Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,493 (Sat 13 Sep)/Enigmatist – Errorless?

Posted by rightback on September 20th, 2008


Solving time: 10:10

Not too difficult a puzzle this week, with few obscurities and some moments of brilliance.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 PRE + C-IN-C + T – C-in-C stands for Commander-in-Chief, hence ‘ultimate promotion in army’. If you believe the Army, there’s no hyphen and the plural of CinC is CinCs.
5 UP TAKE; “UPPED ACHE” – I loved this homophone.
9 ASSUMING; (AIMS + GUNS)* – excellent surface.
10 MYRTLE; (TERMLY)* – unusually worded, and it leaves me with the uneasy feeling that there should be a ‘perhaps’ or ‘maybe’ or something in there.
15/19 UNDER COVER – triple definition, but ‘agent’ is a bit awkward unless you read the second definition as ‘with insurance agent’, though I don’t think that’s the intention.
17 PAINTERLY; (PARTY LINE)* – I saw ‘interplay’ in this anagram and put it in, despite the definition not making sense. I wonder if this clue is a nod to the Listener 4000 dinner tonight, which has a ‘black and white’ theme?
18 ERRORLESS – my last entry: for a long time I thought this was going to be the name of a Pope. I think the clue is just a reference to the phrase “To err is human, to forgive divine”.
20 CHEESEBOARD; rev. of (OBESE + EH) in CARD (= ‘the day’s races)
24 O + NEW + AY
25 IGNATIUS; (SUITING A)* – Wikipedia lists three saints by this name; pick any two.
27 STAR(K + ER)S
1 PIANO TUNER; (A NOT U) in PINER – ‘longer’, i.e. someone who longs, for ‘piner’ is brilliant, but the wordplay here bypassed me when solving.
3 I AM B.S. – ‘B.S.’ stands for ‘Bachelor of Surgery’. I went for ‘iambi’ initially, but knew it wasn’t quite right.
4 CENTRE PIECES – another excellent clue. An opening gambit in chess is one in which a player offers a material sacrifice, usually a pawn, for control of the centre of the board.
7/6 AN + TIPSY + CH(O.T.)IC – at least I think that’s the wordplay, although I’m not sure which bit tells you to put ‘books’ (= O.T.) in ‘smart’ (= CHIC). Maybe ‘intoxicated’ is doing double duty.
8/22 EVEN + SONG – ‘trifle’ as in ‘going for a song’.
11 AT FIRST SIGHT – the wordplay here is just the initial ‘S’.
13 TRIVIALISE; [s]TRI[p] + V(I)ALISE – another clue in which I didn’t see the wordplay while solving.
16/23 RORSCHACH TEST; (THATCHER CROSS)* – nice anagram. Rorschach developed psychiatric tests based on subjects’ reactions to ink-blot patterns.
21 BLAIR; B + (RAIL)* – is this a semi-&lit? Seems a bit harsh, British Rail’s demise was instigated several years before Tony came to power. I’m putting myself at the mercy of our train services today, without a great deal of optimism.

6 Responses to “Guardian 24,493 (Sat 13 Sep)/Enigmatist – Errorless?”

  1. Popeye says:

    Hi rightback,

    Thanks for another comprehensive blog.

    18A: I think errorless refers to the “infallibility” of the pope when “in camera” i.e when speaking on matters of church dogma, canon law etc.

  2. diagacht says:

    18a: I am sure Popeye is right this is a reference to the doctrine of infallibility, referring to statements made by the Pope ‘ex cathedra’ (i.e. official pronouncements)

  3. Andrew says:

    Like rightback, I took ERRORLESS to be a reference to the line “to err is human”. I suppose there could be a nod to papal infallibility there too, but I don’t think it’s the full explanation.

  4. Popeye says:


    Thanks for pointing out,and of course I meant to say, that the pronouncements were “ex cathedra” (…from the chair..)rather than “in camera”.
    I too am pretty confident that this is the explanation.

  5. Eileen says:

    18ac: I, too, took this as a reference to ‘to err, is human, to forgive divine’, from Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism but I can see that it also refers to papal infallibility, which makes it an even better clue than I thought.

    7,6: I thought ‘used in’ was the insertion indicator but wasn’t too happy with it.

  6. Eileen says:

    Apologies for the errant comma in the quotation above!

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