Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24591 / Logodaedalus

Posted by mhl on January 8th, 2009


A surprisingly easy puzzle for a Thursday, which I don’t think should have posed people any particular problems. (Although I created some for myself by writing TIGERCATS into the grid instead of STRATEGIC :))

10. SCAR S[ports] + CAR (= “jalopy”)
12. LUBECK BE in LUCK for the north German town of Lübeck
26. ABSOLUTELY Double definition
27. ANDY Hidden answer, I think? Although it’s hardly hidden at all
28. FEATHER FEAT + HER; “down” as the definition is nicely misleading here
2. RECLUSE RE[st] + (CLUES)*
3. BARGE BAR + GE[t]
4. BLANKET Cryptic definition; someone who’s a “wet blanket” is “cool” in the sense of being unenthusiastic, I suppose
6. INTERN INTER + N[othing]
8. EPHESUS EP = (“Epistle”, in Collins) + HE’S + US; the surface nicely suggesting Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I’m not sure about “sent” being used to join bits of this charade, but I couldn’t support my other interpretation (that S might be an abbreviation for “sent”) with any of my dictionaries.
21. INSIDER (DESIRIN)*; I suppose “One of us” could be the Chambers meaning of “someone within a certain organisation”, but maybe there’s more to it…
22. FIGURE GU[ru] in FIRE
25. FRANK Double definition; the Franks conquered Gaul

70 Responses to “Guardian 24591 / Logodaedalus”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Mhl.

    As you say, pretty easy for a Thursday – and a mixture of good clues [13ac 23ac, 28ac, 7dn] with some really weak ones: 27ac ANDY [as you say, hardly hidden] and, particularly, OAFISH.

    I share your reservations about ‘sent’ in 8dn [although it did make a nice clue] and I’m not sure that I like ‘another’ as an anagram indicator in 21 dn. And is ABSOLUTELY really a double definition?

  2. Eileen says:

    PS: re ABSOLUTELY: it’s not your interpretation I’m questioning!

  3. brisbanegirl says:

    Good morning mhl,

    Thanks for the post. Even I managed this in record time, and in a first for me, I didn’t resort to the internet for help.

    I was pleased to see an antipodean animal in the grid … out the bandicoot was one of my first entries.

    I’m not so sure I’m happy to have been told about the online version, as I now get home from work and jump on my pc instead of making dinner … toast and vegemite again tonight.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi all. Yes, definitely an easy one, especially for a Thursday.

    There are a couple of places where a word in the clue is used directly in the wordplay, e.g. FISH in 24ac and LUCK in 12ac. Not exactly wrong but as Eileen says about OAFISH it makes the clue a bit weak, though it can work as a double bluff that makes you try CARP, LING, etc etc before spotting it.

    ABSOLUTELY is one of those double definitions where both defs are really them same – a particular bugbear of mine, as is “another” as an anagram indicator.

    21dn – I think it’s just that an insider is “one of us” (a phrase popular with Mrs Thatcher to mean those who agreed with her, I seem to remember).

  5. Geoff says:

    Very easy crossword (relatively speaking!) for ANY day of the week! Some of the clues are only very thinly cryptic. (Oddly, today’s ‘quick’ crossword was considerably trickier than usual).

    But some nice surface meanings amongst the clues. I don’t have a problem with ‘sent’ as a copula in 8dn. ‘Given’ is sometimes used in this sense, but ‘sent’ fits the letter theme of the clue (and solution) much better.

    Re 21dn, ‘one of us’ (as opposed to ‘one of them’, eg in a context such as the question ‘Is he one of us?’ – very Thatcherite) describes an ally or someone with the same philosophy – I don’t think INSIDER is too much of a stretch.

    PS There are more and more Geoffs blogging on this site. I’m thinking of adopting a pseudonym!

  6. TwoPies says:

    Thanks mhl. I found it similarly straightforward. Sadly ICI are no more.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Andrew: I didn’t mind LUBECK so much, because the surface is good, but in OAFISH it’s not just the word ‘fish’, it’s 5 letters out of 6!

