Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,417, Rover: Life’s ups and downs

Posted by michod on June 17th, 2008


As an occasional sub now, I’ll try to remember the rules – bear with me. In keeping with my philosophy that daily puzzles should be doable without recourse to reference works, there are a few guesses that I haven’t verified, and one (24ac) that I just can’t get. Offers welcome. 


5. CARPET. A guess, but if there is such a thing as a carpet shark, this is a perfectly good CD.

6. BORROW. An even wilder guess – is this a golfing term?

10. UNCHASTE. EACH NUT’S*. Unfortunately the anagrind is also the definition.

11. (w)ARCH(est). Nice hidden.

13. PRISON HOUSE. CD punning on ‘stir’ meaning prison – in the sense of time spent there, rather than the building, but it still works (is this derived from ‘porridge’?)

18. BACK STROKE. Not sure about the definition – ‘treatment in the water’ seems a bit loose.

21. LUSH. Double Def, but I think a lush is an alcoholic rather than a drink, so ‘drink is redundant here. Would ‘It’s green and alcoholic’ have been better?

22. CON SERVE. Con=vote against, husband as a verb.

23. AUSTER(e). A word I suspect I know only from thematic puzzles about winds.

24. S_E_A_, “One of life’s ups and downs”. Looks like a CD, but I can’t get it.


1. BREATHER. DD. Not sure what the surface is hinting at though – a gill of lush, perhaps?

2. GE MINI. Good simple clue, middle-aGEd giving GE.

4. CREASE. The third of my guesses. Looks like a CD, but though it’s literally true, I can’t see a cryptic reading.

7. WI THE R. It may not be logical, but I prefer ‘piece of’ to indicate one letter rather than two. Otherwise, why not say ‘two pieces of’? As I say, it’s not logical, and there’s no reason why ‘piece of’ should mean the first letter rather than one in the middle, but it’s a useful convention.

8. BUTTONHOLES. CD, matches meaning weddings.

14. SATURDAY. Sat being its abbreviation. I thought of satellite first, but that’s just silly.

15. SALESMEN. (NAMELESS*). Good one because it wasn’t obvious (to me, anyway). I started groping for a synonym for pedlars that could mean poor if you lost an N.

16. MAJORS. Guess number 4 – do you talk about major and minor suits in cards?

17. A SCENT. Plain but satisfying.

19. KIS(ME)T. Kist’s a fairly obscure word, but there aren’t that many synonyms for fate, and most people know this from the (apocryphal?) “Kiss me Hardy” (memorably clued by Nimrod/Enigmatist as “Pecking order”).

20. ELAPSE. ASLEEP*. I almost put ‘please’ as a synonym for ‘pass’ but AUSTER set me right.





18 Responses to “Guardian 24,417, Rover: Life’s ups and downs”

  1. conradcork says:

    24 across I took, not very willingly, to be seesaw.

  2. Fletch says:


  3. conradcork says:

    Seesaw. ‘A playgtound device, a plank balanced at its centre so that the children sitting on either end can rise and sink alternately…. alternate up and down… motion.’ (Chambers 2003)

    I agree with the undercurrent of dislike for CDs being expressed here.

  4. Eileen says:

    6ac: BORROW is, apparently, ‘the amount a putt will deviate due to the slope of the green’.

    7dn: I initially took this, as you did, to mean a piece of the word ‘willow’, then remembered that a ‘withe’ is a flexible twig, often willow, used for binding things together.

  5. Eileen says:

    LUSH is also ‘an alcoholic drink’ – but it doesn’t actually mean ‘green’, does it? In fact, it’s usually found in cliched descriptions like ‘lush green pastures’.

  6. Chunter says:

    4d: a reference to the popping crease?

    16d: yes – H & S are major suits; D & C minor (in bridge).

  7. Mick H says:

    Thanks for those. It must be seesaw, as Conrad says, but not much of a clue. WITHER, on the other hand, is rather good now you’ve explained it, Eileen. And I think LUSH is fine if it is a drink.

  8. Chris Melluish says:

    ‘Borrow’ is not ‘the amount a putt will deviate due to the slope of the green’, it is the amount the player needs to aim wide of the hole to compensate for the slope of the green.

  9. Eileen says:

    Whoops! – I’m no golfer: I consulted Wikipedia and chose the shortest definition!

  10. C G Rishikesh says:

    24ac SEESAW is a clue that occurs often in a 13x syndicated cryptic that RUFUS sets.

  11. phil says:

    25ac ASPECT?? If court is abbrev. to ct, where does the c from ‘space’ go?

  12. Eileen says:

    I took it as ‘ending’ in court [t]

  13. Comfy Settee says:

    On the subject of kismet etc, Araucaria recently put in a clue TOUGH KISSER, the answer to which, of course, was HARDY. This was the theme clue, and a number of the other answers were Thomas Hardy novels. Ah, happy days!

  14. Comfy Settee says:

    PS I think Chunter is right – a batsman is in if his bat is grounded over the popping crease.

  15. Chunter says:

    4d: at first I wondered whether ‘ostrich’ (the English translation of ‘strauss’) was involved in the solution. However I think Strauss was used in the clue simply because he is a well-known cricketer who often plays at Lord’s (for England or Middlesex).

  16. Berny says:

    A very unsatisfying contribution from Rover I thought – far too loosely clued.

  17. Cruciverbophile says:

    Agreed, Berny. Not for the first time, one has to wonder if anyone checked this puzzle before it was published.

  18. Henri says:

    “Draw allowance” doesn’t mean borrow. Prison house is hardly a common phrase. Is “Saturday” a time? 20dn – “falling” is a rubbish anagram indicator. However 1dn is OK – gill is the breather of a fish.

    Pretty dreadful crossword. Why are Guardian xwords so bad? (Rufus excepted, of course).

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