Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,454 – Pasquale

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on July 30th, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

* = anagram
() = removed
[] = charade
“” = homophone
cd = cryptic definition
dd = double definition

Medium difficulty but very entertaining with some inventive cluing (9A is a favourite), and a couple of words that were new to me (20D, 8D).


1 MOLOCH (G)LOOM* + CH. A nice &lit clue as Moloch was an ancient god who demanded child sacrifice.
4 SMOCKS S + MOCKS.  Took me a while because I was assuming saint was st.
9 ELECTRIC CURRENT The italic I in the clue is the symbol for electric current, the rest is a cd.
10 BRENDA END inside BRA
11 RANSOMED (A SERMON D)*. I should confess I thought ransomed meant ‘held to ransom’ but it seems to be ‘paid a ransom’
14 DOCTOR ROT and COD backwards
18 PERVERSE PER + VERSE.  The meaning of ‘difficult’ isn’t the first that springs to mind.
22 STRUCK ST + RUCK.  The tense seems wrong here, ‘got hit’ would be better I think?
24 SPEYER CATHEDRAL THESACREDPLAYER*. Never heard of it, but spotted CATHEDRAL early so it was easy to check with a few letters in.
25 RENOWN theat[RE NOW N]eeds
26 SPONGE dd


1 MALARIA presumably MARIA around LA but I’m unsure how that is ‘little boy’
2 LUCAN dd. Both the missing lord, and meaning ‘of Luke’
6 CARTOUCHE ART + OUCH in CE.  More of a relief than a sculpture.
8 ACORUS Last clue I got.  CORUS is a company who make metal, and a flag is a type of plant, of which this is an example.
16 NO-HOPER NOH OPER(A).  Japanese musical drama
17 SKID ROW WORKIS* around D
18 PAMPAS PAM + PAS(S).  A South American plain
20 SACCADE “SACK AID”.  A smasmodic movement
23 RADON Guessed from checking letters.  ON is ‘functioning’ so presumably RAD is ‘part of CH system’?

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,454 – Pasquale”

  1. Andrew says:

    1dn is AL in MARIA: this confused me for a while – I was trying to explain ALARI in MA to my self for a while before I spotted it.

    23dn RAD = radiator

    I agree about 9 ac being a nice one – at first I thought it was just a cd until I twigged the “I”.

  2. mcnulty says:

    Andrew – of course it’s AL, how stupid of me! Thanks for pointing out RAD, I hadn’t twigged that was what CH meant.

  3. Dawn says:

    I thought 1d was LA in Maria, which would be Lad cut short.

  4. Geoff says:

    22ac: The ‘Get’ is a word to indicate a charade clue – if you read this as Get “hit” in “brawl on street”, the clue makes grammatical sense and the tenses match – in fact ‘struck’ and ‘hit’ could be either past tenses or past participles. Sneaky though!

    8dn: Didn’t get this one, although I have come across Acorus calamus, the sweet flag. I was confused by ‘flags’ in the plural, which is slightly dubious. Acorus is the name of the genus, so you could argue that it can be interpreted as a group of species, and therefore covers ‘flags’ and not just ‘flag’, but it is most unusual to clue with a plural a singular word that is not a recognised collective noun. Clever clue, nevertheless.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    In 9ac I missed the italic I as I looked at the online puzzle. Of course the I has to be italicised for the clue to work as I is the symbol rather than I. However, I noticed a special instructions link which gave me a PDF of the puzzle and this had the correct clue for 9ac but offered the following odd clue for 18ac:

    Di cult bit of the bible for each to start with (8)

    So, which to believe?!

  6. Amnesiac says:

    Apologies Colin if you knew the answer already, but it’s di cult to read “tone of voice” in posts. “Difficult” becomes “Di cult” when somewhere in the PDF generation process there is a failure to convert an “ffi” ligature into something readable in the end product.

  7. Andrew says:

    It gets worse – the pdf link from the “print version” is to what appears to be (next) Saturday’s puzzle – Shed, 24,457.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    I struggled to complete half of this – Pasquale is 4th hardest on my list of setters.

    I thought the italicised I in 9 ac was for emphasis of the first person. The usual convention for current is a normal, non-italicised I, so current never occurred to me.

  9. John says:

    Saccade? We’re back to rarities/specialist words again. But if you must have it, I think there’s a redundant homophone indicator in “report of fire” when “fire” would suffice.

  10. muck says:

    Colin & Dave: 9ac, I believe that in scientific formulae, variables – eg I for electric current – are italicised, whereas parameters aren’t. Rather obscure for general solvers though.

    John: 20ac, as a physiologist I knew SACCADE, but mcnulty is correct that SACC only sounds like ‘sack’.

  11. John says:

    Muck: I agree that a homophone indicator is needed, but I maintain that “as you might say” would suffice for both “sacc” and “ade”. A more elegant clue might have been – “Fire help as you might say …..”. But then I’m a superfluity-hating minimalist.

  12. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for all the feedback. In respect of SACCADE I seem to remember that I made a conscious decision to use two homophone indicators: a) to help the solver with a difficult word and b) to give a credible surface meaning.The I for electric current is indeed italicised in Chambers (as any science editor will tell you it should be!).

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    Andrew, thanks for explaining why the ffi was missing from the PDF. I know about the ffi ligature as a LaTeX user but it didn’t cross my mind in this case.

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