lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Double Dutch, elucidated

Double trouble, or twice the delight? That is the question, I said. It's definitely doubles and delightful to boot.

I heard the howls of protest, but aren't some of you glad that I left out the solutions? Your little grey cells got a workout and you solved some and you were thrilled. See? Missus Em knows best. I did tell you, at the very outset, that all the across clues were repetitions of a few letters. That was the theme. Let me tell you how the solutions were arrived at. (Yeah, I am gloating, so sue me)

Officer with American company joining us for African food (8)
Couscous. This is a wonderful clue. CO as in commanding officer, US as in America, Co as in company and us.

Here I changed tactics and solved the down clues. The idea was to arrive at the letters in the across clues. That would make it easier. It's not cheating, merely prolonging the pleasure.

Opening with key, he can wrongfully enter (6)
Chance. C as in musical key, inside an anagram of he can, and note the misdirection of 'wrongfully enter'. Wrongfully is the anagram indicator here, but not for enter.

Kind of language used by cultural icon (6)
Uralic. Kind of language is the definition. It is one of those clues where the solution is imbedded in the clue. Cultural icon.

American author in family group on Cyprus (6)
Clancy. No comment.

Dead - unlike Pluto, for example (10)
Unanimated. I refuse to explain. You all know better than I do.

Short dress a friend put on in sheikdom (3,5)
Solution: Abu Dhabi. This is an old favourite. A habit as in dress without the t and a bud above that, ha!

One police force intervening in domestic crime (8)
Homicide. Variations of this clue are cropping up fairly regularly these days. I as in one and CID for the police force in home, for domestic. Voila!

Bias isn't commonly seen in cosmetic treatment (3,5)
War paint. Cute, eh?

Formerly altered three, zero and four, say (10)
Heretofore. This is a good clue. An anagram of three, and o, with fore.

Isn't switching partners in court natural behaviour? (8)
Instinct. What a mind!' 'Switching partners' tells you to change the order of north and south, and then it is simplicity itself. In, and 'ct', crossword shorthand for court.

Frightens girl in love with boy (8)
Overawes. O for love and Wes the boy and Vera in between.

Are a set of rules needed when calling elsewhere? (4,4)
Area Code. Longish definition, but simplicity itself.

"Arrest that woman". Said the emperor (6)
Caesar. This is lovely. 'Seize her, ' as heard.

Melancholy detective without love (6)
Morose. This is another regular. Inspector Morse appears in crosswords with some frequency.

Cable 5 attached to Queen Elizabeth (6)
Hawser. I knew the answer, but I wanted to clarify with 5 across, which was

Warlord executed for treason (3-3)
Haw-Haw. Here is a link if you didn't get that.

Now for the real joy of this crossword, the across clues. They were all doubles, and Brendan came up with some beauties there.

A fish swallowing a scrap, something got from seaweed (4-4)
Agar-agar. A gar, with a rag in side. This is brilliant.

Quiet noise made, knocking back the odd drink (6)
Murmur. Rum going backwards twice. Charming, right?

Move slowly between church and home for your health (4-4)
Chin-chin. Inch inside ch and in. This is superb.

"Tea for two" as dance music (3-3)
Cha-cha. No comment.

Take special note, having originally ordered port in spa (5-5)
Baden-Baden. This took me a while to figure out. I knew the answer, but needed to satisfy myself with the reasoning. Spa is the definition. Ordered comes first, then 'take special note' and then a port. Bade, N.B. and Aden. Beautifully constructed.

One way to buy this land in Australia (5-5)
Never-Never. Perfect! But I refuse to explain, I do.

Fierce person creating problem with teeth (6)
Tartar. Heh!

Rude type outside pub, back on a Pacific island (4,4)
Bora Bora. This is a priceless clue. Boor around bar written backwards, and then a. What joy.

Confined in quarters, admit nothing, keep calm (3,3)
Now, now. Another beauty, this. Own and o in two Ns.

One confused host entertains another's big names (8)
Hotshots. Anagram of host, twice. Clues like these make my day. Brendan goes against the convention that you should ignore punctuation in crosswords, it is there only to mislead.

Low grade in examinations only boys get (6)
Testes. This is a new one and wonderful, to say the least.

A flightless bird in her grasp? Right on! (4,4)
Hear, hear. A rhea inside her and this is one of the all time great clues I have come across.

Now is it any wonder I am in love?



Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

Aagh .. Why can't I ever get the answer to even a single one of these crossword puzzles ?

9:29 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- It takes practice. And some thinking around corners. The thing is to keep trying, and the best way to learn is to try and puzzle out how the solution was reached, when you see the answers the next day.

2:09 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

If you have quite finished gloating, lady. Can we have a serious post now?

8:48 pm  
Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

@ Lalita:

Danq ... will try ...

8:51 pm  
Anonymous None said...

It seems simple enough when you know how, right? Still makes my head spin, though!

Practice, Practice. The magic word!

1:04 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash- Why can't I have fun? Or gloat? *stamps foot*

Ram- That's a good lad. :-)

None- Yeah, it takes practice. I have been doing this for more than two decades, hence most solutions jump out, but I still get foxed occasionally. That keeps me humble, I tell you. These compilers and their minds, I tell you.

2:14 pm  
Blogger abhorigine said...

As one Mulliner might have said to another, present or future, your blog is beyond price, cherished, collectible, costly, dear, expensive, incalculable, incomparable, inestimable, invaluable, irreplaceable, prized, rare, rich, treasured, valuable, valued, without price. More power to thine wobbly bellow, left exiting!

7:38 pm  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

You are a mad genius, Lali. The mind uh oh sorry Rimi, ze mind, eet steell bawggles.
Reading Lali's blog might get prescribed as a preventative measure for Alzhiemer's next.

8:56 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- *blushing* What did poor Roget's ever do to you to tackle it so? But I loved the Mulliner allusion, thank you muchly.

Rajesh- Yeah, and pigs might fly, too, Child. :-)

10:07 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Rajesh, I love you!

Unless of course that was cruel mockery of my style of speech. In which case *insert thunder and lightening* thy abode shall be infested with flying roaches!

5:24 am  
Blogger abhorigine said...

I can't recall which Mulliner story it is, but it has this marvellous ending featuring a pair of crossword puzzle lovers proposing and accepting in synonyms!

8:08 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rimi- What is this distressing habit of yours declaring love to my visitors, girl? Comment on content only, no? *wink*

Ram- Yeah. I will have to hunt that up and read it again. I can't recall the title either.

8:45 am  

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