Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,689 (Sat 2 May)/Enigmatist – By gum

Posted by rightback on May 9th, 2009


Solving time: 33:34

Probably two-thirds of that time was spent trying to untangle the long phrase starting at 1dn, together with a few other crossing answers (especially 22ac and 23dn). If you knew the song below you probably found this puzzle a lot easier than I did!

I can’t fathom 22ac or 23dn, so explanations welcome.

Music of the Day: Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s [sic] Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight? by Lonnie Donegan.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 DON’T BET ON IT; DO, + (TB + ETON) in NIT – very difficult breakdown: ‘do’ is short for ‘ditto’ (hence ‘The same’), consumption is TB (tuberculosis), ‘school’ is ETON, ‘egg’ is NIT and ‘spread’ is used in the sense of ‘spread apart’, so TB and ETON ‘spread’ NIT (i.e. go inside it).
9 ENERGID; rev. of (DIG RENE) – RENE always looked a likely candidate for the Frenchman but I didn’t know this word (according to Chambers, ‘a protoplasmic unit; the nucleus and active cytoplasm of a cell’). If I had I’m sure I’d have seen BEDPOST in the long phrase more quickly.
10 ANTIGEN; (GET IN A)* + N – another biological answer.,
11 KEYSTROKE – I think this is just a cryptic definition but there may be more to it. Whatever, I was very slow with it, even with ‘K-Y…’ in place.
14 NO U.S.
19 MESS (2 defs)
21 E + VERY – a Very light is a coloured flare fired from a pistol, such as those used to signal to aircraft that have lost radio communications. I’ve often seen it spelt ‘Verey’ but they were invented by US naval officer Edward Very so I think that’s just wrong.
22 TIMESHARE – I don’t understand the ‘bodysnatcher’ reference in this clue (‘Property periodically inhabited by bodysnatcher’)…
24 ASININE – …or this clue (‘It’s expansive swapping cards – and silly’). Something to do with substituting words for ‘card’, such as ‘nine’, perhaps? ‘Asia’ becomes ‘asinine’ if you swap the A[ce] for a nine, but that seems too far-fetched.
26 GREEN PEPPER; PER (= ‘a’), after GREEN (= ‘go’) + PEP (= ‘go’) – very clever.
1 DOES YOUR CHEWING GUM LOSE ITS FLAVOUR ON THE BEDPOST; (FUSS OVER OLD GLORY WHITE HOUSE BUDGET COMPENSATION)* – an extraordinary anagram which took me absolutely ages to solve. ‘Does your’ and ‘flavour on the’ were clear enough but I just couldn’t see ‘chewing gum'; I had ‘get some’ pencilled in at 18dn for a while.
2 NIGHT; (THING)* – referring to the last bit of the song title.
4 TEA LEAF (2 defs) – rhyming slang for ‘thief’.
6 TIGHTROPE-WALKER (cryptic definition)
8 IN GEAR (2 defs) – ‘gear’ in the sense of ‘clothes’.
15 BODYLINE; (I + LED ON BY)* – a reference to the ‘bodyline’ Ashes series.
16 MAENAD; ENA in MAD (&lit) – nice.
17 ACT + AEON – a hunter that Artemis transformed into a stag. Very good clue.
20 SEE[d]ING
23 SHLEP – this is a Yiddish word meaning ‘to drag’. A 50/50 guess for me, since ‘hip’ and ‘hep’ can both mean ‘fashionable’, but this looked more likely that ‘shlip’.

23 Responses to “Guardian 24,689 (Sat 2 May)/Enigmatist – By gum”

  1. Tim the Newbie says:

    Thanks so much. This has been driving me potty. I spent most of the week trying to get the star spangled banner out of my head. I think the body snatching bit of 22 is Hare but can’t work out where ‘times’ comes from?

  2. gav says:

    I managed to do this one …. apart from ENERGID. Never heard of it.

    On 22 I got HARE from Body snatcher and TIMES from periodically.


  3. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks also. We couldn’t finish this, despite Mre Beaver getting the song fairly early on (it had passed me by!).
    Like Gav, had never heard of ENERGID. 16d, 17d and 26a were too clever for us. Did consider GREEN PEPPER but were unable to get the wordplay.

    As for ASININE, please can someone provide a more credible explanation than Rightback’s ?
    If that’s the level of lateral thinking we are expected to perform, I’m giving up !

  4. Eileen says:

    22ac: I think ‘times is part of the definition: ‘property periodically inhabited’ and that ‘by’ must mean ‘times’, as in multiplication sums.

