Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,772 / Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on August 7th, 2009


Pressure of work has meant that this blog has been written in rather a rush, so apologies for any errors or typos. This seemed quite tough, but with Pasquale’s usual combination of fairness, elegance and wit; I just wish I’d had more time to relish it!

* = anagram
dd = double definition
< = reverse

1. PYRAMUS MARY< in PUS – the classical story of Pyramus and Thisbe was acted by the mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5. TAIPEI Homophone of “Type A” – the dynamic type
9. CAMEROUN U (posh) in CAMERON (tory)
10. BARNES dd – London suburb and Julian Barnes, novelist
12. FORGOTTEN MAN If MANDELA has “forgotten man”, you get DELA, which is a “crooked deal”.
17. NIB BIN<
19. BOG GOB<
22. SHAREHOLDERS “Cases” are “holders”, which they might share if they don’t have their own.
26. INMATE Hidden in certaIN MATErials. Five letters seems slightly more than an “edge” to me.
28. ELDEST DES in ELT (English Language Teaching)
1. PICK dd
4,11,18,24. SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT HERO in TUN in (SOUTHWEST ENGLAND)* – quotation from the song Drake’s Drum
16. TEAPOY (h)EAP in TOY
21. MEATUS MEAT + US – an anatomical feature

47 Responses to “Guardian 24,772 / Pasquale”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Nice post for a nice crossword. Had to look up WPB as I’ve never come across this abbreviation for Round Filing Cabinet before.

  2. Bryan says:

    This was far too difficult for me and I gave up about half-way.

    Thanks Andrew for the explanations.

  3. Eileen says:

    Great blog, Andrew – especially if you were rushed!

    I really enjoyed this. I got on to the Drake’s Drum thing [a wonderful anagram and &lit!] early on but couldn’t make it fit [because I’d put in CAMEROON for 9ac] until the penny dropped.

    I liked 5ac, 12ac,15ac … too many to say, really!

  4. The trafites says:

    Oh dear… I got beat here too.

    I was held up for ages on 12ac as I had MEDALLION MAN first (I couldn’t really work out the clue wordplay, but first thought it was some anagram of MANDELA + something). Then I realised it was wrong, and after a lot of hunting about settled with RHODESIAN MAN, thinking it was some sort of pun on SA politics.

    That was it then… the top left corner I couldn’t get at all, apart from 1dn.


  5. Chunter says:

    Hi Eileen

    I too had CAMEROON! Then gave up half-way through to get ready to watch the cricket.

  6. Andrew says:

    Trafites, I’m not surprised you had trouble with 12ac – I wasn’t familiar with the phrase FORGOTTEN MAN, and in fact it seems to refer to people who are in some way disregarded, for example economically, so “Yesteryear’s bloke” doesn’t seem to be a very accurate definition.

  7. don says:

    Thank you for a brave blog, Andrew, but I still don’t understand some of the answers.

    Bryan, I agree. I thought this was rubbish. Don seems to set crosswords for his fellow setters and expert bloggers, and seems unaware of, or to have forgotten, the difficulties of ordinary solvers.

    Did anyone else try Googling ‘Russian granny’?

  8. Lanson says:

    Babushka was the first answer I got, some memory of a Kate Bush song came to me

  9. Bryan says:

    ‘Remember my Forgotten Man’ was a Harry Warren-Al Dubin song featured in ‘Gold Diggers of 1933′.

  10. Monica M says:

    Hi All,

    This did my head in. Well beyond my skill level!!!

    Thanks for the explanations but I still need some help understanding some … with risk of sounding dense, here goes:

    9ac … why does U = posh
    2dn … am I correct in my understanding that RU refers to Rugby Union?
    29ac … where does the “cited” come from?

    Slung atween the round shot, teapoy, eidetic and meatus … never heard of them.

  11. The trafites says:

    U = Upperclass = posh
    Yes, RU = rugby union (usually defined as a game)
    summonded = cited (reversed in this case).


  12. Bryan says:


    Nancy Mitford coined U and Non-U:

  13. Monica M says:

    Thanks Nick,

    Summon as in the legal cite … got it now.

    And Lanson … I had that damn song stuck in my head all afternoon, my first word too.

  14. Chunter says:

    Bryan: according to Wikipedia it was the linguist Alan Ross who coined the phrase.

  15. Monica M says:

    Thanks Bryan,

    Not my genre, nor my era … but another piece of crossword trickery I will add to my meagre arsenal. That makes 6 new things I’ve learned today, 5 of them here … only 1 at work … all in all a good day.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found this tough and was pleased to finish, with the aid of a little Googling. MEATUS was new to me and TEAPOY only rang the dimmest of bells. I also had CAMEROON for a while.

    The wordplay passed me by in a number of cases — couldn’t understand 5ac — so this is one of those puzzles that I appreciate more after reading the blog!

