Explanations: No. 14636 – Monday, 28 November 2011

Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 23:59


It’s often necessary to make a reference in a clue to a single letter “O”, and over the decades cryptic crossword setters have come up with an exhaustive list of possibilities. Included are zero, round, around, ring, circle, love and duck. A “duck” turns up in today’s puzzle:

14D: Duck with a bad leg and eye (4)
Our duck has many crosses to bear, it seems. If we assume the “duck” here is the letter O, then combining it with a “bad leg”, an anagram of “leg” (GLE), we get our answer OGLE, a word meaning to “eye”.

The term “duck” is used in cricket for a score of 0, and it’s thought that it is a shortened orom of “the duck’s egg”. The idea is that a 0 looks like a duck’s egg in shape. Similarly, a score of 0 in tennis may have been referred to as “l’oeuf” in French, meaning “the egg”. That “l’oeuf” apparently evolved into our contemporary score in tennis of “love”.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you have a question about today’s puzzle I am sure that I, or a fellow solver, can answer it for you.

How did you fare with this crossword?

8 One company gets the accountant, the other the French drink (4,4)

One company (CO) gets “the accountant” (CA) the other company (CO) gets “the” French (LA) = COCA-COLA: drink.
9 Poorly bred and is just trash (6)
Poorly “bred” (DEBR) and “is” (IS) = DEBRIS: just trash.
10 Place for the French swallowing not one calorie (6)
“The” French (L-E) swallowing “not one calorie” (O-CAL) for = LOCALE: place.
11 Work hard changing the tyre and clean up with this (8)
Work hard (TOIL) changing the “tyre” (ETRY) and = TOILETRY: clean up with this.
12 With me, that’s ten to one hundred around the country (6)
With “me” (ME) that’s “ten” (X) to “one” “hundred” (I-C) a-round (O) = MEXICO: the country.
13 Turning back to the allotment outside (8)
The allotment (R-ATION) outside “back ‘to’” (OT) = ROTATION: turning.
15 Wanting the ant to go for part of the bird (4)
Wanting (W-ant-ING) the “ant” to go (-ANT) for = WING: part of the bird.
17 Conclude it’s back on the fire (7)
Conclude (INFER) it’s back “on” (NO) = INFERNO: the fire.
19 Reprimand the last holding a business degree (7)
The “last” (LA-ST) holding “a business degree” (MBA) = LAMBAST: reprimand.
22 What makes us use you? (4)
What makes us use (what turns “us” into “us-e” is THE E) = THEE: you.
24 Sat longer and half-turned to Father inside, say (8)
Inside “say” (SA-Y) [half “tur-ned” (TUR) to “father” (DA)] and = SATURDAY: “Sat” longer.
27 About to get an arty sounding reply (6)
About (RE) to (TO) get an “arty” sounding (RT) = RETORT: reply.
29 It’s not your vehicle that can’t manoeuvre in the back (4-1-3)
In “the back” (RE-AR) that “can’t” manoeuvre (NTAC) = RENT-A-CAR: it’s not your vehicle.
30 Try moving a six-footer like Stalin, say (6)
“Try” moving (TYR) a six-footer (ANT) = TYRANT: like Stalin, say.
31 It starts with a G, under-used, and it ends in G (6)
It starts with “a G” (G) “under” used (ERUND) and = GERUND: it ends in G.
32 It’s exhaustive though quick, and none too smooth (8)
“Though” quick (THO) and “none too smooth” (ROUGH) it’s = THOROUGH: exhaustive.

1 Sullen doctor with a girl’s name (6)

Doctor (MO) with “a girl’s name” (ROSE) = MOROSE: sullen.
2 Mine contains silver, and a last letter that might be read (8)
Mine (M-INE) contains [silver (AG) and “a last letter” (A Z)] = MAGAZINE: that might be read.
3 Moderate getting one-dimensional in the city (4,4)
In “the city” (T-OWN) one-dimensional (ONE-D) getting = TONE DOWN: moderate.
4 Light fifty before joining the Royal Navy (7)
Fifty (L) before (ANTE) joining “the Royal Navy” (RN) = LANTERN: light.
5 Not in control of the commercial break? (6)
The commercial break (AD RIFT) = ADRIFT: not in control.
6 The thing is, the job interfered with moving etc (6)
The “job” interfered with (OBJ) moving “etc” (ECT) is = OBJECT: the thing.
7 Six outers fragmented like glass (8)
Six (VI) “outers” fragmented (ITREOUS) = VITREOUS: like glass.
14 Duck with a bad leg and eye (4)
Duck (O) with a bad “leg” (GLE) and = OGLE: eye.
16 For the little bit I owe, say thanks (4)
I (I) “owe” say (O) thanks (TA) for = IOTA: the little bit.
18 Ax in need to be straightened (8)
In “need” (NE-ED) a-x (A-TEN) to be = NEATENED: straightened.
20 Introduction of some new air gave George Russell the quota (8)
George Russell (AE) the quota (RATION) gave = AERATION: introduction of some new air.
21 At the English city it might be Othello making a comeback for the start of 11-across (8)
At “the English city” (BATH) it might be Othello, ‘Moor’, making a comeback (ROOM) for = BATHROOM: TOILET (the start of TOILET-RY).
23 To add water he catches the yard rat (7)
He (H-E) catches “the yard” “rat” (YD-RAT) = HYDRATE: to add water.
25 A crazy nut to regret being disloyal (6)
A crazy “nut” (UNT) to regret (RUE) being = UNTRUE: disloyal.
26 Determine what comes after the seaside, it sounds like (6)
The “seaside” it sounds like (C-SIDE) what comes after (D-SIDE) it sounds like = DECIDE: determine.
28 Break a promise about a gene mutation (6)
About (RE) a “gene” mutation (NEGE) = RENEGE: break (a promise).