Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,729 / Quantum

Posted by Andrew on June 18th, 2009


Quantum’s posthumous puzzles continue to appear, more than a year after his death. I found this one mostly pretty easy going, though I was slightly held up at the end with the two cryptic definitions at 11ac and 12dn. Some nice clues, but nothing to get very excited about, and a few niggles.

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

1. GODIVA cd – Lady G was bare on horseback.
13. EXTINGUISH dd, though it’s a kind of clue I don’t like, where the two definitions in the clue are themselves synonyms
14. ADZE Homophone of “adds”
16. TYPO Hidden in “cOPY The”< “Editor” is redundant
21. IMPOVERISHMENT cd, though hardly cryptic at all
23. ALDERMEN M(onsieur) in LEARNED*
24. ALL BUT ALL (everyone) + TUB<
25. EELPOUTS (SLEEP OUT)*. A new word for me, and my sources are at variance here: Chambers defines ELLPOT as “the burbot; the viviparous blenny”, but according to Wikipedia it’s a “family of ray-finned fish”, and the burbot is “misleadingly” also called the eelpout. Any experts in the house?
1. GIGS dd
2. DEMERIT DIMETER* – I don’t much care for “wrote again”
6. DOLLAR DOLL + AR (Arkansas)
7. BOY BAND Homophone of “buoy banned”
12. HOUSE ARREST cd – “stir”=”prison sentence”
15. FLIMFLAM FILM* + FLAM(e) – I’m a bit surprised this isn’t hyphenated, but Chambers only lists it as one word.
19. OMNIBUS dd
22. STUD STUD(y) – the definition is “concerning horses”, so you have to read STUD as an adjective, as in “stud farm”. I’m not sure this is entirely sound.

15 Responses to “Guardian 24,729 / Quantum”

  1. chunter says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    25ac: the OED has ‘A marine fish of the family Zoarcidæ, esp. the viviparous blenny, Zoarces viviparus; also formerly applied to the burbot.”

  2. Eileen says:

    I really did hope, with Pasquale, that last month’s Quantum would be the last but at least this time we’ve been reminded at the outset[thanks, Andrew] that this is a posthumous puzzle and, also, it’s rather better than the last, although I share your doubts about EXTINGUISH and IMPOVERISHMENT. I did like HOUSE ARREST and, although I’d never heard of EELPOUTS [whatever kind of fish they are!] I thought the clue was good.

    I’m not sure whether it’s the use of ‘wrote again’ as an anagram indicator or the grammar of it that you’re objecting to but, for me, it would need to be ‘written again’ for the surface to make any sense.

    [You have a 16ac in your heading. :-)]

  3. Andrew says:

    Eileen – yes, it was the grammar I was complaining about in “wrote again” (shades of Ernie Wise and the Plays Wot He Wrote).

    Typo in heading corrected – thanks :)

  4. don says:

    Typos – whatever next, Andrew?

    Posted by Andrew on 12th June 2009
    3. ASTER (e)ASTER – _For once_ the flower is not a river.

    My thoughts entirely, Andrew, except …

    10th June 2009
    7 Reptile atop American flower (6)
    7. CROCUS CROC = “Reptile” on US = “American”

    Thanks for the blog.

  5. Lanson says:

    definitions of eelpout vary but Collins give two definitions
    1 any marine eel-like blennoid fish of the family Zoarcidae, such as Zoraces viviparus (viviparous eelpout or blenny)
    2 another name for burbot
    I presume (dangerous) these are distinct and belong to different families

  6. Dagnabit says:

    Day 2 of solving on paper due to problems with the Guardian’s site – I’m actually quite enjoying the analog method!

    Thanks, Andrew. Can someone please enlighten me about the meaning of “M. E.” in 10ac?

    In 12d, I believe “stir” is slang for the prison itself, not the sentence. So the clue must mean to say (quite nimbly, I thought) that house arrest literally turns one’s home into a prison.

  7. Mike says:

    M.E. is a medical complaint – Myalgic Encephalopathy

  8. Gareth Rees says:

    I can comment on eelpout.

    The state of confusion over this name is pretty common among fish names in English. Fishes were originally named by the fishermen who caught them, but since there are thousands of species of fish, the same common names often got re-used for different species that looked superficially similar. (For example, sardine refers to several different kinds of small silvery fish, not all closely related to each other.)

    Over the past couple of centuries, taxonomists have been sorting fishes into scientific classes (species, genera, families, etc). In some cases it turns out that the English name can be re-used for one of these scientific categories without too much harm to the meaning. For example, the English name cod is a good match for the genus Gadus. But in some other cases a fair bit of stretching is needed: for example, to make the common name eelpout match the scientific name Zoarcidae, some “eelpouts” have to be omitted (most notably, the burbot, Lota lota, but also the “yellow eelpout”, Dipulus multiradiatus).

    So you end up with two meanings of the English name: a modern sense referring to a scientific classification, and an older vernacular sense. (This is very common for names of living things: once upon a time “fishes” included whales.)

    The best reference is FishBase, which collects (among many other things) common names of fishes. Here’s FishBase’s list of fishes commonly known as “eelpout”.

  9. Peter Owen says:


    ME is an abbreviations for myalgic encephalomyelitis ie chronic fatigue syndrome which is a (medical) complaint.

  10. Neil says:

    Thanks Andrew, but I think 10ac might work better as PLOY within ME, all “received” (so surrounded) by ED. I think “received” doesn’t really work else

    Dagnabit #6: I agree about STIR (12d).

    Gareth #8: thanks for the interesting erudition. From my window I watch thousands of Grey Mullet come and go with the tides; thousands, I guess, because nobody I know wants to eat them. Quite unlike the Red Mullet which is unrelated and considered a delicacy by many.

    The comments are turning out to be far more interesting than this flimsy crossword was.

  11. Andrew says:

    Neil, thanks for that: your explanation probably does make more sense, though I still think mine is justifiable, with “received by” interpreted as “added on to”.

  12. Dagnabit says:

    Thanks, Mike and Peter! And after learning that bit of information, I endorse Neil’s parsing of the clue (while acknowledging the basic validity of Andrew’s).

  13. Paul (not Paul) says:

    12d was my last to go in too. The extra “a” in the clue was sufficient misdirection. A stir has nothing to do with prison which is an articleless stir as in “in stir” and “stir crazy”. Still, the answer should have come quicker that it did once I had all the crossing letters.

    I thought in general it was fine and particularly liked 19d. Much beter than Tuesday’s miserable effort.

  14. Neil says:

    #13: Paul (not Paul) …

    I, and others, seemed not too enthusiastically taken with this ‘Quantum’.

    Looking back, you seem to be in about a 1:4 minority in your lack of appreciation for Puck’s 24,727, which so many of us thought quite splendid.

    This comment is not offered in any sense of criticism. I just wonder why opinion can be so deeply divided about a matter which is actually rather trivial (though not, of course, to those of us sad enough to think it worth contributing here!). And good wishes to you all …

  15. tuck says:

    Paul not Paul me thinks thou protesteth too much. If you are not careful you will blow your cover.

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