Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,590 (Pasquale)

Posted by diagacht on January 7th, 2009


A straightforward puzzle with some delightful clues

9 CONTENDER: CON (prisoner) + TENDER (fragile)
11 TRICKLE: R (river) in TICKLE (to pet)
12 WHOOPEE: HOOP (band) in WEE (a short time)
13 ALTER: hALTER, only part of this equine equipment
14 DISSIDENT: DI (little princess) + SID in SENT (ecstatic)
16 GADSDEN PURCHASE: anagram of CHARGED USA SPEND, being the Treaty of La Mesilla
19 ET TU BRUTE: ET (film) + TU (trade union) + BRUTE (thug)
21 SHRED: last letter of papeR in SHED
22 PHOENIX: anagram of HOPE + NIX (as in nothing or O which is often coded ‘love’)
23 BOLOGNA: LOG (record) in A NOB (reversed). The clue states ‘goes round’ which is used both for going round and being reversed.
24 FRAME: R (Ryvita primarily, first letter) in FAME.
25 TABLEWARE: TA (territorial army) + BLEW (drifted) + A RE (royal engineers)
1 ACUTE ANGLE: a kind of double definition – something known to mathematicians while also perhaps a description of a report (angle) of a row (an acute situation). Not happy with my explanation here. See Andrew’s much better explanation in the comments.
2 INDICTED: IN (home) + CID (reversed) + TED (presumably referring to teddy boys)
3 PECKER: CK (odd bits of CaKe) in PEER
4 ADZE: homophone of ‘adds’
5 BROWN SAUCE: BROWN (PM) + anagram of CAUSE. Being a HP sauce.
7 WIMPLE: MP in WILE (trick)
8 BYRE: a farm building, a cowhouse, with a cow (neat, archaic or dialect) inside
14 DON QUIXOTE: IX (nine) in DON (academic) citation (quote)
17 DUBONNET: DU (‘of’ in French) + BONNET (headgear)
18 AEROGRAM: A + anagram of OGRE + RAM (beast)
20 TROJAN: ORT (reversed, being a fragment) + JAN (time after Christmas)
21 SILVER: SLIVER with letters LI twisted around. I have some difficulty with clues that demand a reordering of words/letters that are not actually in the clue, but it seems to be common practice.
22 PUFF: UP (at university, reversed) + FF (two females)
23 BABE: being endless BABEl

49 Responses to “Guardian 24,590 (Pasquale)”

  1. Andrew says:

    Hi diagacht, a nice puzzle as you say.

    1 dn is a homophone of “a queue tangle” – a queue is a row (rhymes with hoe) of people.

  2. brisbanegirl says:

    Gidday (sorry … very corny)

    After Andrew’s advice yesterday I thought I’d do a puzzle “real time” with you lot.

    I enjoyed the puzzle, but I must admit I struggle with some of the UK abbreviations.

    Oh … and I didn’t get it out.

    Hope it’s not too cold over there….

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi again Brisbanegirl – yes is IS too cold over here! Slightly warmer than yesterday but still below freezing..

    A few more points
    – 23ac: I think the inclusion of LOG is indicated by “keeping”, so “going round” isn’t being used in two ways.

    – I hadn’t heard of the GADSDEN PURCHASE, and it was hard to guess from the anagram until I’d got most of the crossing letters.

    – a nice nod to one of Pasquale’s alter egos in 14dn

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Diagacht.

    I enjoyed this, although I held myself up for a while in the bottom right hand corner by putting in SHERD for 21ac.

    Andrew, I think I would say ‘rather less cold’, rather than warmer!

    On 24th December, Pasquale said he was due to lose his gall bladder today. Hope all goes well, Pasquale!

  5. brisbanegirl says:

    Oh dear,

    I think I might be hooked.

    As a newcomer, I don’t understand your comment about 14dn … am I missing something terribly obvious to everyone else.

  6. Daniel says:


    As a newcomer, I don’t understand your comment about 14dn … am I missing something terribly obvious to everyone else.

    Pasquale also sets as Quixote and Bradman. All famous Dons

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Brisbanegirl: yes, you may very well be hooked!

