Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24911 – Boatman

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 19th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

A most enjoyable puzzle very cleverly and creatively crafted after a fashion. I like the way Boatman managed to use the themed phrase in so many different ways and as various devices. Good entertainment. Postscript : Taking into account all the comments, I have amended the main blog so that the archive will be correct and true.

4 ADMIRE *(I dream)
6 AS IT WERE Ins of I (Boatman) in *(SWEATER) with knitted as indicator and “after a fashion” as def
9 MEDICI Ins of *(dice) in M1 (motorway, clued as “in a way”)
10 FILAMENT Cha of F1 (Formula One car races) LAMENT (expression of regret)
11 HARD-WEARING Ins of *(draw) in HEARING (clued as “in a sense”)
15 INTENTS Sounds like intense (vivid)
17 AUTHORS A + *(or thus) with fashion as anagram indicator
18 HAILED A TAXI Spooner would say “Tailed a hack, see” (followed a journalist or hack plus see, as indicated by “witness”) I think this Spoonerism is quiet contrived.
22 FINALISE *(files in a) with “in a way” contributing elements of the anagram fodder
23 SEAMAN Very clever ha whereby Boatman (name of setter) = Seaman; “in a sense” has both the container indicator, in plus part of the fodder
24 SNAPSHOT Ins of NA (not applicable or irrelevant) + *(Posh) in ST (street or way, clued as “in a way”)
25 RIDDLE R (first letter of religious) + ins of L (last letter of April) in *(died)

1 CRACOW CRA (rev of A RC, a Roman Catholic or Vatican man) COW (beast)
2 ASSIMILATE ASS (beast) + *(email it)
3 STRAIGHT Ins of TRA (abstract art) in SIGHT (“in a sense”)
4 ARMCHAIR A RM *(Mr) CHAIR (President)
5 MODERATE Cha of MODE (fashion) RATE (judge)
7 EWER (s) ewer
8 EATS Ins of A in *(set)
12 ABSCISSION Ins of SCIS (some SCISsors) in *(bonsai)
13 MOHAMMED Cha of MO (Medical Officer, a healer) HAM (cured flesh) M ED (Master of Education, credit as a teacher)
14 ASSIGNEE Ins of SIGN (notice) in A SEE (sense)
16 NIHILIST *(philistine minus first and last letter) What a beautiful almost &lit clue
19 ABELIA Ins of BE in ALIA
20 UFOS Even letters from bUfFoOnS
21 INCA Arnold is governor IN CA (California)

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

50 Responses to “Guardian 24911 – Boatman”

  1. Lanson says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,
    18a I read as “tailed a hack see”
    23a I think just ‘in’ is the container
    4d alludes to an ‘armchair pundit’, someone who advises (the government, sportsmen, etc) from their living room

  2. molonglo says:

    Didn’t like 8d (eats = meal) at all, and struggled to parse 24 although the answer was obvious – so thanks Uncle Yap. I agree with Lanson on the Spoonerism – the see = witness, and so it’s not so clumsy. For me 13 down – the middle syllable – was tasteless: but in a sense so was the puzzle.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, I really enjoyed this.

    My take on 4d was that ARM was an anagram of ‘a Mr’ + President = Chair.

    (Sorry, but I don’t like yours.)

    Well done, Sailor, all puzzles should be this good.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I agree with all the above. Just to add, in 4dn, RM comes from “fashion Mr”.

  5. NeilW says:

    Sorry, Bryan. Crossed in the post.

  6. Jim says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap.
    A very enjoyable puzzle.
    My only concern is that there may be negative reactions to 13d.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap. Very enjoyable indeed.

    In 6ac, AS IT WERE is the definition and the anagram indicator is ‘knitted’.

    I agree with Comments 1 and 2 re 18ac.

  8. Rob Wilkinson says:

    Many thanks. For 4 down, the A RM is not so tricky – it;s just A and MR (“fashioned”)

  9. Rob Wilkinson says:

    Sorry – I just noticed 2 others already said that!

  10. Max says:

    12 I parsed as Ins of SCIS (some SCISsors) in *(bonsai); but I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. A somewhat obscure word.

    ABELIA I had to verify in C as it was not familiar.

