Count to fifteen
I was unkindly compared to Granny Weatherwax. In my defence, I must say that quite unlike that great witch, I am keenly literate but only grudgingly numerate. It is a different thing when it comes to crosswords and counting letters, though.
So I can count up to fifteen with great facility, and sometimes, when there are jumbo crosswords to be solved, I even manage twenty-three. I was thinking about this as I solved today's Araucaria.
The grid patterns tend to get used in rotation, and today's grid had a pattern that I used to dread but have come to enjoy. The first clue across took up the entire rank, a fifteen-letter clue. I rubbed my hands in anticipation.
This means, of course, that One down and Eight down will be fifteen letters long, whether a single word or two or three words long. And the bottom rank across will be fifteen letters long, too. This grid is useful for crosswords with a theme or a long quotation spread over several ranks and files. But today's puzzle had no theme, and only one twelve letter long clue split into four threes.
As a neophyte I used to be nervous tackling long clues. Four or five letter words seemed more my forte then. Now I prefer longer clues, and if they spread themselves all over the grid, all the better.
The long clues were gems, but let me tell you about some of the shorter ones first. In no particular order, then:
Much of day is left, leaving remaining horses happy (9) satisfied.
'Happy' is the definition. The comma is there to mislead. Sat plus is plus field without the L.
Dragonflies get round fellow with a word of appreciation (7) odonata.
This is beautiful; O with don and a ta. Ha!
Get number from fire (7) inferno
Infer, no? What fun!
Lesbian clan concealing publicity (7) tribade
What brings warm air to the French is a fast one (7) swindle
This is a cool clue, S for south plus wind plus the in French.
A creature having tail removed first made madder (7) alizari
Wicked, huh? And to think this is what a man of god gets up to.
Leaving nothing out isn't yet without brief account (9) intestacy.
Leaving nothing is the definition, out is the anagram indicator, anagram of isn't yet spread around ac.
Fairly relaxed like this drinker- about time (7) softish
Wicked, I tell you.
This will locate the drama school correctly (5) radar
RADA and R.
And now to present the big ones, folks:
Son of York who further dated revolution (6,3,6) Edward the fourth.
This is delicious if you know your history (even if not), revolution is the anagram indicator and Son of York is the definition.
Plot with a commission to destroy the global view (15) cosmopolitanism
A simple anagram, but when it is One Across, it can get worrisome.
Now for the gems, the absolute gems.
Ride off a little way to old city in time to get led up the aisle (7,2,6) married in church
How much more delicious can a clue get, hmm? March enveloping an anagram of ride and inch for a little way and Ur for an old city. Diabolical, I tell you.
Where to get old bangers for females to rent in Wales (15) Carmarthenshire
Makes you chuckle once you get it, but you have to be a corkscrew thinker to get it. In Wales is the definition. Carmart plus hens plus hire.
This is one man spoiling his chances for the harps and haloes, I tell you, so long as he chooses to compile clues like this. But isn't he wonderful?