Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,673 – Brummie, A Hairy Proposition

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 14th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

What a hairy puzzle and ever so enjoyable as I unravelled the word-play. Splendid and good clean fun with some delightful and creative definitions.

1 LEGACY Cha of LEG (stage) A CY (a hollow CavitY)
4 RHINITIS The River RHINE minus E + IT IS (formal way of writing it’s)
9 COLLIE Cha of COL (colonel, officer) LIE (invention)
10 PUB CRAWL PU (rev of up) ins of C (first letter of Cheviots) in BRAWL (fight)
11 SHOCK TREATMENT By now, you would have sussed out that the hairy theme of this puzzle; so the answer should not come as a surprise. “Current therapy” what a creative def
13 BAD HAIR DAY Ins of ADH *(had) AIR (broadcast) D (died)
in BAY (clamour)
14 CYAN C (cold) YAN (Rev of NAY, no)
16 UFOS Ins of FO (rev OF) in US. I quite like the def craft (not recognised)
18 NEW ORLEANS Cha of NEW (latest) OR (gold) LEANS (lists)
I reckon there is a typo with s missing from list in the clue
21 REGISTERED POST Quite a straight-forward cha with a good vryptic def
23 DANDRUFF Cha of D (diamonds) AND (with) RUFF (neckwear)
24 SCONCE Cha of S C (second century) ONCE (not repeated)
25 ESCALADE cd for the scaling of the walls of a fortress by means of ladders
26 RANCID Delighful allusion to a top brass running the Criminal Investigation Dept (CID)

2 GALAHAD Cha of GALA (pageant) HAD (held)
3 CHITCHAT Ins of HITCH (hike) A in CT (Connecticut)
5 HAUTE-SAVOIE *(via tea house)
6 NICETY Cha of NICE (French resort) TY (eastern or RHS half of city)
7 TRACERY Ins of ACER (tree) in TRY (go)
8 SPLIT ENDS Cha of SPLIT (leave) ENDS (objects)
12 THREE-LEAFED *(there) + LEA (grassland) FED (nourished)
13 BLUE RIDGE Simple charade of something John Denver used to sing about
15 ALOPECIA Ins of LOPE (bound) in A CIA (a government agency) This is the bombastic word for baldness. If you have no hair, you cannot have a bad hair day; just like women can never suffer from prostatic afflictions
17 ORGANIC Cha of ORG (Internet domain) AN I (one I) C (first letter of consider)
19 ARSENIC Ins of *(siren) in AC (air conditioning)
20 ASTRAL Cha of A S (a second) TRAWL (search) minus W (wife)
22,1 HEAD LICE Cha of HEAD (proceed) L (left) ICE (rocks or diamonds)

26 Responses to “Guardian 24,673 – Brummie, A Hairy Proposition”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, Uncle Yap.

    18ac: I took this as NEWS ['the latest'] as in ‘Have you heard the latest?’

    3dn: hitch does not mean hike.

  2. Monica M says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    As usual I had a hard time with Brummie … missed a couple (25ac & 5dn)…. and couldn’t workout the theme clue … bay (hmph)

    Eileen, 18ac: that seems better to me, I like Uncle Yap couldn’t find the extra S.

    15ac … terrific … LOL.

  3. Monica M says:

    15 dn, I mean.

  4. Paul B says:

    I’m sure we all knew that having your hair done cures mental illness.

    I don’t know about Wil R, but I found this puzzle, which features little in the way of surface sense, extremely unsatisfactory. I accept that it may simply be a matter of opinion, but I can offer one or two observations of a technical nature, which at least might make it *look* like I know what I’m talking about.

    1ac: definition is in the wrong part of speech. 4ac: ditto. 13ac: exactly what is the definition here? BAD HAIR DAY = ‘it would be one problem after another’? 16ac: ‘of’, which is simply reversed, isn’t ‘weaving’ – Hugo is, of course. 23ac: definition is in the wrong part of speech. Again. 25ac: trying to do a CD for a fairly specific military term was always going to be tough, I guess. And maybe unfair in a daily.

