Hints & Tips February 2023

Feb 2023 grid page

Clues by Puck and Grid by XAM

Enter the prize draw by 28 February.

The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph of dawn rising or dusk falling over a coastal landscape.

This puzzle by Puck uses a torus grid which won XAM the RPM trophy. The puzzle celebrates an 80th anniversary. Eleven thematic answers are clued without definition. Solvers are required to identify and provide with their solution two further thematic items — (1,4,3) and (9) — each of which appears split in two within the completed grid. As a clue to these two Easter Eggs:

Remember that primarily Puck wants solvers to enjoy and complete the puzzle even if a few object to liberties possibly taken within the clueing.

Solvers should be able to find short clues (without definition) to the two Easter Eggs within the sentence above.

Puck and XAM have composed a melodious puzzle reminding us of the thematic individual and taking us back a long time ago when he was fab.

Day 2

Animation featuring black cat (6)

The surface suggests a cartoon, but instead look for the lightweight term for a snow leopard and add a letter at the front for the answer. [NI]

Day 3

Eric’s playing partner that produces winning numbers (5)

Bring Me Sunshine by Kent & Dee [GS]

Day 10

Laugh boisterously about Lord’s return too (3-3)

This is one of the thematic answers, so there is no definition for the title, which refers to a sound effect. Instead there are two cryptic indications. About and return suggest that both involve reversal. Not Lord’s cricket ground, but a notorious “Lord” with a nickname reflecting his sneering tone. [NI]

Day 14

Words used to judge pudding’s included (2,5,4)

In my day only toffs said pudding for the last course of a meal. In our house we said … (5 letters). As for the rest (2,4), how else would a barrister address a judge in a court of law? … By George! The solution is clear. [GS]

Day 16

Brown Sugar’s opening in “just perfect” setting (5)

Nothing to do with the Rolling Stones. You’re looking for a short phrase for done just perfectly. Insert Sugar’s opening to this to give you a word for brown. [JP]

Day 23

Parisian pop group from Upper Edmonton (4)

Until a solver is familiar with these types of clues they can be extremely annoying. The solution is ‘hidden’ in the wording of the clue itself. Day 23 is a case in point. The solution is not the name of a Parisian pop group but simply the French word for father (pop) found in a group (of letters) from … geddit? [GS]

Day 25

Confident about there being four E’s in redevelopment (4,20

Confirming that there are four E’s in redevelopment puts you off the track nicely! You’re actually looking to use ‘four E’s’ to give you a phrase meaning confident. [JP]

Day 29

Traveling Wilburys’ leader then unknown with Roy Orbison initially getting lost in mountainous area (5)

We have to piece this one together letter by letter. First leader of Traveling Wilburys, then unknown, then Roy Orbison originally and finally lost. Together we get an Alpine region. [NI]

Day 30

Second wife has one or two different types of blood in specimen (4)

We get a couple of letters from second wife and then another couple representing either one or two blood groups. The whole should mean specimen (possibly of blood). [NI]

Day 32

Book covers detail of wild dog wearing glasses (8)

Nice clue, difficult to unravel at first! Detail of wild dog suggests you take the last letter away from a wild dog. Then put the result inside (wearing) a slang word for glasses. This gives you a word for book covers. [JP]

Day 34

Friend of those heading up ashram mystical Indian guru’s organised (5)

Don’t be distracted by the splendidly appropriate surface. Here we need to be very literal. To find our friend we need those heading up the rest of the sentence. [NI]

I am grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate).

Happy solving!

Nick Inglis (etc)

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