    Didn’t quite finish in my normal alloted hour but I enjoyed it.

  11. Max says:

    Eileen @7 – think you mistyped your comment. ‘As it were’ is the answer; ‘after a fashion’ is the definition…..

  12. IanN14 says:

    I did quite like this one, but the further I got into into it the more imperfections seemed to crop up.
    22ac. Assuming the def. is “complete”, what are the words “way, to be” for? (“to be”, on it’s own, fine).
    19d. “Could”?
    12d. Never did like the use of “some” in clues, but I think it has to be SCISsors, rather than sCISSors.
    15ac. Not the best homophone ever?
    16d. I don’t think this was a very successful attempt at an &lit. Far too many words.
    Didn’t mind the Spoonerism, though…

  13. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Max. Too early in the morning – but at least you knew what I meant! :-)

  14. IanN14 says:

    …and 20d. isn’t perfect either.
    Is it meant to be an &lit? (again, too many extra words).
    “Buffoons even” doesn’t really imply even letters taken from buffoons.
    And why “some”?

  15. IanN14 says:

    Actually, just looking at the Spoonerism again, why “He”?…

  16. Ian says:

    Thanks Uncle yap for the informative blog.

    A little more difficult than of late and quite entertaining. The Spoonerisn was deft and apart from Eats for Meal I have no complaints.

    Well done Boatman.

  17. LongTimeReadingNonContributor says:

    Does anyone know of a blog for people that quite like the Guardian crossword, rather than a platform to complain about it every day?

  18. Trench Adviser says:

    I have no complaints about this one – a good workout. I only failed on ABELIA, so am happy.

  19. Tom Hutton says:

    Regarding the complaint of LongTimeReadingNonContributor about the complaints of long time readers who do contribute he/she must realise that these are not in any way complaints. Rather they are constructive comments. As my father used to say ‘”This toast is burnt” is not a complaint, it is a statement of fact.’
    How will the setters improve if the do not get feedback?

    By the way, LongTimeReadingNonContributor, why do people not use their real names in discussion forums like this? Are they ashamed? Or do they have something to hide? (Respect to Dave Ellison in this matter)

  20. Tom Hutton says:

    Sorry for typo in above post.

    I am a bit baffled by 23ac. Can anyone explain exactly how it works?

  21. Bill Taylor says:

    I loved this and I’d love to see more of Boatman, who is new to me. Some very clever clueing. I didn’t mind EATS and (being a journalist) I thought the Spoonerism was brilliant – once I’d figured it out. 20d was a little unclear but legitimate, I think. All in all, though, I had a smile on my face from beginning to end. A great way to start the day.

  22. sidey says:

    I = boatman = seaman

    senSE AM ANother

  23. Andrew says:

    Puzzled by the comment from LongTimeReadingNonContributor, most comments here most days are lauding the Guardian crossword – just look how Uncle Yap begins today. The complaints, it strikes me, are few and when they come they are justified moans about sloppy clues.
    And so to mine…
    Myself and a fried tried this together and didn’t get halfway. The Spoonerism at 18a is abysmal. The word “way” in 22a is redundant. What’s abscission? What’s abelia? Never heard of Roland Mouret. 25a and 13d have far too much going on (though, unlike molonglo, I thought the inclusion of “ham” was quite funny (not that I got the answer) and if anyone finds it offensive then they’re too easily offended – people with ridiculous beliefs should expect them to be ridiculed: I should know, I think Crystal Palace is the greatest football team the world has ever seen). 20d should not contain the word “some”.
    Yes, grumpy again. Really grumpy in fact.

  24. Stella says:

    I’ve also been visiting the site for some time, but found I had little to add, though I find other people’s comments instructive.

    I enjoyed today’s puzzle, and thought Mohammed was quite cleverly clued, though it was the last one I got. Still, I can understand that a practising Muslim might be offended with the inclusion of ham in the prophet’s name. I’m RC, but try not to take certain allusions further than their face value

  25. James Gilchrist says:

    I too visit quite often, and am rather baffled by so many complaints. Take today’s spoonerism, for instance. “tailed a hack, see” seems quite brilliant to me, though I agree “he” is redundant. It’s fine to have words like absission and abelia here: they’re well-clued and you can get them withiut knowing the word and then delight in looking them up and finding you

  26. James Gilchrist says:

    sorry – ran out of space! …. You’re right and learning something. Wonderful crossword!

