Augeas’s last puzzle was the one about that fabulous locomotive Mallard and its world steam record of 126mph. I think the exact speed required under the grid tripped up a few people… luckily not me. No requirement for anything under the grid this week, just two letters in every cell and a perimeter to complete. Initial letters of extra words in alternate clues would spell out a name.
The only problem with perimeters is that they sneakily increase the unching of words that stray into them. Here, that was doubly devious since it meant double unching for those words. Still, the rest of the grid had very few unchecked squares, so I hoped that it wouldn’t be too taxing.
I couldn’t get 6ac, but I loved the surface reading: The French queen chases slut she insults (8). No problem with the next clue though, being a straightforward compound anagram (AS + EMPURPLE)* = (PURE SAMPLE)*. Next came 12ac Throbbing gout among ex-boozers starts to metastasise, old ulcer soon fertilising itself (10) AUTOGAMOUS, which had, to put it mildly, a bizarre surface reading, the accuracy of which I’ll leave to Listener doctors!
I decided to switch my attention to the downs, and was rewarded with 2 BYRE and 3 LYCHGATE for Body stops here, needing messy oil change — try [lubrication] getting rid of bits of iron (8) — (OIL CHANGE TRY)* – letters of IRON, with ‘lubrication as the extra word]. 4 Film of giant ants coming from the mountains — it’s plural (4) brought back memories of that 50’s sci-fi film Them!.
Some of Augeas’s clues were on the tricky side. 19ac, for example, Heartless Sealyhams with chain removed chewed [terrified] flirt once (4), being (SEAL[Y]HAMS – SEAL (chain))*.
My favourite clue has to be 31ac Thailand car — fake — tuk tuk maybe (10) for TAUTOPHONY, a tuk tuk not only being a Thai motorised rickshaw but also an example of tautophony (the repetition of a sound).
The clues weren’t too taxing, and the double unching didn’t seem to cause me much of a problem. The first letters of the extra words in the clues eventually gave Beatrice Stella Tanner, a woman whose name rang vague bells, but no more than that. Examining the perimeter before resorting to Google, the top right corner appeared to have a CHAISE LONGUE lurking, and a check with the ODQ revealed all:
The deep, deep peace of the double-bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue. Mrs Campbell
Underneath is another lovely quote: “It doesn’t matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
All that was left now was to complete my entry and send it to St Albans. As a matter of course, I always fill in the grid from the acrosses in my working copy and then double-check it against the downs. This was one of those rare weeks when I discovered that I had made an error: DO RP which didn’t fit with INTERPRETIVE going down at 13 and needed changing to DO RP.
I also double-checked that the letters in all the squares were encountered in the correct order. There again, I originally had HE going NW-SE in the top left corner like all the other unchecked squares, but HE seemed more appropriate on the bend. Would my original have been marked wrong?
So thanks to Augeas for an entertaining and enjoyable puzzle… who said bedroom humour wasn’t PC?!