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Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish

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Monthy Club Special 20,208: Explosion in the Scrabble Tile Factory! [Feb. 1st, 2018|01:03 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
Greetings all, the appearance of a new Club Special reminds me that I need to post up a blog of the last one. This puzzle is a curious beast (I find): the wordplay is scrupulously fair, and would not feel much out of place in a daily 15x15, but of course the vocabulary is hopelessly obscure, such that if you can get any of it from a couple of checkers you're a better solver than I am, Gunga Din. So there's a lot of toil and trouble that goes into solving one of these, as you try to locate something, anything that could be indicated by the wordplay that has any chance of being a real word. It's all good clean fun, but I wouldn't want to do it more than once a month.

A big part of the enjoyment I think is discovering what all these ridiculous words actually mean, and I have annotated most of them with their definitions below. I'm not sure how much utility assimilating them into one's personal lexicon would provide, but we don't do crosswords because it's useful, really, do we?

1 Fly right into blow dealt with axe (2-6)
OX-WARBLE - R [right] into (BLOW + AXE*) ["...dealt..."]
An ox-warble is a pesky fly that produces a swelling (of the same name) on the back of an ox.

9 Within one year, not prepared to back land-tenure (8)
RYOTWARI - within I YR [one | year], RAW TO [not prepared | to], all "back"
A ryot was a peasant farmer on the Indian subcontinent. Ryotwari was a system by which the British oppressors collected taxes from the ryots, as far as I can make out.

10 Five removing cape run quietly over, uncloaked (2,6)
IN QUERPO - {c}INQUE [five, removing C for cape] + R P O [run | quietly | over]
"En cuerpo" seems to be Spanish for "out of formal dress", or "without a coat" and apparently if you're English you can spell this almost any way you like.

11 Pound, perhaps, short over time, dividing notes in threes (8)
TERZETTI - reversed EZR{a} [Pound, perhaps, "short", "over"] + T [time], "dividing" TE TI [(two) notes]
A terzetto is a trio, making terzetti "threes".

12 Peeler’s half dislodging plug in nut plant (10)
MACROZAMIA - MAC{ad->ROZ{zer}}AMIA. A peeler is a ROZZER, take the first half and use it to replace the AD [plug] in MACADAMIA to discover another plant.
A genus of Australian cycads. Presumably quite large.

14 I stand for a second in game, playful if wary (4)
ALFA - second letters of {g}A{me}, {p}L{ayful} {i}F {w}A{ry}.
A in the international phonetic alphabet. The very subtle definition part makes this my COD.

15 Female comic agreed gags: she had victims in stitches (7)
DEFARGE - F [female] that (AGREED*) ["comic"] "gags".
In Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, a tricoteuse who, Fate-like, encodes in her knitting the names of people to be killed.

17 Rare solemnity in dispatching pupils once attendant’s released slip (7)
OBSEQUY - OBS [pupils once] + EQU{err}Y [attendant, who has lost ERR meaning "slip"]
Obsequies are funeral rites and solemnities; the singular form is rarely seen.

21 Involving vital element, poisonous with lead removed (4)
OXIC - {t}OXIC [poisonous, with leading letter removed]
Something relating to oxygen.

22 Do next task, arranging places for drying out (5,5)
DETOX TANKS - (DO NEXT TASK*) ["arranging"]
Aka detoxification centres, rumours of verlaine's intimate acquaintance with which over the years are greatly exaggerated.

23 One used to extract sap keeping stone in beak once (8)
JUSTICER - JUICER [one used to extract sap] "keeping" ST [stone]
An old word for a maintainer or administrator of justice. Beak is of course slang for a magistrate, as in "up before the beak".

25 What regularly angry hosts work on by not having relatives for dinner? (8)
EXOPHAGY - EH A{n}G{r}Y [what? | "regularly" angry] "hosts" OP [work] on X [by]
Exophagy is the etiquette among polite cannibals stating that one should not eat one's own kinsfolk.

26 Stand up for Scotland? Government department not getting in way (8)
MISTRYST - M{in}ISTRY [government department, "not getting IN"] + ST [way]
To disappoint by not keeping an engagement, i.e. to "stand someone up", in Scotland.

27 Vulture, one flying through area for last of carrion (8)
ZOPILOTE - ZO{n->PILOT}E. Take ZONE, an area, and replace the last letter of {carrio}N with PILOT [one flying].
A smaller American vulture, most notably a turkey buzzard or urubu.

