Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24404/Rover

Posted by Colin Blackburn on April 6th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

Not a great puzzle for me. A few good clues, a few obscure words and a few cryptic definitions—one’s my limit. Mind you I did this at the end of a long day marking OU scripts and I am suffering from Independent withdrawal!

1 AUDITORS — double def. — fiddles = financial shenanigans
5 FRENCH — cryptic def. — not my sort of CD
10, 9 FORMAL OCCASION — FORMAL + OCCASION — when one might wear one’s glad rags.
14 BROWN STUDY — BROWN + STUDY — I had no idea what brown study meant but I assume it’s a dream state. Queen Victoria’s favourite was (John?) Brown
18 SERVICEMAN — triple def. by example. — a service is a set of table crockery.
23 OSIER BED — cryptic def. — again, a new term for me and not a great CD to boot.
26 ELEVEN — N for final E in ELEVEE
27 ATOMISER — (IT’S A MORE)* — I immediately saw this clue and pencilled in the nonsensical AEROMIST!
1 AMOEBA — cryptic def? — is it?
2 DECADE — “decayed” — not for me it isn’t; decade and decayed have different initial vowel sounds.
3 TISANE — (IS NEAT)* &-vaguely-lit
4 ROOF GARDEN — cryptic def.
6 ROOTLESS — “routeless” — I’m sorry, but as an orienteer, being without a map is not being without a route.
8 HOLIDAYS — cryptic def. — ref. bank holidays, this puzzle fell on one.
13 SWEATSHIRT — (TWISTER HAS)* — nice surface luring me to look at an anagram for HIS GARMENT first, NIGHTMARES is the anagram to this but not the answer to the clue.
15 OSCULATE — crypticish def. — X symbolises a kiss.
16 TRUELOVE — (OVER LUTE)* — nice anagram.
17 FIRESIDE — F(rench) I(ntelligence) + RESIDE — quite a good clue.
19 BECALM — B(EC)ALM — EC = city (of London) again.
20 ABBEYS — ? — I see one definition, maybe it’s a double def?
21 EDITOR — O in (TIRED)*

8 Responses to “Guardian 24404/Rover”

  1. says:

    20D – Abbey’s a bank (now part of Banco Santander) as well as a religious building.
    Osculate has a mathematical definition as well – I wondered if this could be where the X came in. Otherwise it seems to be the same definition twice.

  2. says:

    Re 20d and further to Alanr’s reply – ‘Abbey ‘was once Abbey National in the days when building societies had no aspirations to be banks.

    Cryptic definitions are a matter of taste and homophones are usually contentious. I think we risk boring, repetitive arguments if we continually go down that route of complaining of too many CDs (or of their quality in terms of difficulty as opposed to meaning/wordplay – I found 5a the clue that gave me the most pause for thought and I enjoyed it!) or how a word is pronounced.

    All I will say is that I have heard DECADE pronounced ‘deck-ade’ and ‘dee-kade’ equally and I think the clue would have been better if “some say” or something similar had been incorporated.

  3. says:

    p.s. Forgot to add John Brown was indeed Victoria’s favourite and I recommend the film “Mrs Brown” to everyone (starring Judi Dench, my favourite!).


  4. says:

    EVEN as the sun with purple-colour’d face
    Had ta’en his last leave of the weeping morn,
    Rose-cheek’d Adonis hied him to the chase;
    Hunting he loved, but love he laugh’d to scorn;
    Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
    And like a bold-faced suitor ‘gins to woo him.

    But unfortunately

    Beautiful youth said no to f*ck (6)

    and that’s what did him in, in the final analysis.

    (With apologies to Rover, Shakespeare, and anyone offended).

  5. says:

    Thanks for the bank reference, it completely passed me by. I’ve always though of them as the Abbey National Building Society.

    At the risk of being boring I am happy to express my opinions on puzzles that contain two many bad CDs or dubious homophones. For me both spoil a puzzle and I see no reason to pass over their inclusion.

  6. says:

    As another who finds homophones contentious on occasion, I support Colin’s right to express some doubt about homphones such as DECADE/DECAYED, especially with the lack of a qualifier such as “some might say”.

    On the subject of CDs, the number should not be the issue, but the quality should – some of the ones in this puzzle just weren’t very good – AMOEBA for example. Good CDs make solving interesting as long as they are fair – poor CDs sometimes indicate a modicum of laziness in the setter.

  7. says:

    I tend to agree with Azed on CDs, “Clues which consist solely of a punning definition are equally culpable in [regard of the setter only doing half the job], however witty they may be.” Interestingly, many of the setters featured in the book from which this quotation is taken, “A-Z of Crosswords”, choose examples of CDs as their favourite clues.

    I am not averse to the odd very good CD in the context of a daily puzzle. But, is the number an issue? I’d say that it is. I would be most unhappy at the one extreme, a daily puzzle made up entirely of CDs. At the other extreme I do not miss the clue type when it fails to appear at all in a puzzle. Personally, I’d prefer to see no more than one good CD in a puzzle. If a setter comes up with several CDs for one puzzle then they should put all but the best one aside for later use. Then, when rereading them they might have second thoughts.

  8. says:

    26 across should be french puplis élèves change s to N not elevee

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