Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24626 / Boatman

Posted by mhl on February 18th, 2009


A fun puzzle, which wasn’t too difficult – on the other hand, I have quite a few questions or quibbles below, which I’m sure people will be able to correct. :)

1. TATTOO TAT = “vulgar” + TOO = “as well”. (I’m not too happy about “tat” (a noun) for “vulgar”, whose noun sense isn’t the same…) As Derek Lazeby points out, I suppose “it’s vulgar as well” for “it’s tat too” is OK.
4. LAID-UP DIAL reversed + UP = “to London” (one goes up to town)
11. WHIRRING WHIG (= “old Liberal”) “circles” RR = “upper class car” + IN
12. WATCHDOG WATCH = “to be like Spectator” + DOG = “bounder?”
14. NO-BALL NOB = “upper-class type” + ALL = “totally”
18. LORDSHIP LORD’S HIP. The founder of Lord’s cricket ground was the cricketer Thomas Lord
21. LENGTHEN THEN = “subsequently” after N = “nitrogen” in LEG
22. NOTICE “not ice”
24. UNSKILLED LABOUR (DRUNK A LIBELLOUS)*; I suppose the definition might be substitutable in a sentence like “he is unskilled labour”? Update: I think it’s worth pointing out that the surface reading here is probably alluding to the fact that the term “unskilled labour” is often an unfair slur.
25. SAYING Hidden answer: the definition is “saw” (difficult to spot!); “abstract of” as the hidden answer indicator seems a bit weak here, since it typically meaning “summary of” rather than “extract from”
26. PHRASE Homophone of “frays”; “alleged” is the homophone indicator
1. TAFFETA TA = “brief, thanks” + F = “French” + FETA.
3. ONE-EYED YE = “solvers” in NEED after O = “nothing”
5. AUCTION U in ACTION = “fight”; Chambers gives “fighting” as a meaning of “action”
7. PAGINAL AG = “silver” in (PLAIN)*; I like “plastic” as an anagrind – the definition should be read as “leaf-constructed”
8. BIGWIG B (= “bravo”) + I = “Boatman” + W in GIG = “carriage”. I think “going” is superfluous (and doesn’t really work as a linking work)
15. CHANGE KEY (HACKNEY EG)*; an excellent definition: “Get from A to B”
17. ECHELON (COHERENTLY – TRY)*; “defined” presumably should be read as “made less fine”
18. LANDED GENTRY LAND EDGE = “seashore” + N = “pole” + TRY; to avoid the plural / singular problem, I think the definition should be read as that “being of the landed gentry” might be “being of the upper-class type” Update: I’ve edited this a bit, since my original comment was rather unclear.
20. INCLUDE IN = “fashionable” + homophone of “clued”
23. TABLA The definition must be “instrument”, but I can’t see how the rest of it works… Thanks to C.G. Rishikesh – this is a hidden answer

40 Responses to “Guardian 24626 / Boatman”

  1. Ian Payn says:

    I found this really hard to get into, then after staring at it for five minutes having filled in precisely one answer I just looked away, looked back, started reading clues differently and then filled it in like a postcard. Strange. Stood on the platform thinking it was more difficult than yesterday’s and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    In 23a TABLA is hidden in heaT A BLAck; extract is intended as the hidden indicator but the surface reading is not that great.

    Tabla is a percussion instrument: a pair of small drums.

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    24a: Labour has the sense “workers, collectively”. “Unskilled labour” is a phrase that is often heard in countries like India. “This huge dam project requires a vast contingent of unskilled labour.” ‘Unskilled’ is a misnomer. It’s these poor workers who do the actual building work after having had hands-on training while the graduated engineers might hover around with their tapes.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m a bit like Ian here. I’m not the world’s fastest by some considerable margin, but an hour means it can’t have been hard, and yet strangely I still have the feeling it was! Very strange.

    Not sure what the problem is with TAT = vulgar. Maybe it’s the way I use them, but it seems fime to me. Another way to look at the clue is simply to take “vulgar as well” as part of the definition. That of course would be a value judgement. Are value judgements considered ok or not?

    I never spotted the anagram in 24. LABOUR seemed like a good guess for the second word and seemed to fit with the one cross check I had, then a lot later UNSKILLED was about the only thing that fitted the later cross checks. So it was nice to see the proper explanation. Ta for that.

    Sigh, oh for the instant word recall that someone like Ian obviously has. I would find these things a lot easier then.

  5. mhl says:

    C.G. Rishikesh: Thanks for pointing out the hidden answer. The term “unskilled labour” is often used very unfairly in the UK as well. I think the surface reading is intended to refer to the fact that this definition may be considered a “slur”…

  6. brisbanegirl says:

    Hi All,

    I promise I’ll be on my best behaviour.