    3dn: as blogged. 5dn: difficult or little-known terms should not – in my opinion – be anagrammed. 6dn: what part of speech *should* we define, I wonder? 12dn: as required. By which I mean the word ‘as’ would be required to correct for anything like an adjectival definition. 20dn the definition appears to be ‘after a heavenly body’ – well, if you say so mate. It’s nice to have a surface that works.

    In all seriousness these are picky points, but, but, what are editors for? It would have taken but 10 minutes to er, comb them out shurely.

  5. Octofem says:

    Does anyone else associate ‘Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’ more with Laurel and Hardy? I enjoyed the puzzle, although ‘Cyan’ was new to me. How is it pronounced?

  6. cholecyst says:

    Eileen – “3dn: hitch does not mean hike”. It does in Chambers. Or rather, hike means hitch in that eccentric lexicon.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Octofem. agreed on both counts, though I do know the John Denver song. Cyan rhymes with Ryan and has a soft ‘c’, according to Chambers.

    Thanks, Cholecyst: I’ve just realised – different meaning of ‘hitch’! but I don’t think ‘split’ [8dn] means ‘leave’.

  8. Octofem says:

    Thanks Eileen. Re ‘split’ – there is an expression heard in films: ‘Let’s split’ meaning ‘Let’s go’.

  9. beermagnet says:

    I agree Cyan has a soft c, but I pronounce it Sigh-Anne (whereas I pronounce Ryan to rhyme with iron).
    Thought I’d mention this before I split for the pub.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Beermagnet. It’s obviously not my day today. Enjoy your pint!

  11. Arthur says:

    Hitch and hike both mean lift as in “hitch up your skirts” or “hike up your skirts”. Have to say this wasn’t all that fun. The theme wasn’t really used enough for my liking (we could have had some clues that led to annoying things as well as things that literally made your hair bad). Never heard of escalade (except as the French for staircase I think?) and agree that this was a mess in terms of the grammar of the definition. 2dn, “Knight’s” has to read “Knight has” for the surface definition, but “Knight is” to make sense of a clue. I don’t think the definition (Knight) should be augmented by ‘s in any case.

  12. Monica M says:

    SPLIT … I was of the opinion this was a commonly known Americanism … “Let’s split, man!” (think of the Fonz from ‘Happy Days’) … maybe in the UK (and elsewhere) you haven’t been quite so culturally hijacked by the US as we have in Aus.

    Now for my really dumb question … Can someone please explain the RAN part of 26ac? (Iā€™m already cringing, as I know the answer will be something straight forward)

    Have a pint for me Beermagnet … long day at work and all … and Tuesday is an AFD ;-)

  13. Ian says:

    I agree with Beermagnet (I knew his cousin, Fridge) about pronouncing “cyan” but there may be regional variations.

  14. David says:

    Monica, ran = was in charge, so, an ex top-ranking police officer RAN CID

  15. liz says:

    A BAD BRAIN DAY for me. I missed too many to mention!

    Monica — if you RAN the CID then you were a high-ranking police officer. apologies if anyone explains it first.

  16. Monica M says:

    Thanks David … it was the ‘was a’ = past tense part, that stumped me … I had in my head it was some British Forces abbrev … looking for something more complex than it was … Ah well, I hope you all got a larf at my expense.

    I often think clues are going to relate to some obscure (for me) reference to British systems … usually I just end up just tricking myself and missing something quite obvious. No mind, so long as I’m learning.

  17. mhl says:

    I think “Clover is” for THREE-LEAFED was the bit that I liked least of this puzzle.

    Arthur: it’s fine for apostrophe-S to have a different meaning in the surface and cryptic readings – ideally most elements of the clue would, after all.