  8. smutchin says:

    Well done, Brisbanegirl. It seems, in answer to your question yesterday, that yes, you are well and truly hooked. Excellent!

    Strange one today – 24a and 27a are barely cryptic but at least they are sound clues. On the other hand, 14a is an unsound clue – some people quibbled about WIMPLE yesterday but compare that to 14a in today’s puzzle to see a genuine case of an inaccurate definition: “[Kerbstone] by the way” makes no sense. “Silly berk with love nest is found at the roadside” might be better, perhaps?

    On the other other hand, I rather liked 7d and 8d, and there were some lovely surfaces, such as 17a – not a difficult clue but amusing.

    As a fan of a nice bit of grilled liver or a devilled kidney, I’m not sure about offal being described as “animal food”.

  9. Ian Stark says:

    I wasn’t so concerned with ‘by the way’ in 14a, but I refused to enter ‘andy’ for 27a until I had the a and the d. It seemed a little too obvious and I was sure there was a misdirection going on. I did feel a little let down! Similarly with ‘oafish’.

    Aside fom those niggles this was a pleasingly gentle start to the day, which has since nose-dived into purest hell.

  10. Geoff says:

    Smutchin: Isn’t OFFAL ‘animal food’ in the sense of not being ‘vegetable food’, and to fit the surface meaning better, of course.

    ICI is indeed now scattered to the winds, the residue having been sold to the Dutch company Akzo – which is far less useful in a cryptic clue charade!

  11. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks Smutchin,

    It not too hard to jump on the net when the news of the world is so dreadful and television is in the off ratings season and everything is a rerun. It’s a great diversion to do a crossword.

    The joy is I still get to do the local paper version on the train to work in the morning … it’ll only take about 6 weeks for the repeats to start.

  12. Ian Stark says:

    While I think of it, 12a (Lübeck) started me thinking about the use of diacritics and accents in clueing. Are they generally acceptable in a strictly Ximenean clue? Take the following fairly simple clue: “A portion of ragù ends up causing sickness” (this was just off the top of my head – please be gentle!). Does the fact that the ù loses its accent in the answer make this clue unfair or weak? What’s the accepted rule, if there is one?

  13. smutchin says:

    Geoff, yes, I assumed that’s what Logodaedalus meant by “animal food” but I found the clue infuriatingly misleading (which is a good thing, by the way – some of the clues were not nearly misleading enough today).

  14. smutchin says:

    Ian Stark – some strictly Ximenean puzzles will occasionally include instructions such as “ignore accents” to make it explicit, but I think the generally accepted convention is that accents and punctuation in clues are purely cosmetic.

  15. smutchin says:

    AGUE, by the way. Nice.

  16. brisbanegirl says:

    Have we reached “fever pitch”

  17. Ian Stark says:

    Thanks, Smutchin. Oh, and I wholeheartedly agree with you about offal. My cats are absolutely not EVER going to get their paws on my liver and bacon. Actually, neither are my kids. Or my wife . . .

  18. Geoff says:

    Ian S and Smutchin: Personally, I am relaxed about punctuation and even word boundaries in clues – I rather like the INDEED trick, which enrages some of our correspondents. But Ximenean fundamentalists often object to punctuation laxity, and to uncapitalised words which have to be interpreted as proper names. This strikes me as particularly pernickerty, since we all fill in crosswords using only upper case letters! But chacun a son gout…

    Brisbanegirl – as a novice, how do you feel about the tricks of the trade? And whatever is compelling you to forsake Queensland?

  19. brisbanegirl says:


    Some of the stuff you guys talk about bamboozles me. I’ve never read a book on how to do cryptics … so when you bring out some of the techo terms I just know I’m out of my league. Perhaps I will read, just to get the lingo.

    As for forsaking Queensland … never will happen … it might be after 10 at night, still over 25 degrees and a billion percent humidity, but I would rather be hot than cold.

  20. Ian Stark says:

    Geoff, when you say INDEED do you mean clues along the lines of ‘Made to stand in place indeed’ for DE(PUT)ED? I had no idea those were frowned upon! I guess said frowners would be unhappy with WITHIN for adding IN to a word, ANDANTE for ANTE etc? Shame, I thought those were rather clever tricks!

