Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,797 (Sat 5 Sep)/Taupi – Clean sheet

Posted by rightback on September 12th, 2009


Solving time: 9 mins

A very good puzzle from Taupi with a couple of superb anagrams at 1ac and 8dn. 14ac (CLEAN) caused me the most trouble, but overall I thought this wasn’t too difficult for a prize puzzle with few difficult words – a kind piece of scheduling after last week’s epic from Araucaria.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Music of the day (16dn/4dn): Pigtails and Freckles by Perry Como (only a sample I’m afraid, I couldn’t find the full version online).

1 PUBLIC FOOTPATH; (TO BOTCH UP A FLIP)* – what a cracking clue to start.
9 VITIATE; V + [in]ITIATE – I confess I wasn’t totally sure what ‘vitiate’ meant, so hesitated here; I thought ‘when dropping in’ might be an instruction to insert the word ‘as’. The dictionary tells me this word comes from Latin vitium meaning ‘a defect’, which also gave us ‘vice’ and the marvellous ‘vitilitigation’ (‘vexatious wrangling’).
11 MI,MI + C
12 KID + NAPPED – nice wordplay to ‘napped’ (‘with a fluffed finish’).
13 NOSEBLEED; (BEEN SOLD)* around E – not totally convinced by ‘as energy saver’ to mean ‘around the letter E’.
14 CL(E)AN – this took me a couple of minutes at the end. The clever definition is ‘off them’, i.e. off drugs, which refers to the ‘drug’ mentioned previously that provides the E (for Ecstasy) in the wordplay.
15 A(M.P.)LE
17 DYSPEPSIA; (PEPYS SAID)* – it’s possible that there’s an ‘&-lit’ element to this clue (i.e. a historical reference to Pepys) of which I’m unaware, but otherwise it seems to lack an anagram indicator; a question mark alone isn’t really sufficient.
20 TIGHTROPE; (THE GRIP TO)* – another good anagram.
22 MOIST; MO (= ‘second’) + 1ST (= ‘first’)
23 SHAW + NEE – cleverly referring to George Bernard (G.B.) Shaw.
24 PROSAIC; PROS (= ‘reasons for’) + AIC (from C.I.A.) – at first I thought ‘switching sides’ was a reversal indicator which I didn’t like, but in fact it tells you to switch the side (i.e. first and last) letters of CIA.
25 BLOCK AND TACKLE (1 straight, 1 whimsical defn)
1 PAVEMENT ARTIST; (V.E. + MEN + TART + I) in PAST – lovely definition (‘One that illuminates flags’) and intricate wordplay which I didn’t see when solving; ‘triumphant day’ gives VE (Victory in Europe), ‘open pie’ gives TART and ‘that’s been around’ tells you to put PAST (= ‘been’) around everything else. I initially thought the ‘on’ in the clue between definition and wordplay was superfluous, which would have been a shame, but in fact it can be viewed as part of the wordplay: ‘on[to the end of] VE, [put] MEN + TART…’ etc.
4 FRECKLE; FR + E.C. + rev. of ELK
5 OVERDID; E + R[oa]D, all in OVID
6 PODIA; rev. of AID + OP
7 TRAMPLE; TRAM + even letters of ‘applied’
8 LEADING ARTICLE; (ALL EDITING + CARE)* – excellent &lit clue.
14 CREAM SODA; REAMS in COD, + A – can ‘involved with’ really mean ‘inside’?
17 DUO + DEN + A – the plural of ‘duodenum’, part of the small intestine.
18 SEED POD; (DEPOSED)* – not ‘resort-ing’, but ‘re-sorting’.
21 TON + I + C

10 Responses to “Guardian 24,797 (Sat 5 Sep)/Taupi – Clean sheet”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, this was very enjoyable and a nice reminder of Taupi.

    Like you, 14a CLEAN was the last one that I entered after a lot of thought.

    Today’s puzzle by Araucaria is also relatively easy and I finished it before breakfast which is very unusual for a Prize Puzzle.

    It’s funny how the Prizes are now sometimes easier than the Cryptics.

  2. Biggles A says:

    17a. See Pepys Diary for 22 September 1662:

    “I did give him an account of all things past of late; but I stood in great pain, having a great fit of the colic, having catched cold yesterday by putting off my stockings to wipe my toes, but at last it lessened, and then I was pretty well again, but in pain all day more or less.”

    A clever clue I thought. I’ll try to remember not to wipe my toes with my stockings.

  3. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. As ever, your times are astonishing! I found this pretty straightforward and also took time before I decided CLEAN must be right.

    Thanks Biggles for the Pepys reference!

  4. don says:

    I put ‘creon’ for 14 across – trade name for [drug] pancreatin and a commune [group] in the Gironde. And I ‘guessed’ the drug may have taken it’s name ‘off them’.

  5. The trafites says:

    I didn’t do this last week, but 9 minutes?! That is a ridiculous time – it honestly would take me that long to peruse all the clues, let alone solve any!


  6. smutchin says:

    I enjoyed this one. Didn’t finish it but can see that it’s not the hardest ever.

    Only slight disappointment for me was the missed trick in 10a – Endgame is, of course, a Beckett play, so “Beckett play with cast of aged men” would have been perfect. Well, I think so, anyway.

    All good stuff, though.

  7. Eileen says:


    I had the same kind of thought. Time for another of your puzzles!

  8. Biggles A says:

    It was only seven minutes if you take off the two spent on 14a!

  9. Ralph G says:

    Thanks rightback for the ‘vitilitigation’ at 9a, which this classicist and personal injury litigator didn’t know. As often, English enjoys variety in associated words such as ‘vice’ and ‘vitiate’ etc because the former is taken from Old French ‘vice’ (Med. Latin ‘vicium’) whereas the ‘vit-‘ forms are direct borrowings from Classical or Late Latin.

  10. maarvarq says:

    I also got 14ac late in the process, although 24ac was my last. I got hung up in the lower left by having “rattail” in place of “pigtail” for 16dn. BTW, I didn’t think 8dn was that fantastic a &lit.

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