SMH 22000 - NS

You know, if I was setting puzzle no.22000, I'd have some reference to it in the grid. Maybe triple-O distress call, 'two ducks swimming' or whatever. But I guess Fairfax setters don't always think ahead (DA keeps an eye out, I'm sure). Today, NS lets it slide by . . . missed opportunity.

ACROSS
7) IN THE FIRST PLACE : (epicentral,shift)*
9) OWNS : O,w-n-s
10) EPICUREANS : epic,(hm(you,are))(sane)*
11) MY WORD : (mow,dry)* : 'subdivision' ?
13) EAST IRAN : (retains,a)* : a bit of an invented answer as e?s?i?a? doesn't lend itself to much at all. Not good setting.
14) BESIDE : be--,side
15) HAGGIS : h(a,GG)is
18) PRISONER : (sniper,or)* : 'another' ?
20) ANYONE : --- ----any on e-------
22) INDICTABLE : in,CID<,table
23) LAMP : L,amp : we've seen easy ones but surely there's no easier.
24) STAND ON CEREMONY : (my,ancestor,no,end)*

DOWN
1) IN A WAY : in,away : quirky one.
2) THIS : --- -t his -------- : not very satisfactory.
3) OFFENDED : off,ended
4) STRUTS : Sturt's< : he searched for an inland sea but found they all went to the Murray.
5) FLEETINGLT : flee,tingly
6) SCANDALS : s(c---)andals
8) RAINED : (in,a,red)* : 'dress' ?
12) OBSESSIONS : OB,sessions
14) BARONETS : (absent,or)*
16) AMATEURS : am,at,--e,Ur,s--------
17) ARABIC : CI(bar)A <
19) NOTION : not,I,on : what does 'the team' do ?
21) NAMING : n/a,Ming
23) LAMB : L,a,MB

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SMH 21999 - DP

Today, DP has included a little theme, which isn't a bad thing. It's only bad if you're not knowledgeable of it. Australian towns/cities are pretty workable answers. Apart from all that, I think I wasn't greatly disturbed today.

ACROSS
1) BISTRO : (orbits)* : some references say restaurant or café. But we think of it much more as restaurant.
4) READY WIT : (wet,dairy)*
10) TOOWOOMBA : too woo,MBA
11) NONET : no net : would make it hard on a trawler.
12) ON CUE : ddef-ish : ol' Walter. Pretty handy with a billiards cue.
13) ELEVENSES : elevens,-es- : only really knew that Bilbo Baggins was fond of it.
14) SALE : ddef
15) IN GENERAL : in,general : doesn't get much easier.
19) POMPADOUR : pomp,a,dour
21) YASS : ----y,ass
24) SINGLETON : single,ton
26) ENTER : ---enter- : surface is slightly unnerving.
27) MOLAR : ddef
28) TIMPANIST : (Tim,paints)*
29,30) CHARTERS TOWERS : charters,towers

DOWN
1) BOTTOMS UP : ddef-ish
2) STOICAL : (oil,cast)*
3) ROOMER : hm(rumour)
5) ERASE : ---era se-
6) DUNGEONS : dung,(one's)* : didn't really need 'how'. Better without.
7) WINDSOR : winds,or
8) TOTES : ddef
9) IMPETIGO : I'm,pet,I,go : the construction was too tempting and the link to the definition was not good.
16) GERONIMO : (Gino,more)*
17) LAST RITES : las(trite)s
18) BALLARAT : ball,a,rat
20) MANILLA : man,ill,a : on Wikipedia they hoped to get Triple J's One Night Stand in 2018. They didn't.
22) ASTRIDE : -ast ride-
23) GELATO : leg<,ATO
24) SUMAC : sum,AC
25) TUTOR : (trout)*

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SMH 21997 - RM

Didn't really enjoy this much. There seemed to be a lot vague bits of this word and a bits of that word. It still reminds me of that super vague cryptic in the Tele nowadays.

ACROSS
1) UNCIVIL : ddef-ish : whatever.
5) DESCENT : de(s)cent : includes an unnecessary 'a' in the clue.
9) NOVITIATE : no.,vitiate
10) UNCLE : uncle-- : 'almost' is 5/7ths of 'unclean' apparently. Vague.
11) RENOWN : -----ren,own : no, the followers of 'brethren' are in the next word. 'ren' are the followers of 'breth'.
12) BRACELET : B,race,let
14) ESCUTCHEON : --e's cut che--,on : vague 'protection'.
16) WEEP? : wee,p? : because we all know that 'weep' is not 'ball'. Balls-up ? Someone set my mind at ease.
18) LEAF : ddef
19) ALTERNATOR : (art,later,on)* : reasonable.
22) SUPPLIES : (pies,plus)*
23) USED UP : -u-s-e- d-u-,p---
26) RHONE : r--h,on,-e------ : 'guards' are the end letters, supposedly.
27) GUILELESS : (legisl--u-e's)* : ugh.
28) MONSTER : ---mon ster---------
29) POTHOLE : p(oth--)ole : vaguely, 'little' is meant to mean 'oth'.

