Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,658/Logodaedalus

Posted by Andrew on March 27th, 2009

Andrew.

Mostly quite a straightforward puzzle today, with some extremely easy clues, though there are a few obscurities that could cause hold-ups. I also seem to have found quite a few nits to pick about some of the clueing.

Key:
dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

Across
1. GASBAGS dd
5. ARAMAIC (CARA MIA)* Aramaic is the language supposedly spoken by Jesus.
9. TULIP TU(rn) LIP
10. AGGRESSOR (GRASS+GORE)*
11. BRIDGE ROLL BRIDGE + ROLL. The name of the roll may come from thefact that they were typically eaten at afternoon Bridge parties.
12. USES (b)USES. Using the word “buses” in the clue makes this very easy – other setters might have replaced it by “vehicles” or “transport”.
14. INSTABILITY IN + ST + ABILITY
18. GRETNA GREEN GR+ETNA+GREEN. This was very easy to get from the GR and the definition.
21. TART TAR + T. Interesting that TART can be defined as both “sweet” (pudding) and “sour”.
22. EMBONPOINT (NOB ME)< + POINT. I never knew this meant “plumpness” – it’s usually seen preceded by “heaving”, and I presumed it meant a large bosom..
25. MAELSTROM (TO SLAMMER)* Rather unsound wording, I think, with TO seeming to do double duty.
26. ICILY (s)ICILY
27. ROSTERS ROOSTERS less O (an egg)
28. HIGHMEN HIGHWAYMEN less WAY. I didn’t know this word, meaning “loaded dice”, but the wordplay is very obvious.
Down
1. GATSBY Cryptic allusion to F Scott Fitzgerald’s book”The Great Gatsby”, which was made into a film with Robert Redford. Rather a weak clue, I think.
2. SALVIA SAL + VIA
3. ARPEGGIONE ARP (warden) + EGG (fellow, as in “a good egg”) + I + ONE. An 6-stringed instrument tuned like a guitar, and with frets, but bowed like a cello. There’s an Arpeggione Sonata by Schubert which is still played today, though usually on the cello.
4. STAIR ST + AIR
5. ANGEL CAKE ANGEL + CAKE. Made from whipped egg whites. Another rather weak clue.
6. AREA A REA(d). Meaning “subject” as in “Mediaeval French literature is my area”.
7. ASSASSIN A SS + A SS + IN. Avoiding “two donkeys” cliché, but sill easy to spot.
8. CURTSEYS (YES in STRUC(k))< Though the clue doesn’t seem to suggest that the YES is also reversed.
13. KIDNAPPING DNA in KIPPING
15. SAGAMORES ROMA< in SAGES. “Italy’s own capital” meaning the Italian version of the name, but there seems to be no indication that it should be reversed. Sagamores are leaders of some native American tribes
16. EGG TIMER (GET GRIME)* Surely it should be “Breakfasters may need this..”. Not everyone has boiled eggs for breakfast.
17. FEARLESS F + EARLESS
19. MIRIAM RIM< + I AM.
20. STAY IN (da)Y in STAIN
23. OOMPH O + O + MPH
24. ESME Hidden in thE SMElls. Usually a girl’s name, but can be given to boys as well, and may mean “love” (old French version of “aime”).

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,658/Logodaedalus”

  1. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Today’s typo in the interactive version of the crossword is in 7d!

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Could 8d be CURTS (rev. of struc[-k]), EYS (indirect anag. of YES, ‘cover’ being the anagrind)?

  3. crikey says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    I agree with all your reservations. I was hoping it was just me being daft, and awaiting explanations from an esteemed blogger! However, I often find Logodaedalus to be frustrating. He or she seems to be very inconsistent – from the ridiculously easy to the willfully obscure, often with very poor surface readings.

    As you say, the lack of a rev indicator in 8d and 15d had me confused/annoyed…

    Wasn’t it Logodaedalus who was responsible for the ‘Lubeck’ clue some time ago? (“Be in luck in N. Germany”). If so, then this illustrates what I’m talking about…

    Sorry for the negative vibes folks, I’m sure there are a lot of you who really enjoyed today. It just seems that Logo is not generally my bag…

  4. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 12d where we have to simply ignore b in buses.

