Crossword 764 answers and explanations

by David Tossman / 14 April, 2012
The same difference

There is no such thing as a perfect synonym, or so some authoritative writers tell us. All apparent synonyms offer different shades of meaning, hence the popularity of thesauri (or thesauruses) to help us pin down those subtle tints or hints of difference.

Personally I think the sheer acquisitiveness of English has given us quite a few perfect synonym but it's the far more numerous imperfect synonyms that concern me here. Because most synonyms are imperfect, crossword puzzles – both cryptic and straight – necessarily depend on a certain fuzziness of meaning. Clue writing is not an exact science.

Crossword 764 solution


I generally go for a substitution test: can my answer replace the proposed synonym in a coherent sentence with the same general meaning? It's pretty rough, especially as the rules allow articles (a, an, the) to appear or disappear at will.

Using this method, “UK” for example can be used to mean Britain or British. I imagine a headline: "UK PM says no". Expanded, it says "The British Prime Minister says no". Hence “UK” stands in this case for British.

“US” likewise can mean The United States of America, just America or, as in "US president", American.

Britain (see 1 down) is a far-from-perfect synonym for UK, as any student of geography or British history will tell you. Great Britain then? Even worse. Nevertheless it is a substitution that has been used many times before, even in respectable British crosswords, so I make no apologies. It will have to do.





































































































































































































































































































Across Answers and CluesExplanations
1MISSPELT
Written wrongly, the result of the simplest error (8)Anagram of SIMPLEST
5STABLE
Where the mount is kept unchanging (6)Double definition
9NEGATES
Makes nothing of agents, disguised, around the East (7)Anagram of AGENTS including E
10BAMBOOS
Woody grasses appear so a bomb explodes (7)Anagram of SO A BOMB
11KITTY
A pooled fund for Jack (5)Double definition
12IN A BIG WAY
Involved with determining the mass of an elephant, say, with much ceremony and great enthusiasm (2,1,3,3)Pun on weigh
13TAPE MEASURES
Dressmakers use them to record steps taken (4,8)record = TAPE, steps taken = MEASURES
17MACCHIAVELLI
Chemical vial deviously used by an old master of political chicanery (12)Anagram of CHEMICAL VIAL
20AFTERGLOW
Carelessly forget law in the enjoyment of remembering some pleasant event (9)Anagram of FORGET LAW
22SLATE
Strongly criticise the least change (5)Anagram of LEAST
23SAILORS
Armed service personnel arranged IRA loss (7)Anagram of IRA LOSS
24RELAPSE
A leper's let loose to get worse (7)Anagram of A LEPERS
25SCHIST
A bit of kitsch is trendy in a certain type of rock (6)Hidden word, kitSCH IS Trendy
26ADOPTION.
A social function introducing a new variety of pinot is one way to rapidly grow the family (8)A social function = A DO + anagram of PINOT.
Down Answers and CluesExplanations
1MANUKA
It might be just firewood around here but it offers great social status around Britain (6)great social status = MANA containing Britain = UK
2SIGHTS
Takes aim at scenic attractions (6)Double definition
3PETTY CASH
Not much in the way of funds for silly type's chat (5,4)Anagram of TYPES CHAT
4LES MISERABLES
Aimless rebels involved in a novel musical set in France (3,10)Anagram of AIMLESS REBELS
6TEMPI
Beats having the Maori politician with one (5)the Maori = TE, politician = MP, one = I (Roman numerals)
7BOOKWORM
A frightening expression, "work to be sorted at the end of term," for someone who prefers to just keep reading (8)A frightening expression = BOO + anagram of WORK, end of term = M
8ESSAYIST
A writer, for example, in tricky sites (8)for example = SAY inside anagram of SITES
10BRAVE NEW WORLD
Huxley's novel encouragement to boldly enter a supermarket (5,3,5)boldly enter = BRAVE
14SALES SLIP
A receipt showing decline in business (5,4)Double definition
15IMPASSES
Gremlin rides donkeys into blind alleys (8)Gremlin = IMP, donkeys = ASSES
16SCOTTISH
Outrageous costs hit people such as those from Perth and Kilbirnie (8)Anagram of COSTS HIT
18TAIPEI
Make a citizen of Bangkok ante up, I hear, for Chinese capital (6)citizen of Bangkok = THAI, ante up = PAY, I hear = homophone indicator
19HEREIN
That man with control is in this document (6)That man = HE, control = REIN
21ROOKS.
Decapitate criminals for swindles (5)criminals = CROOKS.
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