  21. Ian Stark says:

    Brisbanegirl – I’m a fairly new reader/poster to these excellent blogs and after decades of solving (I started young!) it’s only in the last few months that I learned of ‘surfaces’ and ‘lights’, ‘Ximenean’ and ‘Libertarian’. I had no idea how much of a science this hobby really is – and how much vitriol can be splashed around (by some) if rules are broken or adapted! I think I’m at the stage where knowing the ‘rules’ adds to my enjoyment. I hope I don’t get too precious though!

  22. brisbanegirl says:


    The discussion about the rules is what fascinates me, I’m hoping to learn by osmosis, but I’m not sure that will work on this site. That said, the debate is one of the things which drawn (intetional) me to the site. For me it’s a delicious lunch time read when I checking my morning’s work. Unfortunately I’m not usually asw good as I was today.

    In my local paper yesterday, was the excellent araucaia clue about the “royal pair flirting ….”, a clue I got out and laughed out loud, soooo clever. I shared it with my work colleagues, they too laughed. I hope they think my pastime is less daggy now.

  23. brisbanegirl says:


    If I think you get too precious, I’ll secretly put a princess reference into my blog. It may include the name Trevor … (not a very long story)

  24. Rich says:


    I think the “by the way” is meant to be read as “by the street” which is where you would find a Kerbstone…

    I didnt get it for a while though even though I had the definition figured out :)

  25. Rich says:


    Learning by osmosis is how I started a few months ago and I have picked up alot of invaluable info even in that short amount of time. It also helps that there have been a lot of very entertaining guardian crosswords along the way :)

  26. smutchin says:

    Rich, yes, I understood that and I even got the right answer, but my point is that the way the clue is written means it’s NOT a valid definition (“is found by the way” would be OK if you could work it into the clue). I know it’s being picky and it doesn’t really offend me, but I only mentioned it by way of comparison with the perfectly acceptable clue that some people complained about yesterday.

  27. brisbanegirl says:


    Not only are the crosswords fun, but so are the comments. I still have no clue what a lib… or a xim… is. I’m hoping to learn. The people I know that do cryptics (all one of them) just want to be stimulated and amused.’ We also read it was a “cure” for dementia … can’t start too early.

  28. Dawn says:

    I loved today’s puzzle because for once I could actually complete it without reference books or the internet and in (for me) a reasonably quick time.

    Brisbanegirl – I have been puzzling for years and I still haven’t a clue about all these rules, etc. I read the comments to learn more too!

  29. smutchin says:

    Brisbanegirl – Ximenes aka D.S.Macnutt was one of the people responsible for writing the crossword rulebook (Afrit aka A.F.Ritchie being the other). Anyone who adheres strictly to his principles is usually called a Ximenean. A Libertarian is someone such as Araucaria who is happy to bend the rules for the sake of a good clue.

  30. don says:

    Brisbanegirl, referring to Pasquale from yesterday, aka Don Manley (him what’s had his gall bladder removed), if you are looking to learn about crosswords you might try Googling his name and the words ‘crossword’ and ‘manual’.

    Unlike Brisbanegirl I’d never heard of a ‘BanditCOOt’ and put in ‘BanditCORt’, but since it was the only gap I had left, I consider that, to all intents and purposes, I’d ‘finished’ the puzzle, having worked out the wordplay :-).

    As others have said, an ‘insider’ is ‘one of us’, rather than ‘one of them’ (but I’d never use the word ‘thatcher’ and ‘popular’ in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence). As far as insiders/outsiders are concerned, I’m sure the world is divided into those who express the affirmative by using 26 Across, ‘Absolutely’, rather than ‘Definitely’.

    Hope everything’s gone OK with the op, Don.

  31. Paul B says:

    Does KERBSTONE equate grammatically to ‘by the way’?

    Well, no it doesn’t, and personally I would not be happy with ‘is found by the way’ either – “What, exactly, ‘is found by the way’?” might be my objection.

    And if Smutch doesn’t like today’s idiosyncratic definition, why is he standing up for yesterday’s transgressor? ‘Twas wrong, pure and simple, that WIMPLE.