    18ac type = eg, n = pole, +try altho I can for the life of me see an anagram indicator.

    24 ac soooo many possible anagram indicators, I was all over the shop …. eventually got it … a slur on the working class.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Rishi, unskilled was, in England, a traditional distinction between “heavy” work and more artisan type work. The distinction between skilled and unskilled was subsequently used as a form of demarcation by both Unions and employers, i.e. a justification for pay differentials. It was also a class thing, one couldn’t actually admit that “mere labourers” might be possessed of some skill.

  8. brisbanegirl says:

    Or … gen on its own (ie genus abbrev) = type … still confused tho

  9. mhl says:

    Brisbanegirl: I’m pretty sure that my breakdown of the subsidiary part is right – I was just questioning the definition part.

  10. Mick h says:

    Brisbanegirl, I guess you mean 18dn – it’s LAND EDGE (i.e. seashore) + N + TRY. No anagrams involved. As for the definition, perhaps some of them were a little stretched to fit the ‘upper class type’ mini-theme here.

  11. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    18d: I don’t have any problem with the definition part.

    Upper-class type = Landed gentry; there may be other types belonging to the upper class but here it’s the landowners.

    Again, in India there are these farmers who toil in the fields and then the people who actually own the lands and live in their “farmhouses”; they might not turn a sod themselves. These members of the landed gentry are called zamindars, literally landowners.

  12. brisbanegirl says:

    In my comment I mean’t the 10ac part of the two word clue … sorry to be confusing.

    In Oz (and I think in UK)… rich farmers are regularly referred to as the “landed gentry” … and for no apparent reason think they’re better than the rest … therefore upper-class.

    Sorry didn’t read your post properly.

  13. brisbanegirl says:

    Following Rishi

    In Oz … the squattocracy …plus many more …

  14. mhl says:

    I think that my comment on the definition part of 18 down was rather unclear, so I’ve edited that a bit. Of course I’m perfectly aware of the sense in which the landed gentry are upper class – it’s just that for “landed gentry” and “upper class type” to be substitutable in a sentence, one has to use them in a slightly non-obvious way. (If it were “upper class types”, that would break the surface link to the next clue.)

  15. Ian Payn says:

    I suppose a quick example of the difference between an unskilled and a skilled labourer is that an unskilled labourer carries the bricks, the skilled labourer lays them. And, as Derek observes, gets paid more.

  16. brisbanegirl says:

    Happy with that Mhl … but it’s such a deliciously rich clue that I keep looking for more …

  17. Paul B says:

    Nonetheless I enjoyed Boatman’s craft – as it were: but he is an inventive writer – and would only quibble with the tense of certain definitions.

    ‘Upper-class type’ struggles pretty hard to connect with the required phrase in my view, and I can’t easily account for the use of ‘on’ excepte as an aid to the surface (actually, there are a few apparently extraneous words dotted around this puzzle). Adding the two together does not seem to help: ‘upper-class type on’? Either that, or we’re relying on the next clue for the kind of help it seems barely able to give. Plus: I can’t see how ‘working-class’ (an adjective in its hyphenated form) equals unskilled labour (ultimately a nounal phrase). Can it really be forced to make an adjectival one? And if it’s supposed to be &lit, I’m still unconvinced.

    Good puzzle though, and a lot of intelligent fun.

  18. Tom Hutton says:

    I’ve said it before but I don’t go up to London; I go up to Edinburgh and down to London.

    Like Mhl I didn’t care for going in 8dn. I thought it was unfair. I didn’t much like ‘wrong delivery’ for a no-ball either. In cricket a wrong ‘un is a different thing altogether.

  19. John says:

    Thanks for the post, mhl. Just one thing. I think you’ve got too many letters in the 19,16 anagram; [fo]R INSANE FUN HELP is enough.

  20. mhl says:

    Thanks, John – I’ve corrected that.

  21. Speckled Jim says:

    OK, who’s going to explain why saw = saying?

    Also, why does 26a need ‘incomplete’??

  22. Andrew says:

    Jim – “saw” can be “an old saying or commonly repeated phrase or idea, a conventional wisdom”. And a phrase is usually not a whole sentence, hence “incomplete”.

  23. Ralph G says:

    25a ‘Saw'; see As You like it v.1.114 “Then the justice
    Full of wise saws and modern instances”.
    Never seen it anywhere alse except other crosswords.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Paul B, isn’t “Can it really be forced to make an adjectival one?” the wrong question? Maybe it was simply a typo to have the hyphen in working-class? Because the problem is surely at the other side of the equation, it is not that unskilled labour is nounal, it is that working-class is used that way. For example, “What were the clues again?” “Book and red.”, so a noun is valid in that position, therefore the mistake is the hyphen.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ralph G, we must speak differently. “what was that old saw….” and “remember the old saw about..” and so on, are phrases that crop up from time to time in my conversations and those of my wife and also sundry friends of both of us.

