Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,406 Quantum

Posted by neildubya on June 4th, 2008


I was sorry to hear of the death of Eric Burge, who I’ve “only” known through his Quantum crosswords in The Guardian.

To a non-crossworder, it would seem that I should therefore hardly notice his passing. What they don’t realise is that the thing about solving someone’s crosswords is that over a number of years you learn what makes them laugh, what irritates them and what interests them. Good setters have a “voice” that you can pick out in a moment. Quantum set some very pleasing puzzles and his voice was gentle, straight and if he could work a science reference in, then even better.

A perfect example of his style was this clue from a while back.

“Mixed, as in molecules (13)”

His puzzles were pure Ximenean and relied on cryptic definition and clever anagrams, so today’s puzzle was absolutely typical of his style.

Thanks to his widow for allowing us the pleasure of his posthumous puzzles, and my thoughts are with her today.




11 UNC(l)E-R(T)AIN

12 LI(TR)E : “Tr.” is a standard abbreviation for “translated”

13 M.A-EST.-R-O

15 HOT-SHOT : “shot” as  in “it’s my shot now”

17 Omitted on purpose – it’s all in the clue

18 BUS : SUB (i.e a “subscription”) reversed. Not sure which is harder to reverse, a sub or a bus …

20 ORGAN : I had BUGLE  to start with, which made 6d challenging



26 V(I-ST)A





1 GU-RU : I think RU (Rugy Union) is the football, but otherwise …. help !

2 LUNCHEON : (UNCLE H ON) – always wondered why “H” for “Henry” ?

3 SPAR = RAPS reversed

4 One of the easiest anagrams I’ve seen in ages, so I’ll omit this

5 CRUNCH : “Champ” as in “champ at the bit”

6 BILLET DOUX : It is an old-fashioned love letter, and it ends in “X”

7 S-TITCH : ref. to “a stitch in time saves nine” , a common  English saying  which means “any effort you put into guarding against mishap is likely to be a ninth of the effort you’ll put in should the mishap happen”. The factor of 9 is not scientifically tested, but is poetically necessary.


13 MUSER : (RESUMe) reversed





23 S(l)ASHES

24 (l)EARNER

26 Omitted on purpose –  easy double definition

28 LILT : (I’LL)* +T

29 D.A-TA : “D.A” is a U.S “District Attorney”

9 Responses to “Guardian 24,406 Quantum”

  1. Andrew says:

    Strangely the setter’s name isn’t shown in the online version.

    2dn is presumably RU rev in GU(n).

  2. Eileen says:

    Stan, what a lovely, and well-deserved, tribute. I can’t think of anything to add. RIP, Quantum.

    I was eagerly awaiting your blog for an explanation of the only clue that stumped me – 1dn!!

    2dn: I know ‘H’ alwys is Henry and the only explanation I’ve ever thought of is that we’ve had 8 kings called Henry, thus HR [cf the well-known GR and ER]

    [6dn was misleadingly wrongly enumerated in the paper version, as 5-4]

  3. Andrew says:

    The henry – abbreviated H – is the SI unit of inductance; however I think Eileen’s royal explanation is just as good.

    The enumeration of 6dn was wrong in the online version too – I was trying to justify BILLY DOUX until I noticed it didn’t fit…

  4. Paul B says:

    To be ultra-pedantic, Henry as in king only equals H when paired with the R: on its Jack, it would be unsatisfactory for most eds, I suspect. But as you say, with the (scientific as opposed to cruciverbal) SI unit available, the situation is mitigated.

  5. Eileen says:

    As soon as I saw Andrew’s blog, I looked up ‘henry’ and of course it’s there [‘named after Joseph Henry’] – and of course you’re both right, especially given Stan’s reference to Quantum’s scientific bent. I always knew my ‘explanation’ was unsatisfactory but just knew that it worked! [My own ‘bent’ is on the Arts side!]

  6. Michod says:

    I had TUTU at 1down as a ‘short piece’, but couldn’t quite work out why UTUT was a leader in football!

  7. smutchin says:

    Michod, I also wanted 1dn to be TUTU, as in Desmond Tutu, who you could call a church “leader”, but I couldn’t make the rest of the clue fit. I like the “short piece” theory though!

    I correctly guessed Henry=H but not the explanation – thanks for that, Andrew.

    Thanks also, Stan, for the explanation of 5dn and the nice tribute to Quantum.

  8. Uncle Yap says:

    This is how I parsed
    1 Leader on football written up in short piece (4)

    Insertion of UR (reversal of Rugby Union, football) in GU(N) short piece. Thus G-UR-U

  9. muck says:

    In QUANTUM theory, according to Heisenberg’s principle, it is impossible to know exactly what is going on. Your observing, in itself, makes the situation UNCERTAIN. Especially appropriate, therefore, that #24406 did leave the setter’s name (nuclear)*.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

− 6 = one