A Themed AS Special

Yes, it’s my first attempt at a themed crossword, a theme which should be of interest to pretty much all of you. So don’t waste a Wednesday on another DP when you can have yourself the rarest of beasts: a themed AS special.

Feel free to regale, criticise or just plain ignore the crossword.

All starred clues are a 15-across and do not feature a definition.

All hashed clues feature within their respective answers a particular 15-across that has silently and nonchalantly infiltrated many other 15-acrosses. As such, the sneaky 15-across within the hashed clues’ answers is left unclued.

ACROSS
1. 15-acrosssorca-51 (9) *
6. Weightless spirit quietly energetic for canine 23-across (2, 3)
9. Stentorian donut stunned first conjunction (7)
10. Capture last triumph, bauble of high birth (7)
11. Singular command from the same book (4)
12. Blared cryptically: holding Yellow Pages range or clean shaver (5, 5)
15. Make out crap rhyme (6)
16, 24. Undermine catch? (8, 4)
18. Offering endless wind instrument (8) #
20. ‘Luckless bastard’ said loudly (6)
23. Expecting Chéri’s essential part encapsulated by saying “Arthur — cut!“ (6-2-2)
24. See 16-across
27. Abbreviated approval to fish activated (7) *
29. Spirits everywhere thought to shorten cartoon style with belief system marker (7)
30. Destruction engulfs November scrape (3-2)
31. Precisely! The person turned her tone on (4, 5)

DOWN
1. Red chief state (5) *
2. Not completely dead on arrival (7) *#
3. Sly affirmative to old city in addressee’s possession (4)
4. Point out daily is back to front (6) *
5. Transport 10-6 (clear dishes) (8)
6. Second-rate interferes with perfection (3) *
7. Irrational encompasses a 21-down hit (7) *
8. Organised talk near Flanders (9)
13. Sunbathe soundly (6) *
14. Loud porn-star glow (6)
15. Idiot generator produced exemplar Vulcan (9)
17. Figure out trigonometric function on time: about noon (6, 2)
19. 5-across (7) *#
21. Cover round-about (7) *
22. Get vomit to a bin (6)
25. Hack edges off American three-piece (5) *
26. Regularly lit as yellow in opening section (4)
28. Pop is one such expert (3)

Update: The clue for 11-across has changed since I first posted this crossword. As Rupert points out in the comments, the original clue for 11-across, which I had clued as Capture last triumph, bauble of high birth, is inaccurate.

Further update: The clue for 12-across has also changed since I first posted this crossword. RB pointed out that the original clue, Readable jumble holds ultimate love for clean shaver, had a mistaken anagram.

48 thoughts on “A Themed AS Special

  1. Thanks. I will be sure to comment when (if!) I’ve finished it.

    Are the clues for 10A and 11A supposed to be the same?

  2. Good to hear you’re keen for tackling the crossword.

    And 10A and 11A are supposed to be the same.

  3. Thanks for the crossie, AS. Saw 1 across and thought yeay, got that one, but it’s one letter short for palindrome, and I couldn’t find a palindromic orca. Back to the drawing board.

  4. The wonderful 1-across, which is an incredibly fantastic word, is the reason I started the theme — although the theme has only something very obliquely to do with whales or cetology in general.

  5. I think I have the theme from my answers to 6D, 13D and 21D, though I don’t see a 6 letter word that describes it in 15A.
    Much fun so far, will check in again later

  6. Good work on 6D — I thought that one, along with 1A and 4D, would be the thematic answers most likely to have people consulting Google.

    There definitely is a 6-letter word that describes the theme, though, which I’m sure you’ll find shortly indeed.

  7. Yes, I have 15A now. It was a word I’d thought of, though I couldn’t make it fit the clue.

    Nice mental misdirection with 15D and 27A next to each other.

    I liked 16A/24A.

    I had to google 10A. It’s usually called something else, with most of the same letters.

    Just the NW corner to go. I have 1A and 2D, so it shouldn’t take too long!

