Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,731 (Sat 20 Jun)/Paul – Sweet sixteen

Posted by rightback on June 27th, 2009

rightback.

Solving time: 13:44

This seemed about average difficulty for Paul, though I think I made heavy weather of it. As always there are some extremely inventive clues, and the lack of hyperlinks in the blog suggests that there were few obscurities.

I always get suspicious when I see a grid like this with the perimeter consisting of only unchecked letters, expecting a message to materialise, but I don’t think there’s anything hidden in this one, especially given the two long linked phrases which I guess were probably the basis for the construction.

I’m away for a while now, so won’t be able to reply to any comments, but thanks in advance for any corrections or clarifications.

Music of the day (15ac): New York, New York.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Across
8 HYACINTH; HINT around rev. of CAY, + H (‘closure of each’) – I didn’t know ‘cay’ was an alternative spelling of ‘key’ (in the sense of ‘island’), and even if I had I don’t think I’d have got there from ‘bank’ (a key can also mean a reef) without spotting the answer first.
9 A + BROAD – a very simple but good clue.
10 EDAM; rev. of MADE, &lit.
11 WINCHESTER (2 defs) – another I’d never have got without several checking letters; I knew of the Winchester rifle but not the bottle of that name, apparently named after a set of measuring standards kept at Winchester.
12 FOR ME + R – I thought ‘Desginated mine’ for ‘FOR ME’ was brilliant.
14 SCIMITAR; [l]IMIT in SCAR
15 NEW YORK – ‘Large fruit’ as in ‘Big Apple’, and the song made famous by Frank Sinatra. I should have been much quicker with this but all I could see was ‘New Year’.
17 SIXTEEN; SEEN around (IX + T) – brilliant clue, and my last entry; sixteen and nine (IX) are square numbers and a ‘T-square’ is a type of square (although strictly I’m not totally sure this means ‘type of square’ = T), but ‘seen’, which looks entirely innocent and meaningless in the clue, is in fact a crucial part of the wordplay.
20 COLOSSAL; COL + rev. of LASSO
22 WHOOPS (2 defs)
24 NADA (hidden)
25 ZODIAC; rev. of (AID in COZ) – very topical surface reading.
26 IDENTITY; I DENT IT + [b]Y
Down
2 SCAM; rev. of MACS
3 A + N.S.W. + E.R. – none of the states of Australia looked likely candidates for wordplay elements so I ignored this clue until I had some checking letters.
4,23,1 CHINESE RESTAURANT SYNDROME; (HER NURSE DESSERT MAY CONTAIN)* – great anagram and a complex cross-reference in which the ‘nuts’ part of 13/24 is the anagram indicator.
5 KASHMIRI; rev. of (I + RIM) after (K + ASH)
6 PROSCIUTTO; (CUT STRIP O[ff])* + O (= ‘duck’) – very well-disguised anagram fodder.
7 GALE + NA
13/24 MAY CONTAIN NUTS; (CAN TINY AMOUNTS)* – wonderful anagram.
16 RESOURCE; (ROSE)* + rev. of ECRU
18 EXPEDITE; (P + EDIT) in EXE
19 FLEAPIT; rev. of (TIP + A + ELF) – I wasn’t sure how ‘Knock’ and ‘tip’ were quite the same, but Chambers gives ‘tip’ as meaning ‘a tap or glancing blow’, and if I’d thought about it I should have known this, from cricket (‘tip-and-run’ means you have to score every ball) and basketball (in which the start is called a ‘tip-off’).
21 ORE + GON[e]
22 WIT + HER – a good clue but with W-T— in place I was distracted by ‘Dry… not…’ into thinking that the answer must start ‘wet—‘.

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,731 (Sat 20 Jun)/Paul – Sweet sixteen”

  1. Biggles A says:

    13:44 is heavy weather?! I must have spent at least that on the anagrams alone. I’m still not sure about 24ac; I flirted with ‘nude’ for a while but couldn’t make it work and I can’t find a link to ‘nada’.

  2. The trafites says:

    Nada is in Chambers, and this was what got me going – the clue really reads ‘Nothing uNADApted has secured’ (i.e. hidden).

    Chambers says of ‘s:

    …a shortened form of has and is (eg she’s taken it, he’s not here);

    I too am amazed at the solving times – this took me about 2 1/2 hours.

