Clues by Imogen and Grid by Patch
In a Patch in the ground lived an Imogen. Not a nasty, dirty, wet Patch, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down: it was an Imogen-Patch, and that means a grid filled with significant words and a host of riddles to solve. Behind the Imogen-Patch was a Graham Fox photograph of a sleeping bear.
This puzzle celebrates the 85th anniversary of a publication in which a reluctant hero (Day 5) joins some Day 7 on a quest. The orange cells form an anagram of the ultimate destination (6,8) and the yellow cells form an anagram of the theme (3,6), both of which should be submitted with the solution.
This splendid grid by Patch won the 2020 RPM Trophy and Imogen’s delightful clues lead us on an unexpected journey towards the successful completion of our quest.
What has it got in its pocketses? Take care, my precious and may the hair on your toes never fall out!
Musician’s nervously excited by a soldier regularly beating out tattoo on time (7)
This has a lovely surface conjuring up a military band and starts easily enough with a soldier: one letter plus a two letter abbreviation. Regularly beating out indicates that we only need alternate letters from tattoo. These come after (on) time. The whole is a musical term meaning nervously excited. [NI]
Shove off: I’m on powerless vehicle…(5)
The solution is Shove off in military slang. The clue – the first two (given) letters are not on board but in front.In front of what? The ark? A sailboat? No. Power represents the letter p.You need a four letter word for boat and removing the last letter p gives you the five letter solution. [GS]
…that is touring loch, actually (2,4)
The usual two letters that represent ‘that is’ around the name of arguably the most secretive and sinister of Scottish lochs but don’t forget the letter distribution which is 2 and 4. The solutions to Days 14 & 15 were new to me and required outside confirmation. [GS]
Old French coins detective found on dishonest witness? (6)
Look for a two-letter abbreviation for a particular rank of detective after (on) the usual word for a dishonest witness. The answer is the plural of an unfamiliar low-value old French coin. [NI]
Colourful wrap, article returned for cash in W Africa (6)
You need a colourful wrap from South Asia and a 2-letter article. Returned usually suggests reversal and here the whole thing is reversed. This should give you the plural of the currency of Nigeria. [NI]
Excursion includes small defeat at Eisteddfod (7)
Think of ‘small’ rather than ‘small defeat’ and this makes sense. Another word for excursion around abbreviation for small leads you to ‘defeat at the Eisteddfod’. [JP]
Saw spin deliveries bowled (7)
Think of a two letter abbreviation for spin followed by a series of cricket deliveries and abbreviation for bowled and you get a word for a saw (not carpentry). [JP]
Treated in barbershop perhaps, sang all wrong? (6)
“sang all wrong?” Sing is an irregular verb. Sing/sang/sung. But imagine it was a regular verb like play or climb…..Bob’s your uncle! [GS]
Plucky little thing from Britain united with two of the French (7)
To get this plucky little thing (unlike our hero, this is something you pluck) you need abbreviations for Britain and united followed by two of the French (the in French, twice). [NI]
Extraordinary wave dumps litter, all tossed along the front (5)
Find a synonym for wave then take away (dump) the initials (along the front) of ‘litter all tossed’ to give another word for extraordinary. [JP]
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)