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Just when I was starting to think that Anax couldn't possibly get any better, he produces this stunning Olympics-themed puzzle. It's a difficult task writing clues whose surface meanings all relate to a theme, and often clues of this sort tend to rely heavily on anagrams and initial or final letters. Anax has produced natural, seamless clues without any sign of contrivance and in many cases has managed to define ordinary words accurately and fairly in an Olympics context. Particularly good are 24 across, 1 down and 5 down.


Egyptian representative turned up late but had to go (5)
4 Stop swimming and see time later? (8)
8 Many lanes taken by French – in principle, eliminated on points (5,9)
10 Girl running in heats holds record (9)
11 This opening ceremony is hardly original (5)
12 Olympic event old woman led, although briefly overtaken? (8)
14 Bad luck for some who finish, say (6)
17 Sprinter minimised amphetamine intake before retiring (6)
18 Provided more communist guards one uses with abandon (8)
20 Atmosphere that makes rivals embrace heading for Beijing (5)
22 A girl he can fancy in major downhill event (9)
24 Advantage gained if personal best is beaten (14)
25 End of decathlon you repeatedly get excited about, with plenty to watch (4-4)
26 What relay team has to put in evidence of doping offence? (5)

1 Hastily revises match the day before opening ceremony (9,3)
2 Pest control drug – some given up after sumo wrestling (5-4)
3 Exploit empty lane and almost produce repeat performance (5)
4 Unexciting Olympic event for a change? (5,3)
5 Running shoes have these laces (6)
6 Given funding, ground set up hurdles race (9)
7 One finishes last, unusually high placing for Latvia? (5)
9 You respond unpredictably after dry running (6,6)
13 Check up on self-trained unknown, a nuisance from Africa (6,3)
15 Throw into current race disgraced athlete (4,5)
16 Hastily covered bottom (twice) on securing gold (8)
19 China's score in rugby – low (6)
21 A problem surrounding mass uprising in neighbour of China (5)
23 Relay race supported by Bass Bitter (5)

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