Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24104/Puck – Nina

Posted by ilancaron on June 15th, 2007


Maybe it’s jet-lag but I found it pretty hard to get into this puzzle. I wonder whether the NINA in the first column of unches is intentional or just my feverish jet-lagged brain. The threefold set of clues at 13, 16, 24 is a bit confusing – perhaps due to an online glitch with highlighting or again my jet-slugged brain – but I think I’ve decoded the intent: (POT,ASH,ORE).

That said, once in, I enjoyed solving this Puck puzzle – a setter who we don’t see enough of. The two big down anagrams on the sides were my way in…


1 ANY PORT IN A STORM – wordplay in the answer: ANY PORT=(pony, tra[p])* where “IN A STORM” is our anagrind.
11 INS,PIRE=”inn’s pyre” – minor quibble: are pyres restricted to men?
12 INTRO,IT – didn’t know this but discovered via the wordplay that INTROIT is a musical part of the Catholic mass – so I suppose anthem is close enough. Anyone care to illuminate?
13 PO,TASH – it’s a chemical “base”. PO’s our Italian river (“banker”) and TASH must be a diminutive of mustache.
14 EAGLETS – clever clue: if you remove the T (“tee”) you get EAGLES which are better than “birdies” in golf but are also “birdies” (little birds!) if you don’t.
17 OARLESS – (loser as)* — looks like “game” is the anagrind and the loose cryptic definition is “unable to catch a crab” – I suspect there’s something else going on which would make this def tighter. But what?
19 [s]HUTTING – what you’d use to build a hut or shed (not Shed our setter).
22 CHA,T,EAU – “by teatime” yields CHA,T – and lots of CHATEAUx have vineyards.
25 NE(E)D,LED – ref. NED Kelly.
26 NIRVANA – nice double definition: made more poignant since NIRVANA’s leader (Kurt Cobain) has opted for his final release already.
28 ENIAC – rev(Caine). I wonder how many non-computer professionals are familiar with the ENIAC which was one of the first electronic digital computers (vintage WWII).
29 TH(RE=rev(ER))E,FOLD – def is “triple” and our “crown wearer” is ER who’s inside of “the”. Slick wordplay.
30 RIGHTHANDEDNESS – Cryptic definition: ref. dexterity being the quality of using your right hand effectively. This would be an &lit I suppose if there were a famous right-handed cricketer named Dexter (perhaps Colin Dexter qualifies…).


1 AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR – (afraid of nun, here)*
2 YA(N)KS – nice clue since YANKS also happen to be North Americans.
3 ONE-TIME – I think this is a sort of double/cryptic def – where “past” is one definition and “it” can stand for ONE-TIME.
4 T,RICE,P[ull]S – slick wordplay, slightly weak surface – Tim Rice is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s partner in musical crime.
6 SWEATER – hidden in “extremiS WE ATE Required”. I assume you need to take a sudorific if you sweat too much. But I’m not a doctor.
8 MUTATIS MUTANDIS – (at summit, a nudist)* — “disturbed” is the anagrind since “changed as required” is the definition.
16 TIN
18 ASH=has*,ORE – ref. 16 (TIN) which is contained in ORE – and ASHORE is where you can be “stranded”.
20 ILL,ICI,T – in Brit puzzles ICI is the most popular “company”. I suppose if something (e.g. stolen) is “hot” it’s ILLICIT.
21 GODETIA – (goat die)* — another esoteric plant.
22 CENTRED – hidden in “magnifiCENT REDwood” (perhaps godetia grows there…)
27 A,T ONE – A “major second” is a chord thus a produces A TONE.

9 Responses to “Guardian 24104/Puck – Nina”

  1. says:

    There is – or was – a right-handed batsman called Ted DEXTER!

  2. says:

    6D Sudorific means something that makes you sweat, thus, a sweater!

    Another online vs. paper version difference.
    16D: In the paper this is 16,13 for the same clue with letter count 6.
    Before pocket money’s worthless (6) TINPOT
    This is a more sensible answer for the clue and one of the first I got.
    So the chain around the middle is TINPOT – POTASH – ASHORE
    (shame ORETIN isn’t a word).
    The online mechanism does seem to get itself in a pickle with clues like this. Click on the clue for 18,24 and it highlights 13, 18 and 24!

  3. says:

    11 Ac: A dead man is a slang term for an empty bottle, so ‘men’ was probably used here to enhance the surface reading.

    17 Ac: To catch a crab is a term in rowing meaning “to bungle a stroke by failing to get the oar into the water at the beginning or by failing to withdraw it properly at the end” (according to

  4. says:

    I’m feeling pedantic, so I’ll point out that the interval of a major second is also called a tone (similarly, a minor second is also called a semitone). “Anthem” also has some specific meaning in a church music sense, but it ain’t my area, and I don’t know if it’s exactly synonymous with INTROIT (maybe one is C of E and the other is RC or something).

  5. says:

    ORETIN may not be a word, but TIN ORE is. Presumably that was intentional, so I’m surprised there wasn’t a clue for 16, 24 as well.

  6. says:

    Introits and anthems, picking up from Stilt: “anthem” fits the “Introductory anthem / hymn / psalm” – meaning if introit mentioned in Chambers. According to its Wikipedia entry, “anthem” previously had C of E as opposed to RC connotations which no longer apply these days, such as a need for C of E “anthems” to be in English. Now it just means a song for the choir to do on their own. In the Lutheran and RC churches, “motet” is the usual word, and this still affects usage a bit – speaking of “Bruckner anthems” would be unusual. And “introit” is originally RC as it was the name for part of the Latin Mass. But many C of E folk quite happily use Latin or Latin-based names like Gloria and Gradual.
    (And a major second as a chord is a bit of a clash!)

  7. says:

    You must be very young not to have heard of Ted Dexter! One time England captain and I believe also once Chairman of selectors.

  8. says:

    … or very non-Brit. Cricket clues are not cricket in my opinion.

  9. says:

    Brit refs are frowned upon in FT puzzles due to the paper’s international audience, and you’d be very lucky indeed to get one past Argus-eyed Mr Inman – he’d make a fine wickie.

    But cricket esp. post-Packer has been a worldwide industry, and so you can see why its references are allowed.

    That the Shermans have not yet taken to it is extremely regrettable in my opinion. However, it must seem a ridiculously complex game to those who did not grow up with it.

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