Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,628 / Pasquale

Posted by Eileen on February 20th, 2009


What a delight to see Pasquale back – fully recovered, I hope. There are several slightly unusual words but they are scrupulously well-clued and there are some lovely surface readings. A highly enjoyable puzzle.

[ ]*  anagram
[ ] <  reversed
dd double definition


1   MOLARS: MORALS, with L and R reversed
9   HELLENIC: ELLEN inside HIC [Latin for ‘this’]
10  ALARMS: AL [Capone] + ARMS
11  WATERING HOLE: [WHERE A LOT + GIN]*: a nice &lit.
13  DAWN: D[ad’s] + AWN [the ‘beard’ of barley, or other bristly growth]
14  LEFT BANK: dd
17  FORELIMB: [F[lie]R + MOBILE]*
18  TASH: T[he] + ASH: short for ‘moustache’
20  ENRICO CARUSO: [OR CORSICAN +EU]*: a famous Italian tenor [1873-1921]
23  TISHRI: [THIS]* + R[abb]I: Tishri [or Tisri] is the first month of the Jewish civil year and the seventh of the ecclesiastical, falling in September and October
24  IN ITSELF: NIT inside IS ELF
25  TEARLESS: EARL in TESS:  another outing, cleverly clued, for this hardy tragic heroine.
26  TIPPER: PP in TIER: I liked this witty clue


2   OVER: [h]OVER: not exactly a double definition but I don’t know how else to classify it
3   ALLOWANCE: LO + WAN + C inside ALE
4   SENATE: S[tate] E[nrolled] N[urse] + ATE: it is no longer possible to gain the S.E.N. qualification. These days, S.E.N. is more usually an abbreviation for Special Educational Needs.
5   RECORD LIBRARIES: [EARLIER CDS I BORR(ow – ‘last two  not in’)]* another very elegant clue
6   DRAWN OFF: [FF [very loud]  ONWARD] <
7   ABASH: A BAS [down with] + H[enry]
12  MAYONNAISE: reverse hidden word in robES I ANNOY A Methodist: sheer brilliance – and the surface made me smile, too
19  QUAINT: [Mary] QUANT around I; there was a similar clue for this word in yesterday’s Independent puzzle. I think this is the cleverer
21  ICHOR: I + CH + O + R: as well as being colourless matter oozing from a wound, ichor is the ethereal fluid supposed to flow through the veins of the gods
22  CLUE: CuLtUrE: a nice neat one to end with

35 Responses to “Guardian 24,628 / Pasquale”

  1. Ian Payn says:

    I liked this puzzle a lot. Pasquale’s choice of words often comes across as more elegant than some other compilers, perhaps because some old-fashioned terms creep in, such as “comeliness”. My only cavil is that our old pal Al, the gangster puts in an appearance. I find this as annoying as the “social worker”, but this was a second’s annoyance in an otherwise enjoyable puzzle, and barely worth mentioning.

  2. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Eileen – a very enjoyable puzzle, in particular the wonderful MAYONNAISE clue. The only problems I had were with DAWN and working out why ABAS was “down with”. Is this “a bas” used in English, or just French?

  3. manehi says:

    Missed out on TISHRI but MAYONNAISE made my day :)

    Mhl – never seen “à bas” used with that (exact) meaning in French, but I have in English, but not more than twice at a guess.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen – it’s always good to see a puzzle from The Don, and this was a terrific one, where even the obscurer words were gettable from the wordplay. As you say, 12dn was brilliant – a real aha! moment when I saw it.

    Mhl – “à bas” is French for “down with”: “à bas les aristos!” etc.

  5. Geoff says:

    Great fun, and more straightforward than usual for a Pasquale, I thought – although DAWN took me as long as the rest of the puzzle put together!

    Clever clueing from this master, as usual. He often manages some good &lits (11ac is a good example) and ‘almost &lits’ (5dn and 26ac are great), as well as some very imaginative clues, such as the wonderful 12dn. My favourite is 14ac – not difficult, but a splendidly smooth surface reading.

