Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24923 – Pasquale

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 2nd, 2010

Uncle Yap.

The Three Tenors, wherever and whenever they sing, never fail to entertain and enthrall me. Ditto, The Three Dons. Pasquale today offered a wide gamut of devices and tricks that are challenging but so solvable if you know how. For me, a good day at the office.

1 TRANSEPT TRAIN (school) minus I = TRAN + SEPT (when the academic year starts in the UK)
5 POMPOM Cha of POMP (ceremony) + OM (Order of Merit) a jewelled hair ornament on a pin; a fluffy or woolly ball, tuft, or tassel worn on a shoe, hat, etc.
9 RESUMING Ins of E (English) SUM (tot or add up) in RING (group)
10 HEBRON Cha of HE (the man) BRON English stage, film and television actress and author.
12 DIRAC Cha of DIR (earth or DIRT minus T) AC (alternating current) Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902 – 1984) was a British theoretical physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”
13 ANOMALOUS Cha of AN O (old) MA (mum) LOUS (awful or lousy minus y)
14 FLYING SAUCER Rev anagram clue *(a curse)
18  ATTENBOROUGH *(another bug to) Arguably the scientist who has done the most to arouse and maintain popular interest in nature … I must admit that I became interested in wild life and plant life programmes because he makes everything so interesting
21 ALMSHOUSE *(soul has me)
23 IRISH Cha of IRIS (in Greek mythology, a messenger god and the personification of rainbows) H (hard)
24 ATAXIA Ins of TAXI (vehicle) in AA (Automobile Association, roadside helpers and Uncle Yap’s saviour during the days when all I could afford as a student and articled clerk were at-least-ten-year-old cars with one-year MOT. A new word for me meaning inability to co-ordinate voluntary movements
25 CATHETER Ins of THE in CATER (make allowance)
26 ESTATE Cha of E (Ecstasy drug) STATE (say) I thought the extraneous “found in” too obtrusive. This clue won’t win any prize in the rpc competitions but in a 30-clue set, you cannot expect each clue to be a gem, can you?
27 LEAD-FREE I really do not know how to categorise this clue. A cd?

1 TIRADE Ins of I (first letter of indigestion) in TRADE (wind)
2 ABSURD AB (rev of BA, arts graduate) SURD (irrational in mathematics)
3 SEMICOLON Ins of L (pounds) in *(income so)
4 PONS ASINORUM *(poor man sinus) Latin phrase meaning any severe test of a beginner or baptism of fire
6 OPERA Cha of OP (operation in a surgical theatre) ERA (age)
7 PERFORCE Ins of FOR (in favour of) in *(creep)
8 MINISTRY Cha of MINIS (short skirts) TRY (tempt)
11 CONGLOMERATE Ins of L (left) in Republic of CONGO + ins of ER (Elizabeth Regina, Queen) in MATE (friend)
15 ANGUISHED Removal of L (left) from LANGUISHED (grew weak)
16 CARAPACE Cha of CAR (VW Beetle, say) APACE (quickly)
17 STAMP ACT S (society) + ins of A MP (a politician)  in TACT (sensitivity) Britons may like to know that they are not the only one lumbered with this form of taxation. Malaysians today also have to pay revenue stamps for receipts, leases, conveyances, insurance policies, etc etc
19 BITTER Ins of TT (teetotal or very dry) in BIER (stand or frame of wood for carrying a dead person to the grave)
20 CHARGE Apart from a rush being a charge (a forward offensive movement) I await a better explanation for the wordplay. Can “do” be interpreted as “spend” so that when one spends too much and does not have the cash to cover the cost, then it may be necessary to “charge” the expense to a credit card.
22 HEIST ha

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 24923 – Pasquale”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. It was quite tricky in parts and I had to resort to TEAS to iron out several wrinkles. I was hoping you could explain the lumpy bottom right corner: someone will. For 20d, I suppose suppliers who must rush unduly also charge extra, but it’s convoluted, as I expect 27a is. Good anagrams in e.g. 3 and 4 d, but some extraneous words – not only in 26a, but also in 24a (‘moving’) and 17d (‘fashioned’).

  2. Pasquale says:

    Many thanks for the encouragement so far. To rush can mean to overcharge. This usage was very popular with my mother (b.1906) and I see that it is categorised in the ODE as ‘dated’! By the way, Uncle Yap, we are a quintet!

