Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23937/Pasquale – pretty tough for a weekday puzzle

Posted by linxit on November 30th, 2006


Solving time – 45 minutes. I feel sorry for anyone trying to do this on the train – after struggling in vain for 20 minutes to get half of it I resorted to the Internet, and it was still hard going. Probably not so tough for anyone from Oxfordshire, although all the lesser known towns have relatively easy wordplay. I’m fairly sure Pasquale (Don Manley) is from Oxford, so it’s an appropriate theme.

9 H(0,I,POLL)O,1 – a lot of elements to put together in the wordplay
10 I,SLIP – first thematic answer, this was the birthplace of Edward the Confessor
11 PACKS (“pax”)
13 SET DOWN – I’m sure I’ve seen this clue before – first one I got
17 RAP(H)E – pretty obscure vocabulary, only got it once I had all the checking letters, confirmed afterwards on
22 HE,IN,(O),US
26 GO(l)FER – I wasted some time looking for a sportsman missing two Ls, but LSD (librae, solidi, denarii) = “pounds, shillings, pence”, not “pound, shilling, penny”.
28 S,HIRE – type of horse (half of 3dn), took me about 15 minutes before I cracked this and 23dn, which was the only way into the puzzle. I thought it would be plain sailing from then on with so many thematic clues, but it wasn’t to be.
29 ENA,MO,URED(rude*)

1 I’ve got “WHIP” for this, but I’m open to suggestions – I don’t get the wordplay. [Correct answer is CHAP (E removed from CHEAP), as explained in the comments]
2 DID,COT – I don’t know why a traveller would have dismounted there though
3 HORSE OPERA, (“hopes are OR”)* – OR=”other ranks”, i.e. not officers. Other 2-letter possibilities for soldier(s) are GI (used in 6dn), LT, RE or RA. I considered most of these before hitting on OR.
4 B(LAD)ON – NOB rev – this is the famous burial place of Sir Winston Churchill
5 BICESTER (“bistre”) – easy enough if you know what bistre is! I looked up “pigment” in Bradford’s to get this.
8 SPAN – two meanings. A span of horses means a matched pair pulling e.g. a plough or a carriage
15 KID,LING,TON – a town I’d never heard of but the wordplay’s easy enough. Ton is French for “fashion”.
16 SILAS – Salisbury (southern city) rev. without Bury (northern town). Silas was a missionary in the Bible.
18 PONYTAIL (“tale”) – Ruby Ferguson was a writer of children’s pony stories.
19 WHEAT,LEY – another unknown town to me, but straightforward wordplay again. “Ley” is an alternative spelling of “lea”.
22 HURR(A)Y – A as in last letter of Paula, ref. Paula Radcliffe, who might or might not get cheered if she came last!
23 O,X,FORD – Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

13 Responses to “Guardian 23937/Pasquale – pretty tough for a weekday puzzle”

  1. says:

    I didn’t get raphe or ponytail (not being familiar with Ruby’s works despite having two daughters) but for 1dn try ch(e)ap – as in chapped/cracked lips.

  2. says:

    Very tough puzzle – and I live in Bucks – between the Beds in yesterdays Indie and the Oxon “spanned” in this puzzle, so I recognise most of the place-names. Also had to cheat on Ruby, screwed up on Kidlington despite signs to it on the Oxford by-pass (remembered nearby Watlington and couldn’t get it out of my head), didn’t see “Ta Kings” at 14, and had one of my occasional “forgot this variant spelling” moments at 22D. Mostly my fault, but do wonder why this puzzle couldn’t have been saved for a Saturday.

  3. says:

    I did CHAP as well for 1D — same reasoning as michod.

    I had to scour oxfordshire in for the rest… had to admire the BLADON clue — almost an &lit.

  4. says:

    A real toughie – much pouring over atlas to get most of the names.

    Still don’t understand 19 ac though answer was obviously ‘war’

  5. says:

    19A: Maiden = M (cricket), amorous = warm.

  6. says:

    Thanks Peter. Judging by the way the Ashes are going, my mind must obviously be subconsciously blocking out all thoughts of cricket…

  7. says:

    speaking of TA+KINGS in 14D, what role do Joseph and Mary play there other than make the surface more sensible (as links to the Wise Men)? I mean wouldn’t the clue have been equally valid and vastly simpler as: “Grateful response to Wise Men for gifts?”

  8. says:

    While we’re being picky, I wasn’t sure about the use of ‘adjacent to’ in a down clue (19d). But that could have more to do with the fact I know this setter to be very particular.

  9. says:

    I don’t see any problem with ‘adjacent to’ in a down clue – a given square can be adjacent to four others, two vertically and two horizontally.

  10. says:

    Maybe not, I just think of adjacent as being side by side and working better with an across clue.

    No Indy blog today?

  11. says:

    2D: Is the reference to passengers getting off trains at Didcot station?

  12. says:

    Mea culpa for Indy – could not get on line to post!

  13. says:

    Thanks for all the feedback. It was mine in The Times yesterday as well. Both puzzles were deemed ‘tough’ but I reckon Nestor ( my new unknown Indy colleague) ‘out-toughed’ me. Easier stuff from me today in the FT and the Daily Telegraph.

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