Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Admin on February 16th, 2009


This post contains off-topic comments removed from elsewhere on the site.

54 Responses to “Tartarus”

  1. Geoff says:

    Ian: TREENS do get a mention in one of the Molesworth books under ‘All There Is To Kno About Space’, but were Venusians from the original Dan Dare stories. In the parody, Moleworth’s opponents are the Rhomboids, under the evil overlord Sigismund Arbuthnot, the mad maths master.

  2. Geoff Anderson says:

    Why would anyone be afraid of good news?

  3. Ian Payn says:

    I knew a Nesta. Nesta Wright, played at the Beckenham Bridge Club with her husband Edwin about twenty years ago. I assume they’re both brown bread, as they had certainly ripened when I knew them. As befitted their names they were a slightly old-fashioned and genteel couple but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Do you have a talent for misquoting? That was not what I was objecting to.

  5. Fletch says:

    Derek, I think you’ll just have to accept that everyone knows what they’re talking about and let it drop.

  6. Derek Lazenby says:

    I was trying to let it drop, I didn’t ask to be misquoted (yet again).

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Stiofain_X, although The Doors and The Eagles (when they did Desperado – I saw them live in 1972) are classics for you and me, and antique for the students that I’m teaching, they are still too modern, or dare I say, too uncultural for most setters.
    Shakespeare is perfectly acceptable, as are musicals and nursery rhymes. The Beatles or Queen, well, just. But then it stops.
    Why not a crossword with, say, Oasis as a theme?
    Not every solver is above 67.
    Well, I’m not -although I’m pretty close. Pretty?

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Paul, I agree.
    Do be rude, because it is so obvious that “are philanderers” and “womanise” are synonymous.
    And if they are, for some, not – let them be more Libertarian.

  9. Paul B says:

    Thanks indeed for your permission. Ever watch cricket?

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    yes I am a regular at Cryptica.
    Every day – cycling to work – my brain starts working.
    Pop music? Yep.
    Rejected? Yep, all of them ( except, perhaps the Lily the Pink clue, not that brilliant after all)
    Kelly Family? Not really (I know what I like) (7)
    Non-commercial kind of music by some superstar (4-3)
    Kind of comeback for 70’s band in nice setting, though spoilt by Madonna (8)
    Duane initially demonised the Koran ridiculously, in collaboration with Eric (5,3,3,7)

  11. KB Pike says:

    A pleasing but unremarkable puzzle.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    So what?
    Some people in this world want to be “social”, some others like to cut each others heads off.
    It’s up to you to make a choice.
    Let’s make it Comment nr 61.

  13. Simon Harris says:

    If you don’t like it, you do have the option of closing your browser, and not turning 59 comments into 60 comments. Just saying.

  14. Neil White says:

    I really love nitpicking pedantry. No, really I do. Thank you all. I’ve only commented here a couple of times, and only since I found the cryptic crossword, on line, on the same day it’s published, instead of doing the puzzzle next day, too late to respond here. I’m a bit too rural in deepest Devon for newspaper buying. Absolutely no response to my very few contributions. Am I trying to find entrance to a clique here? I’m not even in Australia. I very rarely fail to complete, even if i need to refer to Mrs Chambers or Mr Collins (for names), or maybe Ms Google; all only for confirmation, of course. Wife is very tolerant of me logging on to you lot, even if she secretly files me under “another poor old saddo.” Thanks again. I have bookmarked you (all) for your further pleasures. You all add new highlights to my 40-odd years of attempted Guardian cryptic crossword solving. So, continue to ignore me; I’ll still be having a look. For fun.

  15. stiofain_x says:

    that is a new record since we have been subject to these new lockdown rules.
    will we ever reach the heady heights of 96 comments on Araucaria?
    Or is that another distinction the great man will hold forever?

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Neil, Sorry if I haven’t said anything. It may just have been that I agreed. Chat 2 is a better place for that latest post BTW.

  17. Paul B says:

    Well Neil, let me say that a really good tautology is for universal admiration. By everyone. But there isn’t all that much pedantry in this thread. It’s more that people don’t know – or appear not to know for the purposes of extending artificially the ‘conversation’ – what they’re talking about. Which is, as has been mentioned previously, somewhat curious in a specialist crossword blog.

    And so KB Pike, not for the first time, hits the nail on the head. It probably bears reiteration that not so long ago, there were comments littered all around the board, not just at Guardian (although there were usually more here, I concede). Yet of late, fewer and fewer (AFAICS) have been bothering to leave remarks of any real value (IMO) due to the dramatic and exponential increase in what may be politely termed as comments of a social nature. Now, the place is so diluted with chat, or questions about the most basic crosswording elements (‘why does c = about’ being a case in point), or the most banal plaudits or complaints, that it’s hard to know where to look for the intelligent stuff.