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    molonglo, 27 ac is, as Uncle Yap says, a sort of cd, or maybe a dd. “Gas” free of its “lead” letter is “as”. Gas in the american sense is nearly all lead-free.

    I’m not much use on 20dn – tried to work out a way that charging your glass to excess would lead you to rush to the loo but finally decided that was not it! I’m sure the real solution is blindingly obvious and will wait with bated breath.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Pasquale!

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap – and Pasquale for a very entertaining puzzle and prompt explanations. [I found ‘rush’ – new to me in that sense – as simply ‘inf.’ in Chambers.]

    My favourite anagram was ALMSHOUSE


    Re 24ac: the definition is ‘problem with moving’, so no extraneous word there.

  6. Eileen says:

    Apologies for the typo in your pseudonym! :-)

  7. Rob says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap & Pasquale!!

    Enjoyed this Xword – a few difficulties but luckily crossing letters helped me out with those.
    RE: 20d & Pasquale’s explanation ~ My Concise OED gives one definition of Rush as ” …4. (Slang) Charge (customer) exorbitant price.” It may be ‘dated’, but I still hear people say occasionally, when a friend has bought something, “How much did they rush you for that?” which to me these days simply means “How much did you pay for that?” without neceessarily implying they paid too much.
    Pasquale #2 says: “We are a quintet” ~ Which one am I missing? Pasquale, Bradman, Duck & Quixote.
    Thanks again.

  8. molonglo says:

    Gratitude all round – to Pasquale for coming promptly on board (and of course for a challenging puzzle), to Neil for unravelling the gas clue, and to Eileen: no worries!

  9. Pasquale says:

    Response to No 7 : I’m Giovanni in the Daily Telegraph Toughie and Sunday Telegraph Enigmatic Variations.

  10. Monica M says:

    Thanks to everyone,

    I really struggled with this and only managed about half. But I’ve learned lots from the post and blog.

    As a Social Worker I liked ALMSHOUSE too … and 18ac made me smile.

  11. Max says:

    Re 2d: I was reminded in solving this that the late Jake Thackeray sang of surds as ‘little plants with square roots’.

  12. Ian says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap.

    Fiendishly difficult – as in the SE corner – but nonetheless nothing that could not be solved thanks to the flawless surface readings throughout.

    Both Catheter and Carapace especially commendable.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Much too fiendish for me today; got about a third of it before coming here. But I don’t mind that, because when I see the solutions I realise that they were there for the getting – I just need to improve! It’s when there are real obscurities or imprecise clueing that you get frustrated as a middling solver.

    Thank you for the helpful and comprehensive blog, Uncle Yap.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, and for explaining the places where I didn’t get the wordplay. I missed 12ac, although I now see it was perfectly gettable!

    And thanks Pasquale for explaining 20dn!

    My favourite was 14ac. I also liked 18ac and the surface of 8ac made me smile!

  15. Lopakhin says:

    Max: nice to be reminded of Jake T – but he was Thackray. Think I’ll go on Spotify to listen to him again. Sorry about the pedantry…

  16. Frantom says:

    We struggled with a few today. Like others, we didn’t understand 20d. We’re surpprised nobody else has commented on 14a, are we missing something? We can’t form the answer, OK there’s the anagram for ‘saucer’, but where’s the clue leading to ‘flying’, or do you just have to guess that part?
    27a we got on the first pass we made of the acrosses, but personally I didn’t like it. It was one of those which you put in, but you’re never really happy with the answer even though you know it’s right!

  17. cholecyst says:

    Don’t worry,Lopakhin . Pedantry is the 15squareders raison d’etre (sorry about the missing accent.)

  18. Stella says:

    “pons asinorum” sounds to me like “the asses’ bridge”, which I can easily believe is the Latin way of referring to such a test of initiation, lol.

    I didn’t know Eleanor Bron, though that didn’t stop me getting the answer. Dirac was another matter – I’m no scientist, and no way could I have guessed at the name.

    A fun puzzle, though some of the explanations eluded me. Thanks, Pasquale, for clarifying “rush”

    My frustration was having resorted to Crossword Maestro for Attenborough – I was looking in the wrong place for the anagram!

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    cholecyst, if you really want to know, you need to hold down the ALT key, then type 0234 on the numeric pads on the right of your keyboard. This will produce: ê

    I think this will reproduce properly once I’ve hit submit comment, but I’m just about to find out …

    Pedantry? Love it.

