Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,522/Quantum

Posted by Andrew on October 17th, 2008


I’m a bit pushed for time this morning so apologies for the rather brief comments. A mixed bag today, I thought – nothing terribly exciting, and a few cryptic definitions that I thought were less than brilliant (18ac, 24ac, 6dn). Maybe it’s just me?

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. FEARSOME (FOES ARME(d))* “for battle” is the anagrind, “frightening” the definition
5. BARSAC BARS A.C. Barsac is a dessert wine from the Sauternes region
9. WHODUNNIT cd – “busy” is slang for “detective”
15. EMIT hidden
18. SYNONYMOUS cd – “nuts” and “bananas” can both mean “mad”.
19. SCAN SCRAN less R, “scran” being a slang word for food.
24. TWANG cd
25. HAEMATITE (ITEM THE AA)*. A mineral yielding iron: the etymology is via the Greek for blood (cf haematology, haemoglobin) because of its red colour.
26. REEFER dd – I’m sure I’ve seen this before.
27. PSALTERY LEAST* in PRY. It’s an instrument like a harp or zither, mentioned in the Old Testament.

1. FAWN dd
2. AGOG GO in AG
3. SQUARE Wickets are prepared in a cricket square, and 4 is a square number. Not a cross-reference to 4dn, even though that has a cricketing connection…
4. MAN OF THE MATCH Not sure how to categorise this one – it’s a (not very) cryptic definition, but with the extra twist of linking “match” and “striking”
6. ACRONYMS cd, I suppose
8. COMPLACENT AC replaces I M in COMPLIMENT. This was fairly easy to spot from the definition, but the wordplay took a bit of working out.
10. THREE QUARTERS dd. I might need some help from a Rugby expert here – I thought there were only two three-quarters in a Rugby team, but they seem to have changed all the names of the positions since I was forced to play it.
17. ANALOGUE An analogue (as opposed to digital) computer is one that uses physical quantities to model the problem being studied. The good old slide-rule is an example.
22. LINE dd
23. RELY RE(p)LY

16 Responses to “Guardian 24,522/Quantum”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Andrew – thanks for the explanation of 9ac: I didn’t know that use of ‘busy’.

    I think, over the years, I’ve seen 26ac a few times!

    I thought the weakest clues were 15ac and, especially, 12ac. But I really liked 6dn!

  2. Mort says:

    I believe they’re calling the two wingers and the centres ‘three quarters’ these days, as distinguished from the half backs (scrum and fly) and the full back. It makes some sense, but mostly it just feels like jargon for the sake of jargon to me. :)

    For me, the weakest was 18ac. You can substitute any two synonyms for nuts and bananas and get an equally good, if not better, surface reading.

    On the other hand, there were some nice ones in here. Just nothing particularly exciting, as Andrew said.

  3. conradcork says:

    I’ve only ever seen ‘busy’ as a term for actual policemen (‘Look out here come the busies’ was a cry from my Liverpool youth) and by no means all whodunnit heroes are policemen.

  4. Andrew says:

    Conrad – Chambers gives “detective” as a (slang) definition of busy. A bit of googling gives contradictory information – according to Eric Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang, “busy”=detective or plain-clothes officer might be in contrast to the “plodding” uniformed officers, and came to be used for any policeman.

  5. Paul B says:

    Strange though, innit. Crossword that’s certainly not going to tax anyone here, and plonked in the middle of it is quite the most obscure slang definition!

  6. diagacht says:

    21ac caused me some bother. I’m probably wrong here but isn’t it a Mistle Thrush or a least a Mistle-thrust? I not the RSPB prefer the two word version while Chambers goes for hyphen.

  7. Will says:

    I have it on good authority that the paper version has an analogue clock rather than computer. Odd. I put ‘Blazer’ in confidently for the smoking jacket. No such luck.

  8. mhl says:

    I enjoyed this a lot, but I can see that some might find it not testing enough. Thanks for the post, Andrew.

    The troublesome clues for me were (predictably) MISTLETHRUSH and HAEMATITE, because of never having heard of them before.

    Could someone remind me why “work” can be GO?

    I thought the clue for TWANG was a bit weak, since even though I guessed that early from “plucky” I didn’t enter it into the grid on the basis that it wasn’t neat enough – or have I missed a sense in which “twang” can mean effort?

  9. JimboNWUK says:

    Ah, at least I wasn’t the only one to put “blazer”! And then I thought that the downs would be a doddle ending in B and A which is quite uusual… hmph!

    For the record:
    Worst clue = 12AC, barely cryptic given most of the answer (and its semantics) was in the clue
    Best Clue = 6DN for the surface aspect of looking for links to the premium bond machine and help with picking random numbers!

  10. Andrew says:

    Work=go as in e.g. cars or other machinery working/going.

    I thought the clue for TWANG was weak too – I think it’s just that a twang can result from plucking a string.

  11. mhl says:

    Work=go as in e.g. cars or other machinery working/going.

    Oh, of course. Thanks…

  12. John says:

    I think “for battle” is stretching anagrind indicators somewhat.
    I have never seen mistle thrush as a single word.
    Referential has nothing to do with references in this sense.
    But I liked 16 ac, 27 ac and 14 dn.

  13. Paul B says:

    I think BLAZER must be the answer most often associated with that, um, popular clue. For REEFER, the parts of speech are somewhat less helpful, shall we say.

  14. mark says:

    I still don’t get TWANG. It’s just literally the result of a pluck (y effort)? Like most I thought of it and rejected as not being a ‘good enough’ answer i.e not using the whole of the clue.
    Not happy with that.

  15. Ian Stark says:

    >>>Best Clue = 6DN for the surface aspect of looking for links to the premium bond machine and help with picking random numbers!

    Ah, I just read this as ‘aids’ = acronyms and ‘ernie’ is an acronym. Not sure that ‘aids’ = ‘help with picking . . .’

    Struggled with a few of these but got there in the end. Top right corner gave me a bit of a battle and the whole puzzle took me twice as long as usual.

  16. Chunter says:

    I can’t remember a time when the 4 three-quarters in rugby were called anything else. Nowadays a useful distinction is usually made between the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ centres.

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