Hints & Tips April 2021

April 2021 puzzle page

Clues and Grid by Puck

The background for this puzzle is a Bernard Spragg photograph showing a gear mechanism connecting two shafts at right angles.

This grid by Puck won the 2019 RPM Trophy. The puzzle marks a notable anniversary of religious significance. The event in question has an apparently revolting name which rarely fails to amuse. This is given at Day 13 and is unclued. Puck has fun toying with the alternative interpretation, with 8 thematic entries which might enjoy it. The thematic entries are indicated by asterisks and are undefined. The historical viewpoint is required for an anagram of the highlighted cells.

The rubric notes that one solution is an abbreviation. Strictly speaking two of the solutions are abbreviations, but one of these might be considered to be a word.

With witty and elegant clues, Puck’s strict regime is a writhing entanglement of the theological and the zoological. Bon appetit!

Day 1

Remarkably issued a challenge for a 10ac-3 (5)

Remarkably issued indicates that we’re looking for a homophone of “a challenge”. The answer is the surname of a 20th century figure known by the nickname 10ac-3 who took on many a tough challenge. [N&SI]

Day 3

* Bottom’s head – where did that come from? (4)

First letter of Bottom then think MND as to what head he got. Fish for the *. [JP]

Day 8

President Trump’s primarily a gullible fool, heading off for 13? (4,6)

Start with a President then Trump’s initial (primarily). Add a word for a gullible fool without the first letter to give you what a 13 might in ‘reality’ be used for. [JP]

Day 14

One fronting the Stones leaves the Lords, taking 1607 flight (5)

The plural of a precious stone (6 letters). Remove the first letter to leave the name of an hereditary peer – plural. If, like me, you’re still not sure, check out events in 1607. [GS]

Day 18

First XI’s opening pair’s comeback shows real fibre (5)

First gives us three letters, and then we want the opening pair from XI (spelt out), but comeback suggests reversing them. The answer should mean fibre. [N&SI]

Day 22

Dad’s Army? Some versions of it wouldn’t look out of place in a 13! (5)

This is a delightful clue. Another familiar name for Dad (plus the apostrophe given) followed by the previous name for the Army Reserve. The whole might indirectly bring to mind a Brummie junction or more pertinent to the clue, a can of the proverbial. [GS]

Day 23

* Leaders of Holy Roman Empire condemning Protestant Reformation (5)

“Leaders of” – think first letters. “Reformation” – think anagram. Why the * – think fish. [GS]

Day 27

* Wine drunk by Nick in Bristol (5,9)

Type of wine taken in (drunk) by another word for ‘nick’ followed by in and another word for ‘bristol’ to give you the bird. [JP]


We are grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate), and Alison Ramage & Andre Sonnet (Aramis)

Happy solving!

Nick & Sarah Inglis (etc)

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