  3. The trafites says:

    I forgot to say this too.

    25ac ZODIAC. This was my last entry, and it took ages to convince myself that COZ is indeed a shortened form of ‘because’, as I still cannot confirm it anywhere. Chambers entry defines it as a contraction of ‘cousin’.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    COED gives ‘coz’ as a variant spelling of ‘cos’ (an informal word for because).

  5. Biggles A says:

    Thanks The trafites,it isn’t in COED but I have now found it in OED.

  6. The trafites says:

    ‘Tis strange, I have an (old) edition of Collins, and the COZ entry is the same as Chambers, and also NADA does not appear either. But NADA=nothing was so obvious to me I didn’t even think of looking it up.

    Unfortunately I do not have access to any *OED’s.

  7. sidey says:

    Much fun.

    The trafites, are you in the UK?

  8. AMB says:

    I can’t see any reason why NADA shouldn’t be used if we solvers are likely to know it!

    Nice one from Paul, Guardian’s next best compiler?

  9. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this a lot. I’ve always liked Araucaria, but Paul has certainly become joint-favourite. Started this on holiday, then finished it off once I was back home and could check a few things, WINCHESTER among them. I got MAY CONTAIN NUTS but was stumped on the second long anagram until I guessed CHINESE was the first word. FLEAPIT held me up and IDENTITY was the last one I got. My solving time stretched over days!

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    I, too, quite enjoyed this Paul. I didn’t finish coz I couldn’t get 15a: I had all the letters, thought of YORK, but the brian must have gone AWOL. Can’t believe it now.

    It did take me a long time to crack the long one, despite having 13 24 quite early

  11. The trafites says:

    sidey, yes. Read the bloggers page

    Nick

  12. Neil says:

    I liked this a lot. “Oh, PAUL! Goodie!”, I tend to inwardly remark. It all fell into place, pleasurably and eventually; but, 13.44? Is that minutes or hours? If it’s minutes, It would take me that time, having solved it, to have printed out a new grid and to have written in a careful fair copy of my solutions. 13 minutes and 44 seconds? Really? Rightback … do you take no phone calls, or have no – what the Americans call – ‘bathroom breaks’, are you not visited by your children, grandchildren, neighbours or friends, do you find nothing at all on television (or the wireless) that you really feel compelled to pay attention to, does your cat or dog not need feeding, do you need to eat? Well, I suppose, if you spend less than a quarter of an hour on dealing with the cleverest, most demanding, most amusing and entertaining of our current cryptic crossword setters, that leaves plenty of time for the trivialities of life, even including football, cooking, cleaning up, going to work, and sleeping too. C’mon! How d’you do the crossword that fast and then cope with all the rest too? Just gifted I guess? I can’t imagine you would enable the ‘cheat’ button’ as it would still take me (anyway) a good 15 minutes to divine and type in the explanations. Touch typists, which I am not, might be quicker.

    Oh dear! Having previewed my comments here, they sound quite rude. That really wasn’t my intention. I’m just flabbergasted, stunned even, and want to know how anyone can get there so fast. I am just seeking enlightenment. How on Earth do you do it? Any tips or hints, please?

  13. Chunter says:

    Classical music to accompany this could be provided by The Sixteen (17ac), but I couldn’t find a recording of theirs that matched any of the other clues.

  14. golgonooza says:

    I agree. 13.44 is an amazingly fast time. Rightback, if you’re not entering timed crossword solving competitions then you should be!

  15. Ralph G says:

    6 above, the trafites: if you have a local library card, you probably have free on-line access to the OED via your library’s reference website.

  16. The trafites says:

    Ralph G – thanks, never thought of that, but then the issue arises if we actually think to check a supposed (as yet unknown part of the wordplay) word in OED and then tramp down the library – all swings and roundabouts, I guess.

  17. Ralph G says:

    The trafites, above: on-line access is a bit of a pain because you have to key in your seventeen digit card number every time. But you can do it on your own computer!

  18. Chunter says:

    Ralph G and the trafites: my card number has only 10 digits, and I use Opera’s auto-complete feature to avoid having typing it all in. You may be able to find a similar utility.

  19. Biggles A says:

    Mine is only eight – I can manage it!

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