2 Ten with aversion to certain insects — and salt (8)
XANTHATE - X [ten] with ANT HATE [aversion to certain insects!]
A salt of xanthic acid, which I hope is as yellow as it sounds.

3 Brief possibly pornographic song that has makings of rock (8)
ADULARIA - ADUL{t} ["brief" possibly pornographic] + ARIA [song]
A transparent orthoclase feldspar, named for the Adula group in the Alps.

4 Keen at first to have a go at climbing Highland tree (4)
BIRK - K{een} + RIB [to have a go at], "climbing"
A Scots birch.

5 Rhetorical question somewhat tame to readers, on reflection (7)
EROTEMA - hidden reversed in {t}AME TO RE{aders}
A rhetorical question; basically just the Greek word for "question".

6 Bearing old vase and vestment girl holds cross (7-3)
JOURNAL-BOX - O URN + ALB [old | vase + vestment] that JO [girl] holds, plus X [cross]
A box or bearing for a journal; a journal being that part of a shaft or axle which is in contact with and supported by a bearing. It'll come in handy one day I'm sure.

7 Rounded characters, etc, mostly mean a large measure of intelligence (8)
NASTALIQ - NAST{y} ["mostly" mean] + A L IQ [a | large | measure of intelligence]
Persian cursive script. As well as rounded characters it has long horizontal strokes.

8 Big wheel in bird enclosure, not area having young plants (8)
VIVIPARY - VIP [big wheel] in {a}VIARY [bird enclosure, not A for area]
Viviparity, that is to say producing bulbils or young plants in the flower clusters.

13 Parrot-fashion, digitally remastering CD, got lazy, repeating last bit (10)
ZYGODACTYL - (CD GOT LAZYY*) ["remastering..."]
Having two toes in front and two toes behind, in the manner of a parrot. It's all the fashion these days, I understand.

15 Yellow pack arriving in birthday post (8)
DOORJAMB - OR JAM [yellow | pack] arriving in D.O.B. [birthday]
The sidepiece or post of a door. Quite a crossword when this is the least obscure word.

16 Junk food is hard to get in Dutch province (8)
FRIESISH - FRIES IS H [junk food | is | hard]
Of the Dutch province of Friesland.

18 Bow, once, before prince related to Byzantine governor (8)
EXARCHAL - EX-ARC [bow, once] before HAL [prince]
Of an exarch, which is a Byzantine provincial governor, especially of Italy.

19 Strip title from UK, ninth and last in fencing, sadly (8)
UNKNIGHT - (UK NINTH {fencin}G*) ["sadly"]
To divest of knighthood.

20 Religious guru, celebrity, unknown beyond confines of establishment (7)
STARETZ - STAR [celebrity] + Z [unknown] beyond E{stablishmen}T
A holy man or spiritual advisor in Russia, also spelt starets.

