Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24736 / Pasquale

Posted by mhl on June 26th, 2009

mhl.

As ever, a very enjoyable puzzle from Pasquale. There were quite a few here where I had to guess that a word existed and then look it up (CERE, MANA, PICKABACK), but the wordplay in each case was quite clear with a few crossing letters.

Across
1. ATOPIC A + TOPIC
5. HOT STUFF Nice clue: (THUS TO)* + F F = “females”
9. PATCHIER CH + I = “one going to church” in PATER = “Father”
10. REMARK RE = “about” + MARK = “student’s achievement?”; I was trying to put “L” into a word meaning comment for quite a while…
11. ALPHABETICAL The letters of “Begins” are in ALPHABETICAL order
13. MANA MAN = “Male” + A = “ace”; Chambers gives a noun sense of MANA as “personal authority or prestige” from Maori
14. HALFWITS I guess this is WI[ld] + [nu]TS, but then you’re missing a the HALF, unless “semi” is reused – any ideas? Update: beermagnet suggests that this is reverse anagram, i.e. HALFWITS might clue either WI = “semi-wild” or TS = “semi-nuts”
17. BUCKAROO BUCK = “to jump up” + ROO = “unrideable hopper?”
18. EYRE Hidden answer, referring entertainingly to Jane EYRE
20. BILL OF RIGHTS B = “British” + ILL = “hurt” + O = “old” + FRIGHTS = “horrors”
23. STRAIN Double definition; the first in the sense of a genetic line
24. IN CLOVER INC = “Inclusive” + LOVER = “paramour”
25. ADDENDUM ADD = “tot” + END = “to finish” + UM = “hesitation”
26. IF EVER I + FEVER; I spent too long trying to get this to be “[well] i never”
Down
Down
2. TEAL TEAL = “leaves” + L = “lake”
3. PICKABACK PICK A BACK “Choose one of the players” (“backs” being players in rubgy); I’d never heard of this spelling of PIGGYBACK before, but it was quite guessable
4. CHIPPY C = “More or less” + HIPPY = “a dropout”; CHIPPY is slang for a carpenter
5. HERMAPHRODITISM An excellent clue: (IT’S ROD/PAM, HIM/HER)*
6. THREE-PLY THE REPLY = “The answer”, with “interwoven” suggesting switching over two letters
7. TEMPI T[he] E[event] M[aking] follwed by PI = “good” (short for “pious”)
8. FAR EASTERN FARE = “food” + ASTERN = “at the back”
12. MANUMITTED The definition is “Released”; MAN U = “Premiership team” + TIM reversed + TED
15. WHETSTONE WHE[a]TSTONE; not the type of “bridge designer” you might have thought of – Sir Charles Wheastone worked on the electrical circuit known as the Wheastone Bridge
16. PROFANED PROF = “Academic” + (DEAN)*
19. CHICHI CHIC = “elegance” + HI = “casual greeting”
21. LEAVE Double definition
22. CERE CERE[mony]; Chambers says that the noun sense of CERE is “the bare waxlike patch at the base of the upper part of a bird’s beak”

25 Responses to “Guardian 24736 / Pasquale”

  1. Chunter says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    12ac: The (football) Premiership is now the Premier League. At first I wondered whether the clue referred to rugby’s Guinness Premiership.

  2. Pasquale says:

    It was the Premiership when the puzzle was set (a few years ago!), and the change never even occurred to me at proof stage!
    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. don says:

    In Sanskrit, ‘mana’ means ‘desire’ or ‘drive’, not authority. Surely, to be fair(er, it should have read: ” … establishes Indonesian authority”?

  4. Chunter says:

    I’m not sure it matters very much – I still hear people referring to it as the Premiership.

    I’d no idea that crosswords were laid down in the cellar for so long!

  5. beermagnet says:

    14A is one off those reverse-cryptics where the answer, HALF-WITS, could itself be treated as wordplay to lead to WI (semi-wild) or TS (semi-nuts)

  6. liz says:

    I enjoyed this very much! Didn’t get MANA and have never heard of it, though the answer was perfectly gettable. Once I cheated on that, I was able to get MANUMITTED, which was my last one.

    I thought there were really nice surfaces to lots of these clues. CHIPPY made me laugh and I liked 11ac, 5dn, 6dn and 5ac particularly.

  7. Chunter says:

    13ac: both Chambers and the OED say ‘mana’ is a Maori word.

    ‘A supernatural power associated with people and things’ (Chambers)
    ‘Power in general, authority, prestige …’ (OED).

  8. mhl says:

    beermagnet: thanks, I’ve updated the post with that.

    Chunter: the Chambers definition that I quoted in the original post is the same in the 10th, 11th and online editions.

  9. Chunter says:

    mhl: my quotation is from the 9th edition, and for some reason I overlooked your original post when composing my comment.

  10. don says:

    Yes, Chambers gives the word as Moari, but is not only used in Polynesian mysticism.

    ‘”Mana” [has] been obviously inherited by the Bali [Polynesian?] people from Sanskrit … But the meaning of “mana” in the parent language Sanskrit is considerably different from the Bali concept. In Sanskrit “mana” refers to inherent tendencies or desire or drive.’

