

  12. 16D: letters of MAKER get “clocked” (dubious) and then inserted into TOT (a “recipient of the ‘this little piggy’ rhyme) to get TO MARKET

  13. 18D: SHAD = type of fish and the regulars of fOr WhY gives OWY; hence SHADOWY = faint

  14. 13A: Yes, the (ear) canal clue was a hoot!

    DA is getting very inventive (and obscure) in signalling anagrams: this week we had “clockmaker” (16D) and “semiquaver” (8D). Very enjoyable once you’ve cracked them! And I thought “…. spin-off teddy bears” (24D) was DA genius!

  15. 16D: haiku – you thought the “clockmaker” clue dubious. But I felt it was OK because a slang meaning of clock (verb) is to hit. I couldn’t find this meaning in my Shorter Oxford but it is in The New Penguin Compact English Dictionary. Also in http://www.thefreedictionary.com.

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