Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24, 557 set by Logodaedalus

Posted by Eileen on November 27th, 2008


I don’t remember seeing  a Logodaedalus puzzle for a while, so it’s a welcome return. I found this pretty straightforward, with some nice surfaces and anagrams, although I have a couple of quibbles. I’ve learned two new words today.

dd double definition
cd cryptic definition
< reversal
* anagram


1   ANCIENT MARINER: c.d. ‘The salt of the earth’ refers to Jesus’ saying in St Matthew’s gospel: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth’, which would not be an apt description of Coleridge’s mariner.
8   BREDA: [bread]* Breda is a town in the South of the Netherlands, best known to me from the Declaration made from there by Charles II before his Restoration.
9   AMARETTO: A MA + OTTER< I think that Amaretto is the Italian almond-flavoured liqueur from which Amaretti biscuits are made, rather than the biscuit itself. [Edit – see various comments below]
15: REHOBOAMS: RE[HOBO]AMS: a Rehoboam is a wine bottle equivalent to six normal bottles; a ream is [now] 500 sheets of paper and is used in the plural as ‘lots of paper’, eg ‘to write reams’.
21  SET DOWN: simple charade
25  ABNORMAL: AB NORMA [the 1831 Bellini opera beloved of crossword setters] + L
26  AGGRO: AG GRO[ats]
27  PERSON-TO-PERSON: [“No port” response]*


1   AMBASSADRESS: AM BASS A DRESS: I didn’t like this one at all, I’m afraid! An Ambassadress is a female Ambassador, [although I think she would now be called an Ambassador] not the wife of one.  Also, the clue needs ‘a’ before frock’.
2   CHEAT: CHAT round E [end of life] – as in to cheat death, I suppose.
4   TRACKER: dd
5   ACALEPH: [CHAP]* round ALE: a class of radiate marine animals, including the jellyfish and medusa, also called sea-nettles. [My first new word]
6   IDEAL: I DEAL [softwood timber, such as pine or fir] The hyphen in ‘fairy-tale’ tells us that it’s used adjectivally. [I did for a moment toy with ‘idyll’.]
7   ECTOPLASM: [A POET’S CALM]*: the supposed 3dn from the body of a medium during a seance.
10  DESSERT SPOON: simple enough charade but what a delightful picture!
14  IMPUTABLE: I’M PUT ABLE: I’m not entirely happy with this, since it’s the offence that’s imputed to a person rather than the person being imputed with it. SOED has the latter meaning as obsolete in 1596. [I really must buy a Chambers!] [Edit – see Geoff’s comment below]
16  BATTLEAXE: BATTLE [engagement] AXE [cancel]
18  AGNOMEN: [MAN GONE]*: an agnomen was an additional [fourth] name for a Roman, eg ‘Africanus’, an agnomen given to Publius Cornelius Scipio, for his victory over Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. Believe it or not, he cropped up in discussion only yesterday!
19  TWIGLOO: TWIG [suddenly grasp] LOO [a gambling card game] A twigloo [my second new word] is a temporary circular shelter built from thin branches.
22  OBOES: O BO[n]ES
24  EDGES: hidden answer: hEDGE Sparrows

24 Responses to “Guardian 24, 557 set by Logodaedalus”

  1. don says:

    Dave Ellison Said:
    Can anyone think of another expression (or word?) that would fit:

    H_M_T_E_L_E_ ?

    Hmm It’s Eileen

    I’ll get my coat or, as they say in Oz, ‘hump the bluey’!

  2. Ian Hinds says:

    A good, largely well clued puzzle (excepting the Brummie-influenced 10d) & straightforward.

    5d a new one to me as was 19d.

  3. smutchin says:

    Eileen, re 9ac, you’re right – amaretto is the liqueur, the biscuits are amaretti (and are always referred to in the plural form, never the singular amaretto). Though the biscuits are in fact nothing to do with the liqueur, except that both are made with almonds.

    I also agree with your comment about 1dn – the wife of an ambassador indeed!

    Apart from that, I liked this puzzle for the fact that most of the words I didn’t know (15ac, 5dn and 18dn) were still gettable from the clues. I didn’t get 19dn. When I was in the scouts, we would have called such a construction a bivouac. “Twigloo” is an ugly and redundant neologism (it’s not in Collins, is it in Chambers?) to be filed alongside “Guesstimate” under Words I Don’t Like And Have No Need For.

  4. smutchin says:

    Re Logodaedalus – funnily enough, I was doing a L. puzzle in the Guardian Book Of Cryptic Crosswords 3 on the train last night and pondering the fact that we hadn’t seen the name in the paper for a while.

  5. mhl says:

    Thanks for the informative post Eileen.

    To defend 9 across somewhat, I have often heard them referred to as “amaretto biscuits” even if that’s not strictly speaking correct.

  6. Geoff Moss says:

    ““Twigloo” is an ugly and redundant neologism (it’s not in Collins, is it in Chambers?)”

    Chambers 11th Ed – a makeshift shelter made from branches, esp one set up in a tree during an environmental protest.

  7. Eileen says:

    Mhl: yes, I probably was being a bit picky re 9ac. Certainly, the surface needs the biscuit, rather than the drink. In fact, ‘amaretto biscuit’ makes more sense than ‘amaretti biscuits’, which is something of a tautology. [I know I’m going to regret having started this…]

    Smutchin: when checking this, I found an Italian recipe on the BBC website for amaretti biscuits [sic] actually made from amaretto.

