Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Gemini 6343

Here's my break down of the clues from the Gemini Cryptic Crossword from The Canberra Times, Monday 13 August 2012. I solved this one on the train up to Sydney (the only civilised way to travel!),  on a very foggy wintery morning:

As usual, definitions are underlined (except in double definition and cryptic definition clues).


1. Tries to correct extreme spin (11) = EXPERIMENTS
An anagram (indicated by correct)  of extreme spin

9. Reversion to type puts Mavis at variance (7) = ATAVISM
An anagram (variance) of Mavis at.  Atavism is a less common word (I had to look it up). Its dictionary definition is: "reversion to something ancient or ancestral"

10. Issue foreign coins (5) = SCION
An anagram (foreign) of coins. A scion is a descendant from a notable family, so issue here has the meaning of "children".

11. Touch with an oral greeting (4) = KISS
A double definition clue. Billiard balls can kiss, meaning to lightly touch. And I'm sure you know the other meaning!

12. Honest deal? (8) = STRAIGHT
A cryptic definition (indicated by the question mark). If you're honest, you're straight. And a straight is a continuous sequence of cards in poker, so you could be dealt those cards ...

14. Changing planes in Italy (6) = NAPLES
Another anagram! It's indicated by changing, and planes is the anagram fodder. In Italy is a rather oblique or imprecise clue for Naples ... there are a lot of things in Italy, after all! In this case, the definition part of the clue really only gives you a pointer.

16. Closely connected with German revolutionary (6) = MITRED
A charade clue; one bit comes after the other. With German = MIT (the German word for with) + RED (revolutionary).

The definition part of this clue is not well-written. The dictionary definitions I found for mitred all refer to an angled join or seam at a corner. OK, such seams are closely connected, but so are tons of other things. It's not a fair definition in my book.

18. Reliable mathematical term (8) = CONSTANT
Double definition. If you're constant, you're reliable. And a constant is a mathematical parameter that doesn't change its value.

19. Turning knocks into a pole (4) = SPAR
A reversal clue. Knocks = RAPS. Turning is the reversal indicator. Run RAPS backwards, and you get SPAR!

22. Quick way to take the air between flights (5) = STAIR
A charade clue, with a word in the clear. A quick way is also a short name for a way, or street. So we get ST. It takes AIR, giving us ST+AIR. You'll be familiar with flights of stairs. The word between doesn't really have a good purpose here, and is a bit misleading (I wouldn't have used it, if it was my clue).

23. A light case (7) = LANTERN
A cryptic definition. A case for light, get it?

24. Suits oneself? (4,7) = GETS DRESSED
Another cryptic definition clue. In this case, suits refers to a suit that you wear, or the act of putting on a suit, not that something is convenient.


2. They show bones of unknown number of fish (1-4) = X-RAYS
A charade clue, with an abbreviation. An unknown number usually refers to the letters X or Y (used in algebra a lot). In this instance, it's X. Fish = RAYS. And X-RAYS definitely do show bones!

3. Ancient Mariner's story upset an Arab prince (4) = EMIR
You need to know a little about literature to get this clue. The Ancient Mariner's story is the famous Rime of the Ancient Mariner poem by Coleridge.

4. Resident is at home with his wife (6) = INMATE
Another charade clue. If you're at home, you're IN. His wife = MATE. So we have IN+MATE, who is also a resident, although this meaning is archaic. (The more common meaning for INMATE is of a person living in an institution such as a prison or hospital.)

5. Note a hundred still in a trance (8) = ECSTATIC
A charade clue. Note = E (as in a musical note) + a hundred = C (Roman numerals) + STATIC (still). I'm not thrilled with in a trance as the definition for ECSTATIC. It is the rarer definition of "involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence".

6. How happy gunslingers might be? (7) = TRIGGER
Cryptic definition. They have guns, and they're TRIGGER happy — look out!

7. Pedestrian injured? (7,4) = WALKING CASE
Another cryptic definition (that question mark is often a good pointer to these clues). I must admit I had WALKING DEAD in here originally (well, the pedestrian was very badly injured!). I'm not familiar with the term WALKING CASE, but gather it is synonymous with 'convalescent'. Anyway, a pedestrian is clearly someone who is WALKING. And if they were injured, they could be a WALKING CASE.

8. It will be presented by a group at one (6,5) = UNITED FRONT
Cryptic definition again. The trick here is that at one doesn't mean a time, and isn't an abbreviation for I (1), but is part of a group at one — a united team. And what they present is a UNITED FRONT.

13. Reprimands for rules etc. being broken (8) = LECTURES
An anagram clue, indicated by being broken. Rules etc is the anagram fodder.

15. It gives accommodation inside a speed boat (7) = PINNACE
Another word I didn't know! A PINNACE is a small boat. This is a container clue. It gives accommodation = INN. Put it inside another word for speed (PACE).

17. Aggressive branch of the animal kingdom (6) = ANTLER
Yet another cryptic definition clue (they are a little overfond of these clues in the Gemini series). An ANTLER can be said to be a branch, on an animal. And it's often used aggressively.

20. Not all the pianist plays (5) = PIECE
Double definition clue. A PIECE is not all of something. And a PIECE of music is what a pianist could play.

21. We bear it (4) = ONUS
Oh, rather clever this one. Could be an &lit clue, what do you think? We bear, or carry, it, so it is ON US. Plus ONUS is something that it our duty or responsibility that we have to bear.

How did you get on?

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