    So perhaps the definition of ‘mana’ would have been better if ‘authority’ had been qualified: ‘Male ace establishes Moari [Moarian/Melanesian/Polynesian/Micronesian, take your pick] authority.

    M[ale]+ACE also establishes authority, apparently, except when Heseltine is waving it around – but it doesn’t fit with ‘pickaback’. ;-)

    Anyway, it was nice to have a well-known modern inventor like Wheatstone mentioned instead of some obscure mythological Greek creature so beloved by our s/betters. How did you get on with taht one, Eileen?

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this today, though I found it quite tough going. Didn’t manage 13a and 26a. I was convinced it began IN; if only I had though of IF.

    I, too, liked 5d.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree about Wheatstone, don, except he is hardly modern (perhaps compared to the ancient Greeks he is).

    I also had MACE at 13 for ages, but was unhappy with ace being in the answer, especially after my comment yesterday about OF.

  13. mhl says:

    Chunter: no problem – it would be really nice if the online version of Chambers gave you a history of change to their definitions over time, but maybe they don’t have the data easily accessible for earlier version…

  14. don says:

    ” … perhaps compared to the ancient Greeks he is.”

    I’m glad my intended gibing got through!

  15. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl

    13dn MANA: I put in M+ACE thinking it a little too obvious, then found this new-to-me word in Chambers.

    Re: your comment #13, and some others, it is confusing to follow Chambers’ changing defns. I made a similar comment on Enigmatist/24734 idiosyncRASy.

    I suppose OED’s function is to record changing defns, whereas Chambers is mainly a collection of obscure words for scrabblers & solvers!

  16. muck says:

    And, of course, I meant 13ac MANA

  17. Eileen says:

    don, your comment 10 seemed to call for some response from me – but is it my fault that setters include classical allusions? I’ve always tried to stay out of the arguments about whether these should be thought of as ‘general knowledge’.

    You’re quite right, of course, in your inference that I’d never heard of Wheatstone [my thoughts automatically flew to Brunel and Telford] but I managed to get the answer from the crossing letters and the definition and then a quick google confirmed that there was a Wheatstone who had designed a bridge, so I’d learned something, which is always good.

    Funnily enough, there is a village near here called Whetstone and I had had a wry thought that that could have been the definition and then we could have had the Battles of Pluckley and Ingleton [qv] all over again!

    And, anyway, I couldn’t have complained, could I? – even if I’d wanted to, when we had ADDENDUM, ‘pater’, HERMAPHRODITISM, MANUMITTED and CERE all in the same puzzle! ;-) [Not to mention a reference to 'Reader, I married him', from one of my favourite novels.]

    Thanks for the blog, mhl, and for a very enjoyable puzzle, Pasquale.

  18. stiofain says:

    Great to see the Don back and on top form we dont see enough of him. HOT STUFF and HALFWITS were great and I also loved ALPHABETICAL it would be great to see this in an araubetical.
    Having spent some time working with electronics before they jammed everything in chips when you could repair electronic things like TVs and video recorders instead of throwing them away it was nice to see the Wheatstone Bridge ref.
    Stiofain

  19. don says:

    No, no, no, Eileen. I wasn’t apportioning blame to you, merely wondering how you got on with Charlie Wheatstone. My first thoughts, and I suspect those of most others, were of the likes of Telford and Brunel. My dig was at setters who seem constantly to rely references to the classics, Greek mythology and other ancient stuff, and arcane Oxbridge obscurities. Well done, Don, for a great clue.

  20. Paul (not Paul) says:

    A fair puzzle that only defeated me when my vocabulary ran out (CERE, MANA, MANUMITTED) and only the latter could I guess and check from the wordplay.

    Only grumble is Good = Pi short for pious. Really? Where precisely?

  21. mhl says:

    Paul (not Paul): I only know PI = “good” as crosswordese, I’m afraid, but it’s in Chambers as “pi (adjective) obtrusively religious, sanctimonious”, notably not marked as archaic or anything similar. The OED gives various example uses, the most recent of which is from the Independent on Sunday from 1990: “an unnecessarily pi remark in my view.”

  22. Martin Searle says:

    Thanks, mhl. Been out most of day, so just done it. Good one, I thought. Like many people re mana and cere – hadn’t heard of the words, though I did know cerumen for earwax, which led towards the answer. Wheatstone came to mind quickly, but that’s a dredged-up physics education for you.

  23. Chunter says:

    Chambers (9th ed) and OED say that ‘pi’ is short for ‘ pious’. The OED adds that it’s ‘Public School and Univ. slang’!

  24. C & J says:

    Taxing, but do-able before breakfast, delayed by some false starts:
    ‘the girls’ (a pet anathema to this feminist) instead of ‘hot stuff’ and ‘mace’ instead of mana (a New Zealand sop those who complain of the crossword being anglo-centric?).

    A long lifetime of picking up odd scraps of largely useless information helps in getting words like ‘buckaroo’ quite quickly.

  25. Neil says:

    Buckaroo, yes, but also Jackaroo (a sort of apprentice buckaroo). So some delay over an A or a U, with U seeming more likely. Cere is often handy for the Western Morning News ‘Nonogram’: nine letters to make as many 4+letter words as you can from.

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