  20. Tom Hutton says:

    Frantom: The flying bit indicates that ‘a curse’ is to be anagrammatised (sorry about the usage) to make saucer; i.e saucer is a curse flying.

  21. Lanson says:

    Frantom, 14a is a clue where the answer is the clue, so ‘a curse’ is flying (anagrind), anagram of ‘saucer’
    27a Gas minus its lead (first) letter is ‘as’ and virtually all gasoline is now lead free

  22. Frantom says:

    Thanks Lanson and Tom Hutton! Much clearer now. This is something I love about crosswords, you constantly come across new rules or interpretations which means they’re almost always pretty challenging.

  23. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Dirac? Ataxia? Hebron? Is this a cryptic crossword or a competition to find out who knows the most obscure words? I don’t mind a difficult clue, but when the answer is a word that 99.9% of people will not know then it’s time to find something else to read on the train. As for Pons Asinorum, how can that be considered that an acceptable answer to a cryptic question?
    Almost as bad as Paul.

  24. Pasquale says:

    And, there — I had always assumed that Guardian readers were reasonably well read. There’s a new paperback out about Nobel-wiinner PAM Dirac, which (as an ex-physicist) I certainly intend to read. Get yourself in the 0.1% and enjoy!! (Seriously though, GA, I’m still learning from crosswords, so do join in the educational buzz.)

  25. Brian Harris says:

    Great stuff from Pasquale today. Got all but 27ac. Having read the explanation, it’s a pretty good clue, but struggled with parsing it, and the one meaning of GAS I forgot all about was petrol. Doh.

  26. robc says:

    graham farmelo’s biography of paul dirac (‘the strangest man’) is imho a superb book which deserves a large audience – dirac himself ought to be as well known as newton or einstein

  27. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Pasquale, very kind of you to post a reply. I think you can be well read but still be in ignorance of many writers.
    Bit confused by the posts, is it Paul or Pam Durec? Is the confusion suggestive of the obscurity of Paul-Pam. Are either really sufficiently well known for a cryptic clue?
    I’m merely trying to argue in favour of ‘difficult question, simple’ answer being the cryptic ideal.
    Do you want to defend Pons Asinorum? I could have been on the world’s longest train journey (as opposed to the 8.15 to Victoria) and still never got that.

  28. Pasquale says:

    Please see the blog for Dirac’s full name! I don’t feel that I have to ‘defend’ any of the answers, but since you ask : I met PONS ASINORUM is a geometry class about 50 years ago. I agree that they don’t teach kids about it any more and that it is now a bit obscure, but I’d say that you could have a good stab at it from the crossing letters and that if you then looked up a dictionary at home for further illumination, you’d find something interesting. ATAXIA was vaguely familiar to me when I set the puzzle, but HEBRON very well known. You may well be much better-read than I am, but we all have different knowledge bases. I think thet crosswords would be rather dull if we stuck only to very very common vocabulary. So all power to colleague Paul’s elbow as well! That’s it from me today, folks!

  29. cholecyst says:

    Re Dirac , ataxia and Pons Asinorum (Euclid).

    I believe we’ve had this discussion before. Some of us believe cryptic solutions are too heavily weighted in favour of the Arts. So, although I am not a scientist, doctor or mathematician myself, it’s good to see their disciplines given an airing from time to time.

  30. Rob says:

    Pasquale – thanks for Post #9.
    I think I should have known even though I don’t take those newspapers. I recently saw the repeat of the TV program on how to solve cryptic crosswords and I think you might have mentioned Giovanni during that; loved that program thanks again.

    Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS (8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was a British theoretical physicist. Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge which chair was also held by Sir Isaac Newton and by Stephen Hawking until October 2009.

    Pons asinorum (Latin for “bridge of asses”) is the name given to 5th proposition in Book 1 of Euclid, also known as the theorem on isosceles triangles. It states that the angles opposite the equal sides of an isosceles triangle are equal.
    A popular explanation for the term is that it is the first real test in Euclid’s Elements of the intelligence of the reader and as a bridge to the harder propositions that follow. Whatever its origin, the term pons asinorum is used as a metaphor for a problem or challenge which will separate those that will too easily give up on a challenge from those who will determinedly carry on – a bit like me with a lot of Guardian cryptics (the latter that is!!)

