Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24000/Puck – well dressed

Posted by ilancaron on February 14th, 2007


Solving time: 35’

A feeling of deja-vu crept over as I solved yet again a long anagram for AT THE DROP OF A HAT (in yesterday’s Times as well). I found the across clues rather hard but the downs were more tractable: long anagrams related to clothing. I kept expecting a St. Valentine day theme to crop up or something to do with 24,000.

One obscure Nobelist (oxymoron?) at 22A and, for me, an obscure Welsh town at 16A and an even more obscure General at 9A.


9 IRETON – with I?E?O? I could only think of icebox. Then I saw it hidden in “attIRE: TONight” and checked that there was a General IRETON.
10 ARCHER – two cryptic defs: what the ARCHER did with his arrows (“quivered” them) and a cryptic definition of a bridge (“spanner”) – much like a river is a flower. Not sure about the “ex-convict” – Just realized it’s Jeffrey Archer who until recently was a guest of HM Prisons, right?.
11 ST,RIPPED – a theme-related clue.
12 CHAD – double definition: and nary a Florida election reference!
13 NINE MONTHS – cryptic def for the length of human gestation.
15 A,T, FORTY – my last clue. Again double/cryptic defs. I was sure that they were cricket refs and convinced myself I’d never get them. First part I think is a cryptic reference to the start of the prime of your life and the second part is simply twice twenty (“score”).
16 ST. ASAPH – (Pa’s hat’s)*. I realized this had to be an anagram and with ?T ?S?P?, some inspiration and wikipedia I found the Welsh town.
18 NO,W OR N,E,V,ER – another dress themed clue : “a little number” is just NO and not a black cocktail dress followed by WORN (“put on”) and E (“quarter”) and V (“five”) before ER (“Queen”).
19 H,ANK– one of my last clues: I knew that ankh was a kind of Coptic cross but not that HANK is a type of yarn. Note how the H moves from the “start” of HANK to the “finish” to get ankh.
22 NE,RN,ST – Never heard of Walther NERNST who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1920. I’ve done enough of these puzzles to know that “Tyneside” is in NE England and RN (Royal Navy) for “Fleet”.


1 WEAR THE TROUSERS – (shorter sweater, u=”you”)*. Long themed anagram.
2 AT THE DROP OF A HAT – (Father had potato)*. Another themed anagram. I practiced on this one yesterday in The Times.
3 CAR(RING)TON – I think he was one of Thatcher’s Foreign Secretaries?
5 TIE,R – More clothing.
6 KEEP ONES SHIRT ON – And another long themed anagram with a touch of subtraction to keep it interesting: (sister OK? No? Nephe[ws])* — it’s WS (Gilbert & Sullivan) being removed. Worked out ex post facto.
7 BORE THE PANTS OFF – I’m probably boring the pants off you by now, but another long themed anagram: (Father often bops)*.
14 MA,TURENESS – How many more anagrams? MA followed by (sees runt)*.
17 OV(E)RACT – Oh, another one: (cavort)* contains E.
21 DAD,O – I was at a loss with D?D? but let my wordplay instincts lead me to DADO which is either the “lower part of an interior wall” or “part of a pedestal” which I guess is “rail”.

4 Responses to “Guardian 24000/Puck – well dressed”

  1. says:

    I’m surprised, Ilan; I would have thought you’d be an expert on cricket by now given how many times the game comes up in crosswords!

    Some nice clues in this puzzle – I enjoyed all the long anagrams, 3d was clever and 13a made me smile when I got it. Would have been defeated by 22a if Google hadn’t come to the rescue – a rather obscure Prize winner, I thought but, as you note, the wordplay was straightforward enough.

    Re 21d, dado rails are quite common in many houses in the UK – I have had them in a number of previous houses. As well as the original protective element, they allow you to decorate a room/corridor using contrast (different shades or colours of paint above and below the rail or paint above, wallpaper below, for examples).

  2. says:

    Until I discovered this blog, I was forced to spend whole hours tormented by unsolved clues until I could get my inky mitts on next day’s solution. Not to mention the nine anguished days following an Araucarian Saturday brain buster.

    Thank you!

    p.s. What is 4 Down (Guardian) – I’m struggling to fit raising, damsons or ramsons.

  3. says:

    The second fits both the def and the wordplay DAM(SON)S.

  4. says:

    Damn. I mean dam. Back to first principles… assume I know nothing and go get the dictionary.

    Dam – a female parent. Enlightenment is everything. Cheers!


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