  17. Pasquale says:

    Youe setter is a Devon boy, possibly related to Sir Francis Drake, so I had to use Newbolt sometime. Sorry not to be able to please all the people all the time, but thanks for the feedback. You’ll find an easier puzzle by me in today’s Telegraph and another quite tricky one in The Times.

  18. shirley says:

    Another of the Ximeneans given a day out, and a somewhat uninspired offering. A lot of hard words and the incredibly recondite SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT made for a pretty tiresome solve.

  19. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew, and for your comment Pasquale.
    I did get SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT despite its absence from my quotations book.
    I impressed myself by getting EIDETIC, TEAPOY and MEATUS without reference books.
    Then got stuck in the top left & gave up. Tough for a Pasquale.

  20. Tom Hutton says:

    Only do-able with a bit of assistance from the dictionary for me. I had never heard of meatus or teapoy and I was held up by ruling out babushka until I looked it up because I thought it was spelt baboushka. Fortunately I had seen Midsummer Night’s Dream at Keswick a couple of days ago, so Pyramus fell into place easily. Having said that, there were some very enjoyable clues here.

  21. Pasquale says:

    Digs against Ximenes don’t impress me much, Madam Shirley. We don’t want to be party-spirited here. As for being recondite, well … !

  22. Cathy says:

    I am new to this site (thanks to Hugh Stephenson’s Guardian crossword notes for the month) and LOVING IT! After sailing through Araucaria yesterday, today was a slog…and I cheated (well, actually checked) a lot but figure I learn something either way. Will have to figure out a way to use eidetic in conversation this week :) My work will definitely not benefit from my discovery of this site, except perhaps in the extension of my vocabulary but
    thank you to all who blog on here! Living in Tennessee where I have yet to meet anyone who understands a cryptic crossword (if they even know what one is!) it’s like coming home for me…

  23. Andrew says:

    Welcome, Cathy, and thanks for your kind words. Don’t let this puzzle scare you off Pasquale – it’s definitely harder than average for him; as I said in the blog, he’s always fair, and he’s one of the best-regarded setters around here by many of us.

  24. liz says:

    Yes, you are very welcome here, Cathy! I’ve always loved crosswords, but my solving (and enjoyment of puzzles) has improved no end since I found this site.

    And thanks, Pasquale, for your comments. It was a tough puzzle, but fair and enjoyable.

  25. Paul B says:

    Well, recondite as in ‘requiring special knowledge to be understood’ almost fits the bill! I’d never heard of SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT, and (unlike Muck) wouldn’t have stood a chance, had I been fortunate enough to get the time to spend on today’s Grawnie.

    Though perhaps not ‘rubbish’, as advertised in comment 7, there seem to be several remarks here that point up the general difficulty present for this puzzle.

    If it helps, I think comment 18 may have been intended merely to remind that today’s Indy puzzle is penned by another of our well-known ‘Ximenean’ compilers.

  26. smutchin says:

    Accusations of recondity are even more tiresome than digs at ximenes. Yes, this was a tough one – 12a is the kind of thing I’d expect from an Azed rather than the Guardian. I was pleased with myself for getting 13d and 29a but I didn’t get many more than that. But looking at the solutions, it all seems fair enough so no complaints here.

  27. smutchin says:

    Cathy, eidetic most often occurs in the phrase ‘eidetic memory’, aka photographic memory. A good one to slip into conversation!

  28. smutchin says:

    By the way, is it really a criticism to call someone recondite? Does it not have the nuance of meaning ‘learned’ rather than just wilfully obscure?

  29. Paul B says:

    It’s ‘reconditeness’. The first sense of recondite is something like ‘requiring special knowledge to be understood’, the second ‘abstruse’. So, levelled at a daily compiler? Well, you work it out.

  30. Andrew says:

    Chambers gives Recondite = hidden; obscure; abstruse; profound; so take your pick! I’m not sure a person can be recondite: surely the word there is erudite: definitely complimentary, and undoubtedly applicable to Don M.

  31. Eileen says:


    How lovely to hear from you! I’d been really concerned that we hadn’t heard from you for such a long time – and your website was silent, too. I agree with you that there was nothing unfair here.

    And welcome, Cathy. I hope you will get as much from this site as I have!

  32. smutchin says:

    Paul – yes, OK, don’t know where I got “recondity” from… But in any case, a quotation from Drake’s Drum is neither recondite nor abstruse. You don’t need “special” knowledge to understand it. You do need special knowledge of how crosswords work to be able to understand the clue, but that is true of any cryptic crossword clue, not just this one. (I would say that 12a is a particularly recondite clue because of the complexity of its wordplay, but that is by no means a criticism. 19a, on the other hand, has very simple wordplay but is still recondite in the sense that you probably wouldn’t get the solution if you didn’t know the “rules” of cryptic crosswords.)

    Andrew – you’re right, a person can’t be recondite. Possessing recondite knowledge may well be a sign of erudition. Necessarily so? I’m not sure.

