Clues by Sirius and Grid by Komorník
The background for this puzzle is a Henry Perks photograph showing a sunset over a pair of gasholders.
This clever 7x5x5 Komorník grid by was one of the entries to our April Extra grid design competition. It celebrates a topical anniversary in a never-ending serial currently (in mid August/ early September) running on TV and in selected threes. Unfortunately the latest incarnation finished prematurely due to unforeseen circumstances.
Solvers are invited to resolve discrepancies in letter counts of eight clues to find when the highlights (two protagonists, one in a recognised short form) and their playmates got one over across twelve. The grid has to be completed by thematic deduction of three empty cells. The undefined 1ac has to be submitted with solutions for entry.
Sirius’s witty clues have surfaces that reflect the activity of the theme and there are many names included to steer solvers in the direction of the particular contest being commemorated. The eight clues with discrepancies in letter counts all have more letters in the answers than can fit in the relevant place in the grid. In each case a symbol should be entered representing a consecutive sequence of letters in the answer. These letters will either spell out the name of the symbol or form a homophone of the symbol.
The anniversary is of the conclusion of a famous and historic contest in the overall serial. Apparently the spectators on the day in question included a baby elephant on loan from Chessington Zoo. The two highlighted protagonists played significant rôles: the light brown cells form a snake giving the shortened name of the player who made the most decisive contribution to the result; the yellow cells give the two-word name of the player who made the final contribution. In order to fill in the three empty cells and complete the undefined 1ac, solvers will need the date of the end of the contest in question. Unless you are a walking encyclopaedia on this subject you will need to consult a reference source for this information.
Komorník’s ingenious grid provides a pitch on which Sirius is able to extract maximum spin and turn. We hope you are bowled over, but not stumped by this googly!
Sounds like the skipper’s crew is beat (7)
Sounds like suggests a homophone. In this case you need the first name of the victorious skipper (last name is Day 30) followed by a word for a (rowing) crew. The answer is a homophone of the pair of words and means beat. Finally, the last three letters of the answer sound like a symbol and should be replace by that symbol in the grid.
Game ends in rain – unfortunately acid essentially? (8)
Unfortunately indicates an anagram. We have two letters from game ends and six more from in rain. The unfamiliar answer is an essential amino acid. The last four letters are the name of a symbol, which should replace them before entry.
Very small sight screen? What kind of a logic is that? (6)
Another anagram, this time of a logic. The solution is a rather obscure word for very small sight screen in the sense of reduced vision.
Everyone bowled over in song about yellow flowers from Keith perhaps (7)
Keith suggests a reference to Keith Fletcher, but Keith is also a town in the North-East of Scotland, so this is a cunning way of indicating that this word for certain yellow flowers is Scottish (one of many obscure Scottish words in Chambers dictionary). Bowled over means we want a reversal of a word for everyone contained in an anagram (about) of song.
Meagre scoring England openers ‘all over the place’ say crowd over northern boundary (5)
All over the place might suggest an anagram, but here it is the definition, according to crowd over northern boundary, which means it is another obscure Scottish word from Chambers dictionary. Look for a short word for meagre followed by the openers of scoring and English.
Kind of umpire to drop off maiden between theme club and pad, making London exit (7)
Look for a word used to address a legal umpire and remove the initial maiden. Add the term for the gap between bat and pad (you can get bowled through this). The whole thing was a London exit back when London had a wall.
Two painters draw Bond with two dickies and three kippers – a Knotty problem of nerves perhaps? (8)
A very sneaky clue here. We have a list: 2 painters, draw, bond, 2 dickies, 3 kippers. There is a short word that could be represented by painter (in a nautical context), draw, bond, dicky and kipper (the latter two in a sartorial context). Count how many of the same thing that gives, add the plural of our short word and we get a range of larger numbers, often thought to induce nervousness in those batting. The first four letters are the name of a symbol, which should replace them before entry.
Mad driver going Dutch on date with Jack Russell? Shouldn’t happen ____ (2,1,3)
We need a notorious literary mad driver (poop-poop!) and a word for what a Jack Russell is (when it’s not an eccentric wicketkeeper). This gives too many letters, but if the mad driver and the Jack Russell go Dutch on (share) an abbreviation for date, then that brings us down to six letters, which complete the final sentence. Finally, the first two letters of the answer sound like a symbol and should be replace by that symbol in the grid.
Like Alan Knott’s binocular view of delivery – too wide of Eknath yet ending disastrously in Primary Club? (3-4)
Fred Trueman always described cricket as a side-on game. The exception are wicketkeepers (like Alan Knott) and this answer describes their view of each delivery. No need to have heard of the opening bowler Eknath Solkar or know that the Primary Club is a cricket raising money for the visually impaired. In this case in Primary Club tells us to look at initial letters of preceding words. The first three letters are the name of a symbol, which should replace them before entry.
Victorious captain raked away contentedly after reverse sweep (7)
You’re looking for the surname of the victorious captain here. The reverse sweep was not a familiar stroke at the time of the thematic event. Here sweep suggests hunting in the preceding words and reverse tells us we’ll find our answer the wrong way round.
Nick & Sarah Inglis (etc)