  31. Chunter says:

    It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Dirac won his Nobel Prize at the tender age of 31 and that he’s sometimes described as the greatest British physicist since Newton.

  32. John says:

    Is Irish a language?

  33. MarkH says:

    I enjoyed this crossword despite having to use Bradfords and Chambers word wizard to solve the last 3 or 4 clues. Didn’t get Dirac, Pons asinorum, charge or onderstand the meaning of surd at 2 down. I’m a great fan of the pub quizes held at my local and solving cryptic crosswords certainly can help but I doubt I will have to recall the above.
    My first entry was “flying saucer” , this “reverse anagram” seems to be a signature clue of Pasquale as I’m sure I’ve seen this type before. How would the setter describe it?

  34. Pandean says:

    John @ 32

    Irish is most certainly a language. The Irish word for the language is Gaeilge, and it is still spoken on an everyday basis – mainly in the Gaeltacht areas in Connemara, Cork, Donegal and Kerry.

  35. stiofain says:

    John @32 of course Irish is a language related to Welsh and Breton and was a written language 3000 years ago when others in this group of islands were running about with their arses painted blue.
    Despite the best efforts of the English to wipe it out ( it was illegal to speak Irish until 1871 ) it survived and from the 1970s has gone through a renaissance it is the official language in the republic and was recognised as an official European language by the European Union in 2007.
    There are many Gaeltacht areas throughout the country where it is exclusively spoken of which the fastest growing and most vibrant is in Belfast where Irish is the Lingua Franca of the traditional music scene and many schools are Irish medium schools where other subjects are taught through the medium of Irish.
    Is mise le meas

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Splendid blog, Uncle Yap!
    And splendid crossword, Pasquale!
    Good spread of all sorts of devices, whilst on top of that keeping a close eye on the surface reading (like the ‘moving’ in 24ac, the ‘poor soul’ in 21ac and ‘catching the tube’ in 25ac).

    Of course, we made the odd mistake, and it will be no surprise that it was 4d, where we found Pons Animorus quite a good name for a physical problem (which it wasn’t).
    In 14d (we hadn’t heard of CARAPACE) we thought we “protect” APACE “on top” with a CAP – and who knows, maybe Caparace is a kind (or genus) of insects. Wrong again.

    Hard to say which clue was the best.
    There are several contenders.
    We liked POMPOM (5ac), ATTENBOROUGH (18ac – although we didn’t like the anagrind) and ATAXIA (24ac).
    And after reading the explanation of LEAD-FREE (27ac) – which we initially didn’t really understand – we think that’s a fine one as well (and certainly very original).

    Only a pity of the use of “that’s” in 23ac. There’s no need for it, not for the solution nor for the surface reading.

    Very even, well-balanced crossword!

    Looking at the clues mentioned so far in this post, it looks that there were mainly Across clues going for gold …
    Well, let’s give some credit to 1d (TIRADE), a clue which wouldn’t be out of place in a Paul crossword (for obvious reasons).

    Yes, this was good.

  37. Rob says:

    Hi Sil – Re #36

    Although I’ve been a Guardian reader >40 years and have been keen on cryptic crosswords for many, many years (but not to the extent of submitting completed versions to prize crosswords let alone entering competitions) it’s only recently that I have become aware of this site.
    I have enjoyed looking at the blogs very much – have made a few posts recently if I thought I could add something!
    I have noticed your posts and have thoroughly enjoyed reading them! I’ve seen you say English is your 2nd language (you have a P in C it seems!!) – I think you make some excellent points and am full of admiration for someone who can solve these crosswords in other than their 1st language!!
    You have said something like – “even though I didn’t always get a solution to a clue I like to understand where it came from” (I’m the same!!) – so I hope you don’t mind me pointing out (and I realise this could have been a typo on your part) – 4d is Pons Asinorum (Latin pons=bridge, asinorum same root as asinine, pertaining to asses.) #30 gives 1 explanation of where the definition ‘a serious problem’ comes from.
    Take care!!

