Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,824 – Auster

Posted by manehi on October 7th, 2009


Pretty easy today, especially the very straightforward double definitions. Still enjoyable, and 25ac and 17dn made me smile.

9 CARGO SHIP O=”nothing” in (graphics)*
10 SIMON rev(IS) + MON[day]
11 INVALID double def.
12 CLINTON CLI = 151 in roman numerals + (not)* + N[ice]. Can’t help feeling there might be a clue there using CL + IN + TON…
13 TUDOR (tour)* around D[aughter]
14 AVALANCHE cryptic use of “snowdrop” as a def
16 RESIDENTIAL CARE RE=”about” + (I dental caries)*, where I=”one”
19 SUBTENANT rev(BUS) + TEN + ANT=worker
22 LOWBROW LO=look + WB=Weber + ROW=fight
23 STRETCH double def
24 LYRIC London theatre – LYRIC[s]
25 GET BETTER Heh. Double def I suppose, but with “Understand punter” requiring a crypticish reading of the answer.
2 PROVIDES double def
3 BOWLER double def
4 SHED SHE’D=”she would shortly”
6 ASPINALL A + SPINAL + L[ocated]
8 ANON double def
14 ANNUAL WAGE (a new girl Una)*
15 EVERYWHERE EVE + RY (short for railway, hence EVE is “online”) + WHERE
20 BEWARE WAR inside BEE
21 CAREER E[nergy] in CARER
22 LILY can’t see anything very cryptic about this..
23 SITS anagram of “sister” minus the hesitating “er”

26 Responses to “Guardian 24,824 – Auster”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog, manehi. No difficulties with this one, though I don’t like the “online” trickery in 15dn, and to be pedantic the words of a song are its lyric, 24ac would be better with “.. popular songs”; but I suppose the use of “lyrics” to mean the words of a single song is so well established that objecting to it is a lost cause.

    I agree that 22dn is a barely-cryptic reference to the expression “gild the lily”, though of course that is a misquotation (or contraction) of the line “to gild refinèd gold, to paint the lily” (not from the bible, as one might think, but from Shakespeare’s ‘King John’).

  2. liz says:

    Thanks, manehi. I found this incredibly easy. I don’t time myself but I’m sure it was the quickest I’ve ever solved a cryptic. 25ac was my favourite and 6dn was the only one I had to scratch my head about. I thought a number of clues were pretty weak, especially 22dn and 24ac.

  3. Trench Adviser says:

    I did this in roughly 30 minutes, my quickest ever solve. Probably the least difficult Guardian crossword since I started doing them about 3 years ago.

    So what is the fastest solving time guys? If a prize puzzle can be done in 14 minutes, was it? 5 minutes?

  4. Trench Adviser says:

    Having seen that Rightback did a Prize Paul in 7 minutes, then surely this was completed in negative time.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Manehi

    This was my quickest time ever – 16 minutes – whilst I was having breakfast but this was thanks to Neilw who had posted a warning on yesterday’s blog about the misprint in 6a in the online version.

    Two on the trot. Will there be a hat-trick tomorrow?

    I guessed 22a LOWBROW correctly but I still don’t know why Weber = WB. Also, I’d never heard of Aspinall but that was very easy to guess.

  6. Paul (not Paul) says:

    I’m anticipating a barrage of complaints about this being too easy, so I want to get in early and say I thought it was great. Easy, yes but lots of well constructed clues and good surfaces.

    Not everyone solves every day and this was a great intro to those who are exploring cryptics. Principally, it didn’t involve lots of annoying shorthands that are inpenetrable to the uninitiated.

  7. Val says:

    If I may add (before the complaints about it being too easy start pouring in) that I loved this, due to it’s very accessibility. I got everything except 6dn but had never heard of Aspinall so that’s something I have learnt. And I expect I could have got it with a little Googling. I never manage to solve the whole crossword so it is very rewarding to have got so close this time.

  8. Neil says:

    Rufus Lite?

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, give you all a laugh, being into railways I know of Aspinall. Having a broken back, spinal is hardly far from my thoughts. But I just couldn’t get past looking for something architectural for column. Sigh.

  10. brr says:

    I only ever manage to finish Rufus and maybe the odd Brummie or Brendan. This
    was certainly easier than those. I’m sure some will think it too easy, but what a
    good way of encouraging new or recent arrivals to persevere.

    I can’t help wonder if this is the calm before an Araucarian storm on Thursday or Friday.

  11. Peter Owen says:


    The Weber (symbol: Wb) is the SI unit of magnetic flux.

  12. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Peter, your explanation is much appreciated.

  13. ray says:

    Completion 3 days running is a first for me. Had to ponder on 6d at the end, even with all the crossing letters. I’ve never heard of Aspinall either, despite teaching some aspects of railway engineering in the past!

  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Don’t fret Ray, he was probably a little before your time!

  15. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Derek, for illuminating Aspinall who was a Lancashire lad. Me, too.

    I have also spent several years in railway engineering but that track related.

  16. Purplerabbits says:

    I bet Marlene got sick to death of all those people making the Diet rich joke – I’m certainly finding it gets old.

    On the other hand I do appreciate the odd puzzle that I can do in my lunchbreak, even without knowing Aspinall or Wb for Weber…

  17. David says:

    Good and easy (although Aspinall eluded me). Just one pedantic niggle… is Clinton an ex-president? I thought they hung on to the ‘president’ title forever.

  18. mark says:

    Quickest solve ever (and not the only one by the sound of it). But nothing wrong in that; it’s nice for those of us at the back of the class to get a chance now and then.

    One moan though 19A – def of SUBTENANT. A subtenant does not “pay part of lease”!

    What does that even mean? You can’t “pay” a lease, you pay rent and a subtenant in any case pays the full sublease rent to a tenant who pays their full lease rent to a landlord. The sublease rent can be more, less or the same as the lease rent; it’s a separate contract which may be for all or some of the leased premises.

  19. Jim says:

    Has anyone mentioned that the print version has 9ac as (4,5)?

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    David, good spot!

    Jim, they probably did it deliberately, just to prove they can make mistakes in other than the online version. Equally avoidable if a single source is input once and then re-used.

  21. smutchin says:

    Despite several people pre-empting it, no one has complained about this being too easy. Well, I won’t buck the trend but I will say I didn’t enjoy it half as Monday’s Rufus, which was similarly untroubling but so much wittier. What an oddly easy week so far. Roll on tomorrow’s impossibly difficult Araucaria…

  22. Jim says:

    By “print” version, I meant online print version.

  23. Ian says:

    Though easy for me, it still took 20’+.

    I can’t recall doing too many Auster’s past puzzles (perhaps three or four) and I’m pretty sure that they were harder than this.

    Nonetheless, some clever clueing.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Jim, yes that’s what I figured. The online Java version was correct. It is the Java version that is usualy wrong.

  25. Bryan says:

    I’m prepared to bet serious money that Thursday’s puzzle will be set by Orlando whose Difficulty is rated as ‘Medium’.

  26. Jonathan says:

    I regularly complete the everyman crossword and I’m attempting to make progress with the daily puzzles. With this in mind I was very pleased to solve all but 6d and the confidence gained will be very useful. I also expected plenty of negative feedback regarding the ease with which other solvers completed it, so I’m happy to note how understanding the more competant solvers have been. Cheers!

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