Hints & Tips February Extra Special 100 2021

Araucaria tribute puzzle

Clues by Enigmatist and Grid by Sirius

This is an extra-special crossword celebrating a 100th anniversary. Sirius has constructed a highly appropriate grid consisting of a column and two spheres to represent 100.

In this instance there is no secret about the anniversary. The puzzle is preceded by a tribute page with articles by Enigmatist and Sirius. Sirius has filled the grid with much thematic material (including four particularly long answers) and Enigmatist has woven many references into the clues, so solvers are encouraged to read the tribute page to enhance their enjoyment of the puzzle.

The grid involves two spheres, which are a fairly new and unfamiliar form of grid. Solvers are particularly advised that clues with the direction indicator N or S are along great circles of longitude. These pass through the poles, so a clue designated N-7, will start off heading North, but continue heading south after passing through the North pole. These great circles of longitude have been shaded to assist solvers (though the shading of the poles cannot be consistent with all four circles of longitude). Clues designated S→N simply run up the central column.

Day 4

5E New A-Z missed off Christian compound (5)

Christian refers to an early follower of Jesus, with a name referencing a biblical location. We need to remove three letters from the start to get an unfamiliar (in Collins, but not in Chambers) word for an aromatic hydrocarbon.

Day 6

8di Many venerate him – Enigmatist does! (4)

The grammar here is rather cleverly controlled. The first three words give the definition. For the wordplay, take the last two words, but replace Enigmatist with a very short equivalent. This forces the verb to change in order to agree with the subject. Now replace this verb with a slightly longer synonym.

Day 7

10di In Guardian Archive, like examples of Araucaria’s past work (1,2-2)

The wordplay here is at the end: a short word for past followed by a short word for work. The answer is a foreign expression and though it is familiar, I didn’t know the dictionary definition. Note that over 800 of Araucaria’s crosswords are available on the Guardian website.

Day 19

21di ARC or ARC_: the latter’s missing letter not a crosser (5)

This clue has an unusual and ingenious structure. The definition is arc or arc plus another letter. The wordplay is this additional letter plus a short word meaning not a crosser. This short word is not in Chambers: it’s an abbreviation, and crossword jargon for a letter not shared with any other answer.

Day 26

32S-5 His was A Generation, notice, to talk about (5)

The answer is the foreign surname of the creator of a work entitled A Generation. Look for a short word for notice followed by a short word for talk. About indicates reversal of the whole thing.

Day 32

44di Puzzle monkeyed with 35, one escaping (6)

With a lovely thematic surface, reflecting that of 29, this clue really needs the solution to 35, since monkeyed indicates an anagram of that answer, but with one escaping. The result is satisfyingly appropriate for this setter.

Day 35

47di-4,48di Including Merlin and co among foremost of entertainers, John’s #1 (7)

Including suggests a container and contents clue. The container is a short word for among followed by foremost of entertainers. The contents: Merlin and co. The definition is John’s #1. Think musically of a famous John’s Number One.

Day 43

58N(via 42,34…),40S What could make us all upbeat? Whiz JG A-Z specials! (12,6,7)

This clue is an &lit: it consists of one long anagram (of the last few words) and the answer is a type of crossword invented by and much associated with the theme.

Happy solving!

Nick & Sarah Inglis (etc)

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