  38. Pandean says:

    Stiofain @ 35: Tá brón orm! How did I manage to leave Belfast out of my list of places with Gaeltacht areas? Thanks for putting the picture right.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your nice words.
    [and as I recently said on another occasion (at this site):
    Czech painter very softly made a statement about the origin of art (4,11)]

    We do our daily crossword normally after work, somewhere in Cambridge, cup of coffee, no books, no buttons to cheat.
    And when you have ..N./A.I.O.U. (4d), so ‘only’ to find a place for P,O,R,M,S,N – then (as the ever cheerful grumpy Andrew says @ 27) you have to think of sómething (or wasn’t that what he said? :) ). The position of the O is clear, yes, and some consonant positions can be ruled out, so we decided to fill in Pons Animorus.
    Just a nice disease, we thought.
    Thank you for the explanation – don’t worry, we got it.
    Maybe I, in particular, should have known being taught in Latin (in secondary school) and having studied Mathematics at Utrecht University. Well, alas.

  40. Radchenko says:

    Thanks for the blog.

    Took ages, SE did me over, learnt a new phrase (pons asinorum), I’ve just finished Harry Mount’s Amo, Amas Amat and All That, and it wasn’t in there either.

    Lots of excellent clues, but 27ac is just so… …intricate, and yet so perfectly formed. I still wish I could justice to this quality of clue by getting it, but I take my hat off to those of you who did, and you (plural) for setting it.

  41. DorothyS says:

    I don’t recall ever coming across ‘pons asinorum’ before, but what a great phrase! I can’t wait to drop it casually into some suitable conversation.

    Many thanks for a challenging, science-laced puzzle!

  42. Rob says:

    Cheers Sil

    After many years working in IT industry I am now ‘semi’ retired & work from home; part of my daily ‘routine’ is to go out in morning, get Guardian and sit for a coffee at a very nice coffee shop in Windsor and ‘have a bash’ at the crossword. I get as far as I can, usually do pretty well and I prefer to resort to dictionary/thesaurus etc only for confirmation of a possibility.
    With Pons Asinorum – realised it was an anagram, didn’t ‘get it’ straight from definition but I did have the ‘P’and other crossing letters – P?N? A?I?O?U? – and remembered the Euclid connection!
    Haven’t seen your clue before – will give it some thought now; first thought ‘is definition a Czech painter?’ or maybe just ‘Czech'; painter often RA; maybe very softly is ‘PP'; origin of art – ‘A'; made statement – mmm – spoke, orated etc !! Am thinking ‘out loud’ as I type – will have a ‘proper’ go in a few minutes.
    Cheers Rob

    PS Did you get that FOOT/BALL (1,4,2,3,6) on here recently (Jerb if I remember correctly giving you a ‘Paul’ clue.)

  43. sandra says:

    thank you pasquale and thank you uncle yap.

    i enjoyed this one very much and was frustrated by it in some measure. my knowledge of science and maths doesn’t stretch to 12a or 2d, but i got absurd, and checked the dictionary for surd. pons asinorum also defeated me. but there was a lot of fun too. flying saucer, almshouse and catheter made me laugh. so i failed on 3. but it’s bound to happen sometimes, and at least i have learned something. i wouldn’t want this sort of xwd every day, but we don’t get that.just hope we get one more to my level tomorrow!

  44. Rob says:

    Sil Re: #39

    As I sort of said – your posts here are also “Much Appreciated” – brilliant clue!!

  45. Median says:

    Excellent puzzle, Pasquale! Some really clever (but fair) clues and challenging (but not ridiculously obscure) words. Also, like cholecyst @29, I think many of the Guardian’s cryptics are too heavily weighted towards the arts, so I was happy to see Dirac, Attenborough, lead-free and ataxia here.

  46. Derek Lazenby says:

    Had to get “her” to finish the last 3, and had to use Chambers gadget for some.

    I trust the arty side of this group who didn’t know DIRAC finally understand where us scientists are coming from when we complain about arty names.

    Umm, maybe I’m getting old, but weren’t RUSH and CHARGE also more or less interchangeable in a military sense?

  47. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Rob, re #44, only I forgot the definition.
    It should have been:
    Highly valued Czech painter very softly made a statement about the origin of art (4,11) [bit long, I know, but even so – much appreciated!]

  48. koran says:

    cholecyst – you wrote

    “Don’t worry,Lopakhin . Pedantry is the 15squareders raison d’etre (sorry about the missing accent.)”

    You’re also sorry for the missing apostrophe I assume – it should be 15squareders’???

  49. cholecyst says:

    Koran. Re pedantry. I had to wait a long time, but I knew someone would rise to the bait!

  50. Sylvia says:

    Been away for a week so only just doing last week’s crosswords. Surprised no-one else commented about 8d (ministry). This made me laugh out loud and in the Paul class!

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