Hints & Tips January 2022

January 2022 grid page

Clues and Grid by Curmudgeon

The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox close-up of an elephant’s eye.

This puzzle marks the 100th anniversary of the death of a hero. The yellow cells will reveal his name, the scene of his death and two places connected with his greatest achievement (one of these is the scene of his death). Letters in the purple cells will anagram to his means of transport, a word from (an English translation of) his family motto and one of his qualities. These are all the same 9-letter word, which solvers should submit with their entry.

Curmudgeon’s grid is packed with thematic references and entertaining but tractable clues. This puzzle gets 2022 off to a splendid but chilly start in keeping with the weather at this time of year, though solvers will not be expected to go so far or suffer such hardships as our hero and his crew did. Anyone having difficulties should be heartened to know that our hero turned near-disaster into triumph. Remember to wrap up warm and try not to get trapped in the ice!

Day 9

Backward symbol, eastern mushroom (5)

Backward suggests a reversal, in this case of the whole thing, consisting of a familiar word for symbol (but a less familiar spelling) and an abbreviation for eastern. The result is a Japanese mushroom. [N&SI]

Day 10

Serious, we hear; it was important to be this (6)

For younger solvers possibly unfamiliar with the works of the great OW, the importance of being …… is to use six of the letters from the seven originally implied. [GS]

Day 12

Support part of church backing gospel (7)

If the definition of the solution is the word “gospel” then the other elements (backing) must be spelt backwards. Support is a bodily appendage (3 letters). As for the rest it is, as our US cousins across the pond might say, the main drag. [GS]

Day 15

Aggro that is stirred up in Black Sea Republic (7)

Stirred up indicates an anagram. Mix up aggro and the abbreviation for “that is” to give you the republic and contribute to the theme. [JP]

Day 18

Runs in oddballs’ race (6)

The word for oddballs originally meant carnival freaks, but now means eccentric people or obsessive enthusiasts. Put in a letter for runs to get a race (in the sense of people of a particular nation). [N&SI]

Day 21

Mac’s vegetable: something Annie bottles (5)

“Mac’s” indicates that you are looking for a Scottish dialect name for a (common) vegetable and “bottles” tells you it’s in the clue. [JP]

Day 27

Silent about a hollowed-out gallon bottle (6)

Look for a short word for silent (often following keep). Insert an a and the two letters of hollowed-out gallon. Our answer is a bottle: large, but not nearly a gallon. [N&SI]

Day 29

After start of planting fool turned up holding a husk (6)

Start of planting gives you the p. You then need another word for fool turned up (going upwards in a down clue) around (holding) the letter a to give your answer. [JP]

Day 30

Husband in Christmas entertainment essentially mimes a ghost (7)

First, the short form of the theatre treat for children, second, throw in an abbreviation for husband, finally slap on an appropriate end letter and you have the star of the ALW musical still running at HMT in London. [GS]

Optional Easter egg

Some Yellow Squares (8,6)

Armed with the solutions to Days 12 and 30 all that’s missing is Day 22. Thanks to the clever choice of Graham Fox’s photo, this month, we are given the first four syllables of the five we need. [GS]


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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