Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,705/Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on May 21st, 2009


Seeing Pasquale’s name is a guarantee of soundly-constructed and witty clues, and this was no exception. Although there were a few slight obscurities it yielded eventually, with the NW corner being the most toublesome.

I look forward to meeting some fellow bloggers and readers later today at the Sloggers and Betters gathering.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. GNOSIS “No sis”
5. WASHBOWL ASH in W + BOWL (=roll)
9. CALAMARI (I RAM A LAC)< Lac is “a dark-red transparent resin used in making shellac”
10. EXACTS EX (former) ACTS
11. IRONING BOARD cd – this could easily have been a Rufus clue
13. FAIN “Feign”
18. ICES Alternate letters of InCrEaSe. To ICE someone is gangster talk for killing them.
23. SLAP-UP LAP in SUP(per)
24. DE LA MARE MALE< in DARE. Walter de la Mare was an English poet and novelist.
26. TYPIST “Thai pissed” – I don’t suppose there are many office workers left whose job title is “typist”.
2. NAAN AA (“service coming to the rescue”) in NN (“middle of dinner”)
5. WAITING FOR GODOT (TWO ADRIFT GOGO IN). A brilliantly appropriate anagram: the two characters waiting for Godot are Vladimir (“Didi”) and Estragon (“Gogo”).
6. SVENGALI SVEN (Sven-Göran Eriksson -“old coach”) + GAL + I
8. WATER LEVEL cd – though having higher banks doesn’t necessarily mean the water level is higher, surely?
15. STICK ‘EM UP One of those “reverse cryptic” clues: if you stick EM up you get ME
19. MILLET dd – a type of grass and an artist famous for paintings of peasants.
21. COPAL P in COAL – the second obscure type of resin in this puzzle.
22. ARES (h)ARES. Zeus had lots of sons and daughters, I seem to recall. This one is the god of war, or of “bloodlust, or slaughter personified”. Nice.

23 Responses to “Guardian 24,705/Pasquale”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. As you say, entertaining as always, with some excellent clues. I enjoyed it a lot.

    [I spent a minute or two trying, unsuccessfully, to think of a three-letter word for ‘peasants’ to put inside ‘pot’ for 19dn.]

    Have fun this evening, everyone!

  2. John says:

    A pleasure. Challenging but fair.
    Only one quibble – Sven’s not that “old”; and he’s still a coach as far as I know, although currently unemployed I believe.

  3. Mick H says:

    Eileen, I tried the same thing with peasants, but using RAT outside.
    Gnosis was the first answer I put in – it seemed such a Pasqualesque word. (Then again, we do also have ‘pissed’, if only as a homonym!).
    Look forward to seeing you tonight Andrew, and any others who can make it.

  4. Pasquale says:

    Many thanks for appreciative comments. This puzzle was set when Sven was still the England coach, so a hasty edit was needed at proof stage, and ‘old’ can mean ‘former’ as well as ‘aged’.

  5. Andrew says:

    Blimey, that means nearly three years between setting and publication!

  6. John says:

    My point was that he’s an old England coach, but he probably believes he’s still a current (unemployed)coach.

  7. Pasquale says:

    Yes, of course, I understand, but clues have to be short! The puzzle was indeed set in 2006 — just got lost in the pile, I guess!

  8. Mick H says:

    Or maybe held over until there was a West End production of 5down to make it topical!

  9. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. This was lots of fun, tho GNOSIS caught me out. It’s lovely to have comments from a setter, too!

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    Beat me, but then nothing unusual there :(

    But 5? Where does the first W come from please?

    Dunno what this bash is some of you are going to, but enjoy. I’ll be getting my weekly ear bashing at a jam session.

  11. beermagnet says:

    Derek, in 5A the W is from With.

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ta for reply.

    It is? Is this another arbitrary abreviation then?

  13. Andrew says:

    W = with is pretty standard in crossword-land. Derek, you may not want to hear this, it’s (probably) in Chambers…

    For the “bash” see under “Announcements”.

  14. Wil says:

    I think for 8D it doesn’t necessarily imply that the banks are higher, just that they have “more in”, therfore making the waterway narrower, and as a consequence the water level higher.

    All the same, thanks for the great blog.

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    Andrew, hmm! The only time I can think of that I would use it would be in WRT. But I don’t go around using R and T as though they are standalone abbreviations. I was always taught that using the initial letters of a phrase is not (necessarily) the same as saying those letters can be separately used as abbreviations.

    You could have said the OED, so is saying Chambers an invite for scrap then? LOL.

  16. Dave Ellison says:

    I had “shooting star” for 20a, which seemed to fit quite well (except for the “joint”), until the bottom right didn’t seem to be going well, as a consequence.

    Enjoyed most of the rest of it.

  17. Mr Beaver says:

    Derek – I’ve not infrequently seen ‘with’ abbreviated to ‘w/’, particularly in Americanese. Pretty sure I’ve seen it before in crosswords too.

    Was defeated by 3d and 13a. I particulary liked SVEN for ‘old coach’ – had me thinking of STAGE at first. I don’t suppose he would like the description, but who cares ?

    And 26a certainly made me chuckle, even if typists are an endangered species.

  18. Mark Hanley says:

    I enjoyed this although didn’t complete the NW corner, got confused with the wordplay at 9ac, confidently entering “pastrami” for “calamari” !!

    Favourite clue for me was “stick em up”

  19. dagnabit says:

    Thanks, Andrew. My NW corner was fine; it was the SW corner that was my downfall – I missed 20ac and 23ac, and only got 12d after using the cheat function for 20ac.

    Mick, I had GNOSIS in first as well. And Mark, I too was thinking of “pastrami” for far too long!

    5d was my favorite clue. There’s a new production of “Godot” in New York right now, which might have made solving it a little easier for me. (I don’t live in New York, but I read the New York Times…)

  20. Judge says:

    Hi, I enjoyed this puzzle, 5d and 15d were inspired – though not too sure about 8d’s “more in the bank”.
    By the way, according to the online version, the puzzle was no. 24,705, not 24,704 – might be worth checking.

  21. Andrew says:

    Well spotted, Judge – I’ve corrected the number.

  22. Shed says:

    Derek and Andrew: Chambers does indeed give ‘w’ as an abbreviation for ‘with’. So does Collins.

  23. Mike says:


    Loved 5D, particularly as it’s a variation on one of mine from a while ago:

    Two, adrift, going on about absence of unknown figure! (7,3,5)

    TWOADRIFTGOINGO(N)* – lose the last ‘n’ as it’s shorthand for ‘unknown figure’ and it’s absent.

    By the way, when did they stop using a ! for &lits?

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