    Pasquale is one of the pseodonyms of DON Manley, ace crossword setter. His others are Duck, Bradman, Giovanni and Quixote.

  8. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, pipped again! Sorry, Daniel!

  9. Daniel says:

    Thanks Eileen, I hadn’t heard of Duck or Giovanni. Maybe there’s room for a Corleone?

  10. Eileen says:

    Diagacht: I was having problems with ‘wee’ = a short *time*. I think the penny’s just dropped – presumably it’s WEE[k]?

  11. brisbanegirl says:

    Holy Dooley (again corny),

    I have so much to learn …

    But …Probably, you already know … but the setter you knew as “auster” …. I knew as “southern cross”…. she was the women that opened it up my eyes.

  12. Paul B says:

    There was Plodge too. Was she Australian? Or maybe she was based in Europe (but not – I think – in Blighty).

    Good puzzle, but as for ‘Alien charged USA spend being for a bit of Mexico’ I don’t really know! And that’s just the problem, since unless you know the answer already you’re not going to solve it by unravelling the anagram. Cardinal sin from the Inquisitor, IMHO, whose definition (an attempted &lit, one supposes) doesn’t help all that much either.

    Pint of Gadsden, please barman.

  13. ilan caron says:

    Agree with everyone about the GADSDEN PURCHASE — obscure even to Americans (as myself) and very hard to work out from the anagram fodder. I looked it up for my part. Surprising slip by one of the masters of compilation.

  14. mhl says:

    Best wishes to Pasquale for today.

    This was a top quality puzzle – like everyone else, it seems, I found GADSDEN PURCHASE the most tricky and also didn’t get BYRE, although I’m kicking myself for not doing so. Oh, and I hadn’t heard of “ort” either – another one for the list…

  15. Paul B says:

    As was ‘Politician caught in trick covers head’. WIMPLE can certainly be a (somewhat rare, or archaic) verb according to the refs, but would this part of speech not require WIMPLES?

  16. Paul B says:

    Actually, not even that. It means ‘to ripple’, or ‘to cause to lie in folds’ in that sense.

  17. Testy says:

    I guess we were meant to read it as “Politician caught in trick [it] covers head”

  18. Geoff Anderson says:

    Paul B, are you saying that ‘covers head’ is not a valid definition for a wimple because ‘covers head’ is a verbal phrase, not a noun? If so, I would agree, but isn’t this habit of shorthand / elided definitions becoming more common? The definition really is [something that] covers head isn’t it? Are compilers pushing the envelope here?

    I appreciated learning about the ‘Don’ self references.

    Don’t get what ‘being’ is doing in the Gadsden clue.

  19. Paul B says:

    Hi Geoff.

    Yes is the short answer. I suppose it’s a bit like the Guardian’s habit of defining place names using an adjectival phrase, e.g. ‘in Hampshire’ for ‘Basingstoke’. Not all the papers allow this ‘freedom’ (or sloppiness), and with good reason IMV.

    It’s the more surprising to me to see this kind of so-called libertarianism in the puzzle of one who so avidly touts the message of Ximenes – very strange.

  20. Geoff says:

    I had a lot of trouble with the bottom right hand corner of this one – having LP instead of LOG stuck in my mind for the ‘record’ in 23ac. AEROGRAM took me a while, and 23dn is one of those clues which it is difficult to get a handle on – I recognised that it was probably an &lit, but this didn’t help until I had both the connecting letters.

    I always find Pasquale one of the most difficult of Guardian setters. He does produce some splendidly misdirecting clues. 9ac is a good example: the comma after ‘Prisoner’ is very deceptive – it disguises the fact that the caesura in the clue is between ‘fragile’ and ‘person’.

    I enjoyed the splendid &lit of 16ac, being familiar with the GADSDEN PURCHASE (the only bit of Mexico which was actually bought rather than just grabbed by the USA). 17dn is &lit also.

    ‘Mathematicians know all about this’ seemed a rather weak definition for 1dn, but am I missing some subtlety here?

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    What’s going on? The other week I was doing well with puzzles you all called hard, now you are all calling them easy and I’m seriously struggling. Oh well, guess it will even out.

