Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,556/Boatman

Posted by Andrew on November 26th, 2008


I blogged what I think was Boatman’s first puzzle a few weeks ago, and here he is again. The consensus then seemed to be that he was a promising addition to the stable, and again in this puzzle there are some very nice clues, including a couple of brilliant “anagram &lit”s, but I also have a few nitpicks.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

5. ATISHOO Homophone (or near-homophone, depending how you say it…) of “at issue”
10. ASIA Hidden – nice one I thought, with “Where most live” as the definition.
12. ONE-TWO (OWEN TO) – a manoeuvre in football
13. ICE CUBES CUBE in ICES. The cube of a number is its third power. My elderly relatives used to ask me if I wanted “an ice”, meaning an ice-cream, so ices are summer treats, but the double use of the word in the answer and the wordplay is pretty weak.
14. WHITE FISH Spoonerism of “fight wish”
17. SPARE dd
19. ROALD DAHL (HAD A DROLL)* – Dahl wrote the children’s book James and the Giant Peach.
23. FRUITLET FRUIT LET. Unless I’m missing something this is a bit weak – Chambers gives “offspring of animals” as an archaic meaning of “fruit”, but in any case it just seems to be a metaphorical version of the usual sense.
24. APHIDS HID in SAP &lit
28. BUS STOP (POTS SUB)< – clever use of “vessel” in two senses.
29. UNLUCKY U(ntouchables) + CLUNK* + Y(ou)

3. PLANT PLAN T. I don’t like T= “end product”
6. TRAVEL T + RAVEL. Maurice Ravel wrote a lot more than just that Boléro. I’m not keen on “Top trio” meaning “Top of trio”.
15. TERMINALS (TRAMLINES)* &lit – Boatman’s on a roll here!
18. PARVENU (PERU VAN)* – dodgy wording here: the “in” is redundant.
20. LIAISON AIL< + I + SON (French “his”)
22. BLOTTO B LOTTO – though Lotto is a game rather than “gaming”
25. HINDU HIND + U (“you”)

29 Responses to “Guardian 24,556/Boatman”

  1. Dawn says:

    Thanks for 5ac since I couldn’t think of anything to fit in there at all.

    I also hadn’t realised 15d was an anagram. I’d been trying to think of a longer word than terminus.

    I did enjoy this puzzle.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    23a The term “fruit of one’s loins” is fairly common as a euphemism for children.

    There seemed to be a transport theme running through the puzzle taking in six answers and several bits of clues.

  3. smutchin says:

    Andrew, agree with your assessment – some totally brilliant clues that more than made up for the minor gripes. My gripe, which you haven’t picked up on, is the “U” in 25dn – the clue has “solvers, say” which gives “you” but the final vowel sound in Hindu is more of an “oo”, so it’s not strictly homophonic. Eileen’s husband wouldn’t be pleased!

    You mentioned 9dn, which is excellent, but I also really liked 1ac and 26ac. And 13ac might not be one of the strongest clues but I thought the misleading use of power cleverly done.

  4. Ralph G says:

    I agree with the above. Several brilliant clues, a few dodgy ones. Very enjoyable post-prandial puzzle.

  5. Andrew says:

    Smutchin – I did think of mentioning the problem of U in 25dn, but actually I think it’s just about OK if you regard the U=”you” as being the letter U added to HIND, rather than as a homophone of part of the solution word itself. I’ve seen clues where the same sort of thing is done less convincingly, and it’s certainly a debatable point.

    I agree cube=power was nicely misleading – I nearly gave up on explaining the wordplay on that one, but it hit me just in time.

  6. don says:

    ” … the double use of the word in the answer and the wordplay is pretty weak.” Andrew, can you explain your criticism of ‘ice cubes’, please?

  7. mhl says:

    The transport-related &lits were excellent. :) Like Dawn, we were stumped by ATISHOO, although I’m kicking myself now…

  8. Brian Harris says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle.

    Lots of great themed clues – particularly liked the transport-based anagrams. And ATISHOO had us scratching our heads for a long time.

  9. JohnR says:

    Brilliant &lits – a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Online, 14 ac is (9). Shouldn’t it be (5,4)?

  10. Boatman says:

    Dear god, you lot are quick! Thanks for all the encouraging comments and crits – I can’t speak for the more experienced setters, but for someone like me this kind of feedback is priceless, so keep up the good work …

    By the way, in case you’re still wondering, last month’s puzzle was indeed my first piece for the Guardian, though you’ll have seen what I do if you subscribe to 1 Across magazine – their details are on my website, along with mine, if you feel we’re on the same wavelength and are moved to get in touch.

    Looks after type used in lettering (4,7) …

  11. Paul B says:

    Do you have an .url for us, Boatman?