    Plus of course the stone (by the way) may be partially excused by the fact that it’s an example of Grauniad’s now commonplace laxity viz one part of speech (an adjectival phrase, say) defining others (like nouns): ‘in Hampshire’ therefore defines BASINGSTOKE, as proffered yesterday.

  32. Derek Lazenby says:

    Drat! Too late for the nit-picks, that’s due to starting late due to visit to physio. Hmmmm, must be something? Hmmmm.

    Oh I know, Chanel. No doubt the self righteous will bleat that everyone knows, but no, everyone doesn’t know. It’s like the Oscars, this comes under the heading of superficiality. I don’t concern myself with such things, so why would I know the name?

  33. JimboNWUK says:


    As I missed the chance to comment on yesterdsay’s Pasquale I have just read the comments about how the GADSDEN PURCHASE made some of you rather TESTY, an opinion which I echo wholeheartedly.

    Perhaps there were some ancient steam trains that ran through there at the time it was purchased so that this obscure bit of Americana (unknown to many of our US readers incidentally) appeared on the radar of some solvers, but not this one. Also, the fact it was discernable from the anagrind and interlocks did not make up for the dissatisfaction of not being sure of the correct completion as Paul B quite rightly asserted. And finally, thanks to Derek for the “leg up” (sorry!) support post-Orlando on the 6th :o)

    Any road up, as far a today’s effort goes most of it was staring us in the face from the clues and this was an all-time speed record for yours truly as all the clues were covered in my postcard edition of Chambers. I had to resort to picking at Shed’s Genius puzzle for this month to fill in the time! Once I realised it wasn’t Monday, I wondered if Logodaeleus was a trainee of Rufus who was living in the outskirts of ‘anagram and not-so-hidden city’.

    Oh well tomorrow’s another day…and on the other hand….you have a different set of fingers.

  34. Testy says:


    The yardstick for fairness is surely not whether everyone will know it (as then we are back to CAT and DOG crosswords). It is whether a reasonable proportion of the target readership will be familiar with it. If a crossword includes a reference of which I am ignorant, my first reaction would not be a knee-jerk one declaiming it as unfair. I would first consider whether the majority of other readers are likely to have heard of it (or even a significant minority).

    The Gadsden Purchase was generally felt to have been something only a minority would know about (although it might be slightly more justifiable in a US paper) but surely Coco Chanel (however superficial you may consider fashion) is someone that a significant number of people are going to be familiar with?

    How are setters supposed to know what you personally have shut your mind to and why should they care so long as most other people haven’t?

  35. Andrew says:

    Derek, if you’re going to take such an extreme view about what’s worthy of your attention, then I’m afraid you will find the Guardian crossword (and probably most others) a constant source of irritation. I’m no great fan of a lot of popular culture myself, but I have no objection to it being referred to in puzzles. In fact I think it’s one of the joys of solving to find the occasional juxtaposition of high and low, for example when BART (Simpson) appeared in the wordplay for MARY BARTON a couple of days ago. (Maybe a bad example, but I hope you get the idea.)

    Crosswords would (IMHO) be less interesting if setters could never mention The Beatles, The Beano, Coronation Street, Woolworths (RIP), etc; likewise with Aida, Mozart, Paradise Lost, Caravaggio or anything to do with Shakespeare. As I was quick to comment yesterday, I’d never heard of the Gadsden Purchase, but I’m glad I know about it now.

  36. Geoff says:

    It would not surprise me if many Americans do not know about the Gadsden Purchase (anecdotal comment from Ilan Caron) – many Brits’ knowledge of their own history doesn’t extend much beyond the Battle of Hastings.

    But it WAS familiar to ME, and I was pleased with myself for knowing about it. And the clue is an excellent &lit. Pasquale is a compiler whom I admire and respect rather than revere – I always grit my teeth when attempting one of his puzzles – but he does produce a good clue, and I like his habit of throwing one or two relatively obscure words and phrases into otherwise ‘medium strength’ puzzles. As Bush might have said, it sorts out the wheat from the goats.

