Crossword 807 answers and explanations

By David Tossman In Cryptic Crosswords

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9th February, 2013 2 comments

Crossword 807 solution

I composed this puzzle the week a friend died. He was a keen fisherman and most generous with the kai moana he harvested, so there’s a bit of a theme here.

Perhaps it is this puzzle that prompted an email, forwarded to me, from a disgruntled reader cancelling his Listener subscription partly because of a degeneration in these puzzles. He writer says that lately I have been “putting some clues which are not solveable from the clue, unless you are psychic.”

This is the first such complaint in writing that I know of in 15 years. (I have been composing these puzzles for almost 16 years and there were some letters of complaint sent directly to me in the first year as I simply could not replicate the style of my predecessor – nor did I want to.)

Maintaining a consistent level of difficulty is a constant concern so I will be following up this complaint to see where, if and how I have appeared to go so wrong.

 Across  Answers and Clues Explanations
8 LION
A rugby rep with no illusions? Some, on reflection (4) Hidden word backwards in NO IL lusons
9 AT ALL TIMES
A lofty old London newspaper going 24/7 (2,3,5) A lofty = A TALL, old London newspaper = TIMES
10 DICERS
Gamblers could be handy chopping carrots (6) Double definition
11 ENTITLED
Given the right to let it end badly (8) Anagram of LET IT END
12 PUHA
The tapu had included a vegetable for the hangi (4) Hidden word, ta PUHA d included
13 OAFISHNESS
Insensitivity and rudeness yields seafood in the off season (10) seafood = FISH in anagram (off) of SEASON
17 FOIL
A little metal thinly spread to baffle (4) Double definition
18 ALOOF
Remote a mug sent back (5) A + mug = FOOL backwards
19 MEAT
Mate prepared stuff for the barbie (4) Anagram of MATE
20 PSYCHED OUT
Scared eccentric touched spy (7,3) Anagram of TOUCHED SPY
22 NERD
A swotty type takes part in the dinner-dance (4) Hidden word, din NERD ance
23 CRAYFISH
Fay’s rich stew ingredient? (8) Anagram of FAYS RICH
27 PAKEHA
Father eats cooked hake and missionary? (6) Father = PA, eats = containment indicator, cooked = anagram indicator = anagram of HAKE
28 HALF NELSON
Hold all the males, say, in the Top of the South (4,6) all the males is roughly half the population. The city or region of Nelson is known as known as the Top of the South
29 RIND.
A bit of a grin disguises a thick skin (4) Hidden word, g RIND isguises.
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 RIDICULOUS
Is our lucid composition silly? Indeed (10) Anagram of IS OUR LUCID
2 IN DETAIL
Dine out on rump with every last bit examined (2,6) Anagram of DINE + rump = TAIL
3 PASSIONATE
Asian poets could be lusty (10) Anagram of ASIAN POETS
4 DAZE
Stupefy and bewilder for at least 48 hours, I hear (4) Homophone, at least 48 hours = DAYS
5 GLUT
A surfeit of lager initially in the intestine (4) lager initially = L, intestine = GUT
6 BITTEN
Nibbled a small part on profit going up (6) a small part = BIT, profit = NET, going up = reversal indicator
7 PEKE
A brief look taken when listening as a small dog appears briefly (4) Homophone, a brief look = PEEK
14 FRODO
A famous Mr Baggins makes a new Ford old (5) Anagram of FORD + old = O
15 SAFETY PINS
Could these pieces of bent wire be useful? Yes, if pants disintegrated (6,4) Anagram of YES IF PANTS
16 SEA URCHINS
Chains sure entangled kina (3,7) Anagram of CHAINS SURE
19 MONIKERS
Miners OK strange nicknames (8) Anagram of MINERS OK
21 CRY OFF
Cop out with a wail of “rancid!” (3,3) wail = CRY, rancid = OFF
24 REAR
Back parent (4) Double definition
25 ICED
Diamonds, diamonds, sugar-coated (4) Diamonds = ICE (in old crime novels), diamonds = D (in bridge notation)
26 HASH.
Henry leads with evidence of smoking a hallucinogen (4) Henry = H, evidence of smoking = ASH.
9th February, 2013 2 comments

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2 Responses to “Crossword 807 answers and explanations”

  1. rhodnibyr@xtra.co.nz Feb 15 2013, 8:18am

    20 Across (scared eccentric ..... meaning PSYCHED OUT.
    Hello David
    I'm really struggling to understand the connection here, despite consulting several dictionaries. I understand 'psyched out' to mean, inter alia, becoming excited, perhaps losing control, even going mad; rather than frightened. As for 'eccentric', I'm lost. I'm aware the original, astronomical meaning referred to being 'out of the centre' but thought it now applied to original thinkers who were unconcerned with social conventions.
    Please help me to understand.
    Thank you
    Rodney
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    • david.tossman Feb 15 2013, 12:53pm

      Hello Rodney

      You appear to have two problems with this clue, one with the definition and one with the wordplay.

      Firstly the definition: like you I have not easily found "psych out" in any dictionary. My 1993 Chambers has "psych up" but not the other preposition.

      Instead I used WordNet, , Chambers Thesaurus, which I have in my computer, and Wiktionary .

      For "psych out" WordNet gives "Become scared or over stressed".

      Chambers Thesaurus (2nd Edition, 2004) gives inter alia intimidate, daunt, upset, unsettle, put off balance, alarm, scare, browbeat, rattle, get to, and put the frighteners on.

      Wiktionary notes that to psych out originally meant to outsmart but that it now means to unnerve.

      (With the wonderful intellectual powers given to me by hindsight I think unnerved would have been better than scared in that clue, but I don't think scared is wrong.)

      Now to the wordplay.

      The word eccentric in that clue is, in the usual deliberately confusing manner of cryptics, meant as an anagram indicator. In other words it is part of the wordplay, telling the solver that the adjacent words might be an anagram -- an eccentric spelling if you will -- of the required answer. Indeed TOUCHED SPY is an anagram of PSYCHED OUT.

      In summary, my aim as a setter is to present in each clue a definition (in other words a straightforward clue, usually a synonym) accompanied by wordplay leading to the same solution. The trick is to present these two clues in a phrase or sentence that looks coherent but which is in fact misleading. This is known in the trade as the surface reading.

      Breaking this surface down we have:
      Scared = definition
      eccentric = anagram indicator
      touched spy = anagram fodder.

      As a setter I keep in mind Afrit's injunction: "I need not mean what I say, but I must say what I mean." It is well for solvers to keep that in mind too.

      I hope this clarifies matters for you.

      David
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