Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,870 / Auster

Posted by Gaufrid on November 30th, 2009


We seem to have another case of AWOL so here is a quick analysis of the clues. I will leave it up to others to provide a commentary.

1 PET AVERSIONS A VERSION (a rendition) in STEP reversed
8 ABETTAL *(A BATTLE) – ‘axe’ as an anagram indicator? ‘axed’ maybe.
9 INKSPOT *(K[elvin] POINTS)
11 LEARNED LEAR (one who wrote nonsense) NED (Kelly)
12 NIAGARA hidden reversal in ‘pillAR AGAIN’
13 LILAC I (one) in CALL (ring) reversed
14 OUTSIDERS D (five hundred) in *(IT ROUSES)
16 PERSEVERE REP (agent) reversed SEVERE (serious)
19 SUSIE S (SOUTH) US (American) IE (that is)
21 ENFOLDS EN (measure) FOLDS (creases)
23 TRIBUNE RIB (first wife’s origin) in TUNE
25 ERRATIC RAT (desert) in ERIC (Idle)

1 PREVAIL VA (Virginia) in *(PERIL)
4 REIGN homophone of ‘rain’ (precipitation)
5 IN KHAKI IN (popular) homophone of ‘car key’ (vehicle activator)
15 TWENTIETH cd (not really)
17 REFUTAL FU[ll] in LATER reversed
18 ELLIOTT [helpfu]L in *(TOILET)
20 SHUTTLE SHUT (closed) *(LET)
22 SINCE *(SCENI[c])

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,870 / Auster”

  1. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks for stepping in, Gaufrid. I make this the easiest Guardian cryptic for some considerable time. I’m not complaining as it’s nice for solvers of modest abilities (such as me) to be able to polish off a cryptic in short order once in a while.

    Regular bloggers may have found it annoyingly quick – I imagine Rightback’s solving time was under a minute !

  2. liz says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    This was very easy and will have been encouraging for those new to cryptics. No complaints on that score, particularly as it gave me an insight into the ease with which Rightback completes the Prize crossword!

    I agree with Gaufrid that 15dn wasn’t very satisfactory.

  3. walruss says:

    There were one or two really that didn’t quite make it for me. Seemed to be a couple of bits of words that were part of the original root word, if you know what I mean by that.

  4. Trench Adviser says:

    Took me slightly longer than the previous Auster (45 mins as opposed to 30 mins). I thought 3dn was a nice clue. Is 11ac unusual in that it contains the definition in the middle of the clue?

  5. matt says:

    I thought that about 11ac too. Also 7d wasn’t particularly cryptic. Nice straightforward start to the week though.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    I liked the surface of 3dn but, like Liz, agreed with you about 15dn – and I wasn’t very impressed by 7dn, either.

    It was the ellipses [three of them!] that really irritated me. There was no connection between the solutions in any of them and I didn’t think they did anything to enhance the surfaces – or am I missing something?

  7. IanN14 says:

    Am I missing something in 7d.?
    I understand the answer, but is the clue cryptic or clever in some way I can’t see?
    Perhaps it’s the exclamation mark confusing me?
    And 15d. & 26ac. were even easier than some Rufus clues…
    I went to the Quiptic later on. Much more satisfying, with some good clues this week.

    Eileen, I’m surprised you didn’t comment on 5d.
    I agree with you about the dots…

  8. John says:

    I’ll bet rightback had it done before the paper hit the doormat.
    Hear, hear Eileen. Pleased to see someone else highlighting my pet hate, namely “linked” clues with no link. What’s it supposed to be for? Reminds me of modern poetry where breaking lines in two and wrapping them around randomly is deemed to be some kind of rarefied technique that is above mere mortals’ understanding.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi IanN14

    Apart from using quotation marks for “homophone” in my own blogs, I haven’t made any such comments for a long time! :-)

    [And Rufus’ clues are generally described as ‘witty and / or elegant’, as well as easy.]

  10. Andrew says:

    Very easy indeed: about 10 minutes for me, which is about as long as it takes me just to read the clues and write in the answers. I agree about the various weaknesses – but at least there was no humping the bluey!

