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Two Little Words by Danda

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 October 2011

Yet another new name, Danda. It really is a pleasure to have a new setter and a new style each week. We were expecting something ferocious this week but no doubt that is still to come. Numpty Number Two had filled the top half of the grid while I was sharpening my pencils in anticipation of a shocker. He paused to discuss which way ZEUS/SUEZ should go into the grid (Jupiter, where canal’s reflection can be seen). We are not so fond of those clues that depend on reversal, but this one was fairly clear and we opted for ZEUS.

That gave us a useful and interesting Z in one of the unclued lights. We already had a putative SIXPENNY  and INEXPENSIVE, so it seemed that we were heading towards the theme. A DIME A DOZEN appeared when I fed my letters into Antony Lewis’s crossword compiler clue-editing facility. CHEAP seemed to encompass those.

Yes, I admit, I use any programme, website or book I can, to try to solve these things. I wouldn’t go anywhere without Anne Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary. I admire the purists who use brainpower alone and wonder how they do it.

We numpties soldiered on and soon NAUSEOUS, INDECENT and  SHODDY appeared and the rather astonishing LOVELY. We had to look up ‘CHEAP’ and ‘NASTY’ to find what LOVELY had to do with it, and, of course, NASTY appeared as ‘Very good’ in US slang. So how did seven words divide evenly into two sets? Ah, clever. We looked each of them up, and, sure enough, SHODDY fitted into both categories. Chambers describes it as ‘cheap and nasty’! All done and dusted?

We were amused by a few clues along the way. There wasn’t much of the usual Listener heavy dose of booze, but Danda included a substantial number of randy antics – PICNICKERS removing their Knickers,  ‘People satisfying their appetites alfresco remove bloomers we hear’, ‘Support for  young girl leaving heartless men’s embrace’ AIDE (what was she doing with two men?) ‘Sister disturbed with tape revealing sexy show’ STRIPTEASE  (Some sort of nun involved in bondage? Dear dear!) and ‘Play willing’ giving us GAME. I suspect we have that rare thing, a lady setter here.

Lots of fun and a nice easy fill so that we had our complete grid in an hour or so. We learned a few new words along the way: DIDDER, OBSIGNS and APOZEM.

No problems? Ah well, now you ask – of course. As usual, we had slotted in a few guesses that seemed to fit the definition, without fully grasping the wordplay and, as usual, we now had to work backwards to find the seven words that gave us CHEAP AND NASTY and work our what was missing from the wordplay. Sure enough, we found (e)CHE missing from ‘Ecstasy supplement used by Will’; AP(ozem) missing from ‘Returning singer’s heartless product of concentration’ (MEZZO returning heartless); ‘Date English cleric’ gave us (de)AN; ‘Old risingmeadow in the Pennines produced STY(ing); ‘Put on Thousand Island’ gave us (M isle) AD; ‘Before getting advance settle your debts up front’ gave us (pre)P(a)Y; and finally we found HAR missing from the word-play of ‘Cold marine phenomenon causing fuzziness in Dunbar finally?’

It was surprising that we weren’t asked to highlight CHEAP AND NASTY, though I imagine the reasoning was that you would not be sure of your solution had you not found it.

Thank you Danda for a gentle bit of fun.

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