    Yes that’s right, I was doing well with the hard ones. Just thought I’d throw that in for the benefit of the foul mouthed person who suggested I shouldn’t be doing puzzles. It’s just a question of wavelength, we all have different experiences and backgrounds, so some people I understand, others you understand. (btw, from yesterday, the correct words for me would be ginnel or snicket, see what I mean about background?)

    Had to laugh at the on-line version, it had Acute Algle.

  22. smutchin says:

    Paul B [19] – I wonder if he thinks he can get away with it because it’s the Guardian? (Pasquale, if you read this, I’m only joking!)

    I think the clue is sound as long as you read the subsidiary part as standing for the solution word in the definition, viz “[Wimple] covers head.” I don’t consider this “pushing the envelope” as Geoff Anderson suggests, as it seems to be a long-standing convention, albeit not necessarily a universally accepted one.

    Another possibility is that the clue has been badly edited!

    PS following Uncle Yap’s recommendation yesterday, I had a look at the Cinephile Christmas FT puzzle and thoroughly enjoyed it – even if some of the clues are decidedly non-Ximenean! Definitely worth a look.

  23. Fletch says:

    Not sure I understand the fuss on this occasion regarding the use of anagram fodder for an obscure answer, it’s something Pasquale does fairly often.

  24. John says:

    The only thing I didn’t like was the use of the apostrophe in “that’s” in 8 dn to mean “has” rather than “is”. One would never do this in practice, and I’ve always found it irritating.

  25. Dave Ellison says:

    I’m with Geoff that I find Pasquale the most difficult setter; after 30 mins I had only 5 clues completed. The old stand by of putting it aside for a few hours helped. 14 d I struggled with: I had _uix___ but couldn’t see the word – if only I could remember the rule “wherever there is a u try a q”!

    I didn’t get 1a either, but this was my own petard, as I had used PIER in 3d. Ugh, careless!

  26. PaulD says:

    Chambers has “wee” as a noun as well as an adjective – “a short distance, a short time”.
    It’s certainly a new one for me.

  27. Paul B says:

    The ‘fuss’ if any is due to yours truly, who doesn’t think it fair in daily puzzles to anagram obscure (or even potentially obscure) answers.

    Why? Because you can’t (necessarily) solve the clue with the information the compiler gives you. You have to know the answer from your general knowledge in this case, or you’re cream crackered.

  28. smutchin says:

    I’d have thought an anagram was the least controversial clue type for an obscure word or phrase because the answer is literally there in the clue – all you have to do is re-order the letters into something that makes sense…

    Given the word count and the checking letters, there’ll only be so many words in the English language that can possibly fit. In this case, more than half the letters are checked.

  29. Fletch says:

    Yes, I understand what you meant, which is why I said ‘on this occasion’.

  30. Eileen says:

    PaulD: many thanks. That’s a real surprise – I didn’t even think of looking it up!

  31. PBE says:

    Paul B, thanks for the verbal form of wimple: suddenly, fifty years too late, Hopkins’s “wimpling wing” in the Windhover makes sense.

    PaulD, I’ve come across guest houses and B&Bs called “Bide a wee”.

  32. Brian Harris says:

    Didn’t get 25ac or 23dn today, but otherwise really enjoyed this. Never heard of the Gadsden Purchase, but had “purchase” filled in and “g-d-d-n” for the first word, so left it there assuming that it was some region of Mexico.

    Re 12ac, WHOOPEE, I thought “wee” was the “short time”, but my colleague pointed out that it’s more likely to be “WEEK” minus the K.

    Liked 15 down – TREAD WATER. Nice wordplay.

    Not too sure about “sent” for “ecstatic” though in 14ac – ‘transported’, yes, maybe, but “sent” ?

  33. smutchin says:

    R&B singer Sam Cooke had a hit many moons ago with “You Send Me”, using send in that sense. Not a common usage, agreed.

  34. Tom Hutton says:

    I think “sent” is probably some of that hipster late fifties and early sixties stuff. (Man, he really sends me!)