  37. Brian Harris says:

    Very easy today, really.

    I do find myself baulking a little about clues where the same word appears in both the definition and the answer, eg 12ac and 24ac. It just feels like a bit of a swizz.

  38. smutchin says:

    Jimbo – funnily enough, the reason for the Gadsden Purchase was to facilitate a train route.

    Paul B – I’ll defend one clue and not the other because one is grammatically sound and the other isn’t. Whether or not you approve of that type of clue is a different matter, but that type of clue is “by the book”.

  39. Ralph G says:

    One interesting word at least. BEAKER 29 derives from late Latin ‘bicarium’. The earliest spelling was ‘biker’ and the later spelling ‘beker’ is thought to be a borrowing from the Dutch for goblet. German ‘becher’ is related. ‘Bicarium’ is thought to derive from the Greek ‘bikos’, storage jar. The Herodotus citation in L&S, Histories 1.194 in the context of merchant shipping, refers to red ‘bikous’ full of wine.
    ‘PITCHER’, originally ‘picher’ comes from the same Latin word via OFr ‘pichier, picher’, originally ‘bichier’ (cf It. ‘bicchiere’ glass).
    f.n. for Latinists: I’m taking ‘bicarium’ on trust because it’s in all the sources consulted but not in Lewis and Short (1st edition!) – too late, and not in ‘Latham or ‘Souter’ because too classical in form and meaning, possibly.

  40. Harley26 says:

    It must have been easy today, I completed it!
    But I do agree with Brian, there were a couple of disappointing clues – particularly oafish andy and lubeck

  41. Eileen says:

    Don: I had heard of a bandicoot but thought it was a bird [sorry, Brisbanegirl – so glad you’re hooked. Stick with it: the osmosis does work!]. My thought about that answer was that ‘coo’ is more an expression of mild surprise than a cry of shock – can’t imagine a robber saying it [or having to suppress it]. Your ‘cor’ would be equally valid and therefore I’m in complete agreement with your comment, [which sounded oddly familiar ;-)].

  42. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well, ya see, I did suggest a railway preservation clue, and got told it had no business in a daily newspaper, despite the huge numbers of people who visit these places each year. Now you say it doesn’t matter that everybody be in the know. Shouldn’t you show a little consistency?

    I’m only arguing the case ‘cos of other peoples inconsistency, I don’t give a damn either way.

    Look at it another way, what about soccer? Look at the column inches wasted on that in every daily paper. Why is it done? Because there is a majority interest. So then, why are soccer clues noticable by their absence? I wouldn’t know where to start with them, but where are they? And there is the real point. Crosswords are NOT aimed at the general readership, people only falsely claim that to justify clues which correspond to their own lifestyle preferences. When I see some honesty and consistency I’ll shut up. In the meantime, I’m bored and need a distraction, so I’ll keep arguing until I see this consistency, just for the sake of arguing and distraction.

    But part of me doesn’t want others to be consistent, it would destroy my fun. LOL.

  43. Brian Harris says:

    Eileen, Don – you’ve both clearly never played the Crash Bandicoot series of video games, then?! He’s some kind of marsupial racoon-like creature.

  44. Ian Stark says:

    Video games, Brian? How could you possibly waste your time on something so . . . oh, hang on . . .

  45. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m just waiting for someone to point out the obvious. I can’t believe none of you have mentioned it yet.

    I don’t mean all the superficial things I actually do like that maybe you lot don’t, though probably some of you do. Though it is surprising that that too has not been mentioned. No. there is something much more obvious than that…..


  46. Geoff says:

    I have been thinking about Ian’s comment (no 12) about diacritics in clues. French practice is that diacritical marks (accents to you and me) are optional with capital letters, which are what we all use to fill in crosswords. So far so good.

    Italians usually do add their diacritics to uppercase letters, but are famously lax about these things. I can’t comment on Spanish.

    German poses a particular problem. The standard practice in fonts which don’t have an umlaut mark is to add an E after the umlauted vowel. So the name of the northern German city should properly be LUEBECK. I have had a cursory trawl through websites listing exonyms (place names used by speakers of other languages than the inhabitants). LUBECK is not listed as an acceptable English equivalent as far as I can tell – unlike ZURICH for the German ZUERICH, for example.

