Doctor! Doctor! I feel like a pair of bookends!
Punchlines on a postcard please. Or a posted comment will do.
It's just that I have realised (I suppose it is pretty obvious really) that having done my first ever blog on Monday 1st January, I am now also doing my final one of the year on Monday 31st December. Which sort of makes me feel like a pair of bookends to 2018.
I wish I had time to sit and try and dream up a punchline myself but I haven't. I am afraid that this blog is being written in very rushed and chaotic circumstances as my mother has just had another fall and I've had to oversee her admission to hospital and the looking after of her dog and the updating of the family as to her condition etc etc so necessarily this is being squeezed into a few multitasking minutes. I therefore have no reliable record of my time although it definitely felt on the easy side, with quite a few anagrams and at least two hidden words slipping into position without any trouble at all.
So many thanks to Hurley for providing a puzzle that was not too difficult for me to blog on this day wheh I really don't have a lot of time to devote to it. FOI was 7A because it sort of jumped out to me as a straight write-in, even though 3A was not far behind. I believe in fact that the solve was so smooth and went so according to plan that the LOI was 21D just as God intended. COD is difficult as none of the clues held me up for very long, and none of them quite had the ideal combination of smooth surface with neat device, but I think I'll go with 3A. I also liked 1D for the neat internal definition of 'LENT', but as referred to above the surface felt a bit strained and unconvincing to me.
Expecting some possible external trimmings on this last day of the year, I did deploy my NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) but unfortunately it didn't bleep at all.
Hope you all had an excellent Christmas and don't take the foot off the gas until early on Tuesday morning! A happy and enjoyable New Year to all!
Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can manage.
|3||Gauche — after time play fewer roles? (8)|
|TACTLESS - T (time) + ACT LESS (play fewer roles). Not like Michael Caine then if you have been listening to his autobiography "Blowing The Bloody Doors Off" on the radio recently. A wonderfully felicitous title in my humble opinion.|
|7||Given food — or a hat! (6)|
|FEDORA - pretty much what it says: FED (given food) + OR + A.|
|8||Warning doctor in front of Northern Ireland Conservative (8)|
|MONITORY - MO (Medical Officer (an army doctor)) + NI (Northern Ireland) + TORY (Conservative).|
|9||Supporting daughter, means to cross river (4)|
|FORD - FOR (supporting) + D (daughter). 'Means' here is in the sense of 'way'.|
|10||Regret trick, sending out son (3)|
|RUE - RUSE (trick) minus ('sending out') S (son).|
|11||Describing part of car raised unexpectedly in northeast (8)|
|NEARSIDE - EARSID = anagram of RAISED ('unexpectedly') in NE (northeast). Might have been a neat twist if it had appeared in the NE corner of the crossword, but in fact it is in the NW.|
|13||Republican one backed in Nevada city (4)|
|RENO - geography was my worst subject at school and geography clues are therefore amongst those that I fear most in crosswords. No problem with this one though as even I have heard of it. R (Republican) + ENO (ONE 'backed').|
|15||Finally gets sweet juice from part of plant (4)|
|STEM - take the last letters ('finally') of getS sweeT juicE froM.|
|17||Before game, referring to male in plot (8)|
|PREMATCH - RE (referring to) + M (male), placed in PATCH (plot).|
|19||President’s gamble, ignoring odds (3)|
|ABE - ABE (Abraham Lincoln) is probably the most frequent presidential visitor to Crossword Land. Ignore the odd letters of gAmBlE and there he is.|
|22||Small brick carrier in trainers? (4)|
|SHOD - S (small) + HOD (brick carrier). There is a question mark at the endof the definition as alternative varieties of footwear are available.|
|23||Substitute with good reputation (8)|
|STANDING - STAND IN (substitute) + G (good).|
|24||Like carrier not in correct path (6)|
|ASTRAY - AS (like) + TRAY (carrier).|
|25||Purveyor of nonsense botched weld: drat! (8)|
|TWADDLER - straight anagram ('botched') of WELD DRAT.|
|1||Suggestive of embarrassed-looking love, provided for time (8)|
|REDOLENT - RED (embarrased-looking) + O (love) + LENT (provided for [a] time).|
|2||End row for a change? That’s amazing! (6)|
|WONDER - straight anagram of END ROW.|
|3||Part of operetta, mediocre, uninspiring (4)|
|TAME - hidden word: operetTA MEdiocre.|
|4||Building material firm, new, supported by Greek island (8)|
|CONCRETE - CO (firm: in Crossword Land no distinction is made between the technically separate legal entities of a Co. (company) and a firm (partnership), although I do know people who use the terms interchangeably in the real world as well so maybe it's just my anal legal background kicking in) + N (new) + CRETE (Greek island).|
|5||Reformer left university over article? Right (6)|
|LUTHER - L (left) + U (university) 'over' (in this down clue) THE ((definite) article) + R (right).|
|6||Island story’s beginning with Biblical boat (4)|
|SARK - more geography. But luckily another place I have heard of. S (Story's beginning) + ARK (Biblical boat).|
|12||Referring to British measures, air mile, pint at first changed ... (8)|
|IMPERIAL - straight anagram ('changed') of AIR MILE + P (Pint 'at first'). Stones, pounds, ounces, hundredweight, tons (as opposed to tonnes), furlongs, rods, chains and perches and also grains, scruples and gills and a lot of other lovely words besides were all part of our lamented (but thankfully not entirely late as yet) Imperial weights and measures system.|
|14||... inch also, recollected guy (8)|
|NICHOLAS - straight anagram of INCH ALSO ('recollected').|
|16||Girl received by Managing Director supplied with staff (6)|
|MANNED - ANNE (girl) 'received' by MD (Managing Director).|
|18||When classes show items worth having (6)|
|ASSETS - AS (when) + SETS (classes).|
|20||Difficult situation in street our group brought up (4)|
|STEW - ST (street) + EW (WE (our group) reversed, i.e. 'brought up' in this down clue).|
|21||In bag, a recommended seaweed product (4)|
|AGAR - hidden word: bAG A Recommended. A type of jelly derived from seaweed and much-used as a neutral culture medium in microbiology and also as a thickener in certain foodstuffs (but hopefully not both at the same time).|