21 Purple emblem from board game, one played for longer (4)
GOLP - GO [board game] + LP [one played for longer]
A purple roundel in heraldry. Check your own family coat of arms!
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Times 26,709: Matryoska [Apr. 14th, 2017|08:44 am]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
1 Like an eager consumer's fashion sense? (8)
RAVENOUS - RAVE NOUS [fashion | sense]
6 Evil King Edward blocked by good Harry (6)
BADGER - BAD ER [evil | King Edward] "blocked" by G [good]
9 Our place next to the middle of Shakespeare's Globe (6)
SPHERE - HERE [our place] next to {Shake}SP{eare's}
10 Familiarity with one formation for Man. City (8)
INTIMACY - I [one] + (MAN CITY*) ["formation for..."]
11 Pick up extremely huge feet (4)
HEFT - H{ug}E + FT [feet]
12 Gripping but deplorable, banning book and introductory note (10)
14 Hard way to admit transgression after rebuffing indulgence (8)
HEDONISM - H [hard] + MODE [way] "to admit" SIN [transgression] reversed ["after rebuffing"]
16 Breaking strike, ring to use non-standard phone service (4)
ROAM - breaking RAM [strike], O [ring]
18 You've every right to steer clear of fattened pig in this! (4)
POKE - PO{r}KE{r} [fattened pig (every right steering clear)], &lit
19 Loom yarn cut meshed fabric backing (8)
THREATEN - THREA{d} [yarn "cut"] + reverse of NET [fabric "backing"]
21 Capable worker who's going places? (10)
JOURNEYMAN - literally a capable worker, but suggestive of one going on a journey, i.e. places
22 Out of time, unable to escape creation of partial vacuum (4)
SUCK - S{t}UCK [unable to escape "out of time"]
24 A Brit demolished in cast’s denunciation (8)
DIATRIBE - (A BRIT*) ["demolished"] in DIE [cast]
26 Design interior to go in (6)
TRENDY - END [design] (is the) interior to TRY [go]
27 Objections overturned through being blunt (6)
STUBBY - reverse of BUTS [objections "overturned"] + BY [through]
28 Ascent's ending in panorama before each climber (5,3)
SWEET PEA - {ascen}T in SWEEP [panorama] before EA [each]
2 Fruit drink containing pip's husk (5)
APPLE - ALE [drink] containing P{i}P
3 Lie etc, to change single ruling party? (11)
ELECTIONEER - (LIE ETC*) ["to change"] + ONE [single] + E.R. [ruling party], &lit
4 Provide auditor's initial forms with unearned income (8)
OVERPAID - (PROVIDE A{uditor}*) ["forms"]
5 Expression of surprise on board, beset by palpitations? (6,2,7)
SHIVER MY TIMBERS - MY [expression of surprise] on TIMBER [board], "beset by" SHIVERS [palpitations]
6 Bishop unqualified to give flattery (6)
BUTTER - B UTTER [bishop | unqualified]
7 With poor visibility, just over half a kilometre? (3)
DIM - DI = 501 in Roman numerals, M = metres, 501 metres = 1m over half a kilometre.
8 Embracing large secretary is mate no longer pretty clear? (9)
EXCULPATE - "embracing" L PA [large | secretary] is EX CUTE [mate no longer | pretty]
13 Did something to straighten bed, perhaps, and tables? (11)
SPREADSHEET - if you SPREAD SHEET, you did something to straighten bed.
15 I could be worried to see lost ice go (9)
ECOLOGIST - which anagrams to ["could be worried to see"] LOST ICE GO. semi-&lit.
17 Around theatre season, Baby Jane actor is no blonde (8)
BRUNETTE - around RUN [theatre season], BETTE [Baby Jane actor (Davis)]
20 Girl about town, big one, heads off (6)
VERITY - {o}VER {c}ITY [about | town, big one (both with "heads off")]
23 Worry about Democratic campaign group? (5)
CADRE - CARE [worry] about D [Democratic]
25 Flap about a bit — that's more than enough (3)
TAB - {abou}T A B{it}, with the superfluities trimmed
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Pubs [Jun. 1st, 2011|01:23 am]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
If anyone wants to meet up in a beer-selling establishment before the week is out; it has been suggested to me that I should be in the following two locations later this week, and I have concurred:


"The Horse", 124 Westminster Bridge Road, Waterloo, SE1 7XG


"College Arms", 18 Store Street, WC1E 7DH

As an industrious fellow, I will be working hard till at least 6.30 each evening, but would expect to be propping up bars by, let's say, 7.30pm.

It would be lovely if you could join me!

(cross-posted from )
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London Calling [May. 30th, 2011|07:38 am]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
As advised elsewhere, my phone number while I'm in London this week is:

07779 950416

Feel free to use it to lure me out of Wandsworth if you need to, though I have to say, my hotel room is quite nice!
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London-Bound [May. 28th, 2011|09:50 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
Hello! It may well be that you already know that, if I do post anything these days, I post it at splendorsine and not here. Though I've been extra busy lately, so don't rush eagerly over there, you'll only be disappointed.

Even so, just on the off chance that you're reading this and are in the UK - I'll soon be in London for a week, flying in on Monday and out again on the Sunday. Are you in or near London? Then maybe we should meet up for old times sake.

I'll probably be working quite hard for much of the week, as this is a work-related trip, but there may be a few tiny windows of opportunity for catch-up and beer. Let me know!
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It's On [Aug. 17th, 2010|10:34 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
Crushing jetlag notwithstanding - our flight leaves at 5pm Canada time and lands at 10am London time - that's 2 in the morning for us - we will be in the Penderel's Oak at Holborn from 6pm on Thursday the 19th.

