Apex 2017

Making a Choice by Phi

Most clues are normal.  Eight clues consist of (in some order) two definitions to words differing by one letter, with wordplay indicating the letters in common.  For example: Harry Potter to defend demonstration (7) gives wordplay for an anagram for PROTET, then defines PROTECT and PROTEST.  Solvers must determine which of the alternatives to enter: in all cases, the correct letter to enter is determined unambiguously by the crossing entry.  The letters not used, in clue order, spell out the competition word, which is to be clued in the same way – competitors may choose any of the seven alternatives it offers (e.g. if PROTECT was the competition word, you could pair it with either PROTEST or PROJECT).


1              Sketch border, overlooking river (4)

4              Cancellation more piercing after backing new version (8)

10           Concern shown by lecturer about rule for study area (6)

11           Space program entirely over after intervention of narrow-minded (6)

12           Pair in trouble getting a month (5)

13           Lord Mayor and University amongst experts in fancy headgear (7)

15           Ways introduction of computers into printworks wobbles (9)

17           Scots lament miser giving one away (5)

18           Inferior frozen stuff, reduced, containing nothing in the way of deposits (7)

22           Things illuminating nourishing drinks, left to be consumed by abandoned creatures (7)

23           Solo player, with measure of pressure, getting into tangle (5)

27           Ingenious treatment of tin – I still recalled bagging that reward (9)

28           Very much in retreat, shielding cowardly local? Not to be repeated (7)

29           Points prick Scots, first to last (5)

30           Masses heading off like cars available at airports (6)

31           Two birds in a Pacific plant (6, 2 words)

32           Attachment displayed by people behind commercial (8)

33           Inch – recalled component of foot (yard encompassed too) (4)


1              Flower-stalks apparently accepted by science (5)

2              Ugly bare lie about rock group offering no comeback (10)

3              American not to be relied on in cricket? Fine (5)

4              Catch wading bird circling meadows (7)

5              Rise in demand and reduction in credit affected by price fluctuations (7)

6              Dance world providing refuge for soprano (5)

7              Ripped off, thus due to be in trouble (6)

8              Old one to the front will protect new shrub (8)

9              Numbers at the head of that woman’s café patrons (7)

14           Cautious when around unpretentious clergymen (10)

16           Exchanged signal about old military award before Department got in touch (8)

18           Appearing in a role that’s reassessed opera heroine (7)

19           Look out for outrageous inverted moulding (7)

20           Crisp, say, and old-fashioned of poet to ignore one of a small group (7)

21           Bottom of bird is occupying a lot of cliff ridge (6)

24           First of encyclopaedias placed under old mouldings (5)

25           Ceremonial food served up – tons included (5)

26           Some losing heart in chance attack (5)

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