    Eileen – been too busy and/or tired to think much about crosswords for a while. I’m touched that you missed me!

  33. muck says:

    PaulB#25: this puzzle had some obscure words, whether or not you wish to call them recondite, itself an obscure word. I don’t mind, as long as they are solvable from the clues. My point about SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT was that it was solvable with hints about SW England, Drake etc and from the fairly obvious anagram and HERO inserted in TUN. Not easy, but a great clue.

  34. Bogeyman says:

    I found this very difficult – completed about two thirds, gave up and then came on here to see the answers and the debate. Strikes me as ridiculously difficult. Slung atween the round shot! How is the ordinary humble solver supposed to have a chance of getting that? What’s the definition? The cryptic part of 12 ac also seems very obscure. I’m impressed that so many contributors on this site can solve puzzles like this, but like Shirley, I feel that too many of these clues are recondite, and that’s putting it politely!

  35. Will Mc says:

    I wish Paul B would stop using the recondite word recondite.
    Muck: “My point about SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT was that it was solvable with hints about SW England, Drake etc and from the fairly obvious anagram and HERO inserted in TUN.” Eh? That’s confused me more than the clue.

  36. Paul B says:

    For Smutchin, and to a lesser extent Muck: I think Pasquale’s point, made at 21, is that ‘recondite’ isn’t an apt description for the answer SLUNG ATWEEN THE ROUND SHOT.

    At 25 I agreed with it (since you don’t need special knowledge to understand it, you merely need to know it in the general knowledge sense: and in that case, it can’t really be ‘abstruse’), but used one of the definitions for RECONDITE as a lead-in to an observation about difficulty. Which some other commenters seem also to have made, in their own ways, with or without a full understanding of the word. My 29 refers to Smutchin’s 28 in isolation.


  37. stiofain says:

    I liked the way the long clue was geometrically arranged in the grid but thought the quote too obscure.

  38. Neil says:

    Apologies for absence. Been a bit distracted lately, what with one thing and another. I did find 30 minutes today (sorry, yesterday now) to glance at this puzzle and came back here having only gotten about a third done. Irritatingly, having managed to solve several of the ones tagged, above, as ‘obscure’ and – a Devon boy myself too – even having suspected Newbolt, with several crossing letters, and also having worked out the wordplay, still failed on Sir Francis Drake. Shameful! Hoping to return regularly, soon, to give this site – and all its valued contributors – the proper attention it deserves.

  39. Uncle Yap says:

    Good morning everyone. Yes, agree with many of you that this Pasquale was very challenging (took us two shots of whisky) and we had to google hard and intelligently to get that last pesky answer about that English seaman with whom the only quotable quote I know off-hand is enumerated (4,2,5)

    But after completing the long race, we all curse the setter, then silently thank him for the tough but fair challenge and look forward to today’s offering from the good Reverend John Graham

    Excellent blog, Andrew and excellent puzzle, Don Pasquale

  40. Neil says:

    don #7. Yes. I googled it, and I always have ‘safe search’ switched off, on principle of course!

  41. Neil says:

    I was only checking the spelling!
    Remember the cue Fast Eddy Felson used in “The Hustler” by Walter Tevis (don’t think it was mentioned in the splendid film)? I’m pretty sure that was a ‘Babushka’.

  42. Chunter says:

    The OED says that ‘babushka’ is ‘chiefly N Amer’, and has ‘headscarf’ as the only meaning.

  43. Paul B says:

    Collins doesn’t mind so much – ‘Russian granny’ is bang on, as it only means ‘old woman’ in Russia (presumably the other meaning’s in UK usage). Nothing wrong with using a foreign word, but it’s recondite (sorry Will).

    Kate Bush (not Boosh) went for ‘Babooshka’ on ‘Never For Ever’.

  44. Chunter says:

    This is what the OED has for the adjective ‘recondite':

    1. Of things: Removed or hidden from view; kept out of sight. Now rare.

    b. spec. in Bot. and Entom.

    c. Retired, avoiding notice.

    2. Removed from ordinary apprehension, understanding, or knowledge; deep, profound, abstruse.

    b. Of learning, investigation, discussion, etc.: Consisting in, relating to, uncommon or profound knowledge.

    c. Of writers, sources, etc.: Obscure, little known.

    3. Of persons: Writing in an obscure fashion.

  45. Paul B says:

    And shurely it’s worth adding ‘from Latin reconditus hidden or put away, from condere hide or store’.

  46. M. Heather Kotake says:

    I was very interested to see that this puzzle was by Pasquale, as the Guardian Weekly (14.08.09) attributes it to Araucaria. Which of them should be offended?

  47. RussC says:

    Know this post is a bit late but the newspapers take a while to get Down Under on the sailing ships!
    Quick point which no-one has commented on:
    3d- One particluar “mineral” may also be able to be classified as an “ore”, but there are plenty of ores that are not minerals and plenty of minerals that are not ores.

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