Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24871 – Rover

Posted by Uncle Yap on December 1st, 2009

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

A very ordinary puzzle, easier than a Rufus but with one quarter the wit. Many of the clues pretending to be cryptic definitions are really straight definitions.  All the anagram clues are so transparently obvious, seeming to yell out “I am an annie, rearrange me!”  Although I approach each puzzle with a view to enjoying it, I found this one quite disappointing.

1 GRANDPA Not very cryptic and quite silly def
10 AGAR A GAR (fish)
11 APOCALYPSE Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film set during the Vietnam War and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a term used to describe a concept from chapter six of the Book of Revelation
12 CLEAVE dd clue for a word which is its own antonym
13 MECHANIC Ins of CH (church) in *(cinema)
14 CASHPOINT cd for Automatic Telling Machine (ATM)
16 SEDGE *(edges)
17 SPEAR *(spare)
19 DEPRESSED Ins of PRESS (papers) in DEED (document)
23 STATIONS Almost a straight def
24 PORTER dd
27 MEAN *(name)
28 INVERSE Tichy way of saying how a poet writes
29 BEDSIDE Another tichy but not very cryptic way of saying flowers are in beds in the garden

2 REGALIA dd (see Chambers 1&2)
3 NORMA dd a small constellation in the southern hemisphere near Lupus and Ara in the Milky Way
4 PLACEBO Almost a straight def –  a medicine given to humour or gratify a patient rather than to exercise any physically curative effect (Chambers)
6 TRANCE *(Cretan)
7 HAYMAKERS *(My A Shaker)
8 RISKING Ins of K (last letter of refusnik) in RISING (rebellion)
9 COMMON MEASURE Cha of COMMON (familiar) MEASURE (dance)
15 HEARTACHE *(the charade minus d)
18 PATTERN cd which is not very cryptic
21 EMERALD dd in printing emerald is a type
22 COSMOS dd any composite flowering plant of the American genus Cosmos, related to the dahlia
25 RUMPS dd

39 Responses to “Guardian 24871 – Rover”

  1. mike says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap. I agree with you – not very satisfying.

  2. sidey says:

    1a seems to be grandparent – rent. Odd.

    Not fun. (I’ve not posted most of my moans).

  3. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap. I don’t envy you this one – but I did the last Rover!

    Well, Bryan, for one, will be pleased at his ‘Master’s’ appearance! :-)

    [Re my complaint yesterday: at least there’s some point to the ellipsis in 23, 24 – but the PORTER [along with NORMA] must be very tired.]

  4. Eileen says:

    [PS: by ‘did’, I meant ‘blogged’, not ‘envied’.]

  5. Andrew says:

    Very weak – but at least it was over quickly!

  6. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I agree with the above. V weak anagrams and unsatisfactory cds. 11ac was very disappointing.

  7. rrc says:

    not very impressive especially when the answer and clue seem to have very little relationship as 1a 5a 4d 22d etc

    I did smile at 26 and 28

  8. Shirley says:

    22d We thought the answer was “commas” as in butterflies and referring to the inverted commas around “Gardener’s World”
    Agree with everything else that’s been said.
    A disappointing start to the week so far.
    Where is Rufus?

  9. walruss says:

    Let me add to the chorus of disapproval, although I shouldn’t think there is a lot of point. I wish The Guardian could be a bit more consistent!

  10. Trench Adviser says:

    I had INSTALLS for 23a which gave me problems. I didn’t know a measure was a dance, but also haven’t really heard the phrase common measure much. Could centimetre be defined as common measure? Or if analagous to the clue, speed or pressure? Cheers.

  11. Trench Adviser says:

    Ah, I was thinking it may have something to do with musical time…it’s good to learn.

  12. cholecyst says:

    What a miserable lot you all are today! Just to add my dash of bile – the print version of 22d had no apostrophe in “Gardners World”. Foolishly, I thought this was cryptically significant – held me up no end! Checking on the BBC website, I see they vacillate between Gardeners’ and Gardener’s, so perhaps Rover could not make his/her mind up either?

  13. cholecyst says:

    More thoughts on 22d. I now see that COSMOS in Greek can mean “world” so the clue is really quite good. It can also mean “ornament” – hence the flower name. Eileen – where were you when we needed you?

  14. Tom_I says:

    I didn’t find this too bad. I don’t really think it deserves the trashing it has had so far – (runs).

  15. Andrew says:

    I think Rover may have confused Common Time, aka 4/4 time, with Common Measure, which is a metrical pattern with alternating lines of eight and six syllables (familiar to those who have browsed the “metrical index” in a hymn book).

  16. Tom_I says:

    Chambers gives ‘common measure’ as ‘common time (music)’.

  17. Tom_I says:

    Further to that, ‘a four-line hymn stanza with eight syllables in the first and third lines, six in the second and fourth’ is common metre (Chambers).

    So I’m not sure it’s Rover who is confused.