    And that’s 15/2 now.

  18. Fletch says:

    Thing is Paul, if you want to restrict this site to an elite band of solvers then you’d better look at overhauling the blogging team as well. They don’t always understand how clues work either, as Ciaran’s comment re. 19d demonstrates.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    It may be beneath some people’s dignity to read Chat 2, but I just put my input on the subject of posts to there. I suggest others do likewise. The subject is off topic. Those who bleat about the rules should try obeying them. I’m only doing this post to ensure the other post is read.

  20. KB Pike says:

    I resent having my original comment, which was fair and objective, diluted into No.52, without any reference to me. Shades of theatre managements picking out only those favourable few words from an otherwise critical review. A thoroughly unworthy and discredited practice.

    Please either reinstate my original comment in full or delete No.52. Then, perhaps, I can take you seriously.

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    KB Pike, even if I don’t agree with the content of your original message, I fully agree with what you are saying now.
    Some of my comments are “awaiting moderation”.
    Well, please, take them off the site then.
    I have no problem with that, and I do understand it, given the
    Discussion Policy. But what they did to your comment, is censoring. That’s indeed unacceptable.

  22. Fletch says:

    This is comical. You might as well delete mine as well since you’ve already removed the comments I was replying to.

  23. Paul B says:

    Yes, I’ve a comment ‘awaiting moderation’ too, which is making a total mockery of the discussion – such as it is.

    I’m really starting to hate this place.

  24. Neil White says:

    Please delete my 53 and don’t publish this one either. I’m sorry. I’m new to this and should have read the Discussion Policy sooner.

  25. Neil White says:

    Axe what are now 52 and 53 please, and this one. I shall never trouble you again.

  26. Dave Ellison says:






  27. Doy says:

    I’m off for an Indian. Heavy brain work this…

  28. Jake says:

    As clear as Mudd this was.

    Enjoyment level 3 out of 5

    Obscure stuff some of it?

  29. Wot-Not says:

    I agree with Feltch about nuts in the UK!

  30. Wot-Not says:

    Only women should be !!!

    Who’s with me !!!!

  31. Wot-Not says:

    Felched that is…. ummmmm : )

  32. Wot-Not says:

    Caught him, a little bony but delicious.

  33. Doy says:

    Mine was meaty and spicy x

  34. Colin Blackburn says:

    Norma Bolton isn’t anybody but she does appear in the grid!

  35. nmsindy says:

    Re 15,16, that’s a current prize puzzle, guys.

  36. Colin Blackburn says:

    Sorry, I forgot (moderator please delete). I don’t really do prize puzzles other than barred grids but I must have done the relevant puzzle in passing and have the name stuck in my head.

  37. Fletch says:

    Are Derek and Jimbo related by any chance?

  38. Derek Lazenby says:

    Rebutals are more effective when they don’t include fiction, it undermines any valid points made. I never mentioned movement.

    On your idea all bones would have to be called joints, they are not, it’s the bits at the end that do the joining, and if those are not present you do not have a joint.

    So, by your own words you will blindly and uncritically accept anything so long as it comes from a dictionary? I wonder how the dictionaries of Nazi Germany defined Jew? Everybody said it, it was “common knowledge”. Are you still into uncritical agreement with the written word and common knowledge?

  39. Alan O'Brien says:

    The Reverend Spooner can go and lump in a jake.

  40. GWEP says:

    Can Al Streatfield stop whing(e)ing?

  41. Jasmine says:


  42. An 'elder' Statesman says:

    “Trees” Ha, that’s hilarious. So funny. I thought my trousers would never dry!

  43. Bryan says:

    Please take a look at the PDF version of today’s Everyman (#3287) which I’ve just completed and, if you get stuck, you’ll find the answers where last week’s Solution is supposed to be.

  44. jvh says:

    At least in the online version, the solution to today’s Everyman is conveniently printed beside the crossword!

  45. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well I enjoyed it right up to the point where I came here and read the completely selfish comments of a very small minority of crossword solvers, i.e. experts, who once again totally failed to remember that they are a very small minority of the Guardian readers who attempt the cryptic crossword. Today the paper fulfilled the needs of the majority of that readership for a change. Which would appear to be something some experts are incapable of understanding. They seem to think these things are there purely for their benefit. Wrong.

    TimR @2, it’s OK, there are some of us here who also don’t ascribe Biblical infallibility to Chambers, though some rather amazingly do.