    So we might argue that this invalidates both the clue to 12ac and its solution!

    Memo to self: must get out more….

  47. mhl says:

    Ralph G (#39): thanks, as ever, for your excellent comments on the etymology of those words.

    Derek Lazenby (#45): Do tell.. (Because of the simplicity of a few of the clues that people have highlighted, I wondered whether I might be missing a Nina or rhyming couplets or something similar. I couldn’t spot anything of that kind, however.)

    Andrew (#35): Hear hear! One of the wonderful things about the Guardian crossword is the scope of culture with which one is expected to be familiar.

  48. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry Mhl, I should have been clearer. I meant the obvious flaw in the position I am busily stirring the the brown smelly stuff with.

  49. Dave Ellison says:

    Eileen, you must also know the expression bandicoot!

  50. Dave Ellison says:

    Now, this is where I need the delete. I don’t seem to have mastered the xhtml tags

  51. stiofain_x says:

    you can get round this by using basic html

    a href=””>write summary here

    with < at the start
    I left it out so it wouldn’t show as a link

  52. stiofain_x says:


  53. stiofain_x says:

    a href=””>





    when < is put before the a and the /a

  54. Jim says:

    Looked easy, so I timed myself. 18 minutes, which is highly unusual for this Yank.
    But still, it took a lot of puzzles before I bcame used to British slang (cf beak); British spelling (cf kerb); Britsh place names and British sports.
    But I did know Gadsen Purchase, the subject of so much discussion and bandicoot for some long-forgotten reason.

  55. Paul B says:

    Smutch (38), if you think Don’s WIMPLE clue ‘grammatically sound’ (today that is: yesterday you thought it may have been – and I quote from your 22 – ‘badly edited’), that’s a matter strictly for you! Let’s remind ourselves of it:

    Politician caught in trick covers head = WIMPLE

    And today’s contender:

    Silly berk with love nest by the way = KERBSTONE

    Call me old-fashioned, or pedantic, or an old-fashioned pedant, but the definitions for both are AFAIA unsatisfactory by both Independent and Times standards, nor does either hold Ximenean water (an ugly image, I concede) from what I’ve been able to glean over the years both from Macnutt’s book and the myriad comments (e.g. at Crossword Centre) of those who claim adherence to it.

    It’s nice that you’re easy-going and prepared to tolerate this sort of thing, but then again we all have to like it or lump it. For the moment.

  56. Derek Lazenby says:

    About time the poacher turned gamekeeper, but I had no problem finding kerbstone, the partial anagrams were obvious and the definition was bog standard, way is frequently used as a generic for some sort of road, therefore “by the” obviously meant “at the side of”.

    Sorry, I know, I’m supposed to be an arrant nit-picker, but I just can’t do it with this one.

  57. Testy says:

    OK Derek, I give up. Clearly everybody else in the world apart from myself is a closet Fred Dibnah, happy to solve clues about Hadfield reversers and Caprotti valve gears and knows their blow off cocks from their hydrostatic lubricators but who have no experience of the minority interests of these new fangled moving pictures, reading books, or wearing clothes. It is utterly inconsistent of me to treat railway preservation as though it is a specialist subject whilst viewing “popular” culture as though it is … well… er, popular.

    BTW I’ve probably just quadrupled Fifteensquared’s hit rate on Google by including the phrase “blow off cocks”.

  58. Paul B says:

    Derek L: it’s not the ‘way’ = ‘street’ thing that irks. That would be totally fine. It’s that for some allegedly inappropriate people, adjectival (or whatever, verbal) phrases don’t define nouns.

  59. Derek Lazenby says:

    Nice try Testy, you nearly got it. Grin.

    The minor details are this.

    1) Railway preservation was just an example, nonetheless it is useful because although, as you rightly suspect, the numbers actively involved are relatively small, the customer base is large.