  27. Brian Harris says:

    The Spoonerism isn’t that bad, if you include the word “Witness” (= See) in it.

    It’s “tailed a hack, see” = “hailed a taxi”.

    (Just spotted – James at #25 has already pointed this out)

    Quite fun today, but not sure about “sense” as a synonym for “see” in 14dn. “Sight” yes, as was used in 3 down. But “see” can surely only ever be a verb (in its non-religious meaning, anyway)

    And 4 down is an anagram of MR for RM… as someone else pointed out.

  28. Brian Harris says:

    Coincidentally, I came across the word “abscission” for the very first time a few days ago. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

  29. Brian Harris says:

    Oops, posters #1 and #2 also made the same comment about 18ac. Any chance of updating the explanation? I’ll stop posting now….

  30. John says:

    James: It wasn’t bad, but hardly wonderful. The quoted crits are all valid. If you stay with the site you will eventually find one that is truly wonderful. Then you’ll see the difference.

  31. IanN14 says:

    Brian @ 27,
    “Sense” can also be a verb…
    And the Spoonerism, will anybody defend “He”?

  32. stiofain says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this great puzzle and loved the different ways the theme was used. I thought the clue for Mohammmed was very witty and anyone complaining about it deserves ridicule heres one to balance it out:
    Visionary put drugs in gravy (5)

  33. Brian Harris says:

    @Ian14, yes it can, but “to sense” is not “to see”. Anyway. I mostly enjoyed this, some small niggles aside. The “He” in 18ac is just for the surface, something many setters are guilty of.

    Just remembered something also – I’ve always seen Cracow spelt “Krakow” so that took me a while to parse.

  34. Bill Taylor says:

    Re the Spoonerism: I don’t see what all the fuss is about “He.” It could be read as “(Spooner) took a ride.” Or not. Either way, I don’t see that it obscures or misdirects in any way. It simply smooths the flow — much better than writing Witness: “Took a ride.”
    My only beef with Mohammed was my ham-fisted instinct to spell it Mohammad and then wonder for several minutes why it didn’t add up.
    Visionary put drugs in gravy? Okay, Stiofain, I give up.

  35. Bill Taylor says:

    I just checked an on-line thesaurus which gives “perceive,” “discern” and “intuit” as synonyms for “sense,” and “see” as a synonym for “perceive,” “discern” and “intuit.” QED…

  36. Paul B says:

    I love complaining about puzzles – especially The Guardian’s, which it seems so often might be improved, with just that little extra attention some other editors feel somehow able to lavish.

    Accordingly, today’s had one or two bumpy bits as discussed, but I still feel the boy Boatman teeters on the edge of real brilliance. More to come from this excellent addition to The Anagruid’s somewhat uneven panel.

  37. JohnR says:

    I don’t often comment – but I have to add, given LongTimeReadingNonContributor’s comment, that I thought this was a great puzzle, fully living up to the expectations I’d previously formed about Boatman. Chapeau!

  38. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I found this quite hard and missed three — ABELIA, SEAMAN and MOHAMMED, all of which I really should have got. I’m really kicking myself for failing to spot the hidden in 23ac!

    ABSCISSION was a new word for me.

    I remember really liking the last Boatman puzzle and hope we see more from this setter soon!

  39. muck says:

    Very enjoyable Boatman. More please

  40. zan says:

    For Bill Taylor: Jesus – drugs are Es in fancy gravy (jus).

  41. smutchin says:

    Paul B has hit the nail on the head as usual. There’s plenty to like here, even with the imperfections.

    Re 14d – if “see” is to be taken as a verb, then there is a redundant article in the clue. Misleading is fine but this is having it both ways, which isn’t fine.

  42. Sil van den Hoek says:

    With Boatman’s not so very recent (excellent) Dead End Crossword still lurking somewhere in my mind, I was hoping to see (or sense …?) another Masterpiece.
    One thing that has to be said straightaway:
    Boatman is a highly original setter and tries to be inventive as much as he can.

