If you prefer to work on the interactive version, click on this LINK.
7 Roman statesman and philosopher who was an advisor to Nero (6)
8 Guided missile developed by the French government for use against ships (6)
9 Supreme god of ancient Greek mythology (4)
10 Queen of Castile whose marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 marked the beginning of the modern state of Spain (8)
11 Italian sculptor and architect of the baroque period in Italy; designed many churches and chapels and tombs and fountains (1598-1680) (7)
13 White South Africans who speak Afrikaans as their first language (5)
15 Book in the Old Testament that tells the story of a man swallowed by a whale (5)
16 Member of the French-speaking people living in Belgium (7)
18 Dialect of Chinese spoken in Beijing and adopted as the official language for all of China (8)
19 Hebrew patriarch who saved himself and his family and the animals by building an ark (4)
21 Capital and largest city and major port of the Irish Republic (6)
22 One of the principal names by which God is designated in the Hebrew Scriptures (6)
1 Goddess of youth and spring; wife of Hercules; daughter of Zeus and Hera; cupbearer to the Olympian gods (4)
2 South African statesman who was released from prison to become the nation’s president after the first multi-racial election in 1994 (born in 1918) (6,7)
3 English writer of stories for children (1882-1956) (1,1,5)
4 French impressionist painter (1834-1917) (5)
5 A fortress in London on the Thames; used as a palace and a state prison and now as a museum containing the crown jewels (5,2,6)
6 Resort Island off the coast of Florida (3,5)
12 Roman name for York (8)
14 Volcanic peak in the south-west of Washington State (7)
17 River in central England that flows generally northeastward to join with the Ouse River and form the Humber (5)
20 Largest continent with 60% of the earth’s population; it is joined to Europe on the west to form Eurasia; it is the site of some of the world’s earliest civilizations (4)
Here is last week’s solution – of course, the only vowel in the across clues was A:
Twelve items in this crossword might be found in 4 down. If you prefer to work on the interactive version of the crossword or to print a pdf. please click on this LINK that will take you to the Crossword Compiler website.
Here’s a bit of crossword news too. The BBC CiNA 3D Calendar Crossword, the sales of which all go to help Children in Need is now available for purchase on-line. Well-known compilers like Pasquale, Rufus, Enigmatist and Lavatch have given their work to the project. It will make a fine Christmas present for any crossword-lover and all the money produced by sales goes to the children (a company is even printing the first 500 copies for free!) Here is a link.
1 An aniseed flavoured spirit of Turkey and the East Mediterranean (4)
3 Strong green liqueur flavoured with wormwood and anise (8)
9 Smooth glossy coatings that resemble ceramic glaze (7)
10 A sudden outburst of anger (5)
11 A drink made with yoghurt or buttermilk diluted with water and flavoured with salt or fruit juice (5)
12 Hold back within (6)
14 The food and drink of the gods; mortals who ate it became immortal (6)
16 Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses (6)
19 A ruminant’s third stomach, the psalterium or manyplies (6)
21 Unaged colourless liquor originating in Russia (5)
24 Italian violin maker in Cremona; taught the craft to Guarneri and Stradivari (1596-1684) (5)
25 A traditional Hindu form of decoration on floors or doorsteps, forming patterns of coloured sand and riceflour (7)
26 Liquorice-flavoured usually colourless sweet liqueur made from aniseed (8)
27 Long flat runners attached to the feet for gliding over snow (4)
1 Fragrant dry or sweet white wine from the Rhine valley or a similar wine from California (8)
2 Fermented beverage resembling beer but made from rye or barley (5)
4 A small informal restaurant; serves wine (6)
5 Signal going into an electronic system (5)
6 Mexican liquor made from fermented juices of an agave plant (7)
7 A fencing sword similar to a foil but with a heavier blade (4)
8 The innermost light-sensitive membrane covering the back wall of the eyeball (6)
13 Scandinavian spirits made from potatoes or grain usually flavoured with caraway seeds (8)
15 A mildly bitter aperitif, coloured with cochineal, often drunk with soda water or orange juice (7)
17 A deep narrow steep-sided valley (especially one formed by running water) (6)
18 Dry red Bordeaux or Bordeaux-like wine (6)
20 A former administrative district of England; equivalent to a county (5)
22 To drench in Scotland (5)
23 An alcoholic drink made from the aromatic roots of a shrub (4)
Here is last week’s solution:
Joyce Carol Oates’ Rape a Love Story is not for the faint-hearted. The opening scene, a gang rape of a woman in her mid thirties and the brutal attack on her 12-year-old daughter is one of the most graphic scenes of violence that I have read, yet it is so powerfully written that the book is hypnotising.
