Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,613 – Taupi

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 3rd, 2009

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

Quite a challenging puzzle; mostly enjoyable except my befuddlement about the use of 5 (answer = DRAGQUEEN) in two clues marked *

P/S Thanks to this community, it is all clear now.10A REGARD Rev of DRAG ER (Elizabeth Regina) 22D TOWER Cha of TOW (drag) ER (ditto)

1 HIDEBOUND Ins of I Deb (one girl coming out) in Hound (cur)
6 COPY Ins of P (page) in Coy (evasive)
8 INTREPID *(I printed)
*10 REGARD Cha of Re (on) Gard (rev of drag, supposedly answer to 5D) and if ‘about’ is the reversal indicator for drag, then there is a missing cryptic element for ‘re’
11 REQUIRED Ins of Quire (sheets) in Red (colour)
12 SCATHE Ins of Cat (pussy) in She (female)
15 OLEANDER Ins of Lean (unproductive) in Oder (flower or river)
16 FANLIGHT FA (Football Association or Soccer bosses) + ins of L (left) in Night (dark)
19 NIGGLE Ins of G (first letter of Greeks) in Nigle (rev of Elgin )
21 GARDENIA *(drainage)
22 THORAX Cha of Thor (God of thunder) Ax (weapon) I wonder whether this is evidence of creeping Americanism in British English spelling. Would the Times crossword editor accept this clue?
24 BANTAM Cha of Ban (forbid) Tam (Tam o’ Shanter, the hero of Burns’s poem of the same name; a cap with broad circular flat top)
25 SEWERAGE Ins of Ewer (vessel) in Sage (wise)
26 ACME Ins of M (first letter of marks) in Ace (one in a suit in a pack of playing cards)
27 CAMERAMAN Cha of Came (arrived) + ins of MA (first and last letters of Madonna) in Ran (managed)

1 HINGE *(neigh)
2 DORMANT Doorman (commissionaire) minus O plus T (time)
3 BIPED Ins of PE (jerks) in BID (attempt)
4 UNDERGO 8(urged on)
5 DRAGQUEEN Ins of RAG (taunt) QUE (that in French) in DEN (place of vice). I wonder whether the def ‘TV chap’ alluded to Paul O’Grady, MBE, the presenter in drag of Blankety Blank. If it were so, then isn’t this a tad unfair for Uncle Yap in Kuala Lumpur and Bob Van Langen in Florida; both of whom would never have heard of this British game show … but it is likely we have heard of Dame Edna. Another minor quibble is the enumeration; surely 4-6?
6 CUSHION Ins of US (American) Hi (greeting) in Con (fool)
7 PIEMEMEAL Ins of CE (Church of England) in pie and meal, both eats
13 CHARABANC Ins of Arab (horse) in CHANCe (a lot of opportunity)
14 ERGONOMIC Cha of Ergo (thus) NO MICe (tailless vermin)
17 LADETTE cd for a lively young woman who enjoys social behaviour of a kind associated with young men.
18 TRANSOM *(matrons)
20 GROGRAM Cha of Grog (rum) Ram (butter)
*22 TOWER The clue read 5’s loom (5) I see this as a dd but again unhappy by the 5 device (which surely meant the answer to 5D which is DRAGQUEEN and not “drag'; unless of course I am missing something
23 ARGON Jargon minus J

46 Responses to “Guardian 24,613 – Taupi”

  1. David says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.

    I share your uncertainty about 10 and 22d. The only thought I had was the clue for 22d is “5’s loom”, with the apostrophe s maybe suggesting ‘of’ (part of DRAGQUEEN). But I’m not convinced.

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    22d is probably 5 = DRAGQUEEN = drag queen = tow ER

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    And DRAG QUEEN about is DRAG ER reversed.

  4. Eileen says:

    My only problem re DRAG QUEEN [enumerated 4,5 in the paper version – no hyphen in Chambers] was the definition: why ‘*TV* chap’? My reasoning was the same as Rishi’s, ER = ‘queen being one of the most common devices we meet in crosswords.

