SMH 21903 - DP

DP went back and did that 'How a . . .'  thing. Many clues were suggestive of the answer without being precise. The surface reading of clues was bizarre at times.

ACROSS
7) DECLINE AND FALL : decline,and,fall : the definition is half a phrase really. Not sure it stands by itself. There is a Evelyn Waugh book of that title.
9) HERON : --her on--
10) HEAD FIRST : head,first : maybe half a tumble.
11) TWISTER : ddef : nothing good to see here. Move along.
12) HECTARE : (the,race)* : for a simple clue, DP could've worked the surface a bit better.
13) TOSS : to,SS : if you took "How to" away, nothing changes, so why have it ?
14) SCANT : s----,can't
15) CLUB : ddef-ish
19) EXPORTS : ex,ports
21) EQUINOX : equin-,ox : a misuse of 'daylong' and a bizarre surface. Tripe.
22) OUT OF FORM : ddef-ish : an apt answer these days.
24) TASKS : St< <>ask
25) FIRST-CLASS MAIL : 1st Class mail

Collapse )

SMH 21902 - DH

Oooh. Could DH keep the 1 week streak of moderately acceptable puzzles alive ? Or would he revert to silly names, clunky clues and quaint references to people relevant in the 70s/80s ? Or worse ? . . . .

ACROSS
1) OLD-TIMERS : ddef : starts with a much-overused ddef.
9) AMHERST : (the,rams)* : well I'm so glad DH said it was near Dalmeny or else I may not have got it. ;) Dalmeny is between Moruya and Narooma on the NSW South Coast . . . in Lake Mummaga . . . thanks heaps DH. I naturally thought the Amherst Island in Ontario Canada, though.
10) PEG : ddef
11) HINDU : hind,--u
12) SAMISEN : (means)*<>is : clunky clue . . check !
13) SITAR : is<,tar
15) GESTAPO : (goes)*<>tap
16) TRACTABLE : cart<,table
19) INOCULATE : (Cate,Lou,in)* : silly names . . check !
20) UPTIGHT : (tip,thug)*
22) KNAVE : k--n,Ave
24) BARRIER : Barrie,R : as the author is known more as J.M.Barrie, you may not have known this except for the easy definition. Eye roll.
26) AMISH : Amis,h : at least Kingsley is pretty unique. But the surface does have me slightly uneasy as to what gets Kingsley excited.
27) IDO : I,do
28) RETRACT : carter<,-t
29) EXEMPLIFY : (film,Pexey)* : wow. This is quite possibly the worst anagram / quasi-title clue that DH has ever produced. This says to me — not a single *%$# given.

Collapse )

SMH 21901 - RM

Okay, I have to admit, I'm a little befuddled by 1ac. I checked the iPad version to see if the only word I thought of was correct and it is. Beyond that, nothing. 

ACROSS
1) WARMONGER : is the given answer. Am I being totally hoodwinked or is there a mistake ? A pantheon can be a memorial for war dead but that's as close as I get.
6) GOODS : good,s------
9) NASCENT : (an)*,scent : an angram of two letters is not so worth it.
11) GADGET : g-a-d - g-e-t
12) ALL-FOURS : all,fours
14) APEX : ape,X
15) SMOOTHNESS : (Tom's,son,he's)*
18) SEMINARIES : semi,(rinse,a)* : 'rag' is a weak indicator.
20) FERN : --- ----- ---fer n--
23) REST HOME : (me,others)*
24) DEARTH : d,earth : I know not why d=dry.
26) INSTANT : ---in's tan----
27) AILMENT : -ailmen,t
28) SCENE : hm(seen) : maybe 'listener's' would've been better.
29) RHEUMATIC : hm(rue),ma,tic

DOWN
1) WINEGLASS : hm(whine),--g--,lass : lots of partial homophones today.
2) RESIDUE : -eud is er------ <
3) OPENER : o'(pen)er
4) GATE : E-tag <
5) RED-BLOODED : (bored,old,Ed) : 'types' is also weak.
6,23) GO OFF THE RAILS : ddef-ish
7) OBSCURE : OB's,cure
8) SINUS : sun,is <
13) IMPRIMATUR : I'm,pri-,matur-
16) SYNTHETIC : (tiny,chest)*
17) INCHOATE : inch,(a,toe)* : one of those words I'd never think to use in conversation.
19) MUST-SEE : hm(must,sea) : just a crappy clue.
21) EARNEST : earn,est---
22) VELLUM : ----vel lum--
23) see 6dn
25) TARE : t--,are

Can't wait to find out what 1ac is all about.

SMH 21900 - DS

There were some nice clues as usual today. One or two were little perplexing but not upsetting. I wondered if 21900 would be significant enough for a few clues but no. I wonder if 22000 will be.