  11. sidey says:

    How dare you criticise unwarranted ellipses!

    They are a trade mark of The Master!

    Or is it actually that Noone (DYSWIDT?) should suggest spurious links by using ellipses or be unfair by omitting spaces?

    There was the clue “Derringer’s exploits”(6) in today’s Indy. “The Master”‘s acolytes probably think it hilarious.

    I think both are unfair cluing.

    Sorry for being off topic Gaufrid ;)

  12. guybles says:

    As a long time lurker (thanks for the help over the past year or so) and relative newcomer to cryptics, I can confirm what Mr Beaver and liz said: this is the first Guardian (or, indeed, any) cryptic crossword I have managed to solve all by myself, without needing assorted anagram solvers, missing letter completion or even this fine blog. I am, indeed, feeling very encouraged.

    Of course, tomorrow’s effort will probaby be miserable beyond belief. But, for just one day, I can pretend I’ve got the hang of this sort of thing.

  13. liz says:

    I’m glad you were encouraged, guybles!

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Then continue to feel encouraged, guybles. I was really nervous about making my first contribution. But I’ve been adding my comments here for a few months, and like you, have been helped enormously by the more experienced solvers.

    So until tomorrow, bask in the glory and well done. Then we’ll both realise that we’ve got some way to go …

  15. Ian says:

    Thanks for the intervention, Gaufrid

    A change from Rufus on a Monday but the degree of difficulty about the same.

    The hm for 5dn was clever.

  16. rrc says:

    oh for a rufus on Monday!

  17. Paul B says:

    The dot dot dot was for many a moon a sport in The Grauniad. Twas meet to link a fair few, that is until someone (a young johnny) came along and linked the lot! Just to prove a point, I hasten to add, and thereby kill the nightmarish thing. But to no avail.

    Having said that, where it’s good it can – still – be very very good. Alas ……………… not here.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, Paul B, not here, although 16+19 is just acceptable, I think.
    I wonder who this “young johnnie” might be … (dot dot dot)

    Everything’s already been said about this crossword.
    Too easy, even for a Monday (ánd for me).
    (But then, even Paul has his easy days, like last Saturday where the crossword was saved by his naughtiness, but only just)

    Some clues I found really ugly, like e.g. 25ac or 1d.
    I wouldn’t want to make an anagrammed clue of which the second part of the solution (TRANSFERENCE) is so similar to one of the words in the clue (FRANCE).

    But to be fair to Auster, there were some good clues as well.
    (Always look on the bright side of life)
    Mainly because of the surfaces.
    I think of 12ac, 13ac, 3d and 22d.
    And the homophone in 5d was very nice as well.
    Nothing’s wrong with the anagram of 9ac either.

    But then, all this and more was ‘compensated’ by much of the rest.

    BTW, is there really nothing more to “Little trimmers!”?
    The exclamation mark might suggest that somewhere on this lonely planet there is a place where people use it as an expression, like, let’s say, “You, Scumbag!”

    Anyway, unsatisfying, but then, tomorrow’s another day.
    Haven’t seen Shed for a while.

  19. Pandean says:


    My 2003 Chambers has one definition of ‘trimmer’ as “something fine, excellent, approved of (Aust and NZ inf)”. I guess this might be the expression you were looking for, especially given Auster’s Australian connections.

    I’m still not too impressed by the cryptic definition, though.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    For those of us like me who drag our ageing bodies around cricket pitches during the summer, ‘trimmer’ is indeed an incantation produced by the fielding side when the bowler produces an unplayable – and therefore fine or excellent – delivery. That said, I’ve still no idea how the clue works. But I’m enjoying my cricket and enjoying my cryptics (and for the minute, still better at the former than the latter).

  21. mhl says:

    I might be wrong, but I think the puzzle Paul B is referring to was a Paul where all but one of the across clues were linked with ellipses, and there’s a nice theme that I won’t give away… I don’t think it’s in the online archive, but it’s puzzle 8 in the Paul book in the “Guardian Cryptic Setters Series”.

  22. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for that, mhl – I’ve got the book!

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