Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24.420/Auster: Down under

Posted by bridgesong on June 20th, 2008


Auster is Australian by origin, which may explain some Antipodean references in her puzzle today.  Unusually, there is only one full anagram, and only a few partial ones.  I’ve left out one or two of the more straightforward clues.  With two clues unsolved (19 across and down) it took me about an hour and a half.


1      FILL IN – double definition
4      BY WORDS – another double definition, but a bit wittier
9      LIES DOG GO – might have been a better clue if the word “go” hadn’t been used
11    IBSEN – hidden, but with no adequate indication; acceptable perhaps in an easy clue
12    BACK(W AT)ER –  w is the first letter of “winning”
13    SAFE SEX – peter is old slang for a safe, so it reads “Pete’s ex”
17    IN HAND – Inn had*
19    ? No idea at present – suggestions welcome
22    HAYSTACKS – Obviously the reference is to losing a needle in a haystack, but I’m not
sure that the drug reference really works
24    LATE R
26    NEARS – another hidden clue, but this time there is a clear indication
27    A BAND ONED – partial anagram
28    RE A WAKE
29    I G LOOS – not sure about “temporary”, unless that’s a reference to global warming


1     F IL LIES – il is Italian for “the”
2     LEEKS – leeks are the national emblem of Wales,and the word sounds like “leaks”.
3     IND(0NES)IA – a clever piece of word play
4     BR ON COS – Cos of course is a favourite Mediterranean island for setters
6     RHEOTROPE – I had to look this up.  It’s a device for reversing an electric current.      The word play   is         hero* + port (rev) + e (end of handle).  “up” is appropriate in a   down clue
7      SOMBRE – mb as an abbreviation for maternity benefit is pretty weak
8      EGG BOX – a brilliant piece of misleading clue writing
14    FUNNY HA HA – the number of letters in the phrase makes it very easy to solve
16    CATTLE DOG – the word play is let* between cat and dog.  A blue heeler is an Australian term for a       dog used to herd cattle
18    DICTATE – 1 c(our)t in date
19    The other one I haven’t yet solved
20    STRIDES – another double definition
21    SHINE R
23    TOSCA – another hidden clue; it’s an opera by Puccini

16 Responses to “Guardian 24.420/Auster: Down under”

  1. M1kes says:

    19d Biscay: First letter is Beachcomber, then is ( lives) then Cay (small isle) = The Bay of Biscay

    19a Could be Battens but I need the antipodean ref!

  2. Nathan says:

    15ac could be SECTOR, with tor for rising

  3. David says:

    19a is BATTENS: a thin piece of wood and a 1930’s New Zealand pilot.

  4. smutchin says:

    15ac – shame you’ve left this one out as I was keen to see what today’s blogger made of it. I’ve got a solution that relies on a tenuous definition in the clue, and a verb used as a noun in the wordplay in an unsatisfactory way…

  5. smutchin says:

    Nathan, yes, that’s what I got. Don’t much like it. Branch=sector seems very tenuous to me, and I’m not keen on tor=rising.

    (On a point of blog etiquette, is it OK to post the answers to clues that have been deliberately omitted?)

  6. Mhl says:

    Is R for “Roger” (in 21d) a standard abbreviation? It’s not in any of my lists of crossword indicators and abbreviations (or Chambers). “Rub Romeo’s black eye” would work better, I think.

    HAYSTACK and EGG BOX were fun CDs, I thought :)

  7. bridgesong says:

    Thanks for all those comments. I’d thought of Biscay, but why does it mean a beachcomber? It’s not in Chambers. I agree with the comments about sector, and R for Roger isn’t a standard abbreviation, so far as I know, but it was pretty obvious in context.

  8. smutchin says:

    19dn – the definition is “bay”

    The first letter of Beachcomber provides the B, followed by IS (lives) and CAY (small isle)

  9. Shirley says:

    29A Igloos are temporary dwellings – eskimos only use them on hunting trips. At other times they live in tents.
    13A The online version had 8 letters instead of 4-3. Surely safesex is not one word?

  10. Shirley says:

    13A – Sorry 7 letters not 8

  11. JW says:

    1d is clued as 4.3 hence fill in or have i missed something

  12. Sam says:

    If you Google ‘Battens’ then Jean Battens can be found as a NZ aviator

  13. John Ridge says:

    7dn – I agree with Bridgesong that MB = maternity benefit is weak. As far as I know, the only UK abbreviation in current use would be MP, as in (statutory) maternity pay.

  14. bridgesong says:

    Smutchin – thanks for the explanation. Shirley – the online version is wrong: best always to refer to the pdf if you don’t buy the paper.

  15. Paul B says:

    I suppose any abbreviation ought to be in the dictionary (or dictionaries) specified by one’s editor as the standard reference, and this is not (if The Guardian still uses Collins and Chambers, as it certainly did in some glorious, former time).

    But from both tomes’ defs of ‘roger’, it seems that the word does represent R via a different abbreviation: that of R for ‘received’ in signalling and radio-communication banter.

    ‘S not Crosswordese either, more’s the pity.

  16. muck says:

    16dn CATTLE DOG is fairly obvious but ‘blue heeler’ isn’t in my edition of Chambers: I had to find it in Google.

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=""> <strike> <strong>

+ eight = 17