    Geoff: thank you for your usual timely Chambers clarification. As I said, I must get a copy for myself.

    I’ve no objection at all to TWIGLOO – a rather nice portmanteau word.

  8. Geoff Moss says:

    “….. Chambers clarification. As I said, I must get a copy for myself.”

    Now would be a good time so to do. The normal price for the 11th Ed is £35 but an introductory offer reduced this to £25. Waterstones have added their own discount and are charging £17.50 for it, with free delivery when ordered online.

  9. smutchin says:

    Thanks, Geoff! I still don’t like the word but I can’t complain about it being used in the crossword.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    10d tickled me – I thought it was great.

    18d An on line dictionary gives:

    an additional cognomen given to a person by the ancient Romans (as in honor of some achievement)

    so “is my epithet” is a bit of back patting by Logodaedalus?

    Brilliant, Don! You were waiting for Eileen’s return before giving us this?

  11. Noel says:

    I disagree with Smutchin about ‘amaretto’ – it is used in the singular when referring to a single biscuit. So it’s perfectly OK as a clue.

  12. Geoff Moss says:

    Whilst I have Chambers in front of me (actually it never makes it back to the bookshelf :-), I will pick up on your quibble re 14d:

    Imputable – adj capable of being imputed or charged; open to accusation; ascribable, attributable.

  13. Eileen says:

    Dave: thank you for clarifying Don’s Comment 1. In my haste earlier I’d missed the ‘Don’ preface and read is as a [totally unintelligible!] comment from you. Very sorry, Don – as Dave says, ‘brilliant’!

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Geoff: perhaps it’s time for me to get my coat, too. I would still say that “capable of being imputed or charged; ; ascribable, attributable.” all seem to me to apply to the charge rather than the person, but the crucial “open to accusation” is undeniable. Interesting, though, that a particular meaning can become obsolete and then come back into currency.

  15. Eileen says:

    I know this is not really allowed but I’m taking a liberty since I’m ‘in the chair’ today. I’ve just watched ‘Countdown’ [yes] and, following yesterday’s highly-praised tramlines / terminals anagram clue, those two 9-letter words appeared [not guessed by the contestants, though – and I didn’t spot them, either1]

  16. Ralph G says:

    Eileen: I’m not sure imputable has come back into currency as used of a person. The OED has an example of that use from 1726, but the other four examples relate to imputable actions. The _verb_ impute in the sense of accuse is given as obsolete. I reckon the “open to accusation” in Chambers clears the setter of any imputable error but it may not be a good guide to current practice. Some modern citations would be persuasive. Derivation, by the way, is from the French “bring into account” so it probably started off as referring to actions rather than persons.

  17. muck says:

    Eileen, I just watched Countdown too, and did get tramlines/terminals, remembering it from yesterday’s cryptic. Sad, but thanks for the blog.

  18. Eileen says:

    Ralph G: thanks for that. That’s pretty much my feeling, too. The derivation of ‘impute’ is through French from the Latin ‘imputare’, meaning [Lewis and Short] ‘to enter into the account, to reckon, attribute as a merit or a fault to oneself or another’. I think ‘open to accusation’ in Chambers squeezes in on the coat-tails of the other definitions but, since it’s there, we have to hand it to Logodaedalus.

    [Muck; I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’d got ‘manliest’ and I don’t know whether it makes it worse or better that I thought I’d done quite well.]

  19. Brian Harris says:

    Found a few of today’s solutions rather obscure, hence this wasn’t a favourite. “Person-to-person” calls are way before my time, for example….

  20. Eileen says:

    Dave: I’ve so far neglected to reply to the rest of your Comment 10:

    An agnomen, being an ‘added-on’ name, can also be a nickname. Logodaedalus [a pseudonym I’ve long admired] comes from the Greek word ‘logos’ – ‘word’ and Daedalus, the mythical cunning craftsman, who devised the Labytinth for king Minos of Crete and, less successfully, wings for himself and his son Icarus to escape from said king, and so means ‘cunning engineer of words’, or similar, which could well apply specifically to anagrams, of which this clue is one, so I reckon that our setter is being literal rather than conceited.

  21. Eileen says:

    Sorry – meant ‘labyrinth’, of course. I’m just on my way out.

  22. stiofain_x says:

    I enjoyed this one and also learnt a few new words and loved the surface reading in 10 down.
    Re todays countdown I had manliest latrines and entrails then spotted terminals but wouldnt have got tramlines without yesterdays anagram.

  23. smutchin says:

    Re my earlier comment on amaretto – that comes from when I was a sub editor on a food magazine a few years ago. I’m sure it was in our house style guide. But on the other hand, I’m sure amaretto is widely used to describe a biscuit singularly, and I can’t argue with that. In any case, I liked the clue for its amusing surface.

  24. Ralph G says:

    Footnote on agnomen=nickname. In Collins but not in Chambers’ 10th ed. Readers of Walter Scott would know it from Waverley xvii 74 “Small pale features, from which he derived his agnomen of Bean, or white” [the bean being presumably the Faba vulgaris, with a mainly white flower, and not the red-flowered runner bean most of us grow in the garden].

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