Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,495 – Puck

Posted by Uncle Yap on September 16th, 2008

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

What a lovely puzzle that is both entertaining and challenging. Puck’s definitions are so creative and in some case, so devilishly perplexing.

1 COBBER Deletion of L (leg) from cobbler (what a lovely definition, last man) This word is slang for friend Down Under
5 PARODY * (drop a Y) I have been trying to figure out the first line of the clue “Extract the P (say) from PLAYFULLY” but without much success. I will leave this to my erudite readers to educate me
8 HOSANNA *(Shenandoah minus he’d)
9 UPBEATS Cha of UP (ahead) BEATS (rounds as in policeman’s)
11 SURPRISE PACKAGE *(Kippers Ragu sauce minus U) with a quaint, creative and cryptic definition
12 IMAM Ins of A in IMM (Roman numeral for 1999)
13 ORIGINALLY Ins of RIG (gear) in O (ring) IN (trendy) ALLY (friend)
17 ASTONISHED As to N (umber) I Shed (setter in the Guardian stable)
18 SCUT S (small) – cut (docked) A short erect tail, as in a hare, rabbit or deer
20 INTERCHANGEABLE *(thing beer ale can)
23 EAT INTO ha
24 IRON AGE *(a region)
25 SPEEDY Ins of EED (rev River Dee) in SPY (Scottish river Spey minus E)
26 HEELED dd the other being what a cobbler did to get you a new heel for your shoe

2 OBSERVANT OB servant (Jeeves, the butler?)
3 BANTRY Ban (embargo) TRY (Coventry minus coven of witches) A town in County Cork, Ireland
4 REASSERTS Cha of RE (Royal Engineers or soldiers) + ins of R (right) in Assets (property)
5 PLUMP P (pineapple) LUMP (chunk)
6 RUBICUND Another new word for me that sounds like Rubicon – Crossing the Rubicon is a metaphor for deliberately proceeding past a point of no return.
7 DIANA Ins of I (symbol for current in physics) in Dana (1970 Irish winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with All Kinds of Everything)
8 HOSPITALISE *(I steal I posh) I like the creative definitions employed by Punk throughout this puzzle
10 SEE EYE TO EYE Write down the Roman numeral for 101 to 1 as CI to I – now read it out aloud…I got such a great kick from this clue. Bravo! Puck, my clue for the day
14 GREENWICH *(Wenger I C H)
15 LUCUBRATE *(U-tube Carl) Another new word for me meaning to study by lamplight; to discourse learnedly or pedantically.
16 ENTRANCE *(Canteen R)
19 DECOKE Another fantatstic clue that got me smiling with awe as the definition and the cryptic element are both wickedly cryptic. In the motor workshop, to remove carbon deposits from the engine is to decoke. Take C from ICE (say) is to remove carbon from the heart. A cube is a DIE, which when heartless, becomes DE and of course, the most famous soft drink in the world must be Coca Cola aka Coke.
21 TOT UP Cha of To Tup (ram)
22 HOOEY alternate letters from Ohio hotel plus Y (day’s end)

20 Responses to “Guardian 24,495 – Puck”

  1. Eileen says:

    5ac: Uncle Yap – look at the title of Jetdoc’s Azed blog from yesterday!

  2. Mort says:

    Still having trouble with 5ac. ‘Extract the P’ is a great def, but I don’t understand ‘playfully’. We already have an anagrind with ‘otherwise’, so what’s it doing there?

  3. Rich says:

    Further to Mort’s question – can anyone explain why is PLAYFULLY in capital letters?

  4. Eileen says:

    I took it that ‘extract the pee’ is a playful way of saying ‘take the piss’ but don’t really see the reason for the capitals.

  5. Eileen says:

    On reflection, ‘playfully’ would otherwise need inverted commas, which wouldn’t work so well. The definition is actually ‘extract the P FROM’, so there has to be some word with P and Y in it to make sense of the surface. I think it’s a great clue.

  6. don says:

    Does the ‘playfully’ not qualify the act of ‘taking the P from’ – “Playfully extract the P from”? Isn’t a parody “a playful way to ‘take the Michael’ out of someone” – to tease? Or ‘otherwise’ it’s an anagram of ‘drop a Y’, as Uncle Yap tells us.

  7. Andrew says:

    5ac – I think the definition could be read as “take the P from, playfully”, with the capitals being there to improve the surface reading.

    6dn – it’s actually RUBICUN + D (duck’s first).

    A fun puzzle – I loved 10dn for its sheer check; but just to nitpick, in 12ac IMM is not a valid way of writing 1999 in Roman numerals.

  8. mhl says:

    I think that ICE in 19d must be for Internal Combustion Engine. (This was a really tough clue, I thought.)

  9. Maskelyne says:

    Playfully means in the form of a play, perhaps – a parody on stage?

  10. Berny says:

    Two quibbles – shouldn’t 1999 be written as MIM in 12A and I initially got ‘see one to one’ in 10D on grounds that in the online version the numeral 1 was used – not the letter I!

  11. Geoff Moss says:


    I agree with your first quibble but not the second.

    The Romans did not have numerals so ‘101 to 1′, when converted, would become ‘CI to I’ which gives the homophone for ‘eye’.

  12. Monk says:

    Thinking that 1999 is MIM in Roman numerals is a common mistake. The Romans treated addition by post-placed symbols, so that 2001 would simply be 2000 + 1 = MM + I = MMI. But when it came to subtraction, they used pre-placed symbols only when the two symbols differed by one power of 10. For example, 99 is not to be read as 100-1 but rather (100-10)+(10-1) = XC + IX = XCIX, because constituents of the brackets differ by one power of 10 whereas 100 and 1 differ by two such powers. Hence 1999 = 2000-1 = 1000 + (1000-100) + (100-10) + (10-1) = M + CM + XC + IX = MCMXCIX. Other than that, what have the Romans ever done for us?

  13. Eileen says:

    I forgot to ask: did anyone else wonder about ‘left’ in 17ac?

    Monk – great explanation, thanks. As Andrew has pointed out, the puzzle requires 1999 to be represented by IMM, which is even worse than MIM!
    However, the ingenious use of CI to I in 10dn makes up for it, for me.

    I’m still admiring the number of really good clues in this puzzle – some very clever anagrams [eg 11ac, 8dn] and 20ac is an &lit, isn’t it?

  14. Garry says:

    Eileen, if you’re astonished, you’re “left wondering” or “left in wonderment” is how I read it.

  15. Eileen says:

    Garry – yes, I just wondered if ‘left’ was necessary.

  16. Puck says:

    Many thanks to Uncle Yap for such a generous blog, and to all for your positive comments.

    My thinking for 5ac is pretty well explained above by comments from Eileen, Don and Andrew at 5, 6 and 7 above.

    Apologies in regard to IMM for 1999 at 12ac. I was taking a cryptic leap too far in making up my own Roman numeral! Even if I had used a question mark, it would probably have been unfair.

    Keep up the great work with the blog, which I always find interesting and helpful.

  17. Eileen says:

    Puck – how nice to hear from you. Thank you very much indeed for a very entertaining puzzle.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    8ac Well, it is Shenandoah minus he’d, mixed. But there is no indication of this subtraction in the clue. I read it as if you add (the “with” at the start) he’d to hosanna and mixed it (“rocking) you would get Shenandoah.

    I agree it is great to hear from the setters.

  19. Pricklewedge says:

    Oh lord! I had such a hard time with this… but then again, 12ac was the first clue I got! Maybe my head is just wonky…

  20. Pricklewedge says:

    Also, on 8ac I couldn’t get John Denver out of my head… (Country Roads, anyone?)

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