Clues by Tramp and Grid by Rikki
The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph showing several coloured ceramic bowls with a small inset depicting a fiery bird.
This puzzle uses a conventional 7x5x6 grid by Rikki and marks the 20th anniversary of a publication.
Six thematic clues are asterisked and are undefined. Four of these answers are words in the title of the publication and the other two are the first and last name of one of the protagonists. The letters in the yellow cells can be rearranged to form a means to hinder adversaries. This word (which does not appear in standard dictionaries but can easily be verified online or using OneLook) should be submitted with solvers’ entries. Spelling is always important for anagrams, but is particularly relevant in this case.
There is magic in the air. We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto: and despite the title we’re not in Arizona either. You may suspect Tramp and Rikki of practising the Dark Arts, but instead they’re presenting an organised Defence against them. Try not to utter any unforgiveable curses and beware of malevolent Riddles.
Worried: can’t stand husband being away (3)
Look for a four-letter word for can’t stand (in the sense of detest) and remove a letter for husband. This should give you a word for worried (as a verb rather than an adjective). [NI]
College books describing a love poem’s section (5)
You need to join lots of small pieces here. Single letters for college, a, and love, and two letters for (a religious collection of) books. Describing means that a fits within the others. The whole is an Italian word for a division of a long poem. [NI]
Rubber delayed climax, ultimately (5)
Rather risque from Tramp? What is he like! If your train is delayed then we can also say it is ???? (tho’ obviously not in the sense of being dead!). Slap on an ‘x’ for five letters and apologies to Tramp. Nothing ambiguous about this rubber. [GS]
At river, one Lakeland Terrier initially going outside, barking once (7)
Looks hard to untangle at first. You need to have At and the initial for river followed by another word for one. Then ‘initially’ refers to Lakeland Terrier ‘going outside’ not to do his business, but to give you an archaic word for barking. [JP]
Play song that’s catching number one up (6)
Some toilet humour perhaps? Think of another word for a song or ballad, then ‘catching’ means to put inside that a word for ‘number one’. Up means to include it upwards. You should find you’ve got a word meaning ‘play’. [JP]
Turned on by goddess of the night (3)
Turned on should be taken literally to give two letters and the last comes from by (as in a brief way to write ‘two by four’). This should give you the name of a Roman goddess. [NI]
Difficult divorce at end of marriage (6)
More ambiguity from Tramp? Let’s see. Here, to divorce is not just in the bland sense of to separate but something stronger, like to cut off. Slap on an ‘e’ for six letters and we have a synonym for (very) difficult. Tramp? What a lad, eh?
PS for solvers with limited knowledge of this month’s theme, then this solution will be a great aid to Days 26 & 27… [GS]
Dear Tramp – puzzle, in conclusion, is boring (5)
Tramp doesn’t refer to the setter but to walking. Find a word for this then take the conclusion of puzzle and insert it (boring) to give you a word for dear. [JP]
Hard to believe regulars start to go out to get drunk (7)
Tramp and Rikki out on a pub crawl? Are you serious?
To get drunk is a strong indicator of an anagram but there is only one seven lettered word in the clue—and that doesn’t work. In fact this clue requires two separate techniques. Find an eight lettered word in the clue and before anagramming, remove one letter. Which one? The start to go, obviously. [GS]
Handle of toilet not over potty (5)
Nice concise picture of a wonky toilet! Potty suggests an anagram. Unscramble toilet without the o (not over) to give another word for handle. [JP]
I am grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate).
Nick Inglis (etc)