ACROSS
1) DEAD RECKONING : ddef-ish
9) LENIENT : le(nine)*t : I prefer to have anagrinds that are grammatically correct and 'conditions' isn't quite.
10) SAUNTER : (Austen)*,r----- : 'introduction to the reader' is really 'T', then reader. Articles in clues can be intrusive and why you see many setters omit them.
11) SHENANIGAN : (hangs,inane)*
12) FETE : fe(T---)e
14) YAMMER : REM,may <
16) CATAPULT : (actual,p-t)*
18) CAROUSEL : c-------l<>arouse
19) MISFIT : M,is,fit : ie Monsieur and becoming/fit.
22) AMOK : a,M,OK
23) SPIN BOWLER : (poser,in,LBW)* : easy enough but nice enough.
26) CAESURA : (a,saucer)*
27) PONTOON : ddef
28) LOSE ONE'S PLACE : ddef-ish

Collapse )

SMH 21899 - DA

I set a timer for this one and then regretted it. Knowing a timer is on just makes one rush and not 'feel' the clue. And also take risks with answers. So after 30 minutes and less than half the grid filled, I turned it off. And relaxed.
I found I'd entered two wrong answers which of course makes everything harder. Plus the playwright was unknown (which I at least solved before checking). The movie/actor answers were not immediate and also the opera. 1ac was slow to realise.

ACROSS
1) URSA MAJOR : crypdef : or was it MINOR. I was looking for LAST and STAND for too long.
6) BLEEP : b,peel< : a slip (swearing) on radio may be covered by a bleep.
9) see 16ac
10) OPERA BOUFFE : (up,before,a,f-o-)*
11) TSARISM : ------t sari's m----------- : creative.
13) GIGOLOS : solo,gig <
15) SPONGINESS : -----s,ponginess : tricky definition.
16,9) NOT A FAN : nan<>(fat,O)<
18) IKEA : I,kea
19) see 20dn
21) CONQUER : con,qu-er : ie queer.
22) GNASHES : g---n,Ashes
24) VOYEURISTIC : (your,vices,it)* : nice clue.
27) NOD : ddef
28) RABAT : arab,cat : took a while to think arab.
29) CLOUDIEST : clou(die's)t

Collapse )

SMH 21898 - NS

Just a semi-stickle brick grid today. I’ve had a bit of a read through the surfaces since finishing and they mostly seem pretty good. I think NS has improved appreciably recently.

ACROSS
1) HASTE MAKES WASTE : (a,shame,steak,stew)*
9) ALLIANCE : all,I,(can)*,e————-
10) MOUSER : MO,user
11) ABLE SEAMAN : able,(means,a)* : ‘competent’ could’ve been something trickier.
12) MODE : m————-,ode
13) UNCLE SAM : (muscle,an)*
16) RENDER : ddef
17) UGANDA : -ug and a- : surely a single word starting with ‘a’ was available.
19) SPARSITY : —-s,p(a,——-r,——s)ity
21) STIR : ddef
22) AMBUSCADES : AM,(cabs,used)*
25) LAUNCH : l(a———-)unch
26) LANDINGS : l(and)ings
27) STRESS FRACTURES : (surfer,rests,cast)* :nice enough anagram.

DOWN
2) AD LIB : AD,(bi-l-)* : strange way to get the ‘lib’ part.
3) TRICE : —-trice : hmm, lots of useless words here. Am I missing something ?
4) MANTELS : man’(let<)s : I can’t make sense of the surface.
5) KEEP MUM : keep,mum : don’t think ‘keep’ and ‘am supporting’ match.
6) SEMINAR : semi,ran<
7) ABUTMENTS : a(but,men)t,S
8) TRENDIEST : t—,R,end,ie,St
14) NEGOTIANT : —ne—,got,I,ant
15) LONG-RANGE : long,range
18) APACHES : a,p———,aches
19) SUBTLER : (butlers)*
20) ARSENIC : ar(SE,N,I)c
23) ADIEU : a,d——,ie,hm(you)
24) EAGLE : ea,(leg)*

I’ve done this on iPad today to see how different it looks. If any.
There were a few SMH types habits but overall a fair presentation.

SMH 21897 - DP

A bit of trip down the lane of classic clues. There were a few that we've seen several times before but I guess for some newer solvers they are still fresh. 

ACROSS
1) SUITCASE : suit+case : can 'port' have a sensible sense in the surface reading ? Can you 'port' something ?
5) STICK : ddef : and a very easy one at that.
9) GATES : ddef
10) INDONESIA : a classic construction. The ol' ONES inside INDIA trick.
12) THE YARD : ddef
13) SPELLER : ddef-ish
14) DRIVEN SNOW : ddef-ish-ish
16) PSST : p-ss --t : 'vowels abandoning pass-out' — those naughty little vowels!
18) POST : (stop)* : bit drab.
19) GUIDELINES : Guide lines
22) OFF-BEAT : ddef-ish
23) THE CHOP : ddef-ish
24) TOURNEDOS : tour,(done)*,s : never seen tournedos except in puzzles.
25) ERATO : ---erato- : another classic. Always handy to know of the 9 Greek Muses, the most handy being Erato and Clio. Euterpe and Calliope often appear as answers.
26) SHADY : ddef-ish
27) MEASURED : ddef : bland.