Dunno how long we'll last, probably not till closing time, but we'll do our best.

I'll be the one holding the fuzzy little baby. Hope to see people there! I may be able to check my mail once or twice between now and then but probably not three times, so I can cajole you no more; just be there on Thursday for my first day back on English soil in three whole years!
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Thursdays Impending [Aug. 12th, 2010|09:54 am]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
I'm thinking of trying to be in the Penderel's Oak (near Holborn Tube, unless it's moved in the years I haven't been looking) next Thursday evening. We may be extraordinarily jetlagged and we've a train to catch absurdly early the following morning, so we may not last too long. I might aim to be there circa 6 pm, anyone interested in joining? We will be back in London towards the beginning of September, so there will probably be more chances to catch up with us.

The following Thursday, that's the 26th, we will be in OXFORD and the inhabitants of the house known as Templars are kindly making their living room available for a little soiree. If you are in Oxford and free that evening we'd love to see you, get in touch and I will give you addresses and so forth. We will be in the area for a few more days after that, so alternative get-togethers may be possible by arrangement.

In between those Thursdays - we'll be in North Wales. Thinking of possibly visiting Chester on the Saturday and then doing more Welsh stuff on the Sunday? You would be very welcome to join us on either day that weekend if you are of a north-westerly disposition. Or even during the weekdays following if you are really hardcore.

Organization is hard! I thought I'd given this kind of stuff the slip when I ran away to Canada :(
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The Countdown Commences... [Aug. 5th, 2010|11:59 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
In two weeks we'll be in the UK! Weighed down by heavy luggage and an 8-hour time difference, but touch wood alive and well. I hope, if you're reading this and you too are in the UK, we might get a chance to see you...

We're not leaving for Wales until the morning of Friday the 20th, so anyone who's about in London Thursday afternoon or evening... it'd be fun to see you then. We're staying with my dear friend Clare in Walthamstow that night. The following weekend we hope to catch up with some inveterate northerners in the vicinity of North Wales, but we'll be on a train back down to Oxford on Thursday the 26th, hopefully to catch up with various people before they disappear to Norfolk for traditional summer's-ending festivities.

That's our first week (of three) in a nutshell; we'll be in Oxford, London, Cambridge, places like that, for most of the other two. I guess I have to start bothering people, so many people, to find out when/if our paths can intersect. If you read this and you are not violently opposed to renewing our old acquaintanceship, drop me a comment and we'll work something out...
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It's A Long Way To Itinerary [Jul. 12th, 2010|11:54 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
I do my daily wuthering - most of it about boardgames, Primeval and countries of the world beginning with A, uninterestingly enough - over on splendorsine now, but it seems like verlaine is still the place to say:

Hello! People who live in Britain! For three weeks in August-September I, and my lovely wife and adorable child, may be passing through a town near you! We would probably enjoy meeting up with YOU, and as such here is approximately where we plan to be on any given day:

Wed Aug 18th: jump on a plane in Vancouver, British Columbia
Thu Aug 19th: Heathrow->North Wales: jetlag plus British Rail = day mostly a writeoff
Sun Aug 22nd: pencilled in with Mr Dylan Owen for North Wales Coast adventures
~Wed Aug 25th: leave family estates for South - visit Rob & Cressida in Birmingham?
Thu Aug 26th: ->Oxford to spend time with secretrebel et al?
That weekend: Oxfordshire fun, visiting honorary grandma Mary Hoffman?
~Mon Aug 29th: drop by to see bateleur, lathany and family?
~Tue Aug 30th: ->London to stay with miss_newham, several_bees and kevandotorg
Sat Sep 4th: Catriona's wedding in Cambridge, assuming invitations not revoked
4th->8th: If no better plans arise, we might try to get to Paris, where I've never been
Wed Sep 8th: Plane from Heathrow->Vancouver

So as you can see, if you live in the Northwest, Oxford, London and possibly Paris there really is no excuse for us not getting together for old times' sake. Oh, except for the fact that they might not let us hang out in pubs with a 6-month old? Hmm, probable dealbreaker, eh...
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Unfortunate Timing? [May. 30th, 2010|05:03 pm]
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
Forgive me if anyone else has already pointed this out and I'm late to the party...

Cut For Spoilers for Cold Blood and The Beast BelowCollapse )
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