Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,574/Rover

Posted by Andrew on December 17th, 2008


A bit of a mixed bag today, with some very simple anagrams a a few nice clues, but also some rather weak ones, and a couple of obscure (to me) references.

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

1. ROMANS RANSOM* – it’s always nice to get started with a simple clue for 1 across
5. FOOLSCAP FOOL’S CAP – a bit weak, I think, as the name of the size of paper comes from the dunce’s cap meaning.
9. CREATION REACTION* – another simple anagram, and the reference to Haydn’s Creation is pretty obvious too.
10. LAUNCH A in LUNCH, though I don’t think lunch is necessarily a “light” meal.
11. ANAESTHETIST cd – one who “numbs” in an operating theatre
13. PLOT dd
18. REST A spider is a type of cue rest used in snooker
26. RISING IS in RING. The wordplay is confusing but sound: you have to read it as “Clink [with] is in”
2. OURS Hidden – if you accept “of” as a hidden indicator.
4. SPIRAL dd – My mathematical background rebels against this – a spiral does not consist of “connected circles”
6. OKLAHOMA Oklahoma is (so Wikipedia tells me) nicknamed the Sooner State, and OK is its abbreviation. I don’t know where “rather than later” comes in, if anywhere.
7. STUNT TUN in ST. This is quite clever, with “small” belonging to “keep” rather than “barrel”, as appears at first sight.
8. ANCESTRESS cd – though an ancestress needn’t be “first” in line.
12. ALCOHOLICS cd – reference to Alcoholics Anonymous
15. TYRANNIES TRY* ANNIE’S – reference to the cartoon character Little Orphan Annie.
16. MIGRANTS MIG(hty) RANTS – as in migrating birds
19. SITTER “Sitta” is the Latin name of the Nuthatch genus. Pretty obscure, I think.
21. SALTO A LT (lieutenant) in SO – a jump or somersault
22. THIN dd – thin ice is dangerous.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,574/Rover”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. As you say, a bit of a mixture.

    I liked 11ac: an old favourite but a nice treatment and, yes, 7dn is very good. I didn’t much like ‘hostile’ for an anagram indicator: I think ‘mixed’ might have been better.

  2. don says:

    Thanks for explaining that ‘stunt’ = ‘keep small’. Got the answer, but couldn’t see why ‘stunt’ = ‘keep’. Does ‘sooner rather than later’ imply ‘Oklahoma’ starts with ‘OK’?

  3. smutchin says:

    I’ve been trying to come up with a way for “rather than later” to indicate “lahoma” but I can’t. I think it’s just for the surface.

  4. Rob says:

    I had Salco for 21d, figuring LC was Lieutenant Colonel and the answer referred to the ice-skating move so often prefixed with the phrase ” It’s all gone wrong on the triple….”. I should have checked Chambers first, as that’s spelled Salchow after the Swedish skater who originated the move.

  5. smutchin says:

    Talking of 21d, can a salto really be described as “daring”, or is that just there facilitate “very” being shoehorned into the clue?

  6. Geoff says:

    6dn: The use of standard two letter abbreviations for states of the USA is relatively recent, so ‘OK’ for OKLAHOMA postdates the use of the nickname ‘Sooner State’. Does this explain the ‘rather than later’? Bit thin?

    Found this one mostly easy, but I was slowed down a bit (as usual) by the large number of CDs and DDs. To nitpick, the ‘A’ in the clue for 20ac is superfluous and misleading – I spent a while looking for a word meaning ‘model’ which, when prefixed with the letter A, gave a word meaning ‘interpretation’.

    Although not especially ‘good at integral and differential calculus’ (see yesterday’s crossword) I do ‘know the scientific names of beings animalculous’ – so I was able to get 19dn without artificial aid. But to be really pedantic, the clue should read: ‘Percher from the nuthatch genus…’. The nuthatch family is Sittidae!

  7. Geoff says:

    PS: Chambers gives as its first definition of SALTO – ‘a daring leap’.

  8. beermagnet says:

    Thanks for putting us right on the genus/family of Nuthatches. One of my favourite little birds. I got sitter for 19D, thinking the homophone was with “psitta” (or something like that) remembering that this was something to do with parrots from the disease psittacosis, and so thought I’d learnt something about Nuthatches being related to parrots somehow. Now I find that the Order of parrots is Psittaci and, of course, they are very different from Nuthatches. Confusing taxonomic homophony though.

    For 4D SPIRAL I thought the whole clue was some kind of CD, but one that looks suspiciously like a single definition.

  9. smutchin says:

    Thanks, Geoff. I thought it was just another word for a bogstandard somersault, but I guess not!

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    21d is “so” = “very”? When I was at school in the north of England, we were discussing MacMillan’s “… most of our people have never had it so good”. I suggested (from the perspective of our family) that this could mean “we have never had it very good”, but my English teacher dismissed this as a possibilty.

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Sorry, “possibility”. Oh, for an editor.

  12. Ian says:

    Apart from 25a where went in with both feet with “Proposal”( Support = prop ) I found this easy.

    Liked 7d referring to the action of keeping something deliberately small.

  13. RustyC says:

    Nobody complained about 16d, where “migrants” = “birds”. Not a very very direct relationship. I know of plenty of migrants that are not birds and plenty of birds that are not migrants!

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