Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,711 – Quantum

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on May 28th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A nice straightforward puzzle today, perhaps a bit more straightforward than most Thursdays.  Quite a lot of anagram and straightforward charades.

* = anagram
“” = homophone
< = reversed
d.d. = double definition
c.d. = cryptic definition


1. EARLY DAY MOTION. YEARLYAD* + MOTION.  Andrew Motion is the outgoing UK poet laureate.  I guessed this before 8dn.
10. FINE. d.d.
12. MERLIN. Hidden in hamMER LINnet.  I think the male name comes from the bird.  I don’t like hidden answers like this where there are extraneous words.
14. LOLLIPOP. Are they noted for stickiness? Not very cryptic, though I may have missed something.
17. ADVERT. d.d. I don’t think I was familiar with the verb sense of this.
23. STONEMASON. c.d. unless it’s a clever &lit that I’m not seeing!
24. FERN. FE(R)N.


2. GLUE. E. ((j)UL(y)) G. <
4. IMPELLED. 1 MP + EL + LE + D.
8. YEARLY. Y + EARL + Y.  Got this after guessing 1ac.
13. LIEUTENANT. Not sure how this works, a Lieutenant is one rank below a Captain so it might just refer to imminent promotion.
21. NATURE. d.d.
24. FAME. F + A.M. + E.

31 Responses to “Guardian 24,711 – Quantum”

  1. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ciaran. re 14ac, I think you mean ‘are they noted for stickiness?’ I found this very smooth-going, almost a little too much so. I can’t see any other explanation for 13dn, either. I liked 19dn.

  2. sidey says:

    re 14 ac, can I be the first to ask, what’s brown and sticky?*

    Nice puzzle, agree with the comments about 17 and 13.

    *A stick.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    4d not wild about a = 1 in daily puzzles.
    I didn’t think 5d was very strong, nor 14a.
    25a reminds me of the old joke “one day my prints will come”, lost on the digital generation. However “prince” and “prints” sound different to me.
    There were some good clues too!

  4. tarby says:

    I think 13 down refers to the next promotion being a captain or cap when shortened

  5. don says:

    Thanks for the blog and, in particular, explaining 13 down. ‘Advert’ was the last to go in, but not with any conviction.

    I think Sieffre o Fynwy ( might have had something to do with the male name Merlin.

  6. teesween says:

    Nothing wrong with the puzzle, but surely it belonged in the Quiptic beginners section. If a puzzle can be done in 5 minutes without writing in the answers then it shouldn’t be in the big boy’s yard. IMHO, of course.

  7. tarby says:

    Sorry Ciaran I had not read your 13ac solution!

  8. Neil says:

    Hardly worth even the tiny amount of effort it took.

    17a: to advert is to “turn one’s attention (to)” according to Chambers, but Collins has “draw attention to”.

    13d: Obvious enought to just write in, confirmed by crossings, but I can’t see how it works either. I’ve looked up “enant” but that doesn’t help.

  9. Dawn says:

    I thought 14a related to the fact that lollipops have a stick to hold onto. I liked this puzzle although like others I put in lieutenant without really knowing why.

  10. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Aha, Dawn that’s probably what the setter meant – well done!

  11. Lanson says:

    13d I think on from Tarby’s comment cap’t sounds like capped

  12. Lanson says:

    or rather capt’

  13. Chunter says:


    13d: the usual abbreviation of ‘captain’ is ‘capt’, a homonym (‘say’) of ‘capped’.

  14. sidey says:

    Ciaran, see my ‘joke’ above

  15. don says:

    Re 14 across. Of course lollipops [a boiled sweet stuck on a small wooden stick: a sweatmeat made with sugar and treacle] are sticky, Ciaran. I don’t really think it’s anything to do with lollipops having a stick. Perhaps you’re thinking of ‘iced lollipops’, but when they drip they can be sticky, too.

  16. JimboNWUK says:

    Feeble and unsatisfying… I reverted to an old Paul because I finished it so quickly and the difference was refreshing and remarkable… even the easy ones got a nod of “aye that were a good un” such as “Let down by a rising semitone twice” being DEFLATED even though I wasn’t sure if it was D-EFLAT-E or D-EFLAT E-D I didn’t much care because it was a well impressive clue for such a simple word. No such luck with today’s mediocre offerings….

