Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,325 (Sat 1 Mar)/Enigmatist – Killer Queen

Posted by rightback on March 8th, 2008


Solving time: 32:36

This was really hard, but with some excellent clueing. After 10 minutes I had solved 3 clues (MASCARA, LAND AHOY and NEOLOGISM). Eventually I just wrestled with the anagram at 16dn until I solved it, and after that things started to move, but I still struggled to finish it off, especially in the top left (where I have one gripe – see 4dn). No mistakes though (but I can’t explain 10ac).

Music of the day: I Want to Break Free by 9ac.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 LAT[t]ICES – my penultimate solve, once I finally twigged as to what ‘One-time’ meant, and I immediately realised it was the plural of ‘latex’.
5 BRO + A + DINT + HEBE + A.M. – Hebe was the Gods’ cup-bearer in Greek mythology.
10 RINGS DOWN – I had to go through the alphabet on the first word to make sure nothing else made sense. Apparently this means “to give the signal for lowering the curtain” in a theatrical sense. DOWN is ‘duck’s feathers’ but how does ‘Evidence in book [of]…’ give RINGS?
11 AIR-TRAFFIC CONTROLLER – ROLL (= ‘wind’) in (CRAFT FOR CERTAIN I)* – even with the initial A?R in place I struggled with this.
12 LAND + A + HOY
14 LINCOLN CITY; L + IN + COL + N(CIT.)Y – very frustrating. I thought of Lincoln City from ‘Imps’ straight away, but thought that was just the first word, followed by wordplay (‘left in depression’) with the definition being something to do with New York.
18 TABLE FOR TWO; (R,W + A BOTTLE OF)*, &lit – brilliant clue.
22 CONTINUITY ANNOUNCERS; (UNITARY CONNECTION + US + N[ewsflash])* – another &lit, this one a little more forced (‘Unitary’?) but still pretty good.
25 GREEK GIFT; (KG + IF) in GREET – extremely clever. The definition is “What’s presented by the treacherous” while ‘SOB’ is actually ‘sob’, as in to weep, which is another meaning of ‘greet’.
1 LO(QUA)T – I almost pencilled in ‘joquab’ here, having been able to think only of Job, not Lot. This was my final entry, once I eventually cracked 1ac.
2 THE + O + RY – simple but fooled me for a good while, which is slightly depressing as I’ve definitely seen this treatment before.
4 SERIF; rev. of FIRES – this I don’t like at all. The clue is “Dismisses antipodean type?” which I would happily accept as a clue to ‘fires’, but not to ‘serif'; both ‘antipodean’ and more importantly the question mark at the end of the clue have to be associated with the first word, ‘Dismisses’, which really isn’t fair.
6 OUSE (hidden) – I’m fairly sure this is right, but can’t see how ‘tributary’ can mean ‘a section in the middle of’.
7 DIORAMIC; I in (ROAD)* + M1 + C[oventry]
8,9 NINE DAYS’ QUEEN; “DAZE” – ‘Mercury and others’ for Queen is brilliant and caused a great deal of self-kicking when I got it. Mnemosyne’s daughters were the Muses. The definition refers to Lady Jane Grey.
16,26 STRAIGHT EDGES; (STAGGERED THIS)* – I started by trying to find an anagram of ‘Hand-held tools’. Once I’d got the right letters this still took ages, but was the breakthrough clue for me.
17 OBSOLETE; SOLE for O in OBOTE – I couldn’t understand this when solving; unsurprising, as I hadn’t heard of Milton Obote.
19 VIA + G,R,A – not sure the definition reading of this really makes sense.
20 AYE + SHA (= HAS*) – a much better clue than I realised when solving: Ayesha is not just a girl’s name, but the main character in Haggard’s novel She.
23 TOTE + M – M as in M.
24 SKYE, from ESKY

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,325 (Sat 1 Mar)/Enigmatist – Killer Queen”

  1. loftinsulation says:

    Has anybody looked at todays (08 mar) Araucaria offering? Possibly missing something but the doubled clues dont seem to fit the grid. Anybody figured this out?

  2. linxit says:

    Yes, it all fits. Note that there are two numbers in the grid that are across and down, but only one letter that has two clues by it. However, there are plenty of two-word answers.

