Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,662 (Puck)

Posted by diagacht on April 1st, 2009


Ran out of time, so incomplete. Took me ages to get the April Fool material. Mind you, I had been expecting this!

9,27 SPAGHETTI TREE: anagram of PIES THE TARGET; April Fools’ Day joke in 1957
13 STEPHEN: H (Henry) in STEP (stage) + EN (directions)
14,25 GENERAL PICA: ER (Queen) in anagram of GIN PALACE; supposed leader of April Fools’ Day joke island
17,2 UPPER CAISE: Sounds like ‘upper case’, i.e. capital letters; again referring to San Serriffe
19,19 SAN SERRIFFE: ER in anagram of NAFF SERIES; April Fools’ Day published in the Guaradian in 1977
20 RENEW: RENE (Frenchman) + W (initially Wanted)
21 NON-USER: ON in anagram of NURSE
22 BRIEFER: BRIEF (instructions) + RE reversed
26 STOUT: ShOUT with T (model) instead of H (hospital)
28 MIMIC: MIMI (Frenchwoman) + C (caught)
1 USSR: US (Guardian) + SR (first letters in Series Ridiculing)
3 PHOSPHORUS: RU (rugby union) in anagram of POSH SHOP
4 STEP ON: NO PETS reversed
6 PAIR: P (piano) + AIR (tune)
7 GRIDIRON: GI half buried in RD + IRON
8 CLUE: CLUEdo (game) without the party (do)
13 SPURN: SPURs with ‘s’ replaced by N
15 NARCISSIST: anagram of SCAN IRIS + S (Sun?) + T (model)
18 PANORAMA: programme showing the spaghetti tree spoof
22 BODONI: BlOoD cOuNt Is, take every second letter for capital of spoof island
24 AMMO: A M (a 1000) + MO (medical officer)

30 Responses to “Guardian 24,662 (Puck)”

  1. smutchin says:

    Got 5d to give an unlikely looking I at the end of 9a, then got 6d/27d/12a, then remembered what day it was… and then it all fell into place quite quickly. Couldn’t remember all the details of the San Serriffe hoax but the checking letters made everything pretty easy to guess.

    Fun, though.

  2. Ian says:

    Like Smutchin, I had no idea of the details of the San Serriffe hoax, but worked them out. I remember it from the time. It hasn’t been matched.

    Araucaria, Paul now this…we have been spoiled this week. Are we due for three solid days of Rover by way of compensation?

  3. Mick h says:

    I was just about old enough to be reading the Guardian in 1977, so remember the San Seriffe spoof, but it does seem a bit obscure and navel-gazing for a theme. I know they’ve returned to it a few times in subsequent April 1sts, but I imagine some casual readers will have been thoroughly confused by this.

  4. Geoff says:

    Thanks, diagacht – blogging 1 April was always going to be a bit of a short straw..

    Enormous fun – I spotted the San Serriffe anagram fairly quickly and remembered what day it was..

    2dn is CAISSE – Upper and Lower Caisse were the two main islands of San Serriffe. In 1977, when the spoof first appeared, printing terminology was much less familiar to most people (computers and word processing have changed the situation completely). Therefore, terms like ‘upper case’ were not widely used – people usually referred to ‘capital letters’ – and the names of fonts were obscure to most.

    This must have been rather impenetrable for anyone who isn’t familiar with the celebrated Guardian and Panorama hoaxes – I’m old enough to remember the former, and the latter has often been repeated on the small screen.

    Agree with Ian – a fantastic week so far!

  5. smutchin says:

    I was five in 1977, so wasn’t exactly an avid Guardian reader at the time, but I’m familiar with the hoax. It’s common enough cultural currency – especially among the target audience for this crossword (ie Guardian readers).

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this much more than yesterdays.

    11a Is it RUSES = TRICKS? US from 1d USSR, and then..? BAGS LAST = S??? Or something else?

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    11ac I see it now. USSR anagram (that is, oddly) with last of THE

  8. JamieC says:

    I loved this. According to Wikipedia, San Serriffe is a “famous April Fool”, so perhaps it’s legitimate.

    Puck is a really stylish setter. Not a single gripe and a reference to Spurs too :)

  9. liz says:

    Really enjoyed this. I remember the San Serriffe spoof v well. Bodoni is a typeface and pica is a type size.