    He tries to tell us little stories, but – in our opinion – he uses sometimes too many words to do that (to make the surface even better than it probably would be without
    these ‘extras’).
    Result: things like ‘Could’ that is of no use in 19d, ‘Some buffoons even’ (20d) that doesn’t feel right, the misleading word “on” in 10d.
    I agree wholeheartedly with IanN14 (#12) on these points.
    As I do on 22ac, where certainly “way” looks odd – unless ‘way to be complete’ would be the (unlikely) definition in the mind of Boatman.
    And what about that “or thus” in 17ac : proper English?

    We didn’t get some answers in the SE, including the spoonerism.
    And 23ac (SEAMAN) which is indeed an extremely well hidden answer.
    In that area of the grid we did find RIDDLE, but ‘resurrected’ as an anagrind did raise our eyebrows, as did ‘abstract’ in 3d.

    Finally, some words on 8d (which turned out to be EATS).
    First we thought, it was one of these Guardianesque frivolities that would lead to STEW (SET* + W[ith] out (on the outside)), but then we rejected that because Boatman could have said ‘with’ instead of ‘without’. Then we had another try and came up with SATE (an Indonesian meal, very popular and common in Holland, just as (un)special as F&C), which would be completely defendible (SET* around (=without) A) – but again no.

    I don’t want to be too negative about this crossword, because it was surely a good one.
    I just think that Boatman didn’t have his cleverness fully under control this time.
    Even so, more please.

  43. IanN14 says:

    smutchin @ 41,
    I totally agree with you about Paul’s comments, and your second point, but you could be describing far too many of the clues in this puzzle, enjoyable though most of it was…
    And to anyone complaining about the complaints, try asking some of the setters if they think some of these clues are perfect, and if they’d be confident using such imperfections themselves.
    The ones that try hard to avoid them should be given credit, that’s all…
    (You never seem to get them in the Independent).

  44. Bill Taylor says:

    Zan — excellent! I thought it had to be Jesus or Christ and “E” did come to mind. But “Es,” plural, didn’t occur to me. So I’ve been running ever-more obscure deities through my head since then. I can stop now!

  45. Dave Ellison says:

    Sil @ 42: “I just think that Boatman didn’t have his cleverness fully under control this time.” That’t the feeling I had, too, just a little more polish needed to turn it int a brilliant one. I enjoyed it on the whole, however.

    The “Could” in 19d – I think not all abeliae (abelias ? help, Eileen) are honeysuckles, so maybe that is why it is there.

    Tom @ 19: Thanks for the respect. I must admit I had a chuckle at the name LongTimeReadingNonContributor, on the way to Russel’s Paradox. I regard most of the comments on this site in the same vein as those of the theatre critics etc in other pages of the Grauniad – how was it for me?

  46. slipstream says:

    I really enjoyed “some buffoons even” = UFOS.

    I’m celebrating that I got all but three unaided. And thanks for the blog — the parsing of the clues is quite helpful.

  47. Uncle Yap says:

    Thank you everybody for pointing out the errors in my blog. I have since corrected these errors so that the archived copy is free from flaws. What a wonderful language English is; this non-native continues to be fooled time and time again.

    It’s a pity I could not come in earlier as Tuesday is my Hash day when I leave the house just when most of you are waking up, solving and commenting and by the time I return (full of the golden elixir we call beer; must compensate for the loss of bodily fluid expended during an 8km run :-) all that needed to be said have been said.

    Maybe I should ask Geoff to change my weekly blog to Wednesday.

  48. Bryan says:

    Uncle Yap

    Please ask Geoff if you can do the blog EVERY DAY.

    Your apeed of appearance is a wonderful example to every other blogger.

    However, I suggest that a special exemption should be made to allow Eileen to continue to do the Rover puzzles.

  49. Michael Briscoe says:

    As a relative newcomer to this great site, may I ask if there is any evidence that the compilers look in and comment on the comments?

  50. Bryan says:

    Yes, Michael, some of the Compilers have certainly left comments here from time to time.

    We may never know how many may have looked in without leaving a comment but the Temptation must surely have arisen …

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