Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian, 24503/Rover

Posted by mhl on September 25th, 2008


This was quite a fast puzzle to do, despite some of the vocabulary or meanings being unfamiliar to me, particularly in the north-east corner. There are couple of clues I wasn’t wild about, which I’ve learned typically means I’ve missed some subtlety that people will help with in the comments. :)

9 RAIN DANCE: Cryptic definition
10 OTARY: (A TORY)* and any member of the Otariidae (the family of eared seals)
12 REJOICE: RE + homophone of (James) Joyce
13 AFTER: AFTER[S]; the “left behind” bit of the clue confused me a bit, but I suppose it means “more aft”
14 SPHERICAL: (SHIP CLEAR)*; “round” is the definition, rather unusually :)
16 STRAIGHTFORWARD: STRAIGHT = “square” (as in “honest”) + FORWARD = “on”
19 RELATIONS: GERMAN + S; although this was a baffling clue at first, the dictionary tells me that “german” has an obsolete meaning of a sibling, so there’s a nice bit of misleading capitalization going on
21 BLEAK: Double definition
22 DECKING: An elegant double definition (probably my favourite clue in this puzzle): the two meanings are “Gracing” as in “adorning” (e.g. with holly and ivy) and the decking (“platform”) you might find outside around a house
24 HINDU: Hidden answer
25 RACEHORSE: Cryptic definition, I suppose? A “maiden” is a horse that has never won a race
1 TRESPASSER: Cryptic definition
3 EDITOR: IT in RODE reversed
4 ANON: A “Non!” might be the result of a French vote
5 GEARSHIFTS: The two lots of clothes are GEAR and SHIFTS. The definition is rather nice – the gear shift will get worn down eventually…
6 CONJUROR: Cryptic definition. I’m slightly annoyed about this clue, since I had “sorcerer” at first, which I think works better. (Conjurors don’t really cast spells, unless you count the odd “abracadabra”.)
7 MANIOC: MAN (“island”) + IOC (International Olympic Committee); a new word to me, but fortunately with an obvious construction that leads you to the dictionary definition. It’s a starchy root, or a meal of the same according to Chambers
8 TYRE: (TRY)* + E; Tyrian purple was discovered in Tyre
14 SCHOOLGIRL: Cryptic definition
15 LADYKILLER: Double definition
17 INTRIGUE: An excellent double definition; I really like the noun / verb ones
18 APERTURE: Cryptic definition, referring to the Box Brownie, one of the first mass-market cameras.
20 LUCENT: (CLUE)* + extremes of NoT
22 DAHL: Unless I’ve missed something (quite likely!), this seems like the weakest clue – I think it’s just a hidden answer, but then (a) the word “Blue” is redundant except to make up the surface meaning (b) having the hidden word starting on a word boundary is a bit obvious and (c) some people don’t like “of” as a hidden answer indicator. Or is “[out] of the blue” the indicator?
23 MACE: (CAME)*

15 Responses to “Guardian, 24503/Rover”

  1. Andrew says:

    I had MAGICIAN at first for 6dn, and GEARCHANGE for 5dn. The usual problem of cryptic defs not leading to a single answer.

    I agree with you in not liking 22dn – another objection to it is that the Dahlia is named after a Mr Dahl.

    13ac – I thought “left” behind” was a reasonable definition of AFTER, but I think the clue is very weak.

    14dn – why “reported”? There’s no homophone involved.

  2. mhl says:

    Ouch, GEARCHANGE works well…

    I think it’s “reported to be in” as in “turned up to be in” and the clue is deliberately misleading you into looking for a homophone.

  3. Eileen says:

    I agree with all your comments on 22 dn: we MUST be missing something, mustn’t we? It’s the most overt ‘hidden’ answer I remember seeing. And what’s ‘blue’ doing?

    14dn: I thought it was that schoolgirls get reports and so are ‘reported’.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    22d There is a novel (and film) of that name by Raymond Chandler

  5. mhl says:

    It was only a film, I think. (If it turns out there’s a Raymond Chandler novel I haven’t read yet I’d be most distressed!) That’s just the surface reading, though – I’m not sure how it helps getting us cryptically to DAHL…

  6. don says:

    7D Not having heard of the word ‘manioc’, I could only think of ‘maniac’, so I went to the on-line version and used the ‘check’ function, which gives MANIAC?

  7. mhl says:

    How strange. I’m pretty sure that’s a mistake in the online version – you might want to email crossword.editor (at sign) to point it out…

    Come to think of it, I misunderstood the sense of “meal” in the dictionary to mean “food served together” instead of “coarsely ground something-or-other”, but nonetheless MANIOC still fits the clue and MANIAC doesn’t seem to.

  8. John says:

    19 ac irritated me, but then I loathe the use of archaisms. And the possessive is inaccuarte. There are far better ways of cluing “relation” than resorting to obscurantism. I don’t mind learning something new that might be useful, but I’m not about to start calling my brother a German, with or without a capital. Rant over.
    I had “gearchange” as well but couldn’t see it being “worn” like a gear shift. And I would say it’s two words.
    In 14 dn wouldn’t “She’s in form” have been much crisper and more elegant?
    As for “Dahl” it’s all been said.
    And the French did vote NON!, mhl.

  9. John says:

    My inaccuarate was inaccurate…

  10. John says:

    Sorry, it was my inaccuarte that was inaccurate, not my inaccuarate.
    I’m going for a lie down in a dark room.

  11. aferick says:

    Dave Ellison & Mhl: 22dn It’s a film only (with Alan Ladd). The novel & film is Black Dahlis by James Ellroy

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    I eyeballed

    and saw it was writen by Raymond C. On a closer look just now I see it was the screenplay he wrote.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Opps, sorry. I am trying to give a link to the wiki page for the film, but keep meeting with no success

  14. Shed says:

    Can I throw in a grumble about 24ac? Not all Indians are Hindus and not all Hindus are Indians. I don’t think anyone would get away with defining ‘Catholic’ as ‘Spaniard’.

    All in all far too many rather tenuous DDs and CDs for my taste.

  15. Testy says:

    Hindu can also mean “a native or inhabitant of Hindustan or India”.

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