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SMH 21996 - DS

I found this one a bit tricky today. 1, 2 and 3 dn all were not immediately obvious and needed a second look. Then through the rest nothing was immediate. So for a Saturday, that's pretty good I reckon.

ACROSS
9) ABORIGINE : (Iberian,go)* : probably the easiest.
10) MANGE : man-ge : ie manage.
11) ILLEGAL : ill,(a,leg)*
12) FORTUNE : for,tune
13) TOWER : tow,ER
14) PURLOINER : pur(loin)er
15) CONTEMPORANEOUS : (pronounces,a,tome)*
20) SKIN GRAFT : skin(Graf)t
23) MOLAR : (moral)*
25) BLANKET : b(lank)et
26) THRIVEN : (-verni-ht)*
27) ULCER : -----ul cer--------
28) CHEQUERED : cheque,red

DOWN
1) SADISTIC : sad,I's,--tic--
2) FOLLOW : fol-,low : ie folk.
3) DISGORGE : d-i-s-,gorge : Cheddar Gorge is apparently somewhere.
4) FILLIP : hm(Phillip) : nice.
5) SEAFARER : sea(fare)r
6) EMBRYO : (more,by)*
7) INNUENDO : (union)*<>end : also nice.
8) VENEER : -----vene er-------
16) NUISANCE : nu(is)ance
17) PRACTICE : pr(act)ice
18) NUMEROUS : n(emu<,---r)ous
19) SERENADE : (see,red,an)*
20) SUBDUE : sub,due
21) GO-KART : (got,ark)* : no, this was the easiest.
22) TOTTER : ddef
23) LIVERY : live,Ry

All pretty good. One of DS's best.


SMH 21995 - DA

No themes, just a bunch of DA clues. I wouldn't say it was the easiest ever but nothing was really obscure or intricate. Spent a moment or two on LOIs 20ac/21dn.

ACROSS
1) STARCHY : star,c--h,-----y
5) TOO MUCH : to(mo<)uch
10,27) CHOC TOPS : (scotch)*<>--op-- : I was distracted by the many six-letter words, thought the hearts of them all was the key. Not really.
11) THE MESSIAH : themes,is<,a,-h---
12) DELINEATE : (Dean,Eli,t-e-)* : a fairly ugly clue.
13) see 29ac
15) GDANSK : g---d,a----n,s----k : don't know many Polish cities but I do know that one.
17) ETRUSCAN : (e)tru(e),scan
18) RIGHT NOW : Sp(knight row)
20) NICELY : man(ice)ly : the surface is a bit rank.
22) AZURE : 'az(u---r)e : Hackney being a cockney area, therefore H-dropping.
23) VISUALISE : (US,is,alive)* : drab surface.
26) HIERARCHIC : hi-er,arch,IC : I spent ages thinking br- something.
27) see 10ac
28) PROWESS : a figurehead on the prow of a ship. Aren't they usually female anyway ?
29,13) ADRENAL GLAND : (land,land,gear)*

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SMH 21994 - NS

It's a classic stickle-brick today. Long anagrams too. Can it match the heights of last week ?

ACROSS
8) THE POWERS THAT BE : (he,better,wash,pot)* : not a bad one to start.
9) FRUGALLY : f--,(rug)ally
10) MADCAP : mad,cap
11) EXPORT : ex,port : no need for 'this'.
12) NESCIENT : -ne scient---- : not a commonly used word.
14) TSETSES : set< <>sets
16) ADDRESS : AD,dress
19) ANISETTE : La(ante)<>I,set : too soon for 'set' again.
21) PESTLE : pest,Fr(le)
22) ORATOR : -or a Tor- -------
24) OILCLOTH : (chill,too)*
25) POINT OF NO RETURN : (our,net,profit,non)*

DOWN
1) THORAXES : Thor,axes
2) EPIGLOTTIS : (lip,is,to,get)*
3) TWILIT : twi-,L,it
4) BRAVING : b(R)aying
5) ITEMISED : (semi,edit)* : the surface is hopeless.
6) SAND : s---,and
7) OBTAIN : O,(TAB)*in : indirect anagrams should be avoided.
13) IRRESOLUTE : (US,loiterer)*
15) EXTERIOR : ex,(rioter)*
17) SOLITARY : so,L,it,a-------,r----y
18) HEROINE : her,o(I)ne
20) NARROW : n(a,RR)ow
21) PALTRY : pal,try
23) TUNA : nut<,a

A bit more middling, this one. One or two substandard clues but enough fair ones to get you through.



SMH 21993 - DP

As we edge closer to puzzle 22000, presumably with NS, we must first traverse the minefield that is DP. Will we make it safely through ? Or be horribly disfigured by the experience ?

