This puzzle was originally published in The Sunday London Times on April 19, 2009
After quickly solving several clues, I thought this puzzle would be easy. However, I soon found that my initial rapid pace was not to endure. I did end up correctly solving all but one clue, even without completely understanding the wordplay associated with a number of them. Thankfully, most of my bewilderment was dispelled by Times for the Times.
Links to solutions:
A full solution and explanation is provided by Times for the Times.
Three of the clues are discussed at the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum. Among them, are two that gave me grief.
Commentary on Today's Puzzle
The Briticism's did me in today. Although I only failed to find the solution to one clue, there were several for which I did not completely follow the wordplay. The clue that I missed is:
25d Nearly leave the army in protest (4)
With virtually no confidence in its correctness, I had settled on VETO as the solution. The term 'demob' never occurred to me as I was solving the puzzle (although, in hindsight, I do remember having encountered it in the past). Also, I would personally use 'demo' as a short form for 'demonstration' only in the sense of a 'product demo' and never in the sense of a 'protest' - although I do see that this latter usage is supported by at least one dictionary. Interestingly, I was surprised to find that most of the dictionaries that I consulted did not include 'protest' among the meanings for 'demonstration'.
While I was able to obtain the correct solution, the wordplay in the following clues was largely lost on me.
1ac Do you get it with an attractive kipper? (6,5)
I did not know that 'kip' is British slang for 'sleep'. A search on 'kipper' did not turn up this meaning. Too late, I discovered that I would have easily found it by searching on 'kip' or 'kipping'.
10ac It could be Parisian cheer - or cheers! (6,5)
I didn't fully understand the wordplay until I saw it explained on Times for the Times. It was the definition of 'cheer' as 'food' that was unfamiliar to me. Even now, I'm not sure I would readily associate toast (even French toast) with "festive food and drink" (which is how I saw it defined in one dictionary).
18ac Oscar is bad about blocking station entrance, leads to certain conflict (9,6)
I solved this through a combination of the constraints imposed by the letters in the cross entries (I presume this may be what the author of Times for the Times refers to as "checking letters") and the phrase "leads to certain conflict". The complex wordplay in the first part of the clue went totally over my head until I saw the explanation on Times for the Times. I was also puzzled as to why 'Oscar' could be abbreviated as 'O' - until I suddenly remembered that it is a constituent of the phonetic alphabet.
27ac Nonsense, mate! (4)
Apparently 'tosh' means 'mate' (pal) to the British, but the only definition I could find, despite checking numerous sources (including dictionaries of British slang), was 'nonsense'.
20d Repair wall front but not top (6)
Kudos to the setter - the wordplay in this very clever clue totally escaped me. (See Times for the Times for an explanation).
Signing off until next Sunday - Falcon
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 — DT 28339
21 hours ago