Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,349 (Sat 29 Mar)/Paul – Que? Serah, Serah?

Posted by rightback on April 5th, 2008


Solving time: 10:30

This puzzle contained several long phrases spanning multiple clues which can make things difficult, but some of the longer ones in this were very straightforward so it was a quickish solve, apart from a couple at the end (7dn/20ac).

Music (15/28/23): Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day by Morcheeba.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

10 A,Z + URE
17 TI(B)ER
20 MA[d] + KER[mit] – I spent too long looking for a god’s name here, rather than a generic word. This and 7dn held me up for a while at the end.
21 PIC + AS (= ‘since’) + SO (= ‘then’)
22 MA(W[ea]K + I)SH
1 LAS(T,T)HING – I actually ‘back-solved’ this from 25/27.
2 DOMINO (hidden) – very well-worded hidden clue.
3/19/ 8/5 LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE (cryptic definition) – not a phrase I knew well enough to produce until I had several crossing letters.
7 HUMPBACK (double definition) – my last entry. A humpback is both a species of salmon and a type of whale, both of which would fit the clue (“An underwater bridge?”).
13 A + C(T)UP
15/28 /23 ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY; (OARSMEN TWO)* + “wordplay in the answer” – the anagram is ‘built’, hence ‘(?)’, inside ‘Twenty-four hours’ in the clue. I have to confess to not even thinking about the wordplay when I wrote this in.
16 SERA (= ‘will be’ in French & Spanish) + H – the Spanish must be known to everyone from the famous song Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Wembley (appropriately for this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals), but this seems a curious choice of name instead of ‘Sarah’. Serah seems to be a character in the Hebrew bible, but that’s about all. Are there are Serahs out there? [Edit (see comments): The answer is actually SARAH. ‘Sarà’ means ‘will be’ in Italian.]
22/6 MINUTE + HAND – embarrassingly I wrote in ‘second hand’ at first.
24 CUBE – 19dn is 1000 (a cube number), 21ac is Picasso (a cubist).

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,349 (Sat 29 Mar)/Paul – Que? Serah, Serah?”

  1. Shirley says:

    Rightback – I think you are making 16D too complicated. According to the solution it is Sarah not Serah which we thought it was too. There are two ways to spell the girl’s name: Sara and Sarah; the second one is “harder” than the first by adding an H.

  2. John Ridge says:

    16d – Wikipedia gives versions of the phrase in a number of Romance languages. Apparently “che sara, sara” is correct Italian. Hmm…

  3. Comfy Settee says:

    I went for Sarah too, but mainly because I hadn’t heard of Serah!

  4. Andrew says:

    I also had SARAH for 16D, though I now can’t remember how I justified it to myself: possibly an indirect anagram of HARSH? But John Ridge’s explanation looks very plausible – we don’t need ‘che sarà, sarà’ as a phrase, just the fact that “sarà” means “will be” (though it’s slightly more obscure than the norm for foreign words and phrases).

    “Laughter is the best medicine” is (or was) the title of a long-running item in Reader’s Digest, featuring jokes sent in by readers.

  5. Andrew says:

    Just a minute, how could I have though HARSH was any sort of anagram of SARAH? Oops, d’oh, etc.

  6. Comfy Settee says:

    I just finished today’s weekend cryptic by Araucaria – was it just me, or was it disappointingly pointless? Seemed to be 90% handle-turning…

    I realise this is a blog for last week’s one, I think I just neeed to get it off my chest. I feel better now.

  7. muck says:

    Dear Comfy Settee

    You are commenting in the wrong place.


    Then “Todays Crossword Mark III”

  8. muck says:

    Sorry, the full URL is

  9. rightback says:

    Ah, Italiano. Thanks John.

  10. Comfy Settee says:

    Thanks Muck

  11. Peter J says:

    I really enjoyed this crossword, some wonderful clues. But I had trouble with one of the across clues in the bottom half of the puzzle. Did anyone else get ‘Castles in Spain’, and if so could you explain the wordplay for me please. I think the clue was ‘Men suffering about son’s unrealistic dreams’, and I accept that ‘castles in spain’ signifies unrealistic dreams, and that ‘pain’ at the end probably accounts for the suffering. But otherwise I am just a bit confused!

    Thanks for your help.

  12. rightback says:

    You’re halfway there: ‘suffering’ is an adjective here, rather than a noun, so gives ‘in pain’ (not just ‘pain’). ‘Men’ = ‘chessmen’ = ‘castles’, and ‘s’ is an abbreviation for ‘son’. So we get CASTLES + (S inside IN PAIN).

  13. Peter J says:

    Thank you very much Rightback, you lived up to your name beautifully and got back to me right away. That puzzled me for quite a while, but thanks to you I now have two more abbreviations to work with in the future. It’s a long old struggle this crossword game!

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