    I thought 10ac and 22dn were very clever clues – except I did put in REWARD for 10ac [a reward being a ‘consideration’] because I didn’t think of it being quite so literal!

    I thought 19ac was very witty – ‘Greeks’ number one complaint’ becomes a mere NIGGLE!

  5. Will says:

    TV = Transvestite

  6. Eileen says:

    Clunk! Penny has dropped: TV = transvestite!

  7. Eileen says:

    You got there as I was typing, Will!

  8. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Uncle Yap.

    In 26 down, I wasn’t quite sure if this was what you meant, but I don’t think “Top” is indicating the first letter of “marks” or it would be doing double duty – I think it’s just M as the currency abbreviation for “marks”.

    While 19 across is funny, I wasn’t quite convinced by “Marble man” for the Earl of Elgin. I suppose the surface reference means it’s very gettable despite that.

    I must try to remember to think “material” when I see the word “stuff” – I think I’ve missed that lots of times. (Not that I knew GROGRAM anyway :))

  9. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks all for the expanations,

    I really struggled with this one, I missed heaps … and after a hard day at work, couldn’t be bothered with the a hard trudge.

    That said, I learned more about solving … and (after yesterday’s conversation) enjoyed the contemporary ladette clue.

    But, somedays, I’m just after a bit of fun, where I don’t have to try too hard.

  10. brisbanegirl says:

    I take it from the flood of comment, this was a contraversial puzzle ….

  11. brisbanegirl says:

    Where are you, Derek?

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m with you there Brisbane girl. I stopped about halfway when no online tool had any 10 letter sugestions for D???QU???. So I hit cheat and was appalled at the answer. At that point I figured anyone who couldn’t speak English (the setter) was going to have a crossword littered with further mistakes and I really wasn’t prepared find fun in working working around his inaccuracies. Looking at the posts it seems I was right, as already noted,in this country it is axe. And it just goes on from there. Just look at the list of problems people have already mentioned. As it happens I would have got most of the clues eventually, but ……. (well I’ve already said that).

    In my mind, well I think I have one regardless of what you may think, this setter comes under the heading “Too fond of his own cleverness and too little regard for the solvers”. Usually the people I would apply that to I get a real hammering for. I suspect there may be marginally more sympathy for that view this time.

  13. Andrew says:

    Derek, can I recommend the Chambers Word Wizard at – it gives three matches for D???QU???, including DRAG-QUEEN (surprisingly hyphenated). I’m not sure why you were “appalled” by this answer: are you saying you’ve never seen the expression before?

  14. Andrew says:

    Come to think of it, it would be surprising to get any 10-letter suggestions for D???QU??? ;)

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    It may interest some of you. I got fed up with the freebie software for making making crosswords, but I figure I can take away some of that pain by writing a program to remove the worst of the nausea from trying to do one job with 3 disparate tools. It will also offer some guidance as to which order to do the design steps in.

    Don’t hold your breath, I’m in no hurry about doing this, a few hours work will probably stretch into months, but I have made a start on the framework and “the overall design” is “in my bonce”. I’ll let y’all know in the fullness of time.

    Basically the proggie will try to coordinate the use of, Crossword Writer, Crossword Utility and Across Lite. The result will still be somewhat tedious, but much less so than it is now. And it will, just like those tools, be free.

  16. smutchin says:

    Derek, the enumeration error is the fault of the online sub editor, not the setter. It was correct in the print edition.

    I also found it pretty tough going today. But looking at the solutions I didn’t get (thanks for the excellent blog, Uncle Yap), I’d say that it was also very fair – 10a and 22d are very clever indeed. Too clever? That’s arguable, perhaps, but a few really devious clues are fine every now and again – a varied diet is good for all of us.

    Regarding 22a, I have more of a problem with the superfluous “s” (in “God’s”) than the spelling of ax – it’s an acceptable variant.

    Couple of minor quibbles not already mentioned…
    23d – “chatter” and “jargon” aren’t synonymous, are they? Maybe very tenuously.
    17d – I’m not convinced the clue works. I suppose you could punctuate it as “Young men-like, this girl” which is a bit Yoda-esque but OK. However, “lad” is singular, so surely it should be “Young man-like…” – or am I being too picky?