The ‘lover’ in the story is a young police officer, Dromoor. He had met Tina Maguire, the rape victim, a couple of years earlier but the main reason for his involvement in the case is that he is the first on the scene when 12 year-old Bethie stops the police car outside the boathouse the morning after the brutality. Her mother was left for dead by the five rapists who were high on drugs.
Bethie identifies the five and they are indicted but the father of two of them engages the best lawyers available and, despite conclusive DNA evidence, the community turns nasty with ‘She was asking for it’ and the usual language and attitudes that rape-victims encounter. We witness soul-destroying ostracism and mental torture suffered by Bethie as her mother, severely damaged by the brutality, attempts to return to life.
This sounds like grim reading but it is a wonderful story told by Joyce Carol Oates. (I have to add my voice to the many that wonder why she has not yet been the winner of a Nobel Prize for literature – what talent!)
Of course, no police officer should take the law into his own hands, but when social mores dictate, and justice is being perverted by a corrupt legal system where money talks (a well known miscarriage of justice is repeatedly cited), the readers are overjoyed as, one by one, the nasty thugs are eliminated.
The voice we never hear is that of the rape victim, until a joyous postcard at the end.
My neighbour was preparing cereal bars for her breakfast and I sneaked one of them – delicious! – as were the recipes in the book she was using. Bill Granger is known world wide and has had a television series ‘bill’s food’ in Australia and on TV networks around the world. This recipe was from Every Day.
Granger is a self-taught cook who believes that cooking should be a pleasure, never a chore. He has three restaurants in Sydney and a series of successful cookery books (Bill’s Sydney Food, Bills Food, Bills Open Kitchen and Simply Bill).
Flick through Every Day and you find your mouth watering at recipes like Date and Pecan Butter or Corn and Prawn fritters. The cover tells us that ‘Whether it’s the food in his cookbooks, his cafés or at home, Granger knows exactly what we love to eat’. Indeed, cinnamon poached eggs, caramel salmon and lamb biryani all whetted my appetite. There is an international flavour in the food and the ingredients. I think that is one of Australia’s riches – that mixture of cultural origins that mean that you are as likely to eat an Italian or Greek dish in Sydney as an Australian steak.
Murdoch books publish Bill Granger’s cookery books and give his website: www.bills.com.au
Just for a change from books, I thought I would write a few words about a fascinating project that is underway in the Crinan, Tayvallich area of Argyll, Scotland.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in Britain for their fur and meat but they were, perhaps, an essential part of our biodiversity. Their tree-felling and damming behaviour can dramatically alter the environment and influence the survival and existence of other wildlife.
Under the auspices of the Scottish Government, beavers are being reintroduced into the Knapdale Forest, one of the most wild and remote areas of Britain, on a trial basis from 2009 to 2014. An independent group will monitor the trial and decide whether the animals have settled and whether they will be encouraged to inhabit the area in the future. (Don’t ask me what will happen to the two beaver families that have survived so far, should the trial get the thumbs down!)
Three families of Norwegian beavers were released into the area, which has a number of freshwater lochs, after a period of quarantine in 2009. One pair seems to have disappeared, possibly deliberately eliminated by local people who are opposed to the project.
Trails in the area and an information centre encourage public interest. Even if you are not interested in the beavers, it is a lovely area to visit. You may not see the shy beavers, but will certainly see herons and seals, and perhaps osprey and sea otters too.
Just for a change from books, here’s a recommendation for a local theatre – local, that is, in the Pays de Gex. Three hundred milk sheep are wintered in the Bergerie de Baizenas at Thoiry, you can see them lined up at their troughs through windows that separate the diners at the Auberge du Pré Vélard from the sheep. They are the sheep you will meet on the mountain pastures if you walk the Jura ridge in the summer.
The Auberge has other treats in store. After dining copiously on lamb and local cheeses and desserts (with alternatives if you wish) the bergerie’s company of actors presents a play. We watched the hilarious farce ‘Numéro Complémentaire‘ (Yes, you do need some French to enjoy this!)
The modest Leblanc family hits the jackpot in the lottery. They set their minds on becoming aristocrats and marrying nineteen-year-old Laetitia to royalty. Their efforts are an endless source of comedy.
This is theatre with a difference. Audience participation is welcome and the effect is somewhat reminiscent of Shakespeare’s MSND mechanicals (though with infinitely more talent). It is my top tip if you would like to eat well and spend a very enjoyable afternoon in touch with life in the Pays de Gex. You can find out more at www.aubergeprevelard.com