  8. All done. I should have got 1D much earlier (it’s called something else here). 4D fell to a list of themes, 9A to a thesaurus.

    If I have 11A correct you are a very, very bad man!

  9. Yep, 11A is one of those giggle-or-groan clues, or maybe even both.

    Good to see you got it done.

  10. Actually, I think I’m going to nitpick 11A. The clue implies “the same”, but the answer means “from the same place”. There is a four letter word that means the same – it’s the last four letters of the unabbreviated form of 11A.

  11. Still chipping away – only about 1/3 done. Trying to get the non starred clues to get some cross letters.
    18A Looked at pages of wind instruments and synonyms for offering and found one of your pet words AS – undernsong, and on the same page, antiphon! Right number of letters but can’t find an endless wind instrument. Or is the def offering? Need a bit of help – electrician coming, house and self will be gutted shortly.

  12. Rupert: Yes, you’ve got me there. Another example of why you should check what you think you know!

    And Gayle, 18A is a toughie because of the silent 15-across, but Rupert has put you on the right track.

  13. I’m giving this a shot now. I have’nt read any hints or comments here. Wish me luck!

  14. AS, this has been very enjoyable and quite challenging – great work, thanks for sharing it.
    Will you be publishing a solution at any stage? I can’t find anything for 10a, and I am struggling with the wordplay for 14d, 23a, and 26d.
    Gave up quite a few times, then realized that ‘blade razor’ was causing me grief . Like a DA, on first look it is completely incomprehensible, but as you persevere a few clues drop in and each one you put in the grid is very satisfying.
    Thanks again, really impressive piece of setting.

  15. have been at it for a few hours on and off. Have 4 answers so far including a hashed one, so some inkling as to the theme. Have a 6 letter that might describe it but can’t get the wordplay for it in 15a. Is 19D correct in referring to a non existent 5 across or am I missing something?

  16. Thank you so much for your themed puzzle – I’m really enjoying it. I must admit that I’ve only solved about 3/4 though (still struggling away). Are you going to publish a solution?

  17. Got 2 to go…. Stuck on 6D and 11A. (Perhaps I’m wrong on 1D …. Got 2 answers that will work here).

  18. 10A is an archaic word for a lesser version of headgear worn by kings.
    14D: Loud is a homophone indicator
    23A: Saying as in epigram, Arthur as in the surname of an American actress.
    26D: Section indicates a hidden answer
    19D clue is correct. The answer is still [themed] in the Baltic.
    6D: Second-rate is not A grade; Bo Derek is perfect.
    11A: When you get this you will want to do the same thing to AS as I did!

  19. thanks Rupert, that gave me 19d and confirmed what I think is the theme, but I can’t find a word for 15A that fits.
    Have also worked out 26d with your help.
    23A I think I have the last two words and one sounds like the actress, but none the wiser on the first word or how the wordplay works.
    6d ???
    14D ???
    Am not getting very far with this and am resisting the temptation to google a list of the theme as I suspect I could be there for a very long time. Am having a lot of trouble following AS’s wordplay in some of those I think I do have right

  20. BRD, thanks for the kind words, and I’m even more glad to see that my subterfuge for 26-down worked — you’re going to be slapping yourself when you see the solution that I’m going to post very shortly.

    RobynW, what’s the other 1D that could be the possible answer? I can only see one.

  21. Mr Google to the rescue for 1A (once I’d worked out 1d and 2d) AS you are right, 1A is a magnificent word and one worthy of a cryptic crossword.

  22. nn, I first came across 1-across in Midnight’s Children. Salman Rushdie claimed it was the longest single-word palindrome in English, which is true (apparently there’s one longer, detartrated, but it’s an ugly chemical word that I don’t count), and the only 15-across to be a palindrome, which is completely false, as I discovered here: http://www.languagehat.com/archives/002676.php.