  3. Fletch says:

    10: I thought the clue might split evidence in book of ducks/feathers, ref. practice of ringing ducks and logging details, then down = feathers???

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    This was a tough one. I was on holiday so had no access to cheat books or the internet, so made little progress at first. I returned to it about 5 times and managed about 3/4 eventually.

    5D what is coo in relation to rat?

    24d I guessed it was sky, but I don’t understand the clue; what is esky? e for ecstacy??

    19d I didn’t get the answer, but I see now is very suggestive. “Way bits of groping react advantageously?”

    If you grope the right bits of some anatomy, this will have the same advantageous effect as taking viagra!

  5. Amnesiac says:

    5d COO = “I’m surprised”

    24d (I can’t claim knowing this beforehand – I read it on the Guardian Talk site): An ESKY is an Australian portable fridge, i.e. cooler and if (as it’s a vertical clue) you drop E to the end, you get SKYE.

    10a – Not entirely sure where the RING comes from (ring in a book as evidence that someone left a mug on it? R = evidence, G = book?) but I suspect that the “of” = S as in possessive apostrophe S… Don’t know whether that helps anyone to figure out the rest…

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Amnesiac.

    10a Is it possibly from drawing a ring around something of interest in a book?

  7. Paul B says:

    Well, perhaps the ‘evidence in b OO k’ are the rings we’re all desperately searching for. They’re ‘ducks’ as well aren’t they, those OOs! Perhaps sOOn someone will tell us how to parse this one.

    According to Collins, the finest dictionary in the world, ‘down’ can be any bird’s feathers.

  8. Fletch says:

    Agree that Paul B’s interpretation makes the most sense.

  9. John H says:

    I was thinking of a cricket scorebook. Sorry.

  10. xbuster says:

    Surely with this puzzle Enigmatist has crossed the fine line between clever puzzle and obscurantism. “Slap” – mascara? “had limited influence in the past” – why should this be Lady Jane Grey? “Esky” – Aussie fridge- ???
    And 11,3 just does not work, does it? Can anyone explain it in full?
    I like a puzzle to be tough, but this was just unfairly abstruse. I’ll stick to good old Araucaria from now on, you know his clues can be trusted, no matter how difficult.

  11. rightback says:

    In defence of Enigmatist…

    28ac: “Slap” is slang for any make-up, so “Some slap” for MASCARA is surely fine (if devious).

    8/9dn: The definition for Lady Jane is “who had…”, not just “had…”, so I think this is ok, if a bit vague. A guess “limited” is a reference to the brevity of her reign.

    24dn: Esky is an Australian word (trade name) for a portable fridge. To be honest I haven’t seen it outside of crosswords, but it’s in Chambers which the Guardian seems to use as its main reference.

    11ac/3dn: Wind caught by misdirected craft? For certain I’ll be responsible (3-7,10)

    Here “Wind” = ROLL (as in to wind a watch), “misdirected” is anagram indicator for “CRAFT FOR CERTAIN I” and this all gives AIR-TRAFFIC CONT(ROLL)ER. If you read “[wi]ll be responsible” in the cryptic reading to mean “will be responsible for [i.e. give] the answer” then it just about works as an &lit. Having said that, you can blame a lot of things on air-traffic controllers, but holding them responsible for the wind is a bit harsh!

  12. xbuster says:

    Hi Rightback

    Not fully convinced…..

    28ac: I know “some slap” could refer to make-up, but why should it? Devious…hmmm.. obscure, more like?

    8/9dn: Agreed, but again, it could refer to any historic figure, why specifically her? Vague – agreed, for me too vague.

    24dn: OK, it’s the weekend crossword so we are not on the train and can go to Chambers, if we have one. Still think it’s contrived.

    11ac/3dn: Hands up, I missed the “i” in I’ll. But “just about works” is stretching it to the limit of generosity surely? I guess like many I got the solution long before I got close to understanding it!

    Any one of these per puzzle would be acceptable in my view, it’s the combination of all in one which makes me feel Enigmatist can tend to substitute obscurity for elegance sometimes. I’ll have try more of his/hers to get into the mindset……….

  13. nick says:

    m6hjmT hi! hice site!

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