Never knowingly undersolved.

Archive for January, 2009

Guardian 24,605/Brummie

Posted by Andrew on 31st January 2009


A tough puzzle from Brummie, with a theme that eluded me for some time. The first thematic answer I got was CLOSE, which made me think they were all cricketers. It was only when I got BLESSED that I realised that the undefined solutions are all surnames of actors, neatly divided into six acrosses and six downs. Some of the surnames are of more than one person, as confirmed by the online solution.

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Posted in Guardian | 20 Comments »

Financial Times 12,988 / Bradman

Posted by Gaufrid on 30th January 2009


I found this generally up to Bradman’s usual high standard, with some good clues, but unfortunately there appears to be one significant error (4a). I am also not too happy with the wordplay in 22a.

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Posted in FT | 7 Comments »

Independent 6,955/Phi

Posted by Ali on 30th January 2009


A very quick solve for me on this one, but equally a very enjoyable one. I’ve been trying my hand at writing a few puzzles of my own of late and there’s so much good stuff in this puzzle from which to learn. Effortlessly neat and elegant clues with barely an ounce of fat on any of ’em. Excellent work, Phi.

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Posted in Independent | 4 Comments »

Guardian 24,610/Arachne

Posted by Andrew on 30th January 2009


A fairly tricky puzzle from Arachne which I’ve been intermittently struggling with all morning in between trying to get some work done. Some nice clues, but I think 4dn is very poor, and I can’t see how 19dn works. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Guardian | 50 Comments »

Independent 6950/Tees (Prize Puzzle 24-01-09)

Posted by neildubya on 30th January 2009


A very enjoyable puzzle which I found pretty tough in places. I doubt I would have got 10 at all without Google and I’m still not sure about 4. Good fun though – my favourite clues were 26, 27, 1d and 9. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 7 Comments »

Enigmatic Variations 846 Three Fours by Jophu

Posted by Colin Blackburn on 30th January 2009

Colin Blackburn.

Jophu is another new setter to me so I didn’t know what to expect with this one. The clues were normal and, as it turned out, fairly straightforward. There were some very easy clues here with parts of the word play appearing en claire in the clue. This helped with getting quite a few entries into the grid and noticing that the checking letters didn’t help with some of the more stubborn clues. Luckily the easy, but very good, anagram at 48 and most of its checking letters suggested deleting the letters HAMLET. The unclued 28 then leapt out and baring the odd sticking point everything fell into place quite quickly. The error in the grid at 16 fooled me for a bit as I saw an unnumbered entry and missed the actual clue for a while. examining the rows above and below the central row the message turned out to be: REMOVE SHAKESPEARE CHARACTER(S) (though UNNEST could work in place of REMOVE but it wasn’t as cleverly hidden). I was greatly helped in this puzzle by an excellent book, Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Louise McConnell. This concise encyclopaedic guide to all of Shakespeare’s work lists all the characters down to non-speaking cameos. For future reference it has synopses of all the plays and lots of other information for the less literate crossword solver such as me. Oh, and it is also available at a remaindered price from the right outlet.

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Posted in Enigmatic Variations | 2 Comments »

Inquisitor 108 SKYLIGHT by Phi

Posted by Colin Blackburn on 30th January 2009

Colin Blackburn.

An excellent puzzle from Phi as usual. The title immediately suggested something either astronomical or related to atmospheric physics. I considered rainbows and halos but eventually, after getting some letters in 44, saw the theme as stellar. The letters in 27 represent the spectral types of the main sequence stars, essentially their temperature or colour. The main sequence is the life-line of your average star. As a star ages it traces a path along this line, represented on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram as a plot against absolute brightness, or some related quantity. I studied this diagram in minute detail for my astrophysics module as part of my physics degree. I knew I could scrape a pass by answering the one question on the H-R diagram well. I did just scrape a pass too. Still, it came in handy here.

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Posted in Inquisitor | 2 Comments »

Azed 1911 – filling the gap

Posted by Andrew on 29th January 2009


There seems to have been a bit of confusion on the blog scheduling front, with Azed 1911 not having been covered. In the interests of completeness I’ve taken the liberty of producing this rather minimalist blog. If anyone is reading and needs further clarification, please ask.

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Posted in Azed | 3 Comments »

Guardian 24,609 – Gordius

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on 29th January 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

I’ve started to dread seeing Gordius’s name when it’s my turn to blog.  As one of the harder Guardian setters I often find his puzzles impenetrable, unlike Araucaria who I tend to regard as hard but solvable given time.

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Posted in Guardian | 47 Comments »

Independent 6,954 by Nimrod

Posted by Simon Harris on 29th January 2009

Simon Harris.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

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Posted in Independent | 16 Comments »

Independent on Sunday 989 by Quixote (25 Jan 2009)

Posted by nmsindy on 29th January 2009


I found this fairly easy, with the two 15-letters entries solved straightaway. Solving time, 15 mins.

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Posted in Independent | No Comments »

Financial Times 12,987 / Orense

Posted by Gaufrid on 29th January 2009


A very pleasing puzzle, even when solving at 4am! A minor quibble with 17a but otherwise some enjoyable clues. Unusually for me the first run through generated no definite grid entries but the second pass was more fruitful (perhaps I was a little more awake by then :-)  A quick scan of my archive revealed that we only see this setter occasionally which is a pity judging by today’s offering.

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Posted in FT | 3 Comments »

FT 12,978 – Dante

Posted by Uncle Yap on 29th January 2009

Uncle Yap.

Monday Prize Crossword on 19 January 2009
dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram
1 LOCKET Sounds like “lock it”
4 TEA CHEST Ins of EACH (everyone) in TEST (trial)
9 MAIDEN dd plus &lit. In cricket, an over (6 balls delivered) when no run is scored is called a maiden who is a girl and can be a synonym for a virgin
12 ADJUTANT Cha of AD (advertisement or notice) JUT (project) ANT (worker)
13 SCORCH dd
15 TRIP dd as in tripping/setting off the alarm
16 ITINERANTS *(in transit e)
20 IRON dd
23 GOES UP *(soup e.g)
25 GRAPHITE dd (lead in lead pencil)
27 IDOLATER *(tailored)
28 VESSEL dd
29 HITHERTO Cha of HIT (success) *(other)
30 CENSUS cd (using tell as in count money in the bank)

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Posted in FT | No Comments »

Financial Times 12,977 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on 29th January 2009

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of January 10th
I had some trouble finishing this puzzle, stumped for a while by 18A and 6D. Having solved it, I think 18A is rather brilliant. And 4D is rather fine as well. However 21A and 24A are too loose for requiring one to extract an indefinite lump out of the middle of a word or phrase.

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Posted in FT | 5 Comments »

Independent 6953 by Dac

Posted by nmsindy on 28th January 2009


A mixture of some very easy and some very difficult clues, I found. Solving time, 24 mins

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Posted in Independent | 3 Comments »