  17. Derek Lazenby says:


    1) thanks for the link
    2) yeah ok 9 not 10, but you know me, love my typo’s. My eldest is dyslexic, I am not, but I know who he got it from.
    3) because it is not a single word, others who you are fond of agreeing with have already said the same.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Pick away Smuthcin, saves me the bother.

    Ah, so the on-line sub is to blame? Living up to the paper’s reputation that caused it to be called The Grauniad!

    I have a friend who thinks, given that history, that any random letters should be a valid solution as anything else would require their proof reading to actually exist.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    OMG! Just realised what that means. They actually retype the clues??? Any sensible person would be using software which takes a single source text and automatically inserts it without change into it’s various target environments. Retyping is just asking for trouble. How amateurish.

    And even that begs the question as to what the hell the guy was doing changing the length indication instead of just copying it.

  20. Lanson says:

    I regularly read this site to understand clueing and enjoy the banter, however I feel todays negative remarks deserved a response, I found this fair and do-able although I’d never heard of grogram or transom. I thought 5d an excellent clue with TV chap misleading as a good clue should, but a little rethink clicked it. 10a and 22d likewise took time to see but ‘obvious’ once fully understood.
    I enjoyed it.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    And out of totally morbid curiosity I just retried using both d??qu??? and d???qu??. Actually there are a few hits for both. Well well, there ya go.

  22. mhl says:

    smutchin: “chatter or twittering” is the first definition of “jargon” in the 1990 Chambers that I have to hand. I completely agree that that sense is rarely heard, though.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    arg i meant d???qu???, sure that’s what i typed, like i said, i know where my eldest gets his dyslexia from. sorry about that.

  24. mhl says:

    Lanson: I certainly enjoyed this puzzle, and completely agree about 5d, 10a and 22d. (I probably should have been more positive in my first comment so as not to give the wrong impression, although I hope people assume that the odd niggle doesn’t necessarily mean the commenter didn’t enjoy it overall.)

  25. smutchin says:

    Mhl – thanks. I really don’t like it, but if it’s in Chambers…

    Derek – I presume the clues are submitted electronically and not re-typed. It may have been the setter (or more likely his crossword-compiling software) who made the initial error but it’s the sub’s responsibility to make sure such errors don’t make it into the final published version.

  26. smutchin says:

    Lanson – yep, in case I didn’t make it clear, I thought 5d, 10a and 22d were quite brilliant. I also really liked 19a.

  27. Andrew says:

    Smutchin, I had the same reservations as you about 17dn, but I think it just about works if you read it as “Young men [are] like this girl.”

  28. Tom Hutton says:

    I thought this was an excellent crossword (except for 23 down).

    I feel that in cases like this, where chatter is used as a synonym for jargon, then there should be some chance of forming an acceptable sentence where the two are interchangeable and in spite of Mhl finding a definition in Chambers, you would be hard pushed to substitute jargon for chatter in an everyday sentence.

    10ac and 22dn were very smart clues. 7dn probably was too, but I had to put it in without understanding it.

    My niggle would be using m for marks. There are too many rather abritrary abbreviations in crosswords for my liking.

  29. crikey says:

    Andrew and Smutchin, I too had reservations about 17d. I just think it’s a bit of a weak clue, whichever way you parse it. I didn’t find it particularly cryptic – which was a shame, because otherwise I thought this was a good (but tough) puzzle from a setter who often irritates me!

  30. crikey says:

    Tom, I would say that M for marks is perfectly acceptable – as in the former currency of Germany, in the same way as P works for pence, C for cents etc.

  31. Eileen says:

    Smutchin: I had the same thoughts about 22ac [although I suppose the same thing could be said about 22dn, which we both liked!] 17dn and 23dn [agree with Tom Hutton here.]