    That kind of clue I see regularly in the crossword in a local paper. I wouldn’t think it’s an easy clue; I would think it’s not too-well-crafted a clue.

    Now, the local paper has no crossword editor and so I can understand such clues getting past the gate. But in The Guardian?

  5. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Sorry, that was 12a.

  6. crikey says:

    I agree, C.G. I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head – it’s not necessarily the fact that some of these clues are easy, it’s that they’re not constructed very well… For example, I don’t like the fact that the word ‘point’ features in the clue and definition for 22a. But maybe that’s me?

    Also re 8d – I think that the surface is awful, especially with the wordplay (in my opinion) being not technically correct, even taking in your suggestion at comment no.2. It doesn’t really make sense in isolation… I mean it DOES grammatically, but as a statement it’s a bit weak. Or am I being dumb? Probably…

  7. Shirley says:

    I have to agree with all the previous comments. 18AC is also another one which the editor must have missed. Just rephrasing the question as something like “King George married on top of a coloured volcano” would have been OK without the ” a popular marriage spot once”.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    ” a popular marriage spot once” but that is the definition part.

  9. don says:

    Well said, Derek. If this had been set by he-who-must-be-adored all these minor quibbles would have been brushed aside for “all the other wonderful clues”. I didn’t get 22a and 3d, but the rest seemed very reasonable.

  10. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Strange puzzle, with a lot of very easy (and inelegant) clues mixed up with some rather unusual words. More the sort of thing we might expect on a Tuesday (since Monday is Rufusday). Some good clues though – I liked 5ac and 17dn.

  11. crikey says:

    Sorry to nit-pick, Shirley. But Derek’s right… Also your suggested clueing would give something like GRMGRE ENETNA… Again, sorry to be pedantic…

  12. smutchin says:

    Re 22a – is that “decolletage” you’re thinking of, Andrew? I always get those two mixed up myself.

    Re 15d – I wonder if “touring” is perhaps doing double duty as both inclusion and reversal indicator?

    Don – the evidence doesn’t back up your comment – eg see comments on MAKE/MADE HAY in A’s most recent effort. But he never gives us as high a proportion of weak clues as this puzzle has – surely you can’t defend the awful 12a?

    But, to be fair, there are also some excellent clues here – I love the surface of 10a!

  13. smutchin says:

    Shirley, re 18a – I thought that was actually a rather nice clue, even if it was a little easy

  14. Testy says:

    I think the ones judged to be too easy (e.g. giving “buses”, “point” and “me” in plain sight) are perhaps the sort of clues that are required (but have apparetnly been missing) in the Quiptic to get Newbies on the ladder. But as a whole the puzzle contains too many obscurities for it to make a suitable Quiptic.

    Re 27: I’ve never been terribly happy with egg=O. Is it some sort of abbreviation for Ovum? Or is this purely on the grounds of the letter’s vague similarity in shape to an egg (even though one is 2D and the other 3D)? I’ve never liked ball or blob (which I have sometimes seen for O) or spectacles (for OO) for similar reasons.

    There was some good stuff here too though.

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Logodaedalus is the easiest setter in my book, so today’s was slightly harder towards the end than usual. Certainly made better progress than with yesterdays.

    15d I took “touring” to be doing double duty, too.

  16. Eileen says:

    Testy: I remember seeing discussion re ‘egg = O’ before. I think it could have some reference to ‘love’ [l'oeuf'] in tennis, as well as the shape of the letter.

    I’ve been out all morning since doing the puzzle and expected plenty of objections to ‘buses’ [and why 'habitually?] and ‘point’. Logodaedalus seems to specialise in this kind of clue: it was indeed [s]he who gave us LU[BE]CK and, in the same puzzle, OAFISH: ‘clumsy when giving ring to a fish’.

    [Smutchin: my turn to have an accident with my coffee today :-)]

  17. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    This is in response to a point in Smutchin #12.

    If the Chatmeister thinks this is out of place and removes this elsewhere, I would expect that remark as well to be shifted. (See my posting #171 in General Chat.)

    I would think that embonpoint is spread everywhere but décolletage is exposure on a particular front.

    I have a question: Why do the English go to the French when it to comes to describing matters of flesh?

