Hints & Tips January 2023

Jan 2023 grid page

Clues by Vlad and Grid by Calluna

The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph of a painting depicting some grapes and a glass of red wine.

This puzzle by Vlad uses a conventional 7x5x5 grid by Calluna and the theme is the 50th anniversary of a first appearance.

All clues are normal, but six thematic ones are defined only in their thematic context. Solvers are asked to submit the answer to an additional clue, and the letters of this answer can be found in the seventeen shaded cells. The answer to this additional clue is the name under which the theme made its first trial appearance.

As I stare into my tea leaves I seem to see rural West Yorkshire, but this isn’t Happy Valley. I also seem to detect three ageing men getting into implausible scrapes, yet this isn’t The Grand Tour. What can be going on?

Day 1

A controversial prince shortly going over to Dublin – wow! (5)

Who could the controversial prince be? One who has had a lot of publicity recently. Shortly means we should forget his last letter, going over indicates a reversal, and since this only gives four letters we should start with the indefinite article. The answer is an unfamiliar Anglo-Irish expression of emotion or wonder. Wow indeed! [NI]

Day 3

Becks has run out in reserves (5)

Thinking football? Think again. We are in the world of watercourses. Find one with a plural of six letters that includes a letter r. Remove the offender (run out) and you have a synonym for reserves as a verb. PS More often ‘run out’ from cricket indicates ‘ro’ as part of the solution. [GS]

Day 6

Cullen, half hidden, creeps around in Twilight (9)

Nice clue giving you a picture of Robert Pattinson’s character in the series skulking in the shadows. Half hidden tells you to take away half of his name and mix what’s left with the letters of creeps to give you another word for twilight. [JP]

Day 7

What Trump uses pointlessly – sort of thigh protector (5)

Very nice misdirection here: the Trump in question is not Donald, but Judd. What he uses pointlessly gives us two letters and we should add a 3-letter suffix meaning “sort of”, to get a word for thigh armour deriving from the French for thigh. [NI]

Day 8

Correcting fluid ignited (7)

Lovely clue leading you to look for another word for correcting fluid that also means ignited. However, fluid here means an anagram of ignited to give you a word for correcting. [JP]

Day 10

Clams up, finally leaving writer and half-sister (5)

A naughty but nice comma here to mislead. The solution is not to stop talking, rather another word for a clam. Writer can be a person but here is a three letter object. Remove the letter p (up finally leaving) and tack on the informal abbreviation for sister. As the highlighted square indicates the solution is not found in Chambers. [GS]

Day 15

Most of gourd I adapted as percussion instrument (5)

This clue is cleverly constructed so that the whole clue could serve as the definition. Adapted suggests an anagram and we want all but the last letter of gourd plus the 1-letter word following. The definition is a Puerto Rican percussion instrument made from a notched gourd. [NI]

Day 20

Niall spread information on current African money (9)

Spread indicates an anagram of Niall and we should follow this with a short word for information and a single letter for current. The answer is the currency of Eswatini. [NI]

Day 22

Green type of water sent back (5)

Those solvers who buy French brands of bottled water will have a head start with this clue. Think of one with five letters and spell it backwards (sent back) and you have another word for green in the sense of inexperienced. (A simple but clever clue.) [GS]

Day 27

Stout leader going around is reminiscent of the past (5)

First thought could be S for stout leader followed by a word for ‘going around’. What you’re looking for, however, is a type of dark ale similar to stout. Then ‘leader going’ tells you to take away the first letter and ‘around’ means backwards to give you a word meaning reminiscent of the past. [JP]

Day 29

That woman almost disturbed you dressing (5)

Look for a short word for that woman (but delete the last letter). Disturbed suggests an anagram of you to follow. This recipe should give you a rich Japanese soy sauce. [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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