    It is interesting to note, given recent discussions about ideal clue length, that this crossword is unusually wordy – the average clue length is over 8.5 words – but that doesn’t make it seem clumsy, nor stop it from being highly entertaining.

  6. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well I wasn’t that fond of it, perhaps because my brain is full of more practical things than dead languages and foreign catchphrases and so on.

  7. Eileen says:

    Ian: re the old-fashioned terms, am I right in thinking that ‘tash’, ‘blotto’ and ‘bottoms up’ are all rather 19dn?

    And, yes, to get Al and Tess together on the same day… but the rest certainly made up for it – and they were both good clues.

  8. Peter Owen says:

    I may be missing something obvious but can anybody explain how to get the ATE in 4d from the clue?

  9. Eileen says:

    I took it from ‘had’, e.g. ‘I had my lunch’.

  10. Ian Payn says:

    Ellen, “ate” = “had” was my reading as well, but I didn’t catch on for a moment. Or two. Or possibly even three.

    As for tash, blotto and bottoms up, I think you’re right. Didn’t occur to me. Does comeliness count as well? I rather think it does. Well spotted!

  11. Eileen says:

    Ian, I meant to imply that I agreed with your first comment re ‘comeliness’.

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    Why should Henry be H? Could a setter use Thomas for T? Or Amelia for A? Or any name for any initial? I happened to know about awn but Limonite and Tishri had to be confirmed with a dictionary. Is this fair on a weekday? Having said that, this was a most enjoyable crossword with some entertaining clues. In the context of this crossword, I thought 22dn was very apposite.

  13. Geoff says:

    H for Henry is used because it is an English royal name, and English monarchs have often been abbreviated to eg HR on coins etc. So G for George or E for Elizabeth are more acceptable than A for Amelia or D for Darren!

  14. mhl says:

    Tom Hutton: the Henry is a unit of inductance, abbreviated “H”.

  15. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Geoff, that was my explanation on an earlier occasion but it’s the derived SI unit of electric inductance [after Joseph Henry]

  16. Tom Hutton says:

    Mhl: Thank you for that. I am a wiser, but not necessarily happier man.
    Geoff: Very thin. HR fine H not fine. I’ll have to go with Mhl.

    A bas abbreviations I say!

  17. Geoff says:

    H for Henry the SI unit is indeed the better explanation. Ma foi!

  18. Geoff says:

    … although in my (feeble) defence, I should point out that, although the single letter abbreviations of SI units named after physicists are capital letters, the names when written in full are always in lower case: newton, volt, henry etc. So to use Henry, not at the beginning of the clue, is a bit of a lapse for Don M, who is usually a stickler for these things.

  19. Phaedrus says:

    Was it just me, or did anyone else think that 2dn was stretching things a bit? A number of balls is indeed an OVER, but this is pronounced very differently to ‘OVER – and when the setter writes “to ‘ang in the air”, surely it is the pronunciation of the word that is being clued? (i.e. the answer would be fine if it were pronounced “ovver”?). Didnt spoil a good puzzle though, and yes MAYONNAISE was excellent….

  20. Andrew says:

    Phaedrus, I don’t think there’s any problem with the different pronunciations: it’s quite common for two parts of a clue to lead to heteronyms (had to look that up to check I’d got the right word!) such as TEAR (as in crying or ripping), or in this case OVER and (h)OVER.

  21. Speckled Jim says:

    Bloody frustratingly difficult is what I have to say! Another reminder not to waste my money on the newspaper, when all I need to do is waste a sheet of printer paper and some printer ink.

    Surely “‘tache” is short for “moustache”? He gives no indication that the answer is phonetic slang, or does “tash” appear in the all-wonderful Chambers?