  18. Rob says:

    I agree with Tom_I post # 14. I didn’t think it was as bad as most people here make out. Certainly a lot of, if not all, the anagrams were very obvious – but I thought some of the clues were quite good viz. 5a, 26a, 28a.
    Unfortunately I did not know a regalia was a type of large cigar, that Norma was “a small constellation in the southern hemisphere near Lupus and Ara in the Milky Way”, that Cosmos was a genus of plants or that a Measure was a dance. If everyone else on here knew all those facts without resorting to a dictionary/reference book then “hats off to you!!”

  19. Andrew says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of “common measure” for “common time”, but I stand corrected (and confused) – thanks Tom.

  20. Judy says:

    Common measure is used in USA for 4/4 time, I think

  21. Paul Levy says:

    I’m going to agree with the mainstream. I thought today’s was thoroughly depressing.

    There were at least half a dozen incredibly obscure references and other questionable clues (eg. norma, regalia, placebo, common measure, pattern, cosmos, emerald). That’s something like a quarter of the clues that you don’t really understand even when you’ve got the answer. It’s not challenging or interesting, it’s just a let-down. The answer in a cryptic crossword should feel ‘right’, above all you should be able to work out why the answer is what it is once you’ve found it. It shouldn’t leave you scratching your head until someone points out that, as you suspected but had no way of finding out, emerald is indeed a print type. Oh, right. Not particularly clever that, you either know it or you don’t. As a point of comparison, our work lunch break had got as far as considering the Norma Major/constellation pun (now that could be a good clue!) but just didn’t know that Norma was a constellation. Excuse me for not being up on my barely-visible-by-the-naked eye constellations.

    Then on top of that, the clues which didn’t have these obscure Chambers dictionary-nerd references were poor. Cleave? Agar? Bedside? Pretty sub-standard, I thought.

    Incidentally, I don’t care what any dictionary says, but “cosmos” does not mean world. It means “space”, hence the words “cosmology” and “cosmonaut”.

  22. Tom Hutton says:

    I thought 22dn was a very nice clue even though it took me ages.

    I’m with the majority here though, I thought it was a rather blunt and humourless effort, a bit like a quick crossword in places.

    My sympathy goes to the setter who probably thought this was a pretty neat crossword but then you can never keep everyone happy on this site.

  23. Mr Beaver says:

    Sorry to be dense, but how is ‘They eat out in the workshop’ a cd of ETCHERS ?

  24. Tom_I says:

    Mr Beaver, the first definition of ‘etch’ (verb) in Chambers is ‘to design on metal, glass, etc by eating out the lines with an acid’. Hence the definition.

    I have a certain sympathy with the setters on this type of thing. Presumably many people here also do Azed puzzles. He generally recommends a dictionary to use, and I can rarely get very far without using the reference. But he is generally punctilious in using the exact wording in the dictionary, so in such cases you have the satisfaction of knowing your answer is correct.

    OK, in this case nothing was specified, but to get the exact phrase in the dictionary entry surely legitimises the clue?

    So, Paul Levy, Chambers dictionary nerd?

    Guilty as charged. :)

  25. cholecyst says:

    Paul Levy – Re #21, last sentence. Do you remember the wise saying of Humpty-Dumpty? (“”When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”)

  26. Mr Beaver says:

    Ah… I should have spotted that. Fair dos…
    However, as for the ‘exact phrase in the dictionary entry’ legitimising the clue, well that depends on having the right dictionary! I know Chambers is oft-quoted here, but I’m not aware that it’s the official Gruaniad source – or is it?
    Much as I love reference books, I don’t want to have to keep a shelf-full of dictionaries in case a setter happens to select his/her definition from one of them this week.

  27. Ian says:

    Another challenging puzzle from the ever excellent Rover.

    22dn pretty difficult but perfectly OK!

    9dn It is indeed 4/4 time.

  28. Paul Levy says:

    … I remember it, cholecyst. The difference is that here I’m using “cosmos” the exact same way that everyone else uses it. I’m not fishing out some long-forgotten-and-in-fact-probably-never-remembered-in-the-first-place meaning of a word, in order to crowbar a clue into a crossword. It doesn’t feel right. To most people, cosmos means space – as distinct from the earth! I don’t think “it’s in Chambers” is justification enough, not in this case.

    I didn’t particularly have a problem with “etchers”, I think that’s sure enough. But (for example) I still haven’t seen a convincing explanation for why “pattern” is the answer to 18d. Maybe I’m missing something?

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am not sure why I should spend time on writing this post, because it was a pretty poor crossword today. Like Uncle Yap said, full of obvious anagrams and dd’s.

    In the NW corner of the grid we filled in all the right words, but couldn’t fully explain most of them (grandpa, regalia, placebo, norma), only to find out that there wasn’t much to explain.

    The cd of 14ac is a bit silly as well, because, although we immediately saw “bread=money” and so CASHPOINT, the money out of a cash machine is hardly ever ‘fresh’.

    But for me the main reason why I think this is not a good crossword is this:
    – in 7d (anagram) the clue and the solution have both ‘aker’ in it
    – in 23ac (dd) the clue and the solution have both ‘tions’ in it
    – in 20d (hidden) the clue and the solution have both ‘post’ in it (yes, I know, it is hidden, so it will be like that – but the prominent sound of ‘post’ is in both)
    As a setter I wouldn’t want all this.

