Hints & Tips March 2023

March 2023 grid page

Clues and Grid by Curmudgeon

Enter the prize draw by 31 March.

A faint sound gradually increases until it is clear it is a heart beat…

The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph showing the head and tuning pegs of a guitar against an overcast background.

An alarm clock goes off and various clocks chime…

This puzzle by Curmudgeon uses a conventional 7x5x5 grid and celebrates the 50th anniversary of a record-breaker which is found at 9ac, 12 to-5, 3d-3, 2ac-3, 15ba. Four thematic titles are clue in Days 3, 4, 21 and 29: these and the theme are highlighted in grey. Solvers are asked to submit with their solution the thematic name given in the rose highlighted cells.

The sound of assorted cash registers…

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, Curmudgeon has constructed a splendid reminder of a ubiquitous 70’s classic. The time is gone, the song is over. Thought I’d something more to say.

Day 1

Atomic base underway (5)

What does a one-legged man stand on? [GS]

Day 2

Senior associate in Spain and France ultimately (5)

This is put together from four separate parts: one letter from associate, two from in, and one each from Spain and France ultimately. The whole is the feminine form of a French word for senior. [NI]

Day 10

Give ability to suffer patiently without resistance (5)

First, suffer patiently in six letters. Second, remove the letter r (r for resistance) and the answer means “give ability to”. [GS]

Day 12

Parasitic worms almost completely occupy a drowned valley (7)

Think of a word for occupy then remove the end (almost completely). Add a word for a drowned valley and you get a genus of threadlike roundworms. [JP]

Day 18

Peeled firs, oaks now and then, and heart of box tree (5)

Nice three parter. Take the outside from (peel) firs. Add the odd letters (now and then) from oaks and the middle (heart) of box to give you a West African tree. [JP]

Day 20

These axes, sent out, can create demolitions (7)

Very occasionally you can deduce a solution having no idea what the clue is about! “can create” has to be an anagram but the only seven letter group given is “sent out” which when run through Chambers Word Wizard (an absolute must have if you don’t have it already) produces nothing relevant. Look again at the word “demolitions” of eleven letters and take out the letters of sent. And Hey Presto, Wizard gives one and only one solution. Cross-check with other solutions you may or may not have (Days 1 & 10 and/or squares numbered 5 & 8 completed from the theme.) Whether you put the cart before the horse or after it’s all in a day’s work. [GS]

Day 22

Swindle of mass cult running amok (5)

The surface conjures a plausible picture, but running amok suggests an anagram and it should be preceded by a letter for mass. The answer is an unfamiliar word that can mean swindle, but is also derived from a Latin word for a fine. [NI]

Day 23

Intermittently on hold, sadly, like a knotty thing (5)

Intermittently indicates that we should take every other letter from the words that follow. Like a knotty thing is the definition. [NI]

Day 24

Finished printing system in quarterly decline, perhaps (3,4)

The eponymous printing system referred to was developed in 1845 as an alternative to braille. Think of finished as meaning in the past and for quarterly decline think of waning crescent. [JP]

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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