Hints & Tips February 2022

February 2022 grid page

Clues and Grid by Puck

Stately, plump Puck came from the stairhead, bearing a grid on which various words were crossed. The background was credited to David/Force of Bricks from a design by Jonas Kramm and appeared to be a Lego model of a spacecraft in orbit about a planet.

This puzzle celebrated the 100th anniversary of the complete publication of a book and the 140th anniversary of the birth of its author. It was not by Shakespeare, but then Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.

The rubric indicated that a pseudonym (5,6) hinted at in 5 solutions of a kind could be formed from the yellow cells. Solvers were told to submit this pseudonym (which was used by the central character in the book) with their entries. The surname of the pseudonym was a synonym for the original surname which emerged as the solution to Day 4.

Puck ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

It was clear that Puck’s clever puzzle would lead the solver on an Odyssey through a modernist classic, with appearances by characters from the book and a garland of horticultural allusions. Fortunately solvers would have a month to find the solution rather than the single day during which the novel takes place.

Puck will lead solvers on a merry dance and I was a Flower of the mountain yes but solvers should not worry about making mistakes for a man of genius makes no mistakes his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Day 2

… having periodically skipped bits as well, initially saying they’re boring? (4)

Having periodically skipped bits indicates that we should only take alternate letters from the next two words. That gives 3 letters: add 1 more from initially saying to get some boring things. [N&SI]

Day 4

When entertaining ladies, maybe Buck Mulligan primarily displays what could be 19up,28up (5)

Primarily points you to the initials of Buck Mulligan (a character in our theme publication) which will take in ‘entertain’ a word for ladies to give you a word for a 19up,28up (and our hero’s surname). [JP]

Day 8

Merman perhaps sees forgetfulness-inducing flower when moving nose to tail (5)

No, not a mermaid’s beau but a surname. The solution will be his or her first name. Now here is an old favourite;- When is a flower not a flower? When it’s a river! (geddit? – and worth remembering for the rest of the month too.) Let’s look at the five in Hades bearing in mind the number of letters needed for the solution. Put the first letter to the end of your choice (nose to tail) and there you have her, or him as the case may be. [GS]

Day 9

Compound reducing fat levels due to speed of pork pie production (7)

Pork pie is slang here followed by another word for speed to give you a compound reducing fat levels. [JP]

Day 10

Greeting from computer before first bit of login’s over (5)

“I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” To solve this you need the 3-letter name of a specific fictional computer, append the first bit of login and over and you have a greeting. [N&SI]

Day 13

13th century King Henry becoming the first to marry (4)

Here we have one word transforming into another. Henry becoming the first indicates a swap of one letter for another, changing a 13th century King to a word for marry. Remember to enter the word for marry rather than the King. [N&SI]

Day 22

Speech oddly dry, rather than 26 or fruity (3)

Oddly often indicates an anagram, but here it suggests taking alternate letters of speech. The result is a foreign word meaning dry as opposed to fruity or the answer to Day 26. [N&SI]

Day 23

Deal with duck after putting flower back (3,2)

Lovely mental picture of punishing a duck that has uprooted a flower in your garden. Here, however, the duck is the usual crossword fare to follow ‘after’ the name of a flower going backwards. Take your mind away from the garden though as this is a different type of ‘flower’ to give you a phrase meaning ‘Deal with’. [JP]

Day 28

4er by guy, learner driver (6)

You’ll need to know Day 4 for this one. The answer is a 4er and we need a word for guy (not a bloke, nor a rope, but make fun of) followed by a short abbreviation for learner driver. [N&SI]

Day 30

Fish-eating representation of nude? That’s not cryptic, somehow (7)

A popular battered item at the Fish ‘n’ Chip shop inside an anagram of nude. The whole? Certainly not the way to send a message during wartime. [GS]

Day 32

Broadcaster of Nazi propaganda’s shocking “oily jew” claim (7,5)

Our birthday boy’s namesake, but absolutely not a relation. (think anagram) [GS]

Day 33

Desire reduced by drug? That’s sensible (4)

Look for a word for desire, remove the last letter and add a letter indicating a drug. The result should mean sensible. Remember to enter the word for sensible rather than the desire. [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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