Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24534 / Enigmatist

Posted by mhl on October 31st, 2008


A remarkable grid with four 15 letter clues going down and lots of inventive and entertaining cluing…

8. RIBOSOME RIE (essentially bRIEf) covering BOSOM (“doing what bra does”). Ribosomes are organelles found in cells that translate mRNA into proteins
9. INROAD An &lit: (RAID ON)* with “antagonist” as the anagram indicator
10. BRUTAL BUT A L (“one’s left” or “A has L”) restricts R
11. TV DINNER VD = “nasty disease” in TINNER = “preserver”
12. UP TO Double definition, I think – “Capable of” (being up to a task) and “doing no more?” (up to your limit?) Thanks to Andrew, who suggests that instead this should be divided up as “Capable of doing” and “no more?”
13. CREDIT NOTE A fun clue: b-li-v- is BELIEVE not E
15. DO-OR-DIE Nothing to do with mines – you have to split “opencast” here: a door may be open and the die may be cast to give DOOR DIE
16. ASSIZES SIZE = “magnitude” in ASS = “bottom”. I think the definition is “court (Law and History)!”, but the exclamation mark suggests that I might be missing a joke – or does it just mean that assizes were law courts historically?
18. LOVE LETTER “O” is a LETTER representing LOVE in crosswords
19. MAIN An interesting clue: the definition is “Chief” and the subsidiary is MA (“generator” as in begetter or mother) + IN (“at the house”). I think this also works as an &lit in that a generator at your home might constitute your electricity main
20. DRIFT NET The definition is “One’s out to take the catch”. DRIFT is “meaning” and “the rest of the team’s standing back” is TEN reversed, the team being a cricket eleven, but without the “one” mentioned in the definition part
23. APERÇU PAPER CUT without PT = “point”
24. OWN GOALS OWN = “Have” + GOALS = “aspirations”
1. MICROPHOTOGRAPH I think this is a cryptic definition, alluding to the two meanings described in Chambers: “strictly, a photograph reduced to microscopic size; loosely a photomicrograph, or photograph of an object as magnified by the microsocope”
2. DO-IT-YOURSELFERS An excellent anagram: (SERIOUSLY DEFT OR)*
3,21. COLLECTIVE NOUN Another remarkable clue: (CLUE LOT IN COVEN)* and a “coven” is the collective noun for witches
4,17. WEATHER STATION (WHAT ORIENTATES)* – “conditional changes” meaning “changes in (weather) conditions”
5,14. WIND INSTRUMENT Another nice clue to go with the previous one, an anemometer being a device to measure wind speed
6. PRONUNCIAMENTOS .. meaning “manifestos” in Spanish. It took a while to figure this out, but I think the subsidiary breaks down as: PRO = “for” + NUN = “sister” + CIA MEN = “undercover investigators” + TO S = “southwards”

21 Responses to “Guardian 24534 / Enigmatist”

  1. Andrew says:

    12ac – I thought one definition was “capable of doing”, and the other “no more (than)” = “up to”

    A tough but enjoyable puzzle. I thought 1dn was a bit vague, and I don’t approve of the “opencast” trick, especially in that case, where it can be written as two words without affecting the meaning.

  2. mhl says:

    Ah, that makes more sense… Thanks.

    Two Enigmatist puzzles in two days (with Nimrod in the Independent yesterday) has left my brain pretty incapable, I have to say :)

  3. Eileen says:

    Whew – and I said yesterday’s was the most difficult for ages! It’s not just the grid that’s remarkable: there are some really ingenious and witty clues. Thanks for the excellent blog, mhl.

    I’d never heard of ‘ribosome’ but I liked the clue, along with 11ac, 13ac, 24ac, 2dn, 3dn, etc… but I agree with Andrew re 15ac.

    My only other quibble with this one is the use of ‘antagonist’ as an an anagram indicator. How does that work?

    It does seem that there must be more to 16ac, to warrant the exclamation mark, but I can’t see what it is. The surface reading is rather odd.

  4. Eileen says:

    Just one more thing: wouldn’t ‘I’ll be blowed’ be better [and legitimate] in 5, 14?

  5. Paul B says:

    This looks like Guardian grid pattern 3, which has been around a good while – that wouldn’t necessarilt prevent it from being remarkable, of course.

    Nice one for a perimetrical, but I’d like to see someone do it with all them there 15-letter lights.

  6. mhl says:

    Paul B: Out of interest, how do you know it’s grid pattern 3? Are the different grids documented somewhere publicly? I make it the 24th-equal most popular grid layout since the online archive began. :)

  7. michod says:

    Quite an achievement to get full-length answers in all the downs, even if PRONUNCIAMENTO was a bit, well, foreign!
    I think the reference to ‘law’ in 16ac must be as in ‘the law is an ass’, so it could be an extra indication after the definition, but I don’t know about history.

