Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Hindu Crossword 9460: Neyartha

the-hindu-crossword Over at Col. Gopinath's blog, there was a comment yesterday that we'd probably see starred clues in the next crossword. Sure enough, the puzzle today has them.

Thematic cryptic crosswords have this snag: you get one starred solution, and you get all the rest without effort. THC9439 of last month had rare gases as theme. 23D was the first clue I'd solved in that puzzle, and bang came all the other starred answers. The same happened in this puzzle - EARTH was enough to reveal all.

I enjoy thematic crosswords in general, but the theme should have a sufficiently broad solution set – so that even after one has caught on to the theme, the rest of the starred clues pose a challenge to the solver. The fruits theme from THC9361 worked better that way.

Here are the answers to this puzzle.

ACROSS

 1 Taking advantage of Inuit cops in order to smuggle wine inside (13) OP{PORT}UNISTIC*

9 Swallow sound on spotting carnivorous mammal (6) MARTIN for SWALLOW MARTEN
Update: Wikipedia tells me that MARTEN is a carnivorous mammal. So, that is more likely the answer and MARTIN its homophone as indicated by 'sound'. 'on spotting', just a filler then?

10 Guide for the European informers’ return (4,4) POLE STAR<-

11 Knocked cold by umpire’s decision (3) OUT [2] 

12 * Reject the Austrian usurpation of power (6) SATURN (SPURN - P + AT)

13 Supported the German’s firing, despite being detached (8) UNPINNED
That's "detached", but can't see the rest. Update: Ganesh clarifies that the annotation is UN{-der}PINNED.

14 Stable insects not to be disturbed (10) CONSISTENT*

17 Go over this when happy (4) MOON [CD]
The expression is "go over the moon", this clue doesn't take care of the "THE"!

18 Closing word for the auditor with infectious disease (4) YAWS {~yours}
YAWS=infectious disease. Don't know about the auditor's closing word. Is it a homophone for "yours"? Update: Yes it is! Closing word as in, the end of a letter.

19 Lady involved in trade-in is confused and put off (10) DI{SHE}ARTEN*

21 Amateurish bases for wordplay (8)HOMES PUN
My favourite clue of the puzzle. Clean, succinct and witty.!

23 Order to empty sherbet by mistake (6) BEHEST*
I don't like "empty" much for removing a single letter only. "cored" or "disheartened" are more apt, but of course the surface would suffer with them.

25 Port in Puri, Orissa (3) RIO [T]

26 Affront for old king from the east by one ex-PM (8) DIS {RAEL}<- I

27 * Beginners unearth radioactivity around Italian tourist village (6) U R A NUS
The connector "around" is jarring here. It leads one to think that URA will contain NUS, which is not the case. Update: Ganesh points out that "around" is part of the acrostic and not an indicator.

28 General coming back with frisky deer aboard fishing vessel is a smooth operator (7,6) WHEELER DEALER (LEE<- and ERDE* in WHALER)
The cryptic reading is fine but the surface too convoluted.

DOWN

2 Town square of a mountain retreat in Arizona (5) PL{AZ}A<-

3 Fits and removes boxed model cutting tool (9) OU{T BUR}STS Update: Thanks Anonymous for the tip!
Is there an extra S in here? I read this as: removes=OUTS, boxed=> c/c indicator, model=T, cutting tool = BUR. Which gives OUT{T BUR}S, not OUT{BURS T}S. There must be a better explanation.

4 Monarch overwhelmed by the Pole’s voice projection (5) TENON
TENON is projection, how does the rest work?
Update: Thanks Arav and Ganesh for contributing the anno: TENO{-r}{+N}
Monarch – R, overwhelmed by - substitution indicator, the – connector, Pole – N, voice - TENOR

5 * Revolutionary writer’s song (7) NEP<- TUNE
I'm getting used to Neyartha's pet reversal indicator :) Revolutionary is CHE no more!

6 Splattered incompletely by accident with a fertilizer (9) SALTPETRE*

7 Letters from a glib senator to the Norwegian playwright (5) IBSEN [T]

8 Pay attention to the game in the British gallery (4,4) TA{KE NO}TE

15 Musical work by an eloquent speaker on a Greek nymph (8) ORATOR IO
Crossword compilers must thank the Greeks for giving such a clueable name to the nymph.

16 Door jamb (broken) espied by one in church (9)SIDEP{I}E* CE
Is "by" valid as a container indicator? The clue made me expect a charade between SIDEPE and I. A quibble again about the "in", it interferes with the wordplay in this clue. Connectors are more a problem in complex clues such as this - anagram+container+charade here. It is misleading when one word is an indicator, and another similar word in the same clue only a filler.
Update: See Ganesh's comment for an alternate explanation of this clue.