    29ac is FINISTERE hidden and reversed in ‘berets in I flew’

    I thought 26ac was good and I am kicking myself for the one I missed, which was 8dn.

  10. don says:

    Like Smutchin, the penny didn’t drop until the ‘I’ in ‘nitrogen’ gave me 9/27. Then 6/27 gave me 12a.

    I don’t understand in 6d why ‘pair’ = ‘hand’ or ‘hand in’. Why ‘1/4′ in 10/23?

    Good fun, though: enjoyed this more than yesterday’s.

  11. Andrew says:

    Don – for 6d I think it’s because a pair is a “hand” in poker.
    For “1/4″- consider the date..

  12. stiofain_x says:

    don 6dn a pair would be a hand in poker eg but I didnt get the 1/4 dollar ref either.
    I enjoyed this, much more fun than the really bad Twitter April Fool in the paper.
    3 crackers in a row I wonder if Hugh will make it a full weeks worth for us.

  13. stiofain_x says:

    aha Andrew I get it now just a straight anagram I was convinced pie=fool led=sent and apri was some ref to a dollar

  14. Testy says:

    Every week’s a good week in the Indy. Why not come on over to the other side (or even have a foot in both camps)?

    Sans Serrife was completely unknown to me so I’m afraid I fared very poorly on this one.

  15. Mort says:

    I don’t quite understand 12a – The ‘def’ part is straightforward and PAR for “it’s normal”, but the rest of the wordplay?

  16. Geoff Moss says:

    PAR (normal) + EG (say) DIRT (filthy stuff) reversed

  17. Mort says:

    *Kicks self*
    Thanks Geoff!

  18. stiofain_x says:

    Mort eg dirt backwards

  19. liz says:

    Mort — I think it’s ‘say’ for EG and ‘filthy stuff’ for DIRT, both the other way round TRIDGE,

  20. Monica M says:


    No explanation from me.

    I got the theme part of this puzzle because I watched some TV show on the weekend which told some of the great April Fool hoaxes.

    I also had fun.


  21. George Foot says:

    It may amuse some to know that I completed this Crossword (with some difficulty) without ever cottoning on that it was to do with an April Fool spoof until I looked at the blog. I assumed San Serriffe was somewhere I just hadn’t heard of. I did have San Salvador for a time!

  22. Gary Howe says:

    what am I not getting about PANORAMA?. It looks like the answer should be a misspelt PANARAMA, i.e PANAMA around RA= Royal Artillery. Which ‘soldiers’ are known as OR?



  23. rightback says:

    Gary: OR = “other ranks”, i.e. soldiers below the rank of lance-corporal and their equivalents.

  24. Gary Howe says:

    ah ok thanks

    never come across that one before

  25. Arthur says:

    I thought it was great fun – more so than yesterday for me. I was pretty sure it would be themed so Spaghetti Tree and San Serriffe went in first and then the other themed words followed fast. This gave so many checking letters that I was well and truly away. Minor complaints:

    Should I have heard of Finistere? (although being hidden, once you have it, you know you do)

    With stout, it would probably be better if the h/b swap was verified by a checking letter although as soon as you work out what the wordplay is doing, it’s pretty clear which one it is.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Some of us didn’t get confused by that bit of word play for the simple reason we didn’t look at it, because the definition was enough due to being so ancient we saw the original broadcast!

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    Finistere? You never listen to the Radio 4 shipping forecast? (presuming I remembered the name right of course)

  28. Puck says:

    Thanks for the blog and comments. It’s good to know that fun and enjoyment in setting is providing fun and enjoyment for solvers too. And yes, Derek, you have remembered right in regard to Finistere and the shipping forecast.

  29. Colin Blackburn says:

    Finistere is no longer in the Shipping Forecast. It has been renamed Fitzroy. Apparently there was a distinctly separate Spanish area called Finistere and so the UK one was renamed to avoid potential confusion/disasters!

  30. Brian Harris says:

    Great fun this. Good theme and lots of excellent clues, even though I’m far too young to remember the San Serriffe April fool.

    Didn’t get the 1/4 reference either. Nice. 29ac was excellent; when we realised it was a reverse included there was a moment of forehead slapping and then an admiring chuckle.

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