Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23,954/Quantum – CD hits a sour note

Posted by loonapick on December 20th, 2006


Solving time – 10 minutes – would have been under 5 if I’d realised what what was going on in the middle “column” of the grid.

I started well with this one – easy clues, straightforward words, an over-reliance on clues where you have to remove parts of words in order to get anagram fodder, but generally OK.  Then I came across a couple of clues that made me 23dn, and when I finally worked out 4d and 19dn, my lasting impression of the crossword was tainted.


9 – RECTO (Hidden)

11 – PENPUSHER – I assume the scratching refers to the olden days of quills?

12 – KEBAB – Nice wordplay

13 – BRISTOL – I’ve seen “Bristol fashion” come up a lot in recent crosswords, so got this immediately.

18 – SEN – a far eastern small value coin and South, East, North

25 – CURTAIN – C(U-RT)AIN where U = “universal” and “RT” = right, and CAIN is the murderer.


3 – NON-U – Nu is a greek letter roughly equivalent to “N”.  Also worth looking out for a host of other Greek characters which pop up regularly – ETA, MU, PI, CHI, PHI etc

4 and 19 – NICHOLAS NICKLEBY – Just not fair! Once you have all of the checked letters, it is fairly obvious, but I just can’t accept “CD” as a definition or indicator for Charles Dickens.  I even checked to see if this was a valid abbreviation for him, but was unable to find anything.

7 – STABLE – “Good man” ALWAYS leads to ST (short for “saint”)

16 TITAN – TITIAN (Venetian artist) with the I (“one”) uplifted i.e.taken away

21 ANACONDA – A(N-AC-ON)DA – “Ada” holds “N A/C on”.  What would setters do without people like Ada, Eve, Hal, Al or Ed?

23 – CRINGE – “ring” in “CE” (Church of England)

26 – RANK – double definition, but both from the same root, which I think many editors would find unacceptable.

28 – IFFY – “sniffy”without its first and second letters.

7 Responses to “Guardian 23,954/Quantum – CD hits a sour note”

  1. says:

    Wrt NN, I too needed most of the crossings before I got it but… I think the setter gave fair warning by emphasizing “initially” — which basically meant to me that it wouldn’t be an acronym that I was familiar with (e.g. compact disc or certificate of deposit): i.e. if it were either of those two, qualifying with “initially” wouldn’t have been necessary.

  2. says:

    Could have been Clare Danes just as ‘fairly’, then! Not much fun, this one.

  3. says:

    I’m with loonapick on this one. CD is just not an acceptable ‘clue’, otherwise the initials of all manners of people, places and things become valid. I wonder how many solvers instantly got the meaning in isolation, without having needed the cross-checking letters? I suspect very few if any and, for me, a clue becomes unfair if it cannot be solved as a clue in its own right.

  4. says:

    Hang on everyone, Clare Danes hasn’t had much output that belongs in a library.

  5. says:

    Clare Danes probably hasn’t. But what about Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse?

  6. says:

    But that’s what the crossing letters are there for. I think it’s a fair balance with enough info being supplied by both sides of the equation (SI and DD). Bottom-line is that we all disocvered NN eventually without recourse to googling I bet. At some point NICKLEBY becomes pretty unavoidable.

  7. says:

    Yeah, but … it’s a yeah but.

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