    2a) I was being a bit mischievous about films and books, its the glamour part of films I hate not the films themselves, and certain books are, well, not all they should be, which is not to say I would dismiss a Booker entry per se, just I’m frequently not convinced by some (as in only there because the author’s name), but I made it look like “all” just for the sake of making a point, sorry

    2b) neither films nor books have the popularity they had when “I were a lad” so it is easy for memory to presume the popularity of days of yore

    3) the real point though was made by the soccer reference. Soccer is far more popular than either of the other two, so on that basis that should be reflected in the number of soccer clues, but isn’t. Had you referenced that I wouldn’t have bothered with this. No I don’t want soccer clues, I’m just commenting on popularity as a metric.

    Split my sides with your google observation though.

    Anyway, enough mischief for the sake of it, I think we’ve wrung this one dry by now.

    And always remember, I argue for the fun of it, thanks for the fun.

  60. stiofain_x says:

    Wow there are Indy mole saboteurs here?
    I give up too Derek I got no further than thinking it was something to do with the kerbstone clue.
    “Railway activist caused Zen berk delay” 5,7

  61. Paul B says:

    Yes. No-one has a clue who they are.

  62. mhl says:

    To the commenters in general, I think there’s not much more to be said about this particular puzzle, but if you do have more to say please try to keep the comments courteous and interesting, so that this continues to be a pleasant place to discuss the crosswords for everyone.

  63. Derek Lazenby says:

    Paul B, I agree, but isn’t this a case of how it’s read changes what it is? There are words missing from the “say it properly” phraseology, but then we frequently leave words out in real life, and compilers certainly do that. If you imagine the full version, isn’t that then ok? I could be wrong, I frequently am.

    Maybe, “as found by the wayside”?

  64. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, none of you got it. The flaw…..

    Doing crosswords is somewhat superficial. Doesn’t save any lives or put food in mouths etc etc.

    Somebody should have thrown that back at me!

  65. Paul B says:

    I think you underestimate the amount we are paid.

  66. Ian Stark says:

    Derek, I’m sure I nearly got ot in post #44, albeit unintentionally!

  67. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ian, Yes, you were very adjacent as John Arlott used to say.

  68. Ian Stark says:

    It’s because I am more unique than most. Wasn’t it John Arlott who coined the term ‘freaker’ (if using it once, erroneously, then it never being used again is classed as being ‘coined’?!)

  69. smutchin says:

    Paul B – to be honest, I agree with you. I tend towards the view that you should be able to substitute the definition for the solution in a sentence, and always try to follow this rule when composing clues myself. However, I will continue to defend Pasquale’s Wimple, if only for the hell of it…

    I’ve not read Ximenes or Afrit, but the justification is in Mr Manley’s own book (Chapter 19: Basic Principles of Crossword Grammar). He agrees that “an adverbial phrase cannot be used to define a noun” but he also goes on to say:

    “By convention, it is permissible for a noun to be defined by a verb, as in this clue:
    One party after another is really dead (4)
    (‘do’ plus ‘do’ equals DODO). Here the definition is understood to be ‘[It] is really dead’ with the ‘it’ understood.”

    Now, I don’t especially like this example. And I’m also slightly uneasy about justifying a clue from a reference source by the same author. But he’s right. The important part of the quote being: “By convention”. It’s convention that dictates that this kind of clue is acceptable and so, as you very rightly say, we have to like it or lump it. Accordingly, “[it] covers head” is a valid definition of wimple.

    My comment about bad editing was tongue-in-cheek – I find it so hard to believe that Pasquale could bring himself to write a non-Ximenean clue that I had to imagine the source of blame lay elsewhere. But this only applies if you accept that the clue is non-Ximenean, which I don’t.

    Back to KERBSTONE, “by the way” cannot possibly be a valid definition for a strict Ximenean. But for the rest of us, the clue may be considered “fair” in so far as one is able to find the correct solution without difficulty.

  70. Paul B says:

    Well if it’s in his book, then shurely it must be Ximenean. But I was never unhappy about it because it’s ‘un-Ximenean’ or whatever: it’s simply that to me it’s … wrong!

    Also, just because clues can be solved easily doesn’t make them fair, as critics of Araucaria (usually ‘Ximeneans’) will tell you.

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