Saturday, December 4

Crossword Summary: Biden’s First Clues | Crosswords

In the sample tracks below, the links take you to explanations of our series for beginners. The organizer’s name is often linked to an interview with him or her, in case you want to get to know these people better.

The news on tracks

Yes! It is one of the semi-regular interruptions of our regular schedule. Two dates are approaching on the crossword calendar, which means today is another competing rodeo.

I suppose the newest American president will not be in the puzzle as often as his predecessor, and many of us will appreciate the change. However, his name is still made up of decent lyrics, as we see on Paul’s track …

12ac American politician turned priest rotten (8)
[wordplay: president’s surname (“US politician”) inside (“in”) name of Old Testament Israelite (“priest”), both reversed (“turned”)]
[BIDEN in ELI, both reversed]
[definition: rotten]

… By INEDIBLE. If you prefer your puzzle to offer escape and distraction, Gozo has a FT puzzle in which all the clues …

27ac This melting transformed a wet acre (3.5)
[wordplay: anagram (“transformed”) of I (“one”) with WETACRE]
[definition: something that has melted down]

… It is a geographic feature such as a SPRING or ICED WATER that you can imagine to be in, in or somewhere nearby.

Puzzling elsewhere

On that topic, the Lake District puzzle that we anticipate here with Simon Evans is Now available solve. The relevant JustGiving page is also active.

Our latest offering of Healing music recorded in 2020-21 to accompany a solution or even listen it’s from Simon fellow Lake District fan, Taylor Swift.

Hear Exile by Taylor Swift, featuring Bon Iver.

Last tapping

I especially enjoyed the startling visuals that Carpathian featured on his track …

10ac Cradle the rails open poorly around the baby’s head (10)
[wordplay: anagram (“badly”) of RAILSGAPE, containing first letter (“head”) of INFANT]
[definition: the verb form of crib)]

… for PLAGIARISE, because “plagiarist” used to mean …

Definition of plagiarism from the old dictionary
A dictionary entry from the 1895 century.

… a kidnapper. Let’s move instead to a less criminal sense of CRIB and a game that was supposedly invented by the arrogant poet John Suckling.

I have recently greatly enjoyed the reports of Suckling’s antics, especially the one he sent decks of cards to various manor houses with the rules of his new game. He then approached them to play and won £ 20,000 for marking the letters he had sent.

So, reader, how would you track down CRIBBAGE?

Queue competition

Thanks for your tips for TURKISH DELIGHT. Special mentions to BethLacan and TonyCollman for dodging the obvious in “Sweet schadenfreude when Greek lose?” and “The temptation of Edmund behind the closet”.

And amid stiff competition, the audacity award goes directly to PeterMooreFuller for “Sweet little candle reminiscent of a highland dagger, says Spooner.”

Runners-up are tough “Thug hired kilts to dance, sweet!” From ComedyPseudonym. and Croquem’s poignant “Sweet kid hurt his leg playing at the road junction.” The winner is the no-nonsense “Catarella’s Incredible Hulk gritted his teeth threatened by this, perhaps.”

Kludos to Catarella. Leave your entries for this fortnight’s competition, and any of your selections from the cryptic large format, below.

Track of the fortnight

You’ll let me know if we prefer to avoid the topic, but Nutmeg takes a forward-thinking tone to his track …

1d Lastly, shake the antiviral liquid before opening. that (7.8)
[wordplay: anagram (“fluid”) of final letter of (“lastly”) SHAKE and ANTIVIRAL, then (“before”) synonym for “opening”]
[anagram of EANTIVIRAL, then MOUTH]
[definition: it]

… Because of the drink that, as we noted in our drunken clues summary, is still known as “it” in crosswords: VERMOUTH ITALIANO. Health.

Alan Connor’s The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book, which is partly, but not predominantly cryptic, can be ordered at the Guardian Bookstore.

Here it is a collection of all our explainers, interviews and other helpful details.

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