    Having said that, I am not going to burn down the setter, just like many of us did with Gordius and, to a minor extent, yesterday with Auster.
    Tom Hutton (#22) is right when he says: “My sympathy goes to the setter who probably thought this was a pretty neat crossword but then you can never keep everyone happy on this site”
    Because that’s what it is, we want each clue to be a little masterpiece, and anything less than one of our heroes is not good enough.
    I am not defending the quality of this crossword, but let’s face it: it’s only a crossword, not a matter of Life & Death.

    BTW, I found one rather good clue, 19ac. Reads well, I think.

    In the meantime I think of Bryan, who is now at Rover’s place sharing a glass of whisky with the Master.
    And for you who found it unsatisfying, I was thinking of a song by The Motels called ‘Take the L’ which could be tweaked into: ‘Take the R out of Rover, and it’s over”

    See you all again tomorrow!

  30. Dave Ellison says:

    Surely some psychological effect here: when the “leader” states an opinion, this sets the trend and few will demur? I found the first half easy and the second hard, and I thought they were mostly respectable clues and answers.

    I putatively got 1ac 4d, 9d but didn’t put them in as I had no dictionary to check.

    1ac was fine, and thanks to someone above for pointing out the rent free bit; this is an &lit, too?

    10ac fine: a neat clue, with gar just rare enough to make it interesting.

    I don’t see the anagrams were weak, especially 7d; I don’t really understand the answer so I shall have to check in the dict.

    11ac was hard for me: I eventually got it, but couldn’t see the cinema connection till I read the explanation above.

    3d Norma Stars not obscure for me, being an amateur astronomer; the opera reference is more so.

    On the whole this is harder than any Rufus, and to me more enjoyable.

  31. Tom_I says:

    Paul Levy @28, a PATTERN (among other things)is a paper template used to cut out fabrics to make garments, etc., which might just include frills.

  32. Paul Levy says:

    Thanks Tom_I. So it’s as Uncle Yap says, not very cryptic… bit disappointing.

  33. Tom_I says:

    And Dave @30, re 7d, I worked out the anagram, but didn’t know the connotation, but again, having Chambers to hand quickly showed that a HAYMAKER is ‘a wild swinging blow’, just like the clue says.

  34. liz says:

    Dave Ellison — Sorry, but at least give us the credit of our own opinions. The anagrams were very weak on the whole, and for me the pleasure was nil. I was ready to write this before I saw the blog and would have written it if the blog had said otherwise. The ‘hard’ clues were hard, I thought, because they were badly clued. My real objection to Rover, however, is the lack of fun, wit and humour.

    Ok, it’s not a matter of life and death, as Sil says, but surely we can say when we find a crossword less than entertaining? Makes you appreciate the good stuff more.

  35. Tom_I says:

    Well I must say, for a puzzle which was initially described as so lacklustre, this has elicited a lot of comment.

    Keep at it, Rover. You are appreciated in some circles. :)

  36. IanN14 says:

    Unfortunately Tom_I,
    I think what usually happens is that the most, erm, controversial puzzles tend to attract the most comment.
    The really well clued, clever ones often end up with very few…

    My own personal least favourite here is 8d. (surprised, anyone who’s been on here for a while?)
    “Last refusenik” = “K”, eh?…
    And 1ac. – bit weird?

  37. Paul B says:

    Well Tom_I, alas it is often the case that ‘lacklustre’ puzzles elicit much comment. And this one was so described not only initially – as you suggest – but frequently, down the whole list of remarks.

    I don’t like Rover’s stuff at all I’m afraid, with too many ‘hard for the sake of it’ definitions (that artificially increase the difficulty of the clues) and sub-standard, or at the very least questionable, word-plays. And as for the un-CDs, gah. But that’s just me (and some others, I suppose it’s fair to say). And yes, Rover is ‘appreciated in some circles’, judging by the (seriously outnumbered) responses here that support his latest effort.

  38. Neil says:

    You won’t be reading this as I usually lag a day or two behind, but this was awful!

    Threequarters of it was Quick Crossword standard, which only gave pause whilst one couldn’t believe how obvious were the answers (with so many simple anagrams too), and the remainder so badly clued, making them obscure enough to give rise only to exasperation. Was 1ac the worst ‘cryptic’ clue ever in a proper newspaper? I’m proud not to have solved it, as a grandpa who no longer has a mortgage but has not yet had to be patronised and taken into care by my children. Depressingly bad, and not what I expect from my newspaper of choice for so very many years.

    I’m quite vexed.

  39. sandra says:

    thanks neil, from one “lagger” to another. i get mine late anyway as i am in france but i was late getting to it. i agree with you. one thing that i found really frustrating was that because i thought some answers too easy, i didn’t put them in immediately – thought i must be wrong – so it took me quite a while to complete. don’t normally mind this – but not for this reason!

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