  8. don says:

    A lack of comments from ordinary solvers says everything about this crossword!

    We got the lot, from pidgin English – ‘history law courts’ (or should it be ‘courts law history’ or any combination of the three) – to cyhoedddiad ysbaennaidd, without even an indication of the (foreign) language used.

    Is ‘apercu’ a reference, however pithy? Is ‘paper cut’ an accident that’s confined to offices. ‘Credit note’ = ‘retail IOU’? ‘On the other hand’ = ‘but’? ‘Rie’ = ‘essentially brief’?

    I guessed more than I actually solved. Thought it was too contrived for ‘do-it-yourselfers’ rather than bloggers.

  9. Paul B says:

    MHL – I have a set of Grauniad grids, so I know the numbers. But their compilers seem to be adding all sorts of peculiar shapes and sizes to this set for one-offs, so I don’t know if there’s a policy. At one time Hugh was cutting the bad ones out, but after Gordius’ creation t’other day, who knows what’s going on. Today’s grid is a good and fair one, and probably needs to be for this puzzle.

    Mr Bumble said ‘the law is a ass – a idiot’ somewhere. The construction is what GU funsters used to call ‘arfacese’, back in the day.

  10. Testy says:

    I thought a fair grid was one with at least 50% checking for the answers. A third of the answers in this grid have less than 50% checking!

  11. muck says:

    Don #8 said “A lack of comments from ordinary solvers says everything about this crossword!”.

  12. Paul B says:

    Technically you’re right of course Testy, but where a word or phrase has 7 from 15 checked, I don’t think solvers are in any real trouble – plus, four fifteen-letter lights must constitute some kind of extra help.

    Four answers in this grid check three from seven, and I sympathise with you there. The two-in-five jobs (none in this grid) irritate me far more, I have to say.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, this ordinary solver managed just 3 and a half + one from his wife. 22ac, 16ac, 5, 14d and 9 but unsure why; + 13ac

    I think this is my worst attempt ever. And I screwed up the Kakuro this morning – just hope the Killer is kind tomorrow!

  14. Gary Howe says:

    A (for me) extremely difficult but (mostly) quite brilliant puzzle.

    Many of the clues and answers were exceptionally clever and pleasing

    The exception of course was PRONUNCIAMENTOS…

    there’s always one isn’t there….. ;)

  15. radchenko says:

    Quite a week when the Paul is the “easiest” of the five (assuming you saw the theme quickly). I don’t know whether these have been stacked up for half term, but this week’s have all seemed to be both tougher and (even more) inventive than usual.

  16. davidoff says:

    Took me all day on and off, but because it was clever and fair I’m not bitter! Favourite clue was 7dn, with its four-letter straight definition “(thus)” for the fifteen-letter answer “parenthetically”.

    mhl: thanks for the blog, I needed 1dn and 21ac cryptic explanations.

    PS I wonder if the bloggers could do with a specific piece of notation to describe those clues where the answer defines the clue rather than the other way round (eg 13ac today). Perhaps “retro”?

  17. Roger Murray says:

    Thought I was doing well this week with four completes (ok the odd cheat here and there) but today undid me. Enigmatist is the obviously the next stepping stone in my journey.

  18. mhl says:

    It’s good to know that I’m not alone in having found this week rather difficult.

    davidoff: it’s a nice idea, but they come up rarely enough that I think “reverse clues” normally get a special mention anyway.

    I tend to have problems with these clues in that they’re often very difficult to spot unless there’s an obvious nonsense word in them (as with Paul’s “Yogdaws?” for GOD MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS). For example, in the Independent this week I completely failed to get Dac’s “Pop hit inspired by Mahler?” (HARLEM SHUFFLE) since the only indication that anything odd is going on is the (rather overloaded) question mark.

  19. Pam says:

    I didn’t know this blog existed until I ‘googled’ the crossword in desperation! Having seen the answers to the 5 I couldn’t get, (8,10, 20, 23, & 1) the only one I felt wasn’t very good was ‘microphotograph’ – I’d guessed it but didn’t work it out. Also, I got ‘TV Dinner’, but would not have thought TV was a 2-letter word! I loved 3,21 and 7 and ‘Pronunciamentos’ does work out perfectly. But my brain hurts. Not up to Araucaria at his best though.

  20. mhl says:

    Pam: I think I discovered the blog in a similar way. :) I hope you’ll find the postings here useful.

  21. Tom Wrobel says:

    Might I suggest “recursive” as a name for this type of clue?

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