  18. Geoff says:

    Re 22ac – Chambers defines EMBONPOINT, adjectivally, as ‘stout. plump or full in figure’ and as a noun ‘stoutness, plumpness’ etc., but I agree with Andrew that I have only ever come across it as a rather jocular euphemism for a large bosom. ‘Decolletage’ is ‘low cut’, but by extension (sorry!) is used to describe what is revealed by such a garment – neck and shoulders, strictly, rather than just one’s embonpoint.

  19. Tom Hutton says:

    To answer C.G. Rishikesh’s last point, I think it might be to show their refinement in talking about something so vulgar as pudginess. I do think that the English are quite capable of talking about flesh in English as well. I think it is probably a matter of class. (as is almost everything in England)

    The setter should expect a stiff letter from the Gretna Tourist Board. Far from being a popular marriage spot once, Gretna Green continues, somewhat inexplicably, to be a fantastically popular marriage spot today.

    I agree that this was a bit of a mixed bag but I thought there were some very nice clues here and the crossword was very fair throughout.

  20. Geoff says:

    BTW (see Testy @14), I believe Logodaedalus (Don Putnam) has set a lot of Quiptics.

  21. JamieC says:

    I generally agree with the comments above. Whether or not there are good clues to make up for it, a clue like 15d where there is absolutely no indicator that ROMA is reversed is inexcusably bad and the editor should never have let it in.

    Eileen and Testy – the connection is indeed l’oeuf (corrupted to love in tennis, although disappointingly if you watch the coverage of the French open, they say “zero” (excuse lack of accent) and not “l’oeuf”). It’s also the reason why a score of zero in cricket is a duck (the zero looking like a duck’s egg).

  22. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Don Putnam?

    I have great respect for him.

    His books Crosswords for the Enthusiast and Crosswords for the Devotee (Paperfronts, 1974) are prized possessions in my library.

    These two books have an instructive commentary on the art of setting crosswords and a collection of intelligent strainers.

  23. liz says:

    I agree with the comments about 12ac and 22ac. A mixed bag I thought. It felt like two different puzzles stuck together.

  24. crikey says:

    Eileen,

    I suppose that the use of “habitually” could be justified in the sense of a an addict ” using”, ie one with a habit … I think it also makes for a (marginally) better surface reading.

    On reflection, there were a couple of nice clues – particularly 10a, as already mentioned by Smutchin in comment no.12.

  25. stiofain_x says:

    I agree that a couple of half-decent clues does not make up for the overall poor quality of this puzzle. Compared to Pauls tour-de-force from yesterday where not a single word, symbol or indicator was wasted this was very poor indeed.
    Stiofain

  26. Sidey says:

    An extremely indifferent effort today. Most of my moans have been mentioned, but King George certainly does not sit atop a volcano in an across clue for Gretna.

    Logodaedalus needs to reread his own writings on clue setting and fairness.

  27. Paul B says:

    That clue is well dodgy. And clued as ‘grass’, GREEN might be perilously close to having the same meaning in SI (an area of grassland, shurely?) as it does in the place name.

    And yet, as others have stated, what a fab guy Don is. Anyone who writes

    Matilda keeps hawk-headed god in sack

    gets my vote.

    In short, an awful puzzle by a compiler.

  28. Mercurial says:

    Can someone explain 7d)Assassin, I just can’t see it at all.

  29. Geoff Moss says:

    Mercurial

    A (one) SS (steamship) A SS (then another) IN (at home)

  30. C & J says:

    We agree with the nitpickers – did npot enjoy this one at all.

  31. Will says:

    Ok – I’ll go against the grain and say I don’t actually mind extremely easy clues like 12a too much – it doesn’t seem wrong as such. But this was indeed a strange mix. I (and I always have general knowledge/vocabulary shortcomings) didn’t know: arpeggione, bridge roll, Miriam, highmen, embonpoint, sagamores, Esme, salvia.

    I didn’t get a few, one of which was sagamores – it crossed my mind but I’d have never looked it up because there was no indicaton that Roma was reversed – I’d have gone for sagalires or sagaliras instead (get it?). And embonpoint, which crossed it.

  32. Will says:

    Regarding Duck = Egg and those that pepetuate the canard about it relating to l’ouef, look at:
    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bre2.htm

  33. Barnaby Page says:

    Are rosters really plans?

    My other misgiving was that SOED has “high men” as two words but I see some online sources give it as one.

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