ACROSS
1) ABYSS : a(by)ss
4) ARMBANDS : arm,bands
11) THING : (night)* : a surface that strangely says nothing.
12) ON THE SPOT : ddef-ish : neither of which is truly satisfactory.
13) INAPTNESS : (pen,stains)*
14) HIPPO : ------hip po------ : there must have been a better pair of words that could make sensible surface.
16) IN THE LAST RESORT : ddef-ish
19) GENERAL PRACTICE : general,practice : now, who was fooled by where a GP might be ? And the officer IN training ? Is it ? No. Terrible clue.
20) MASAI : ------- ---ma sai- : God knows what 'ancient' does in the clue.
22) HIT PARADE : hit,parade
23) TURNS TAIL : turns,tail : turn/deed/act.
25) MUSIC : m(us)ic
26) HITHERTO : hit,her,to
27) ADANI : --ad an i---- : hmm, seems a recent reference . . . 

DOWN
2) BRIGANTINES : brine's<>(giant)*
3) SIGHTSEER : hm(cites,ear) : close but doesn't really sound the final syllable.
5) RATES : ddef
6) BEECH : hm(beach)
7) NAP : --nap--
8) SITS ON THE FENCE : ddef-ish : the bird or the cat or the neighbour . . .
9) STRIKING A MATCH : striking,a,match
10) DOVETAIL : dove,tail
15) PRODIGAL SON : (is,polo,grand)* : 'enough' anagram indicator ? nah.
17) THROTTLE : ddef
18) EXCLAIMED : ex,claimed
21) ISSUE : ddef
22) HEART : he,art
24) RAT : r-a-t

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SMH 21992 - DH

I think that 6,19dn sums up DH in a nice, neat nutshell. These puzzles are lost in a bygone era of setting. I haven't heard that character mentioned in about 20 years and then usually only in cryptic puzzles. Then in 2019 to say a 'Maclaine role' is asking 'Who's Maclaine?' and too many solvers wouldn't know, let alone safely name a role of hers. A setter of the 21st century needs to step in on Tuesday.

I'MCROSS
1) BELITTLES : (Bette's,ill)* : Bette Davis was probably a favourite actor.
6) IDIOT SAVANT : (avid,saint,to)*
9) ADORNED : ador(n----)ed
10) VAMOOSE : Va,moo,SE
11) SPIRALLING : SP,I,r(all)ing
12) MARC : Ma,RC
14) RELIEVE : re,It(il)<,eve
15) BODEGA : B(do<)ega
16) BALEEN : B(ale)en : so it wasn't Buddy Franklin of the 21st century ?
20) SHRIVEL : sh,(liver)*
24) see 28ac
25) HORIZONTAL : (Thora,Linz)*<>O : when DH can't make a clue he invents a nonsense name to anagram.
27) ULULATE : AAAAARRRRGGGHH !!! (Imagine my cranium exploding).
28,24) SWEENEY TODD : (Steed,Downey)* : another throwback to antiquity. Someone call 000 for me.
29) see 17dn
30) POETASTER : Poe taster

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SMH 21991 - RM

You just get used to LR's wavelength then it's taken away. RM comes back to the roster. One has to be alert with RM's clues. They're not always laid out in a linear fashion. Sometimes pieces have to be joined up and twisted. But generally you can get them out.

ACROSS
1) HONEY-TRAP : hone,party<
6,11) WARTS-AND-ALL : (all,star,dawn)*
9) RIOT ACT : Rio,tact
10) TRIGGER : t--,rigger
11) see 6ac
12) STREAMED : stream,Ed. : I didn't check it but it sounds right.
14) TOYS : -to-y----s : a messy clue.
15) UNCONFINED : unco,n,fined : knight=n in chess.
18) ADMINISTER : -ad,minis,ter----- : you get there but . . .
20) SLOW : s(l------)ow
23) WILDLIFE : wil-,(field)* : a nice enough clue.
24) GUNNER : ddef : I would've thought 'gunna' and therefore hm needed.
26) THINNER : th-,inner
27) BEGGING : be(GG)ing
28) HONED : h-d<>one
29) HALF-LIGHT : ha--l-,flight

DOWN
1) HERBAL TEA : (able,heart)*
2) NOONDAY : no-on-,D-a-y
3) YEARLY : ---y,earl,--y
4) RITE : hm(right)
5) PETITIONED : petit,-ir-<>one
6) WRITE-OFF : hm(right off)
7) REGIMEN : regime,-n- : is 'and diet' meant to be 'and' getting thinner ?
8) SHRED : sh(---r)ed
13) AND SO FORTH : (tons,of,hard)*
16) DOWNRIGHT : down,Right
17) INCLINED : ddef
19) MILLION : mil-,lion
21) LANDING : l(and)ing
22) FUNGAL : fun,gal
23) WITCH : wit(c----)h
25) ABEL : Leba--- <

Not too foul.

Happy Birthday to me.