  12. Eileen says:

    Well, the only thing I could think of for 5ac to begin with was ‘A TISSUE’! [And, without looking at the enumeration, SKATEBOARD for 1ac]

    Smutchin: I took 25 dn as Andrew did. And my husband was selective in the homophones he hated – it was only those where the Scots speak ‘properly’ [pronouncing ‘rs’ and ‘hs’in words where they occur], unlike us English, that he hated!

    Thanks for the entertaining puzzle, Boatman – nice to hear from you. [My only ‘gripe’

  13. Eileen says:

    Sorry, I clicked ‘submit’ by mistake, having decided not to mention my ‘gripe’ – it was that 14ac was clued as 9 letters.

  14. Colin Blackburn says:

    Paul B, Boatman’s name is the link to his webpage.

  15. Ian Hinds says:

    Well, I have to say that I really enjoyed this one. Especially TRAMLINES, TRAINSPOTTERS and 1a. Elegance personified.

    Keep them coming Boatman.

  16. Colin Blackburn says:

    …sorry, that sounded like a cryptic indication. What I mean is, in the bit that says “Boatman Says” at the top of his comment the word Boatman is clickable. In fact any commenter can include a url connected to their name. If the name is in (by default) blue then it should lead somewhere.

  17. mhl says:

    Eileen: “whitefish” is given as one word in the copy of Chambers I have here (7th edition) under the entry for “white”. I think that means that it meets Prof. Stephenson’s criterion…

    It’s good to hear from you, Boatman, and thanks for the excellent crossword.

  18. Phaedrus says:

    I liked this puzzle a lot – not ridiculously hard, just lots of clever, satisfying clues. 9d and 15d were gems, but my fave was ATISHOO – very cute. I wasn’t keen on the U on HINDU – it might be technically allowable, but seemed rather inelegant though. Overall though, bravo Boatman!

  19. smutchin says:

    Eileen, I hope I didn’t comment out of turn but since I’ve been reading fifteensquared – and your entertaining and enlightening daily comments – dodgy homophones make me think of your husband! I’ll try to remember the Scottish-only rule in future. I also agree with Andrew that the clue is “just about OK” but it’s more or less the only thing I could find to complain about in the puzzle!

    Boatman, great to hear from you – keep up the good work!

  20. Tom Hutton says:

    Most enjoyable

  21. Mort says:

    I know it’s all been said before, but 9d and 15d were brilliant. Thanks a lot Boatman. :)

  22. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Mhl: I didn’t bother looking it up – it was just that Andrew had blogged WHITE FISH as two words and that’s how I would have thought of it.

    Smutchin: of course you didn’t comment out of turn!

  23. Trench Adviser says:

    This was my first Boatman crossword and I really enjoyed it. The only one I didn’t get was ATISHOO, because I had never seen that word written down. However, I was distracted and missed the homophone indicator which was silly considering it is one of the common ones. Good stuff.

  24. muck says:

    As I have said before, it is great to see setters contributing to 15sqd. Thanks, Boatman. In general, I agree with many of the comments posted above. I failed to get 5ac ATISHOO, or 8dn OBSCENE, but both clues are good. I wasn’t sure about 15dn TERMINALS – the clue is clever, but trams generally reverse at their terminals rather than turning round.

  25. Dave Ellison says:

    I enjoyed this. Didn’t get 5ac, either, and I was convinced 1ac was car port, but couldn’t quite see why (for now obvious reasons).

    Must disagree a little about 9d; the anagram didn’t need much tinkering to see the answer straight away.

  26. Eileen says:

    You’re right, Dave, of course, but, as has been said before, it’s not always the speed of getting the answer that’s the criterion. You can labour a long time over a clue and still be disappointed when you get the answer. This one was just such a great &lit., like 15dn, I thought, despite Muck’s [fair] comment!

  27. muck says:

    Dave, I had CAR PORT too, even though I couldn’t find ORT as a boat.
    Eileen, I was a little pedantic about 15dn: ‘reverse’ and ‘turn round’ are more or less synonyms.
    Anyway, good to have another successful puzzle from our new setter.

  28. Phaedrus says:

    Back in th’old days, trams were driven onto railed turntables, which were manually wheeled round by the driver before heading off in the direction from whence they came. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I was delighted to see the system still is use there, for their famous trolley cars. A real stroll down amnesia lane.

  29. Neil says:

    Eileen, it’s not just the Scots. Most of the west side of England properly pronounces ‘rs'; not only where I am in the deep southwest but further east and in Shropshire and Lancashire too. Yet even the Western Morning News unforgivably does this false homophone thing in its rather undemanding puzzle.

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