    Whatever anyone says 16ac is a poor clue if the answer is not, in fact, fairly general knowledge. Even with all the cross letters in in still might be Gedsdan or Gadsden. Not much fun if you are not near a googlepoint.

    Niggle city: is “whoopee” the same as “wonderful”? Whoopee has a lot more pep in it than wonderful.

  35. Paul B says:

    Precisely, and that could apply to any anagrammed recondite answer: that’s why the GADSDEN PURCHASE is 100% unfair.

    ‘Gadsden’ (being someone’s surname) isn’t ‘in the English language’ in any helpful sense, and it sure as eggs ain’t in my dictionary. Or my head.

  36. stiofain_x says:

    I agree with the complaints about 16ac, have setters decided that because of google obscurities like this are now acceptable?
    I like learning new things from cryptics but think the more obscure the answer the tighter the clue should be.
    Like Eileen I also had wee(k) as short time in 12ac.
    Where are all the disgruntled mathematicians today?
    I read 1 down as being a reference to the rest of a cirle (all) ie a reflex angle is about the acute angle so mathematicians know all (is) about this.
    Good luck with the op Don.

  37. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, whatever is all the fuss about? Does it *really* matter, if you’re on a train, or otherwise googleless, whether it’s GEDSDAN or GADSDEN? If that’s the only gap I had left, I would consider that, to all intents and purposes, I’d ‘finished’ the puzzle, having worked out the wordplay – and, later, learned something in the process.

  38. Paul B says:

    Yes, quite frankly.

  39. Paul B says:

    (Well, it matters to *me*, I should really say.)

  40. crikey says:

    Did anyone else have ‘Miami’ for 10ac? I think it works just as well – ‘Mia’ + ‘M1′.

    It was the first answer I put in, thus making the top right corner pretty tricky… Ho hum… Also, can someone explain how ‘sent’ means ‘ecstatic’? I’m sure I’m probably being a bit dense, but I don’t get it. Cheers!

  41. crikey says:

    Sorry, just seen the ‘sent’ discussion further up (32 – 34)…

  42. Dave Ellison says:

    I had the feeling that 16a was the first entry for Pasquale when he was compiling this crossword, that is he wanted it in intentionally. It’s hard to believe he would be lucky enough to squeeze this in at a later stage.

    This mathematician wasn’t too chuffed about 1d. It’s a bit like when people equate arithmetic with maths. Whilst arithmetic is part of maths, its such a trivial part compared to the huge realm of maths beyond. I don’t think there is much to know about acute angles.

  43. Pasquale says:

    Thanks everyone — nice to come home to this after gall bladder extraction at noon!

  44. aferick says:

    Personally, I love these discussions, but, sometimes, I wonder if some people are suffering from footnote disease.
    16ac I got from the anagram and the crossing letters and was delighted to discover something I didn’t know.
    10ac. Crikey: Of course I filled in Miami first.
    23d. I didn’t get and still don’t understand – Babble/Babel… what does it matter as long as…
    Pasquale: Apparently we don’t really need the gall bladder. It’s just a source of unnecessary bile. Welcome back to whisky!

  45. Paul B says:

    Gate of God is where it’s at, Aferick.

  46. Jim says:

    I must say, as an American it’s surprising to see “Gadsen Purchase” which most Americans probably never heard of.
    But my elementary school geography class served me well here.

  47. PaulD says:

    Quite so, Eileen.

    County not finished – leg bye and run, but surgically removed (4,7)
    Time for bed methinks.

  48. Paul (not Paul) says:

    It was hard and I didn’t help myself with a couple of wrong clues.

    Did no-one else have (S)ADDLE for 13 across?
    And I had DAEMONIC rather than DEMONIAC for 6 down.

  49. KG says:

    Absolutely – daemonic and demoniac as anagrams of comedian – diabolical indeed. Not to mention the quest for ‘comedian’ being an anagram for a word meaning ‘out of order’. And Miami for Emily. This made hard work of the top right corner until all mind blocks were removed (going for dissonant instead of dissident, for example).

    But I did enjoy Brown Sauce.

    The Gadsden Purchase? We do live and learn don’t we.

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