  23. Am giving up. Have about 18 answers, but many are guesses or themes that fit the few cross letters that I have, without me having any comprehension of the wordplay, hence I have no idea if they are correct or not.
    AS when you put your solution up, I hope it includes explanations of wordplay!

  24. 23A: Middle letters of Cheri inside a five letter word for saying, followed by the first two letters of Ms. Arthur’s first name. The whole being an expectant (usually for the first time) woman.

    6D: “interferes with” is an insertion indicator. The whole is an African [theme]

    14D: The answer is a synonym for glow, and a homophone for the sort of person who enjoys the deadly sin associated with porn.

    15A: Make out is the definition, in the sense of osculate; it is a homophone of a word for manure.

  25. Thanks Rupert, got 23A now, I’d worked out that I had to use the middle of Cheri (although not how much of the middle), but was lost looking for a definition. A few too many words in this clue.

    15A I suspect I have the wrong answer for this as your explanation makes no sense for my word.
    14D got it now, and it fits my 15A answer…?
    6d had worked out that it was an insertion but can’t make any sense of what to insert where in terms of the rest of the clue!

  26. Got what I hope is the right 15a now thanks Rupert. (although I don’t get your homophone)
    This has allowed me to complete the SW corner. Lots of gaps in NE though!

  27. 15A: The homophone (clued as “crap”) can be a type of heap, hill or beetle. Or, as my father was fond of asking, “What’s brown and sounds like a bell?”

  28. thanks Rupert, have your homophone (and the right word for 15a) now. Initially had Lingua in there before I got 15D.

  29. 15A: It’s a rhyme, not a homophone. And I reckon it really is a crap rhyme!

    I’m about 40% through this, so it should only be another week or so!

  30. Is it one of those cases, RB, where your accent doesn’t coincide with an Australian accent and you don’t think the words rhyme?

    Or did you just not like the clue?

  31. Not sure if RB was just trying to be funny with his crap rhyme comment or if his pronunciation is different to AS’s. In England we always pronounced it to rhyme with gong, but out here in Australia it rhymes with flung. Wonder what it is in NZ?

  32. You’re right, AS, I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about the first two words of the clue. But then I know your penchant for slang far exceeds mine. But the thrust of my comment (if you’ll pardon the expression) was really about the actual rhyme: my pronunciation would be exactly as nn says (I believe we’re from the same neck of the woods, which means I have a lot of trouble with DA’s homophones!).

  33. RB I’m originally from Lancashire, but been out here in Oz for many years and speak with a mainly Aussie accent, although I find some of DA’s homophones a bit of a stretch. Mind you I find some of his synonyms a bit far fetched too!

  34. nn, I was born in Bolton, and after 5 years in Nottingham and London, and another 40 in Oz, I feel my accent is much changed. But not enough for my pronunciations to match DA’s! (Agree on the synonyms too).

  35. RB much like you I’ve been here 42 years. We tend to think of Oz as one accent but there are many less refined varitions especially when you get away from Melbourne. This may explain some of DA’s oddities :-)

  36. 15A: RB is right about it not being a homophone, but not necessarily about it not rhyming. I was born and raised in England, too (left when I was 27), and I think it rhymes.

  37. Thanks, AS. Really enjoyed this. Was wrong about 2 possible answers for 1D…. Crooked thinking on my part!

  38. Born in Wolverhampton, lived on the south coast till age 5, then county Durham till age 9, and Leeds till age 18. I don’t think of myself as a southerner, but it was easier to move somewhere where I’m just “English” than to debate the issue.
    And while my Yorkshire-born little brothers may not pronounce dung and tongue the same way I do, they do pronounce them so as to rhyme.

  39. Finally finished it! The last five in (27A, 30A, 15D, 28D, 25D) took a couple of days! The influence of DA is clear – a fiendish crossword! I liked 16,24A and 19D. Can’t quite work out the wordplay for 12A (one letter just doesn’t work). And, of course, I have several quibbles. Over to the explanations thread later.

  40. Finding it tough. I have finished about a third, all in the nether regions.

    But getting on with it.

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