  46. Bill Taylor says:

    Has a survey ever been done on the percentage of people who attempt a Guardian cryptic crossword and, on a regular basis, successfully complete it? Mr. Lazenby seems very confident in his assertion that they’re a very small minority and I’m just wondering if he has numbers to back this up.

    It seems to me that Mr. Lazenby is being equally selfish in demanding crosswords that he’s capable of doing. If today’s is a typical sample of what he can manage, then I suspect (without having any scientific figures upon which to base my supposition) that it would drive many of the Guardian’s regulars away.

    I wonder if the people who don’t often complete the daily cryptic share his views? For my part, it took me years before I finished my first one and some setters still regularly defeat me. All the more reason to keep taking them on, I think — “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

  47. Derek Lazenby says:

    Bill, why twist peoples words? I never demanded anything, perhaps your grasp of English is deficient. I only commented on what others had said. That implication is your poisonous invention.

    And what a stupid thing to ask? How on earth do you measure all those people who quietly try, get part way and get stuck? Where exactly do expect to find their efforts recorded? Try to be sensible for once.

    Do you know nothing about life? In any human activity the distribution of ability is always like a diamond shape on a playing card. There a few experts at the top, a few totally abysmal at the bottom, and the vast majority in the wide bit in the middle. You don’t need numbers to know that. You obviously don’t.

    Nor did I say anything about not attempting harder puzzles in order to improve, that was just more of your desire to be nasty on no evidence.

    Try sticking to what is actually said in future.

  48. Bill Taylor says:


  49. Martin H says:

    Derek – you made a very confident assertion in your post @41 about the needs of a ‘majority’ of Guardian readers/solvers. Like Bill, I question the assumption behind your assertion – that most solvers prefer the less demanding crosswords – and I do it without malice; nor did I see any malice in Bill’s response. At various times I have been one of a group of solvers at places of work, and all invariably celebrated the more challenging setters. The evidence from my experience goes unequivocally against your assumption.

  50. cholecyst says:

    Bill Taylor: Nice to meet a Browning fan. Strange how such an unexceptionable puzzle should provoke so many comments.

  51. Bill Taylor says:

    Thank you, Martin. No malice whatsoever.

    Cholecyst: According to Rishi @39, a previous Logodaedalus drew 70 comments. Perhaps it’s the need to expend pent-up creative energy! As for Browning, I regard his works in the same light as Crossword setters — some are a lot better than others. But he does offer a couple of lines that seem quite apposite right now:

    “What if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, to dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall and, baffled, get up and begin again.”

    “Fail I alone in words and deeds? Why, all men strive and who succeeds?”

    “Ambition is not what man does… but what man would do.”

  52. snigger says:


    “all turds over ten pounds in weight MUST be lowered by hand”

    as a plumber (working class northerner??) i thoroughly endorse that motto.

    “you can piss down my back, but don’t tell me it’s raining”

    we all have favourite quotes we can recollect.

  53. Derek Lazenby says:

    Martin, Bill’s comment was unrecognisable to me from what I wrote, I presumed there must be some reason for that.

    Now you are doing the same. I made no such assertion. I did not say people wanted easier puzzles. I did not say people would prefer easier puzzles. I said that those people who normally struggle will have found this easier. That means their ability level has been better catered for. Everybody needs encouragement sometime, that need (the word I used) was served by this. Those people will be “the silent majority” many of whom never come on here, or if they they do are frequently too timid to post. We have had several people who have posted once, usually after a Rufus, who have said they were nervous about posting especially as they didn’t normally finish.

    There is a distinct difference between saying this will have brought more success to saying easier puzzles are desired. I said the former, not the latter. To say that I did say the latter is reading between the lines and getting it wrong. I give up on English, nobody seems to understand it, that or people are reading what they want to read.

    In any case, why would I want easier puzzles? There isn’t a setter I haven’t finished several times. Ok, that’s maybe not often with some of them. Somebody has to think of the full spectrum of solvers, including the perennial non-finishers as some people only care about what is good for the expert. Read today’s thread again, two first time completers (@26 & 30). Can’t you imagine how special that feels for them? Do you seriously want to deny people that feeling by always pandering to expert expectations? No? Well then, the occasional easy one shouldn’t be sneered at as some did today. By all means say it was a too easy for you, but don’t sneer. Those people should bite their tongues and consider the bigger picture. The selfish ones wont of course.

    SO, one last time, let’s get this clear, I was commenting on other peoples comments, nothing more nothing less. Anything more is a total misread of what I said. Do we all get it now?

  54. Paul B says:

    How a daily paper can present for public consumption a puzzle quite as poor as this is truly astonishing. Complete dreck.