  17. NealH says:

    Just a minor point, but 22 across should be (set rul(e))*.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    That’ll teach me to go to the pub for lunch before solving, it’s all been said, dang!

    I found it a bit like that one a couple of days ago, a bit worrying on the first pass of the across clues but easy thereafter.

    Pity the odd expert didn’t enjoy it, but us mere mortals did. We need this sort of encouragement from time to time to keep us going. The silent majority who struggle with these things shouldn’t be discouraged by a never ending series of master class puzzles. Would that others were more tolerant of that.

  19. Pasquale says:

    Quantum’s funeral was a year ago today, and I suspect this is his final puzzle.

  20. Dagnabit says:

    I share others’ comments about the simplicity of today’s puzzle, but I also agree with Derek’s defense of the silent majority. I couldn’t live exclusively on a diet of this week’s Tuesday and Wednesday offerings (just to name two examples within quick reach) – it would wear me out! I need unconditional encouragement every now and then, and it’s nice to get it from the Guardian on occasion instead of just from U.S. cryptics.

    No disrespect intended to Quantum’s memory, but shouldn’t the clue to 23ac read something like “One who cuts out…”? I generally dislike when clues speak in the first person but aren’t about the setter.

  21. ugy says:

    I’ve been looking forward for ages to leave a comment to say that I’ve finished one!
    So, after days of lurking, I’m doing just that :)
    This forum is always entertaining but every thread does seem to start with something along the lines of “Well, that was too easy”…

    Spent ages working out how a “loo tenant” might be capped so thanks for the capt’ explanation. It all makes sense now!

  22. Dagnabit says:

    Congratulations, ugy, and welcome!

  23. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Pasquale – it really doesn’t seem like a year ago, but I should have realised it was posthumous.

    There’s an obituary of Quantum here, for those of us with shamefully poor memories:

  24. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Ugy –

    I’m guilty of starting a lot of blogs in that way, but really it’s a case seeing if a puzzle is ‘easier than normal’ or ‘harder than normal’ for the day of the week (perhaps combined with the blogger’s instinct to show off).

    I can guarantee that all the bloggers once found crosswords as tricky as you do at some point, and it’s a case of practice making perfect.

    Our most vocal commenters do tend to be the brainiacs, but please don’t let that put you off from commenting!

  25. Fletch says:

    I’m not sure it was a wise decision to continue publishing Quantum’s puzzles posthumously – they’ve mostly attracted unfavourable comment and then someone mentions he’s dead and everyone feels guilty.

  26. liz says:

    I wouldn’t like to feel that I was inhibited from saying whether I found a puzzle was easy or hard. I think Dagnabit put it very well — we do need the encouragement from time to time and there are ways to make an easy solve more challenging — in my case, I try to see if I can solve in clue order. I did find this one easy, and my daughter, who is learning how to do cryptics, was v encouraged by it. Even so, she said she thought RUNWAY was too easy! She was happier to get fewer of the Paul clues yesterday. So there you go!

  27. Arthur says:

    Agree this was particularly easy, but some quite nice misleading surfaces. I’m not keen on 5dn “stickiness” referring to 2dn in which the definition is “it’s sticky” though – in a quick crossword that would be utterly ridiculous so I don’t see why the rules are any different here.

  28. Neil says:

    In the revealed circumstances (thank you Pasquale; I didn’t know, as I suspect many of us didn’t), I too now feel discomfited about my earlier unappreciative comments here. Perhaps the crossword editor might care to comment?

  29. beermagnet says:

    Ciaran, small point: The serial number of this crossword was 24711.

  30. Pasquale says:

    Eric never had a computer and would never have followed these blogs. His puzzles were always in a fairly straightforward Ximenean tradition, devised for the everyday solver rather than the demanding specialist. A good man. And now may he rest in peace.

  31. Gareth Rees says:

    I have a contrary view on the difficulty. It’s important for newspapers to have easy crosswords fairly regularly, otherwise how would beginners ever get started? It’s really discouraging when you start out and you’re getting only a couple of answers day after day, but very encouraging when you get an easy one and can finish it. I have a family member who’s just getting going with cryptics, and this is exactly the kind of puzzle that I recommend they try: enjoyable and straightforward.

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