Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Gemini Cryptic 6860

It's been a while since I dissected a Gemini Cryptic; here's the first one for 2014 ...

This one appeared in the Monday 13 January issue of The Canberra Times. The Gemini Cryptic is a British cryptic, set by two people. More detail here. As ever, the definition is underlined (except in double and cryptic definition clues). 


1) He requires staff for the spring (4-7) = POLE-VAULTER
Cryptic definition. Nothing to do with hiring people, this guy needs a pole to spring up with!

9) Vindication of French miscreant (7) = DEFENCE
Charade clue. Of French = DE ('of' in French) + FENCE (a miscreant, as in someone who received stolen goods).

10) Cool courage is never shattered (5) = NERVE
Anagram (shattered) of never.

11) She's not improved by the golden touch (4) = LILY
Cryptic definition. Reference to 'gild the lily' and a girl's name.

12) In use can turn into a problem (8) = NUISANCE
Anagram (turn into) of in use can.

14) A ship wreck holds nothing for her (5) = SOPHIA
Anagram (wreck) of a ship + O (nothing). Her is the definition, indicating (a little unfairly) any girl's name.

16) It checks the growth of population (6) = CENSUS
Cryptic definition. Nothing to do with prophylactics or population control, but checking as in recording!

18) Sense there's agreement among rowing men (8) = EYESIGHT
Container clue. You need some knowledge of rowing as a sport to get this one! Agreement inside (among) rowing men = YES in EIGHT. 

19) Call used in boxing (4) = RING
Double definition. Call someone on the phone, or ring them. And a boxing ring.

22) Oft repeated ceremony on the third of October (5) = TRITE
The third of October = T. The third letter of October, get it? With RITE (ceremony) tacked on.

23) Royal symbols from Algeria (7) = REGALIA
Anagram of Algeria. This clue is unfair, as there is no anagram indicator. A fairer version would be something like Royal symbols from Algeria in disarray.

24) Order for weapons now (7,4) = PRESENT ARMS
Cryptic definition.


2) Refuse organic food? (5) = OFFAL
Cryptic definition. Refuse is a noun here, meaning stuff that's thrown away, rather than the verb.

3) Bird from another nest (4) = ERNE
Hidden word, in another nest. A bird that mainly resides in crosswords nowadays, ERNE is a literary term for the sea eagle.

4) Place to meet after a drive (6) = AVENUE
Charade clue. VENUE (place to meet) after A.

5) They call out at court? (8) = LINESMEN
An apt clue to appear during the Australian Open ... cryptic definition, referring to the tennis court, not a legal court!

6) Jobs for the boys? (7) = ERRANDS
Another cryptic definition. Errands being small jobs you might get boys to run for you (if you're lucky!)

7) Young people arranged to see Scotland (11) = ADOLESCENTS
Anagram (arranged) of see Scotland.

8) It's selected by a backer (7,4) = REVERSE GEAR
Cryptic definition. Not a financial backer, but someone who is driving backwards!

13) They share an item in a geometry set (8) = DIVIDERS
Double definition. People who share are those who divide things up. And dividers are a measuring compass, often seen in geometry sets at school.

15) PM has about a thousand in support (7) = PREMIER
Container clue. Put RE (about) + M (thousand) in PIER (support).

17) Greek ferry operator (6) = CHARON
Slightly cryptic definition. Greek mythology. Refers to Charon, the old man who ferried souls into Hades, across the Rivers Styx and Acheron.

20) Mails sorted out for the Muslim world (5) = ISLAM
Anagram (sorted out) of mails.

21) Site of beautiful marble mausoleum in Panama graveyard (4) = AGRA
This clue gets the 'longest definition' prize for this crossword! Hidden word clue, the answer is in Panama graveyard. Agra is where the Taj Mahal is located.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Centennial Winners

Happy New Year all!

I'm pleased to announce the winners of the last cryptic clue writing competition, for the word CENTENNIAL.

First prize: For the hundredth time Len, nice tan job (GrizNHeph) — A lovely concise clue, with LEN NICE TAN as the anagram fodder, and job as the anagram indicator.

Second prize: Celebrate one hundred years by shaking 50 Romans in canteen (sandbox74)— an anagram of 50 Romans (L) with IN CANTEEN, indicated by shaking.

Third prize: CNN late in e-broadcast, spoil 100th year anniversary (Asuquo) — an anagram of CNN LATE IN E. Broadcast and spoil could be the anagram indicators (although only one is needed).

I know that sandbox74 and Asuquo are both outside of the regions where I can gift apps, sorry people ... but you can have that peaceful inner glow and smugness of knowing you did good  ;)

GrizNHeph, drop me an email to let me know where you live, and hopefully I can send an app to you!