  26. Paul B says:

    ‘Saw dog wearing lead’ for you then Ralph? Something like that. Possibly not *the* most frequently seen Monday clue, but darned close.

  27. don says:

    To chew over an old bone, I’ve just received a flyer inside my local paper for London Midland, announcing they have increased the number of trains UP to Birmingham and DOWN to London, so there’s at least one train company whose up line goes down to London!

  28. Ron says:

    By convention railways always did (and on preserved railways still do!) go up to London and down to anywhere in the opposite direction.

    8d. Is B a legitimate abbreviation for Bravo?

    23d. Am I the only one who thinks that ‘Extract from …’ rather than ‘Extract and …’ would be a much better hidden clue indicator? Or would that be too easy?

  29. Julia says:

    Speckled Jim,

    A phrase is by grammatical definition a component of a sentence, thus incomplete (as a sentence) by itself.

  30. don says:

    Whose convention, Ron?

    Not London Midland. Not the majority of people in the UK, who go down to London, not up.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Don, go on to any station with a line to London, ask which is the Up platform, then ask if that is to London.

    It was one of those social snobbery conventions. In my young day every one knew it, much though some of us hated it. Maybe times have changed. So, find a passing old fogey and ask them too.

    Some people seem to think times have not changed.

    I prefer down whichever direction I’m going because it’s not my favourite place. I get shouted at every time I mention it.

  32. don says:

    I hear what you say, Derek, but ‘any station with a line to London’?
    Stand on Newcastle station and tell them you’re going down to Edinburgh; or Leeds, or Manchester. I think ‘in London’ = ‘up’ is post-rationalization for weak, if not lazy, clueing and shows an unjustified southern England bias. I’m not, but my mother-in-law was: you should have heard on southern softies and snow!

  33. chatmeister says:

    We have had enough discussion as to whether London is ‘up’ or ‘down’ in this and other blogs. I don’t wish to have to start deleting comments. The convention is ‘up’, according to all the usual references, so let’s call an end to this debate.

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK I hear you Chatmeister, and I ain’t discussing matters of opinion in this post, but there is one facatual point which should be clarified though as it is clearly misunderstood and facts always need to be correct, so please bear with me just this once.

    It is an operational fact that all twin or four track railway lines have an up track and a down track (or tracks). That is how they are formally refered to, e.g. Up Main, Down Main, Up Local etc, (see the legends in any signal box). When London is involved that settles which is which, it is NOT a matter of my or any one else’s opinion, nor of asking people on the platform (sorry I said that earlier, I meant railway operational staff) it is the way railways have always worked and still do work.

    Don seems unaware of this and regretably previous posts have not made it plain and I appologise to all for that. I hate to think of people walking around not knowing facts when I could have told them, if I knew how to contact Don privately I would have done that rather than post this, but I don’t.

    What we prefer to believe informally is debatable and I have no wish to add to that debate.

    I have no more to say on this as facts are facts and they are now stated. Promise, honest guv.

    Don, it’s d dot lazenby at ntlworld dot com if you are really masochistic enough.

  35. Andrew says:

    Ron (28) – B is Bravo in the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc.

  36. radchenko says:

    In between the ins and outs of the ups and downs, can I ask about 6dn?

    Isn’t the “heard” superfluous? And then “unfairly” misleading because one starts looking for a homophone.

    Surely “Complaints heard from terrible social groupings” or “Complaints from some Indian social groupings” would have been better?

    Still, like yesterday’s, a good puzzle, though both solved in same way, a sort of “punctuated evolution”. Nothing for about fifteen minutes, then I got one and half a dozen fell from it; stare blankly for another quarter of a hour; get another one and a sudden rush of 4 or 5 more, rinse and repeat…

  37. Paul B says:

    To return briefly to the subject intended to be under discussion, B = Bravo refers to the phonetic alphabet. Contains R = Romeo, N = Novemeber etc, and its use forms a part of common crosswording practice.

  38. Fletch says:

    And please don’t post now I meant to say November not Novemeber, half the blogs are taken up with corrections of typos and we all realise what people meant to say but didn’t check before they posted.

  39. Paul B says:

    Were that the case, we might all rejoice.

  40. Barnaby Page says:

    Didn’t get very far with this one because I put in an erroneous RING UP for 4ac.

    It kind of worked, though. Call = RING UP, to London = UP, put in confinement = RING (enclose), then use “back” to indicate the reversal in order of UP and RING.

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