  22. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Speckled Jim, yes, actually, it does! But some of us think the paper is worth reading, anyway…

  23. Geoff says:

    TASH appears in both Chambers and the SOD without reference to ‘TACHE, although the latter is also listed. I’m afraid I don’t possess a COD, which is closer in size and scope to Chambers – the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, on the other hand, is a sumptuous two volume extravaganza.

  24. Eileen says:

    As I’ve said before, even if, like me, you were unfamiliar with this ‘word’ / abbreviation, the wordplay was absolutely clear.

  25. Speckled Jim says:

    Yes that was a bit hasty of me, I’ll admit. I should be humble rather than irritated. And as such I’m in jealous awe of those who rattle through these things as if they were writing their shopping list.

    Neither tash nor tache are in the COD. That clue just niggled me because I had already thought of moustache, or ‘tache and removed the ‘he’ to give me the useless gibberish of either moustac or just tac, then gave up. Of course, the wordplay is absolutely clear now I read your explanation of the answer. Hindsight being 20/20 and all…

  26. Geoff Moss says:

    Hi Speckled Jim
    Both tash and tache are in the 11th Ed. of the Concise OED, the latter being defined as a variant of the former. Just to complete the list, Collins (5th Ed., I don’t have access to a later one) only has tache.

  27. Eileen says:

    Speckled Jim: it’s not really like that: I rarely ‘rattle through’ a puzzle just like that, and when I say, ‘The word play’s absolutely clear’, that, too, is usually with the benefit of hindsight and a feeling of ‘Why couldn’t I have seen that ages ago?’ Personally, I don’t really appreciate a puzzle unless I’ve had to wrestle with it. We bloggers are really only solvers who have stuck our necks out, you know!

  28. smutchin says:

    Jim, I think you were right first time – tache is the short form of moustache. But if it’s in the big red book… sigh!

    In any case, can’t argue with the fairness of this or any of the other clues today – this is a totally by-the-book crossword, and a fine example of How To Do It Right. Unfortunately, that being the case, there’s perhaps slightly too much reliance on hackneyed devices (21d being the most horrible example) – but then Pasquale goes and pulls the utterly brilliant 12d out of the bag! Genius!

    I rather liked 11a as well – lovely &lit, as already mentioned. And the use of “changing sides” in 1a was very neat.

    Word count bores might like to note that today’s puzzle weighs in at an epic 8.6. Was he being paid by the word? It’s positively Dickensian!

  29. stiofain_x says:

    A great puzzle and nice to see The Don back and on top form.
    As I have said before I dislike the hidden answer form of clue but MAYONNAISE is an absolute classic.
    Too many good clues and surface readings to list but I loved 14ac in particular and the slang ref in 2 down.
    All the obscurities were fairly clued and although i wasnt confident filling in TASH the explanation from Eileen satisfied me totally.
    Great one, thanks Don.

  30. Wil Ransome says:

    And I only did this because I was in Sainsbury’s and had to buy something to use their cashback facility. What a good thing that was — this was really good and 12dn was memorable.

    The only slight doubt I had was with 1ac: is it quite clearly MOLARS? Not MORALS? It’s not totally clear to me which part “One changes sides” refers to. Neither reading seems quite satisfactory.

  31. Eileen says:

    Wil: yes, I can see that it’s rather ambiguous but you start with ‘matters of principle’ and then teeth comes at the end, where you’d expect to find the definition [or at the beginning!] and baring means ‘revealing’. [I’ve [just] ‘cheated’ and MOLARS is the solution given.]

  32. smutchin says:

    Wil – I had similar doubts but came to the same conclusion as Eileen, ie that “baring” was leading you to the definition.

  33. dave says:

    Rattled through this last night and wrote shopping list simultaneously. Have now purchased far too much mayonnaise.

  34. Barnaby Page says:

    TACHE is in SOED with several meanings but not the meaning of “moustache” (which surprised me). TASH and TAZ are both given as shorter forms of “moustache”.

  35. Pasquale says:

    Belated thanks — I’ve been away

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