    Monica M: I find the same with any clue with a surface reading that mentions something I know very little about – for example, I have a difficult-to-override tendency to skip over anything referring to history, even if they’re totally soluble without knowing any. :)

  18. gav says:

    Was rather put off by ‘an ex top-ranking police officer RAN CID’

    I always think of top ranking meaning Chief Constable or at least Commander or Superintendent

    CID is just another branch – there are many constables that make up CID.

    IS CID always seen in crossword circles as top ranking?

  19. mhl says:

    Gav: the idea is that someone who would run CID would be have to be top-ranking. CID is normally just “detectives” or “police”, I think.

  20. Tom Hutton says:

    I think that high ranking would have been better than top ranking as a top ranking police officer would run a police force not a department of it by definition. Still a nice clue, I thought.

    I thought 20dn was a little muddled as to the definition.

    I found this enjoyable and clear even though, with my stubborn head topping, every day is a bad hair day for me.

  21. Agentzero says:

    I had no objection to the definitions that Paul B criticised as using the “wrong parts of speech.” There is a style of definition that I think is fairly well accepted in which a word is defined as something that has a certain quality. The word “something” or “thing” is understood. Thus, the definition for “legacy” is that “it is [something that is]left;” rhinitis is something “which is inflammatory;” and dandruff is something “making for a bad hair day.”

    Obviously “sky” cannot be defined as “blue” just because the sky is blue; there need to be additional words in the definition signalling that a noun is wanted. For example, strictly as a matter of cryptic grammar, I think “it is blue” would be acceptable for “sky.”

    On a separate matter, I thought 12d should have read “clover is normally …”

  22. Paul B says:

    Oh, I’m not asking for acceptance of my views if that’s what you think – I merely state them. But for you, I would guess ‘in France’ adequately defines HARFLEUR, for example? Sorry, but that’s just sloppy.

    I like accuracy in parts of speech for the sake of the solver, and the very best puzzles I’ve seen without exception feature such rigorous attention to detail. That The Guardian doesn’t bother (in some puzzles) is annoying for people like me, who believe that the best surfaces result from a reasonably strict observance of cryptic grammar.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a feature of the differences between ‘Libertarian’ and ‘Ximenean’ schools either – it’s just bad, unthinking and apparently rather hasty compiling.

  23. Agentzero says:

    Paul B, sorry, I didn’t think you were looking for acceptance of your view, I was just stating a different view.

    To my mind, the problem with the Harfleur example you give (as well as my “sky is blue” one) is vagueness (i.e., the definition could lead to too many answers), rather than a part-of-speech problem. It seems to me that setters do often use formulations like “in France” or “in Hants” or what have you, and it’s clear they’re looking for a place name, i.e., noun. I guess my view is that if it is clear what part of speech the setter is looking for, it’s not a problem.

  24. Derek P says:

    I enjoyed this crossword, and I’m happy with Agentzero’s interpretation of cryptic grammar. However I was completely fooled by 25ac (escalade), which I’m afraid I hadn’t come across before and didn’t spot as a cryptic definition. Interestingly Chambers also gives escalado, so is the solution ambiguous?

  25. Harley26 says:

    i agree also with agentzero’s reading of the parts of speech interpretation. i liked the first two across clues today, though I didn’t get either of them without help (once told, i thought they were good clues.)

    as an aside to derek p – i always thought escalado was board game (or rather, a game where you strung a piece of material across a table and wound the handle, thereby jigging along a number of lead race horses): interesting to hear that it is also a real word.

  26. Paul B says:

    There’s enough to interpret – especially if it’s an Araucaria or Enigmatist, without burdening solvers with unnecessary extra work. But it’s a matter of what you’re used to, I suppose.

    I put up with that kind of writing for yonks as I knew no better: my addiction was Grauniad-specific for ages. But upon solving my first Times, which I admit was not the funniest crossword I’d ever solved, for many other reasons it was as if a new day had dawned.

    The Guardian still has its moments, but there’s a difference between latitude and sloppiness.

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