Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,045 (Easter Special, Sat Apr 7) – Things of Leon

Posted by rightback on April 14th, 2007


Solving time: Got out Chambers and my A-Z after about 1hr 15min.

The double puzzle was based on the name ‘Leon’. Grid A contained pairs of answers which when joined with ‘le’ gave various English place names. Grid B was the same, but using ‘on’.

In grid A, I knew Chester-Le-Street (home to Durham County Cricket Club) and Houghton-Le-Spring in the same county (even before this week’s news story), but none of Whittle-Le-Woods (Lancs), Newton-Le-Willows (N Yorks), Hetton-Le-Hole (Sunderland) or Barton-Le-Clay (Beds). Grid B was more successful, as I’d heard of all of Stoke-on-Trent, Walton-on-Thames, Walton-on-the-Naze, Shipston-on-Stour, Newcastle-on-Tyne and Stratford-on-Avon (though shouldn’t these last two be ‘upon’?), and so managed to complete this grid correctly before needing references to finish off grid A (for LUCCA, BARTON, TOOL STEEL, ASMODEUS, HETTON, HOLE, CLAY and GHOSTLY).

Also, I seem to have mentioned many more clues from grid A below, so maybe that was the harder grid anyway, even without the thematic extras. Only after completion did I re-read the preamble and understand the reference at 22ac to Lee-on-the-Solent (“Leon” the Solent).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 A: LOW-PRICED; (WORLD EPIC) – good anagram. / B: STRAT (rev. of TARTS) + FORD – one of the harder ‘wordplay only’ clues.
6 A: HO. (= ‘house’) + LE (= ‘link’, referring to the theme)
10 A: BART (= ‘Sir’; just a man’s name, or is there more?) + ON – I wrote in ‘Genton’ here, having missolved 1dn.
11/14dn A: TWO MILES TO THE INCH; (WEST MONOLITHIC IN)* – nice anagram, and a hint to the theme? / B: PORRIDGE (half-cryptic double definition) – my last solve in grid B.
19 A: NEWT + ON (rev. of NO) – apparently Ken Livingstone likes newts.
21 A: AS + MODE + US – very Auracarian, with a misleading hyphen and superfluous ‘for’. I had to look this up.
22 A: MA + LA + WI – ‘motherland’ has to be split into MA + definition.
25 A: FOLL[y] + O WON / B: A + POST + ATE
26 A: CLAY was all I could think of, but it didn’t seem to fit with 17dn (qv).
27 A: HALITOSIS; (HIS IS A LOT)* / B: EID + ER + DOWN – the definition is ‘warmer’.
1 A: LUCCA; “LOOKER” – easy really, even if you don’t know the city, but with the L and C in place I wrote in the football-assisted LECCE and didn’t resolve it until using references for 10ac. This was partly because of the omitted asterisk for the second half of this clue (B: STOKE; OK in (SET)*), which meant I was looking for an extra definition.
2 B: [au]RELIAN + T
3 B: TRENT – refers to the Council of Trent.
5 A: DISCO + MM + ON – the long definition made this hard.
6 A: HARPIST; (RAP)* in HIS + T – I know this is Auracaria but ‘composer of rap’ meaning ‘anagram of rap’ is ridiculous. / B: AN + AN + I + AS – took me a long time to remember / work out this name.
7 A: LANTER[n] + LOO – a new word for me.
13 A: TOOL STEEL; ‘Spoonerism’ of ‘Teal stool’ – but is it really? Surely ‘teal stool’ Spoonerised gives ‘steel tool’. Before getting this I looked up ‘Toot Cable’, which (though clearly nonsensical) would be a genuine Spoonerism of ‘coot table’. / B: A + BERR(ANC)Y
14 B: NEWCASTLE – as in taking coal thereto.
17 A: G(HOST)LY[col] – my last entry, but I think this is a terrible clue. ‘Quantity of antifreeze’ for ‘GLY[col]‘ is bad enough before the fact that not all antifreezes are glycols and not all glycols are antifreezes. Worse, the word ‘point’ in the clue is completely superfluous; I couldn’t see what it could indicate except for a final N, S, W or E which badly hindered me. / B: THEN [h]AZE – very topical given the recent weather.
18 A: NESTFUL; (SUN LEFT)* – who needs anagram indicators anyway? / B: REDCAR + D – another annoying superfluous ‘for’, but I can’t use that to explain my slowness here: ‘sendoff’ and (3, 4) is pretty transparent.
20 B: MULATTO; “MEW” + (TOTAL)* – I didn’t know this word but Chambers defines it as ‘the offspring of a black person and a person of European descent’, derived from the Spanish for ‘mule’. Reminds me of a joke: “Two cats sat on a roof. Which fell off first?” Answer: “The one with the smaller mu.” Genius.
22 A: MUL[atto] + CT

6 Responses to “Guardian 24,045 (Easter Special, Sat Apr 7) – Things of Leon”

  1. says:

    For old Grauniad hands, it was nice to see a double-grid puzzle again for a bank hol. Didn’t quite finish it, as I was trying to do without references. 3 or 4 words short of grid A, but finished B so agree that was easier – probably as the -ON- placenames are better known than the -LE- ones.

  2. says:

    It took me til the back end of the week to break the back of this one, and even when I had worked out the theme, I failed to finish off GHOSTLY and ASMODEUS in Grid A (and agree that the clue for GHOSTLY is ghastly!). I too was put off by the lack of asterisk for the STOKE clue.

    I’m a huge fan of Araucaria and am in total awe of his output, but his partially clued puzzles do tend to frustrate me, and I felt that this one eventually became more an exercise in Googling place names for Grid A and then seeing where they’d fit. I’m still not quite sure how ‘Sir’ relates to BART, and the clue for HETTON (which appeared to have ‘way’ as as the anagrind) was slightly obscure.

    That said, I still enjoyed it!

  3. says:

    Bart is an abbreviation for baronet and baronets are Sirs.

  4. says:

    Ah, I now know what someone else somewhere else meant when I corrected a placename. So, I’ll correct it here now as well. It is Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Newcastle-on-Tyne does not exist.

    Newton-le-Willows is also a town in Lancashire near St Helens. That Newton-le-Willows is much bigger than the village in Yorkshire.

    It’s interesting that there are several LE place names in Co Durham. The county has several French-ish names. Witton Gilbert is still pronounced Witton Jilbert due to its French origins, Bear Park is a corruption of Beau Repaire and Pity Me (great place name) is a corruption of Petit(e?) Mere.

  5. says:

    Was the solution to 10 across B – depart?
    Dart for missile and ep for letter?

  6. says:

    10ac: Yes, I think so (ep. = epistle).

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