Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24163/Rover

Posted by linxit on August 23rd, 2007


Solving time 5:44

That was probably the easiest crossword I’ve ever done in the Guardian. Probably the only tricky word was 19ac, but it was an expression I knew from somewhere, so no problem there.

10 C(AS,SAT)A – Italian ice-cream.
13 S,END – what a totally unimaginative clue!
14 EYE,AS,KANCE(a neck)* – As is the chemical symbol for arsenic.
19 SCUD – “in the scud” is Scottish for “in the nude”. I can’t remember where I’d heard the expression before, but I knew it straight away.
24 WATTEAU – “What-oh!”, something Bertie Wooster said all the time.
25 ICEBERG – a calf is one that’s split off from a glacier or ice shelf.
26 DUTCH,CHEESE – “made up an example?” Surely that can only be used in a down clue, unless it’s “up” as an anagram indicator. See recent discussion at the Crossword Centre.

1 CIRCUMNAVIGATED – the clue is part of a quotation from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
2 NOTE,D – surely this should have read “Famous college sent up duke”.
7 SCALES, i.e. Libra, not Pisces.
8 SAPELE (Please*) – the wood they make doors out of, I think.
23 CREPE – crêpe rubber is rolled in thin crinkly sheets. News to me, but pancake was a giveaway with C?E?E.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24163/Rover”

  1. tilsit says:

    Quite bluntly, I thought it the worst puzzle in the Graun for some years.

    Rover crosswords tend to be poor man’s Orlando and Rufus puzzles. Both Orlando and Rufus write more elegant clues and would hardly use some of the devices here.

    The Training College clue was simply awful. “Where prospective teachers got to bed (8.7)”

    It refers presumably to B Ed.

    Linxit commented on the DUTCH CHEESE clue.

    1 ac, 12 ac, 13ac, 1 down were all pretty dreary.

  2. linxit says:

    I’ve just noticed on the Setters page here, that Rover is described as “Hard”. After this I think that should be amended!

  3. Pasquale says:

    A bit hard on my colleague Rover, I think, Tilsit! He does some good things now! If it hadn’t come from Rover, I could imagine some of the gang describing that BEd clue (which of course I don’t like either!) as ‘an imaginative and creative bit of clueing by a one-off genius who makes up his rules and has moved us on from the straitjacket of Ximenes, etc, etc’ (couldn’t you?).

  4. brontolo says:

    I think you experienced solvers forget that it is useful for novices like me to get an easier puzzle every now and again, so we don’t get disheartened when we fail to get more than one of Araucaria’s clues.

    So please allow us some pleasure rather than complaining about a simple puzzle.

    Having said that, I though 13a was a bit of a boring clue. Having said that, I still was pleased to have solved it!

  5. neildubya says:

    Dave was criticising the quality of the puzzle, rather than the difficulty, or lack of it. As an “experienced solver” personally I have nothing whatsoever against easy puzzles – in fact, my favourite Indie compiler is the easy end of the scale.

  6. Banjo says:

    I agree with Brontolo. It was very, very simple in parts, but that’s not always a bad thing for those of us outside the elite. Spare a thought for the plebs. Plus, it wasn’t all plain sailing – I still don’t understand 26A at all, was confused by 6D being classified as one 15-letter word, and, not being near a dictionary, had never heard of either SAPELE or OUNCE (as a cat). So it’s not all that easy for us simpletons!

    Strangely, I did know CREPE was rubber – it’s what teddy boys’ shoes were made from in the 1950s (i.e.,”Crepe shoes”). I know this, amusingly, from seeing Russ Abbott in panto in the 80s, doing his teddy boy character: “The guy in the shop said these shoes were crepe. But I think they’re alright…” I was only 8 at the time, and had to get my mum to explain it. I was then completely shocked that my gran had thought such a rude joke was so funny…

    Any explanations for 26A would put me out of some misery.

  7. Chris says:

    For 26A:

    Wife = Dutch – I’m not entirely sure why, though – although it seems that Dutch Wife is a term for a prostitute

    “Cheese” is what is said when you are ready to have your photo taken.

    And “made up” is “edam” backwards (although this is debatable in an across clue – see discussion above), and edam is an example of Dutch cheese.

    It took me a while to work out where the definition was, though, and it’s not an especially satisfactory clue, it must be said.

  8. roland says:

    “Dutch” for wife is from the cockney rhyming slang “Duchess of Fife: wife”. I think.

  9. neildubya says:

    26A: if this was a Down clue, “made up” would be EDAM, “an example” of a Dutch cheese.

    You’re right – there’s nothing wrong with a simple puzzle. But I’ll say again, that’s not really the issue here.

  10. Paul B says:

    Agree with Neil – Tilsit didn’t like the technique, which is a completely valid standpoint, and, while a hard man is (apparently – I mean, how would I know?) good to find, an easy solve is not necessarily a disappointment to an ‘elite’ solver. One can still set a brilliant puzzle that’s easy.

    (I keep bloody well trying, any road.)

  11. tilsit says:

    Thanks to Neil for making clear my position. I have absolutely nothing against easier puzzles but it simply had poor clues. Today’s Phi puzzle was not one of his hardest puzzles, but the cluewriting was elegant and humorous.

    I must disgaree with Pasquale that the “Libertarians” (as described in the Setters index). The ones that I spoke to all cringed upon hearing the clue.

  12. tilsit says:

    The final paragraph should have read

    I must disagree with Pasquale that the “Libertarians” (as described in the Setters’ Index) would have been feted had they ome up with the B Ed clue.

    The ones that I spoke to all cringed upon hearing the clue.

    Had I submitted that clue to Azed, what would his response have been?

  13. Banjo says:

    Thank you to everyone, I can now stop staring at 26A madly!

    I concede that the complaint was about quality rather than ease, and agree that some of the clues were just a bit shoddy rather than overly simple. Having said that, surely that is a pretty consistent complaint about The Grauniad crossword in general anyway – a pretty “liberal” attitude to cluing among many setters, which means there are always one or two clues in there every day that seem a bit ropey, whoever sets them.

    More so than with, say, The Times, where rigour seems to be everything. At least, I find the best thing about The Times is that I very very rarely solve a clue then wince at it and say, “Hmmm, that’s stretching it a bit”…

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