Clues by Boatman and Grid by Jolt
I met DELETED in the underground car park at the time he indicated in my copy of the newspaper. He handed me a dossier bearing a Graham Fox photograph of the Bingley Five Rise staircase locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. How could these be connected to the story? Were the plumbers involved?
The dossier contained a 7x5x5 grid by Jolt with cryptic clues by Boatman. Perhaps this would give us some answers. Across the page the symbols [A] and [B] appear repeatedly. Apparently it is 50 years since [A] and [B] became infamously connected. Each of [A] and [B] stands for a single word and these are to be substituted in the clues wherever they occur. Boatman mixes things up so they can appear in the wordplay or the definition, sometimes indirectly.
What did the DELETED know and when did he know it? Jolt’s words are surely the key. Perhaps as part of a cover-up, that EXPLETIVE DELETED Boatman has cunningly hidden the answers in some clever wordplay. Follow the money!
[A] spirit, one that holds its position with a switch in directions (5)
For one that holds its position we need a single letter plus a 4-letter word, but in the latter word we must switch directions by interchanging two letters. The result is a [A] spirit and also a Shakespearean character. [NI]
Refrain of the French: “It’s gone wrong” (6)
If you are racking your brains for a long forgotten chanson then mon ami you are barking up the wrong arbre. The definition is indeed the first word. Think rather of the French term for “of the” (3 letters) followed by an anagram of “it’s”. [GS]
Boatman refers to ”be blended”: means to cross [A] (7)
Personal pronoun for the setter mixed (blended) with “refers” to give means to cross the word for [A]. [JP]
[A] hard to find at the ends of the earth (7)
If the definition of [A] still eludes you then Day 13 is as good a place to start as any. The wording of the clue is very clever. “hard to find” suggests “difficult to find” but not at all. Hard refers back to a quality of [A]. And the ends of the earth? Surely there are only two. The top and the bottom. [GS]
Where one should go to find a faun, but not seriously (2,3)
It’s in the clue! Where would you find the letter a (not seriously). [JP]
Lord of the heavens, with no beginning: King, that is (5)
You need to think of another word for the heavens and take away the first letter (no beginning). Follow this with abbreviations for King and that is to give you a word for Lord (from Greek) familiar in a religious setting. [JP]
Choose to sack one that digs (7)
Here one is not a person but a thing. Two synonyms (verb+verb) slung together for a working man’s tool (and no, that is not a euphemism!). [GS]
Loves to be led astray by what you’ll do to this clue (5)
Don’t be led astray by this charming surface. It should instead be the letters of the first word that are led astray. We’re confident that you will find the answer, which is what you’ll do to this clue (and all the others). [NI]
[B] way to Shinto temple, the second on rocky outcrop
“The second” in the style of regnal titles or indeed in the title of the second Rocky film. These two letters come on (in the sense of just after) a 3-letter rocky outcrop. You will probably have identified [B] by now: a word widely used as a suffix ever since the events of the theme. The unfamiliar answer should confirm this since its definition is a Japanese Shinto temple [B]way. [NI]
I am grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate), and Alison Ramage & Andre Sonnet (Aramis)
Nick Inglis (etc)