Collapse )

SMH 21896 - DH

Well. Last week I noted the 89th consecutive week of disappointment. I can't be sure until I read it all through but has the streak been broken today ? I solved it two hours ago but I don't recall much gnashing of teeth or forehead hitting the table.

ACROSS
1) SOUTH PACIFIC : (such,a,fit,cop,I)* : unusual surface but not impossible.
9) ONE CLUB : one,club
10) OPENING : open,in,G---- : a bit DHish.
11) LIEF : (life)* : new word but attainable.
12) see 21dn
14) VIOLINS : VI,O,nil<,s
15) ENLISTS : (enlist)*,s : a shame to have 'son' in consecutive clues. But okay clue.
17) SLEIGHT : s(le)ight
19) UNTAMED : (nut,made)*
20) GRANNY FLAT : granny,flat
22) HAIR : h.A.i.r.
25) TONNAGE : (no,agent)*
26) APPRISE : (is,paper)*
27) NEWSPAPERMAN : new,spa,per,man

Collapse )

SMH 21895 - RM

This week we see RM return for her stint in the setter's driving seat. RM can be a bit of a lottery from week to week. Today's puzzle was going okay until I met  few curly clues toward the end.

ACROSS
1) GASKET : g(as,k--)et
4) PASSPORT : (pop,star's)*
10) AGULTHOOD : (had,to,loud)* : I'm not against anagram fodder being broken up but I don't think 'have' does the job of connecting them.
11) AUDIT : AUD,i-,t- : bit messy for the 'it' bit.
12) WINDOW SHOPPING : Windows,hopping : 'while' is not good enough.
14) GUSTY : gu(s---t)y
16) AMBULANCE : (Cuban,male)*
18) ANECDOTAL : (act,on,lead)* : I think we have a noun defining an adjective.
20) BLEAK : (Blake)*
21) LITTLE BY LITTLE : little,b---y,L,(let,it)*
25,28) BAG OF TRICKS : ddef-ish
26) ABUNDANCE : a(bun)dance
27) SPYGLASS : s-----,pyg--,lass
28) see 25ac

DOWN
1) GLASWEGIAN : (signage,law)*
2) SPURN : spur,-n
3) ENTROPY : ----y port ne--- <
5) AUDIO : -a-u- d-i- o-
6) SCALPEL : --scal,-p-e-l-
7) ORDINANCE : ord(I)nance : a pretty common construction.
8) TUTU : ddef
9) CONSTANT : con,St,ant
13) BEEKEEPERS : be,E,keepers : 'who collect' is weird. Are bees 'hummers' ? I've never associated humming with bees.
15) SEEMINGLY : (senile,gym)*
17) BELLYFUL : Bell,--yful : 'Joyful Jo Loser' is a curly one.
19) DUTIFUL : d-u-t,if,-ul- : not sure that 'members' means only the middle letters.
20) BUILDER : hm(Bill),d-e-r- : partial homophone. Say no more.
22) EXAMS : axe<,ms
23) TUNIC : nut<,IC
24) IBIS : i- b-i-s

Collapse )

SMH 21894 - DS

DS continues to frustrate me. I seem to have little to 'discuss' except the odd 'soft' anagram indicator and a distinct aversion to the suggestion of a theme of any sort. Maybe by the end of the year a theme will appear.

ACROSS
9) INTENSE : inch,tense
10) TARNISH : tarn-ish
11) EDICT : (iced)*,t--
12) ALABASTER : (basalt,are)*
13) HILLTOP : h(lilt)*op
14) HOSPICE : (posh)*,ice
15) WARM-HEARTEDNESS : war,(tradesman,she)* : 'carried out' ?
20) BUS STOP : buss,top : kissing the sweater, eh.
22) TRAPPER : T,rapper : 'in today's terms'. I don't know if DS is being dismissive of a rapper's credentials or is just being helpful to the oldies.
24) FIRE ALARM : fi(real,a)m
25) IDEAS : I'd,(sea)*
26) TROUPES : (set,up,or)* : 'take off' ?
27) LUGGAGE : lug(gag)e

DOWN
1) SIDESHOW : s(hides)*ow
2) AT WILL : a,twill : nice clue.
3) UNSTITCH : (nuts)*,itch : made me uncomfortable . . .
4) DECAMP : p(m)aced< : seemed to have a few unnecessary words, 'to', 'a' and 'that might'.
5) STRAW HAT : Arts<,what?
6) BROADS : (adsorb)* : apparently the Norfolk Broads is a lake district. Easy if you knew of it. I didn't. LOI.
7) DIATRIBE : (a,dire,bit)*
8) CHARGE : ddef
16) RESTROOM : rest,moor<
17) APPLAUSE : (Papal)*,use : 'states' ?
18) DEALINGS : (lead,sign)*
19) STRESSED : desserts<
20) BEFITS : (best,if)*
21) TRAMPS : tram,p--s
22) TUMULT : tum,ult : 'ult' is a shorthand abbreviation.
23) PREPAY : (paper)*,y

All pretty good. Can't complain.