  5. Ian W. says:

    Not strictly on the topic of last week’s prize crossword, but I don’t know where else to post:

    If you’re trying to do THIS WEEK’s Araucaria prize crossword on-line, be aware that the second clues starting with R and W are missing. To see them, you must go to the pdf print version. Very sloppy and annoying, but I guess you get what you pay for. There may be other errors as well, as I’m only half-way through.

  6. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Rightback. I think your explanation of 24 ac. is the correct one – at least, it’s how I eventually explained it to myself.

  7. cholecyst says:

    23 d. Society’s fashionable
    line in drag (5}

    I think it goes: S(ociety)then L(ine) inside HEP

  8. Andy W says:

    To complete Tim the Newbie’s explanation, TIMES (by) + HARE (bodysnatcher) – ref. Burke and Hare.

    Re the long anagram – I got the whole thing from C_E____ at the end of 1D and G_M at the start of 18. But then I did know the song.

  9. Fletch says:

    Thanks for the blog, rightback. While I breezed through most of it, I didn’t understand the asinine clue at all but I agree that’s the best explanation we’re likely to get. A little too wacky for my taste, but that’s Enigmatist I guess.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. I didn’t get GREEN PEPPER and knew I would kick myself when I found out what it was. SHLEP was the other one that evaded me, tho I know this word.

    G-M in the long anagram helped me to get this one — I know the song, and I’ve seen this used in a crossword before.

    re ASININE. Is there no other explanation for the wordplay? I don’t even entirely understand Rightback’s!

  11. Chunter says:

    Liz: I too was defeated by 26ac and 23dn. For a time I thought that ‘vegetable’ might give GREENS.

    Off topic I know, but when do the official annotations for prize crosswords usually appear on the Guardian website? I also want to see what is said about 24ac.

  12. Elspeth Allcock says:

    Re Asinine – maybe the card-swapping refers to the game ‘Donkey’, which is like ‘Old Maid’. Players swap cards until one (the loser) is left with the odd card.

  13. Colin H says:

    I got the long anagram as soon as I worked out what the first two words, and the first letter of the third, were – try typing that much into the search box on Wikipedia, and it’s the first thing that comes up ;).

  14. smutchin says:

    rightback, I think your explanation for 24a sounds quite probable – and quite the sort of thing one might expect from Enigmatist, Mr Beaver.

    I did a large chunk of this one very quickly and then ran aground. Didn’t get the long anagram due to misunderstanding which bit of the clue was meant to be the definition. Meh.

  15. Chunter says:

    Ian W: Also the Z clue is labelled ’22’.

    There are a couple of further problems with the print version. The special instruction about highlighted entries is included in it, and the columns of clues are labelled ‘across’ and ‘down’.

  16. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Ian W (5 above), I printed out yesterday’s puzzle (24695) but quickly realised that something was amiss. I assumed that it was another case of the wrong grid having been published.

    I never thought of visting the PDF version.

    Armed with this new information, I will now try it again.

    Who, other than The Grauniad, would have thought of publishing two different versions?


  17. Bryan says:

    Thanks to Ian W (5 above), I’ve now finished yesterday’s puzzle (24695) but I never would have managed it without him.


  18. muck says:

    There are several ‘off-topic’ comments above (#5,#15,#16) about the inaccurate on-line Print version of yesterday’s Araucaria. The printable ie pdf version was fine.

    I apologise for yet another off-topic comment, but have looked and failed to find a more appropriate place

  19. muck says:

    And I further apologise for my inability to highlight ‘Print’ and ‘printable’ as I intended.

  20. rightback says:

    Thanks very much for explaining 22ac. I didn’t know the bodysnatcher HARE but had completely missed ‘by’ = TIMES (well done Eileen!).

    Cholecyst’s explanation of SHLEP (comment #7) was my interpretation also but I accidentally omitted the breakdown from the blog, sorry.

  21. Shirley says:

    Sorry for late post – have been away for the weekend.
    Isn’t the Spread in 1AC the bet i.e. spread betting?
    We couldn’t understand Asinine either!

  22. sidey says:

    For those who haven’t seen the annotations [here,,2298199,00.html ] 24 asinine ASI(a/NINE) [an ace for a 9]

  23. Mr Beaver says:

    Sidey – Ta for pointing that out, though I still say it’s the furthest fetched thing I ever did see. It requires a level of twistedness to which I cannot aspire :-(

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