17 Drug used in tin mining as a humanitarian alternative (9) MARIHUANA*
Excellent clue. "tin mining" is a smart way to signal removal, and "humatiranian alternative" great as anagram.

20 The nurse is in trouble following the morning event (7) SUNRISE*

22 * Circuit connection (5) EARTH

23 Hide this description of a traditionalist (5) BOUND [2]
"Hide" in the sense of skin, in the cryptic reading. Neat double-definition.
Update: See Ganesh's comment for an alternate explanation of this clue.

24 Coastal spray in south Maine found to contain plutonium (5) S{PU}ME

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6 comments

Anonymous said...

removes = Ousts :)

Shuchi said...

@Anonymous: Of course! *slaps forehead* I'll update the entry for this clue. Thanks!

Ganesh T S said...

First off, regarding the theme, the compiler should have also 'starred' the clues for POLE STAR and MOON, and then suggested that they have a 'universal commonality' instead of just starring the planets' clues.

1. Swallow sound on spotting carnivorous mammal (6)

The homophone indicator is closer to 'swallow' - 'martin' : So, MARTEN must be the intended solution.

on is a connector.

Spotting is a 'leading to' segment, as I like to call it.

Frequently, you see clues which suggest you must do some wordplay in order to see some direct definition. The 'in order to see' can be words like 'spotting' , 'yielding', 'leads to', 'see' and its variants etc. You can consider them connectors too, if you wish :)

2. Supported the German’s firing, despite being detached (8) UNPINNED

Supported : UNDERPINNED
the German : DER
firing : Deletion indicator
UN{-der}PINNED
despite being : connectors (well, despite is a bit far fetched as a connector, but it gives the surface reading and doesn't interfere too much with either direct or cryptic segment)
detached : Direct definition, as you have noted in your post.

3. Go over this when happy (4) MOON [CD]
The expression is "go over the moon", this clue doesn't take care of the "THE"!

Yes, this is a slight overlook, but the compiler can be given this sort of cryptic license IMHO :)

4. Closing word for the auditor with infectious disease (4) YAWS

The solution is correct.
Closing word: Yours (CD) , as in closing words in a letter
for the auditor : Homophone indicator
with: connector
infectious disease : YAWS

5. Order to empty sherbet by mistake (6) BEHEST*
I don't like "empty" much for removing a single letter only. "cored" or "disheartened" are more apt, but of course the surface would suffer with them.

This is a valid criticism which the compiler must note, but yes, I believe it was put in there for the surface reading. Will definitely not satisfy the purist!

6. Beginners unearth radioactivity around Italian tourist village (6) URA NUS
The connector "around" is jarring here. It leads one to think that URA will contain NUS, which is not the case.

Note that 'around' is not a connector or CC indicator. It is part of the Acrostic.
Beginners : Acrostic indicator
unearth - U
radioactivity - R
around - A
Italian tourist village - NUS

7. Monarch overwhelmed by the Pole’s voice projection (5) TENON
TENON is projection, how does the rest work?
Monarch - R
overwhelmed by - Substitution indicator
the - connector
Pole - N
voice - TENOR
projection - Direct definition

Anno: TENO{-r+N}

8. Door jamb (broken) espied by one in church (9)SIDEP{I}E* CE

by : It should be a connector
in : This is the container indication

The best anno I can come up with (as I have posted on Orkut) is:

Door jamb : Direct segment
broken: anagram indicator
espied: Anagram fodder: yields : SIDEP E
by : connector
one in : Put 'I' inside what is yielded by the anagram segment : This gives : SIDEP{I}E (The container / contained segment)
church : CE : standard substitution

Answer with anno: SIDEP{I}E* CE

9. Hide this description of a traditionalist (5) BOUND [2]

I would probably annotate this as : BOUND [CD], though your interpretation also makes sense.

Description of a traditionalist : Hidebound
Hide'this' - Hide'bound'

Bit farfetched?

Shuchi said...

Thanks Ganesh for the detailed comment. It is a good sign IMO that Neyartha's crosswords have stirred so much discussion.

raghunath said...

1 a] Swallow sound on spotting carnivorous mammal.

What's sound got to do with the clue? To mislead? Stifle/ dampen?

Shuchi said...

@raghunath: "sound" is the homophone indicator. It signals that the word for "carnivorous mammal" (MARTEN) sounds like the word for "swallow" (MARTIN). Swallow as in the bird, in the cryptic reading.