Clues and Grid by Sirius
The background to this puzzle is a Hubble space telescope photograph of a “celebrity star” on the edge of destruction.
This spherical grid commemorates two anniversaries with a common theme (but slightly different words). Both anniversaries are of the demise of a “celebrity star”. The first was some 60 years ago, though the original theme is less than 50 years old. By filling in the grid, solvers will be able to see clues to help in deducing Day 22.
Day 31 (7,8,4) does not have a conventional clue, but is an anagram of the asterisked cells and is a version of Day 22 updated for the second anniversary.
A few words on the spherical grid, which can be a little confusing at first: the directions East and West go circularly round the sphere (as in constant lines of latitude on the globe). Thus W goes from right to left for cells on the nearside of the sphere and left to right for cells on the far side. Similarly North and South go along lines of longitude. A clue can start out heading North and then, after passing through the North pole, continue south along the opposite side of the same great circle (the shading should assist here).
The directions for the last of the clues to Day 22 are slightly condensed. The indications 34N-3 and 8di do not have directions, but these should follow the same directions as the starts of Day 6 and Day 30 respectively. The indication 9N-5,7 should be read as indicating a complete longitudinal circle starting with a 5-letter word going North over the North pole and continuing South, followed by a 7-letter word continuing South through the South pole and finishing in a northerly direction.
Sirius brings his trademark humour to this tricky grid, weaving in many subtle references to the life of the first heroine. I would have liked to know her, but I was just a kid. The legend of Sirius is burning strong!
Get measure of best friend’s girl? On the contrary. It’s about returning sailor (5)
This devious clue consists of a long cryptic definition followed by some wordplay in the final sentence. On the contrary indicates that rather than a best friend’s girl we should be thinking of a girl’s best friend (perhaps you are hearing a song sung by our late heroine). The word you’re looking for is the standard unit of measure for a girl’s best friend. Returning suggests reversal so look for a short abbreviation for about followed by a reversed sailor. [NI]
Languidly attract US soldier with it (though dreaded by Goons) (5)
Languidly attract is an unusual way of indicating that we want a word for attract, but without its final letter. Follow this with the usual US soldier and you should get a word probably invented by the Goons and meaning a dreaded disease. This word has more than one spelling so make sure it fits with the wordplay. [NI]
Standing on street taken aback enveloped by delicious undercurrents (4) [direction – to the number 5 on a clock face]
The solution is the same technique as used in the first sentence of Day 17 (see below) “enveloped by” but this time it is spelt in reverse “taken aback”. PS the word delicious is superfluous. [GS]
Condition blowing cold and hot starting attack (4,2)
Think of a word for a condition, proviso or even warning. Blowing (taking away) cold and instead starting with hot gives you attack. [JP]
Irritation after seven years in Scotland – nothing in bad taste (4)
You need to find the Scots word for the irritation you might get after 7 years. Abbreviation for nothing in a word conveying bad taste gives you further help. [JP]
Some like it hot! Richards for example (5)
This clue has two distinct sentences. How are they related? The first contains the solution printed before your very eyes, (indicator – Some (of)) . The second is an example which will give you further Satisfaction. But does the first sentence have any further use? It certainly does. Think of the film title and look again at Day 26. [GS]
Eg Dietrich recorded in loud argument for device to assist cleavage (4)
A clever clue giving different ways to get to the answer. Eg Dietrich might suggest you’re looking for a word for a German lady (Recorded suggests sounds like so you might need to alter spelling). Loud argument is a bit of a give away also leading you to this word for a device to assist cleavage (not ‘that’ cleavage, but a tool for splitting cask staves). [JP]
Single Scots yearn at sea to leave the navy behind (3)
At sea suggests an anagram, but yearn has too many letters. The solution is to leave (an abbreviation for) the navy behind. The answer is a Scots word for single which does not appear in Chambers, but can be confirmed with the OneLook on-line dictionary or with Collins. [NI]
Less favoured brunette friend (too pretty for Kansas city) and mate of swinger on Vine (4)
With apologies to Sirius but I have no idea what the beginning of this clue is all about. However I can think of only one fictitious character swinging through the vines in which case his mate should be “plain” to see. [GS]
Facility for unintentional OD perhaps ends in 11 or 25 (1,3,1)
You really need one or preferably both of the answers to Days 11 and 25 for this one to make sense. Notice that the last two letters in those answers are the same. What are those last two letters? A standard abbreviation for a facility that might handle an unintentional OD. Here the middle word takes the place of the usual ampersand. [NI]
I am grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate), and Alison Ramage & Andre Sonnet (Aramis).