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No 4040 In S(HOC)k – ad (HOC)ery solving

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Jul 2009

The junior 8 X 8 team liked this one by Hubris; the solutions slotted into place fairly quickly after our usual slow start – though ‘ad (HOC)ery’ might have been a better title for some of our resolution of the word play than ‘In s(HOC)k’.

Our rapidity of solving could be put down to the fact that with few exceptions, (NETS from NETSUKES, – oriental ornaments, removing UKES, and PHELLEM for cork – Ha(D)es inherent in in MEP turning up in Cork, PAPPOUS – OAO’s pup* for ‘fringed with hair’, and ARIOT for ‘in a boisterous way’) the words were all familiar to us. Perhaps this renders the solving too easy for the experts, but for us it is a welcome break not having to first find a putative word from the clue, then trawl the dictionary to see whether the word exists.

I am making it sound as though this was easy for us – no way! We found several words that fitted neatly into the grid but where we still don’t understand the word play (Help again, Derek, please?) We assume that DIE comes from (E)nd the front part of a car, but why? Is it half of DIESEL? Why is PEARL  ‘a paragon of old warmed ale, so it is said’? DECOR ‘Tr(I)m with a goddess no longer an ornament’, and ‘L(O)ft perhaps a shrub after pruning’?

It will be obvious from this that our corrected misprints sorted themselves out into THE BEST CLUB IN LONDON, MR TWEMLOW fairly quickly. From that stage, we had to work backwards to solve the clues and find the words to enter. Clearly this method is flawed, since we probably have shaggy bastard words in there in the place of the thoroughbreds that were intended. A fine example is NETS. Not finding the right word, I had GETS in there. Catching swine ‘flu’, for example, is ‘getting’ it. My wise friend put me right on that one. But NETSUKE is one of those crossword-solvers’ words isn’t it? Like RUMPUS, ETUI, PERI, TSETSE and that obscure Maori war club, MERI (Does anyone really use that word in daily coffee-break banter?) A crossword made up entirely of those staples might be entertaining.

Some clues we loved:  FRISEUR from ‘Stylist is in French ru(E) from east to west’ (FR + IS + RUE rev.) and ELLIPTIC from ‘Dubious cheek apparent in a Scotsman, say, losing his head’ ((C)ELTIC round LIP) were particularly rewarding to solve.

We were probably lucky in that we quickly spotted that we had SPEAKER and MACE in the HOC that was ‘IN’  s(hoc)k in the title, and that Dickens’ Mr Twemlow considered ‘The best club in London’. Of course, we had our usual red herrings. There are a BAR and a STAPLE as symbols, too (Yes, I know the STAPLE has something to do with the woolsack in the House of Lords, but it was very tempting) and NOISE and SPIN seem to be essential characteristics of the current HOC. We found MPS in two sets – rather odd! However, that didn’t add up to the 33 letters to highlight. We hunted vainly for ALLOWANCE, SECOND HOME, CHANDELIER or DUCK POND.

Fortunately, LABOUR and OPPOSITION soon yielded to scrutiny and we reluctantly discarded all but the MACE in order to include those slightly unsymmetrical MPS. We were somewhat miffed at this point, feeling that if OPPOSITION appears on the right, GOVERNMENT should appear on the left side of the grid, rather than the name of the dominant political party. Indeed, Hubris’ Listener offering has probably had to be moved up a few places in order to fit it in before it had to be altered to include LIB DEMS, GREENS and BNP or some other party.

All that said, we thoroughly enjoyed ‘In Shock’. Thank you, Hubris.

2 Responses to “No 4040 In S(HOC)k – ad (HOC)ery solving”

  1. Denis Martin said

    Yes, Shirley. I had DIE as front half of diesel.

    19A PEARL = paragon sounds like PURL = old warmed ale (although from Chambers it is not clear that ‘old’ is correct).

    43A DECOR = ornament, TRIM = DECORATE less ATE = goddess

    I thought LOFT = ROOM and SHRUB = BROOM

    Congratulations to your 64 team for spotting LABOUR and OPPOSITION.

  2. shirley curran said

    Thank you again, Denis. We should have got the wordplay for decorate but the old ale is new to me. I totally agree with your message board comment about the number of letters.

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