Hints & Tips August 2021

August 2021 puzzle page

Clues and Grid by Sirius

The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph showing a wineglass, though it’s hard to tell whether it’s half-empty or half-full.

This innovative grid by Sirius is in the form of a torus (or an inflated tyre, to be less technical). This is like a seven dials puzzle, but with eight dials and with the last dial joined to the first. As usual C and AC are used to indicate entries that go clockwise or anticlockwise round one of the dials. E and W indicate entries that go east or west round the torus (you could also think of these as anticlockwise or clockwise) through the corresponding cell in each dial.

There are three subthemes: blue (indicated by a triangle ▲), yellow (indicated by a circle ●) and green (indicated by a square ■). A word for the blues and a word for the yellows combine to make a thematic example of the greens. This longer word is another description of the unique shape of the grid.

Cells in heavy outlines contain an “Optimist’s advice to solvers” given by a famous writer who shares her initials with a famous historical figure alluded to in Days 2 and 3. In the letter count for the Optimist’s advice two words are given in curly brackets. These are not entered in the grid. The 8-letter word corresponds to the indication 1-50 in the directions, as it represents all cells 1-50 in this unusual shape. The 4-letter word is indicated by 51 in the directions as it describes where 51 sits in this shape.

Sirius has cooked up a tasty confection decorated with witty clues and financial, fruity and patisserie themes; all served in an unusual shape that a topologist could not distinguish from a teacup.

Day 3

Met athlete running on ‘greens and higher carbs’ suggestion for revolting peasants (3,4,3,4)

The revolting peasants referred to here are of the French variety. Once you have found the three word anagram from “Met athlete” (3,4,3, …) then the last word is literally, as we might say “un morceau du gâteau”. [GS]

Day 4

Slow progress with stolen tricycles (missing Saturday or Sunday) (5)

In a clue cycles sometimes suggests doing a cyclic permutation of a word (such as WORD -> DWOR). Here tricycles suggests doing this to the same word three times. The word in question first needs to have an abbreviation for Saturday or Sunday removed. The answer could indicate slow progress on a score. [N&SI]

Day 6

Sheila’s well provided for with small cuphead bolts (6,2)

‘Sheila’ tells you to think Australian. Bolts is your anagram indicator. This should lead you to an Australian phrase meaning well provided for. [JP]

Day 10

● By the sound of it, Hot Chocolate fan is one of a lovely bunch (7)

If we separate Hot Chocolate and fan into two parts then we are halfway there. The first part sounds like it but is only four letters. The second part is a synonym for an enthusiast. And the whole is a tropical fruit. For further info check out a 1944 novelty song. [GS]

Day 16

▲ Sounds like Sooty’s girlfriend is making peanuts in Old Paree (4)

You need to remember the name of Sooty’s girlfriend for this one and add an apostrophe S for a shortened form of is. Sounds like indicates that this is a homophone of the answer. The definition is peanuts in Old Paree, so look for an obsolete French term for a small amount of money. [N&SI]

Day 18

Tug hound after Ady? Heigh-ho, slurp! (7,3,7,{8})

This is a cunning reverse clue: the answer can be read as a cryptic clue to the first sentence of the printed clue. We have two anagrams (of Ady and then of tug hound) and the same word is used to indicate the anagram in each case. The answer is also a saying that could be summed up by heigh-ho, slurp. The {8} indicates that the final 8-letter word is not to be entered in the grid, but it also corresponds to 1-50 in the directions (so it represents all of the diagram except 51). [N&SI]

Day 21

Oman date could give you worms (8)

As someone who has enjoyed many Omani dates (yum!), I take mild offence at the splendidly revolting surface of this clue. Look for an anagram of the first two words to give the scientific name of a class of worms. [N&SI]

Day 27

Fly opened up in flamboyant outfit? (6)

You need to change the start of Fly to its musical meaning to give you the answer meaning in flamboyant outfit. [JP]

Day 30

▲ US change lolly lolly back to yo-yo. How? (7)

Think of how to make one part of the clue backwards into another. Purloin which letters to give you US change. [JP]

Day 34

Marsh boating capsize – bishop and model missing (5)

The solution is the very unusual first name of a famous Marsh and the word capsize invites an anagram. But we have to get from seven letters to five. Bishop should be fairly obvious but if model suggests various options just think Henry Ford. [GS]

Day 41

Caught Finn batting with ensuing abandon (5,2)

An abbreviation for caught and the shortened name of a literary Finn followed by a brief word for batting. The whole thing is an informal phrase for abandon. [N&SI]

Day 42

■ A block of linseed perhaps to make greens easier to swallow (3-4)

Look for a 4-letter block coming after a 3-letter substance that could be linseed for example. The cryptic definition is that this is how you could make greens easier to swallow. What is a green in this puzzle? How to make it easier to swallow? Lubricate it! [N&SI]


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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