    I liked the picture evoked by 18dn [I think I heard the word ‘transom’ when our windows were replaced – I dredged it up from somewhere, anyway]. I thought 9ac was a well hidden answer, with a good surface and 21 ac was a good anagram. I hadn’t heard of GROGRAM, either, but the wordplay was perfectly straightforward and I had heard of ‘grosgrain’ which, according to the dictionaries, seems to be a similar material.

    A pretty fair puzzle all round, i thought.

  32. Eileen says:

    7dn: would it have worked as well [better?] without ‘that’?

  33. Andrew says:

    Those who were interested in John Pidgeon’s article might like to know that the man himself has added a comment to yesterday’s blog. He writes: “I’m not sure I agree with absolutely everything I wrote either. … I wanted to provoke debate, which I did…”.

  34. John says:

    Smutchin: Re – Regarding 22a, I have more of a problem with the superfluous “s” in “God’s”) ….

    I’ve posted similar comments before with relation to this type of clue, and have been informed that ‘s is acceptable for “is” as well as “has”. So it’s “God (i)s weapon chest”. I don’t like it either.

  35. smutchin says:

    Eileen, re 22a/22d – on reflection, I think they’re both OK. In 22d the ‘s stands for the link word “is” (contrary to the misleading surface, of course) but I couldn’t see how it could be performing a similar role in 22a. However, you could argue it stands for “has”, which seems acceptable.

  36. smutchin says:

    John – you posted while I was typing, but yes, you’re right. “God has weapon” is fine.

  37. John says:

    Smutchin: I’ve just noticed I actually had it the wrong way round in my previous post. I meant “has” not “is” of course. Put it down to recovering from a root canal job yesterday. Ouch!

  38. smutchin says:

    It’s OK, John, I knew what you meant!

  39. John says:

    However, ouch or no ouch, I still think “God (or anybody else)’s” for “God has” is a liberty.
    “I’ve a pain in the neck” is unambiguous, but what does “He’s a pain in the neck” mean?

  40. stiofain_x says:

    I loved this one especially after the few weak puzzles lately and thought 5 down was a great clue and liked the nice tie in to 10 and 22.
    A point of interest is that grog referring to rum is often attributed to Admiral Vernon introducing the standard tot of rum to American sailors daily rations and that his nickname “old grog” came from his wearing of a grogham coat.
    When in fact it is an even older West Indian name for rum. So the good admiral probably got his nickname from being overly fond of his grog and the grogham coat story was probably spread to cover this up.

  41. muck says:

    Good puzzle and the 5 (drag queen) theme was amusing.

    Not sure about 17dn (ladette) and didn’t get the GROG part of 20dn.

  42. Geoff says:

    Out all day so have only just got round to the Guardian crossword (did Times and Telegraph on my travels!).

    Found this one great fun – I always enjoy Taupi’s puzzles, which appear only very occasionally, alas.

    He’s a bit of a libertarian (hence grumbles above!) with a nice line in unusual clues and links – 10ac and 22dn are typical. Thought 7dn was very clever, and getting 5dn was a LOL moment!

  43. ray says:

    I thought the usual reference was to Thor’s hammer ??

  44. Barnaby Page says:

    Derek – I think it’s hugely unlikely that the clues are re-typed. It’s possible (though I suspect a low priority at any newspaper – certainly not any I’ve worked at!) that the crossword editor can make changes between edition deadlines. And of course online can, at least in principle, be changed at any time.

    I use the online “printable” version, which had the correct (4,5).

    On another topic, I’m very interested to hear about your software-development project. I’ve been casually specifying an ideal crossword-creation tool for a while. If you’d like to chat about it, email me – it’s

  45. John Pidgeon says:

    Hostile sort of nonsense – I’ve got better things to do (5,3,5). Bye.

  46. Rufus says:

    Re GROGRAM. As a boy seaman we had to learn about nautical history. This included being informed of Admiral Vernon who, because he always wore a grogram cloak, was known throughout the service as “Old Grog”. In 1740, because there was so much drunkenness among the seamen after the distribution of the official rum ration, he ordered that the rum should be weakened with water. Because of his nickname, this mixture – that remained in the RN until 1970 – was given the name of “grog”.

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