Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,538 – Rover

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on November 5th, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

I rattled through this fairly quickly and have filled the grid with convincing-looking answers, but a few of the exact reasons escape me.  I decided to blog it anyway rather than wait and work them out, on the grounds that it’ll spark conversation and that’s half the fun of this site.

* = anagram
(x) = removal
(X) = insertion
dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition


8. ALLSPICE. (beat)L(e) + SPECIAL*.
9. MOHAIR. MO(zart) + HAIR.
10. LEAR. dd
12. FINALE. raF IN ALExandria
14. RINGWORM. cd
15. ADVANCE. dd
22. FINISH. dd
23. ACCIDENTAL. dd. In music, sharps and flats are ‘accidentals’
24. SAIL.  ?  Sal is salt, but not in the sense of a sailor…
25. SETTLE. dd
26. CROSSING. dd. I had thought it was spelt PeLiCon but Pelican is in common usage.


2. USER. caUSE Riot.
3. PIRATE. ‘Rover’ was a term for a pirate.
5. AMARANTH. Both a real plant and an idealised undying one.
6. CHAIRWOMAN. CHA(I)RWOMAN.  daily = servant = charlady.
13. ANARCHISTS. ? Seems to be a not-very cryptic def, unless there’s more going on
16. COLLEGES. ? Jesus fellowships might allude to religious colleges?
18. SESSIONS. cd.
19. CRITICS. cd.
21. TUCKER. Little Tommy Tucker, tucker is a type of bib.
22. FELLOW. Robin Goodfellow is Puck, a mischievous sprite.
24. SASH. (i)S + ASH.

24 Responses to “Guardian 24,538 – Rover”

  1. don says:

    20A StickLer?

  2. beermagnet says:

    16D There are colleges called Jesus at both Oxford and Cambridge.
    I too have question marks against Anarchists and Salt.

  3. Jake says:

    ‘Anarchists’ I think is as if you’re being told by someone giving a description of ‘An ruly lot that wont take orders’ ???

  4. LongMac says:

    21D As in: he put on his best bib and tucker?

  5. jvh says:

    I understood 24A as “mariners can sail in a steamship, even though it has no sails”.

  6. JohnR says:

    20ac STICKLER – I can’t understand this, Don. For a start, what is the definition?

    24ac SAIL – I can’t see the wordplay.

    For my taste, there are too many cds and dds. I don’t mind if the clues are as witty and elegant as Rufus’, but…

  7. Mort says:

    Thanks for the blog Ciaran. Glad I’m not the only one having trouble with 24ac and most of the bottom-left

  8. jvh says:

    Hi JohnR.

    I think the definition for 20A is “stern pedant”, and the wordplay is S + tickler (as Ciaran says). A tickler can be a cane — remember Ken Dodd’s tickling stick.

  9. mhl says:

    I enjoyed the top half of this crossword, but got stuck on the bottom left, largely because I wasn’t happy about putting ANARCHISTS, CRITICS and COLLEGES in to the grid – none of them seemed cryptic enough…

  10. Andrew says:

    I agree with Jvh about SAIL (which I didn’t understand at the time) and STICKLER.

    I found this one quite hard going, and like others wasn’t impressed by some of the clues: 16dn, in particular, needs a question mark or similar indicator, as “Jesus” is an example of a College, not a definition.

    For 13dn I suppose “unruly” could mean “not having rules”.

  11. Garry says:

    I agree with the unsatisfactory clues/answers identified by other bloggers but I did like 14ac and 24dn.

  12. John says:

    What’s pincer got to do with hooker?
    Stickler makes no sense, whatsoever way it is looked at.
    14 ac needs a second anagrind for pieta.
    All in all, this was hard work and not in a good way.
    Once again Rover’s attempts to be intricate tend towards the abstruse.

  13. John says:

    I mean 11 ac

  14. Richard says:

    A stern pedant is a stickler (as in ‘a stickler for rules’). The ‘s provides s, + tickler which is a cane (Pip’s sister had that name for it in Great Expectations).

  15. John says:

    Richard: I quite understand how to arrive at the answer, but I’ve looked up a dozen online dictionaries and nowhere do I find tickler equating to a cane. It’s just that it’s so arcane, (pun intended). I’m sure Pip’s sister would have had no problem with it, but I do.

  16. Geoff Moss says:

    John, ‘tickler’ is defined as ‘a cane’ in Chambers.

  17. Richard says:

    John, sorry if I was teaching you to suck eggs. Personally I found it hard enough to work out the logic even when I’d got the answer.

  18. Roger Murray says:

    A deeply unsatisfying crossword, I too put in most of the questionable answers but was at a loss to explain them. Pretty much gave up on the last few clues as my enthusiasm all but left the building.

  19. Eileen says:

    I really didn’t like this at all, for most of the reasons put forward above, and also that I thought 18 and 19 dn were weak clues.

    I didn’t intend to comment today, because I don’t like to be so totally negative, but I have been waiting all day for a satisfactory explanation of 20ac. Never mind Pip’s sister’s cane, I’m still struggling to see the significance of the inclusion of ‘stern': to me, a pedant is, simply, a stickler – and there are those who say I should know. [OED: “Beaufort was no stickler for pedantic rules” 1879] I think we must be missing something: could it be that the ‘s’ is at the end, ‘stern’ of ‘pedant’s’? – but no, surely, because then the definition would not be at the beginning or end of the clue, which is very unusual but not, as I recall, totally unknown.

    Deeply unsatisfying indeed!

  20. Eileen says:

    PS: I should have said it was particularly disappointing because it started off so well: I really liked 8ac!

  21. Duncan says:

    re 16dn Oxbridge colleges all have ‘fellows’, and there are Jesus colleges at both Universities. I therefore read this as a cd based on the interpretation of ‘fellowship’.

  22. ACP says:

    The last of couple of Rover puzzles have been pretty disappointing.
    I think I will skip any Rovers in future – not much fun to be had.

  23. John says:

    Richard: No intention of accusing you of unnecessary training in ovi combibendum (Notre Dame University Latin Dictionary). Not having Chambers among my modest collection of dictionaries, I did search the online version. No mention of tickler at all, viz.

    Enter your search and choose your title from the drop-down menu.
    Chambers 21st Century DictionaryChambers ThesaurusChambers Biographical Dictionary 1997 edition
    Search Results for ‘tickler’

    Sorry, no entries for tickler were found.

  24. Geoff Moss says:

    Chambers 21st Century Dictionary doesn’t have anywhere near as many words or definitions as the main Chambers. The on-line version of Chambers 11th Ed. (you can get a 1 month free trial) gives the following (as does the printed version):

    tickler (noun)
    someone or something that tickles
    a puzzle, a difficult problem (informal)
    a feather-brush
    a poker
    a cane
    a device for reminding
    a dram of spirits

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