Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3306

Posted by Arthur on February 14th, 2010


Well I think the obvious feature of this one is all the compound solutions. Personally I think these are fun, but that they make the whole thing much easier (the more words they contain, the fewer possible phrases there will be that fit that pattern). The best example of this is 14,17ac which was a very easy dd in which one was a literal reading (thus, I suppose, being the more cryptic) and another which was a definition of the phrase as it is used. Once this answer was put in the grid (and it really should have been one of the very first ones you put in) it gave 14 checking letters and from there the rest should have really filled itself in. I also have a small objection to 8dn in that the girls name used is so uncommon that I only know it exists because I guessed, typed it into google along with the words ‘girl’s name’ and it appeared. If you omit ‘girls name’ it doesn’t even come up as a name. Some other issues too as detailed by the individual clues…

1 BACK - dd
11 ELAPSES – (literatur)E + LAPSES
12 NIECE - E in NICE
13 ON THE NOSE – HONEST* in ONE. I don’t really see where the definition is here. “On the nose” doesn’t actually mean “to win” or “win”…
26 TERRA COTTA – T.E. (Lawrence) + ATRACTOR*
27 OSLO – hidden in BrenzO SLOvakia
1 BIG END – BID around GEN
2 CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR – cd. Another pretty rubbish one – basically it’s just taking the phrase literally and then writing a nonsensical clue.
4 RAGWORT - GROW* in RAT. I assume this is a reference to Desert Rats.
5 WRESTLE - WE around [REST + L]
6 ERASE - EASE around (rubbe)R
8 NEST EGGS – NEST(a) + EGGS. As I said, never heard of Nesta before, but you learn something new every day.
9 PIPE DOWN – dd
15 RIFF-RAFF – RIFF around [FF + RA]
16 UPPERCUT – UP + ERUPT* around C(ountry)
18 ON THE GO – ONEGOT* around H
19 HARVEST – (s)HAR(p) + VEST. Not sure how I feel about “shortened” meaning take one letter of either end…

Common crossword abbreviations this week:

Royal Marines = RM
golf = G
ecstasy = E
left = L
very loud = FF
artist = RA
hospital = H
learner = L {here it was learner driver which is even more obvious}

16 Responses to “Everyman 3306”

  1. TimR says:

    13. To back a horse “on the nose” is to back it to win, as opposed to “each way” which would be for a win or a place.

  2. TimR says:

    8. Bob Marley’s middle name was Nesta – in fact it may originally have been his first name. But then John Wayne’s first name was Marion…….

  3. TimR says:

    4. I think it is to rat in the sense of to desert.
    Oh and PS, thanks for the blog!

  4. Davy says:

    Thanks for the blog Arthur but I was very disappointed with your words at the top. Just put in 14,17a (and it really should have been one of the very first ones you put in) and the rest should have filled itself in. This tone sounds quite schoolmasterish “you will get it right or else you will stand in the corner for two hours”.

    I commented the other week and you said that this was a learner crossword. Your words certainly would not be much encouragement to a complete novice and would indeed probably put people off. I would disagree with you and say that Everyman is at least as difficult as the average Guardian crossword. I do the Guardian crytic every day and always finish a Paul or Araucaria because they are my particular favourites. However, I didn’t finish this one although I didn’t invest much time in it. I find that because the Everyman doesn’t have a compiler associated with it, I don’t feel the same connection as I would for Rufus or Brendan say.

    There were some neat clues and answers in this puzzle but you give them no credit at all. I thought that ENFIELD and RIFF-RAFF were very well disguised. It’s as if you have contempt for this crossword and are just going through the motions.

    The thing about crosswords is that one person’s easy is another person’s hard, as people think in different ways.

    So Arthur, please try to be less cocky and spare a thought for the target audience.

  5. jvh says:

    Thanks for the blog, Arthur.

    I wondered whether “nearly” in 2d was a misprint for “nearby”.

  6. Arthur says:

    Hi TimR thanks for all those comments. Thanks for the horse racing lingo info! Unfortunately, I am neither an expert on Bob Marley nor would ever have assumed he had a girl’s name, but hey! Whatever floated his boat! Finally, I never really think of ratting and deserting as being the same thing, but I suppose they are in a way so lets go with that!

    Hi Davy, I’m sorry you found my words discouraging – they certainly weren’t intended to be cocky. My point is that while such long answers often provide the most fun, in this case the clue was simply a double definition that wasn’t particularly clever. When you compare this with great Araucaria and Enigmatist anagram &lit clues or Paul’s smutty clues with perfectly innocent answers, here there is no reason to be particularly pleased with yourself when you reach the answer. The flipside is then that a huge proportion of the puzzle is “given away” in one fell swoop – for a great clue it is worth it (plus it will probably take a good number of checking letters to work out the answer – here I’m afraid it was the second clue I put in after 1ac) but for me, I felt this one was just like giving away loads of letters for free.

    I stick by my assertion that this puzzle is easier than the Guardian weekday puzzle (except, perhaps, Rufus on a Monday) at least in the sense that if you are learning the rules of cryptic crosswords this puzzle never really bends them. You should be very pleased with yourself that you always finish Araucaria and Paul – not a claim I can make myself.

    As to my feelings towards this crossword, I hold no contempt for it, but I feel that this week there were plenty of standard clues where they sort of make sense but don’t really mean anything “Terrible life in goal for London borough” being a good example. So a goal in a London borough has a terrible life? Obviously I’m not tricked into reading it as meaning that and so all I do is look and go “Terrible life” – almost certainly an anagram of life. So definition is at the other end – London borough – only 30 or so of those, do any have life* in them? Yes Enfield. What’s around the edge? End. Does that mean “goal”. Yes. For me the best clues are the ones that conjure an image by their surface reading that the answer then completely subverts.

    I’m sorry if you don’t like the blog, but enjoyment of the crossword is very subjective, and I’m not going to say I thought it was a great one if I don’t believe it was.

    jvh – nearby would be nicer if only because “nearly” is actually what the whole phrase as well as the word it is cluing means. At least a nearby man is a real thing. What is a nearly man? Anyone?

  7. sidey says:

    What is a nearly man? Anyone?

    Um, it’s a pretty common description for someone who doesn’t quite achieve what is expected of them. Often in sport or politics. Comes from a TV play. It’s in all my dictionaries.

  8. Arthur says:

    Another thing I didn’t know. Thanks!

  9. Gareth Rees says:

    NESTA is in Chambers. See the list of names at the end, where it appears under AGNES.

    (I know this because NESTA was one of the thematic entries in Listener crossword 4070 and I too spent a long time looking for it.)

  10. Paul B says:

    I agree with Arthur that this puzzle is generally a bit easier than most dailies. Isn’t that the idea though? Was there ever a mission statement? Not sure. And am I mishtaken in thinking that Ascot is the compiler we should associate with Everyman? If there are others I’d like to know who, so that I can send them Christmas cards (obviously).

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I know, this is a post long past the crossword’s “Use By” date.
    But I find the discussion Arthur started an important(ish) one.
    And the answer to it all is just as simple as Paul B stated.

    The Observer crossword is called EVERYMAN, so that’s clear enough.
    An average puzzle for an average solver.
    This one surely was – no sparkle, no fiendish tricks, just straightforward clueing.
    Like it’s meant to be, I guess.

    I solve them every now and then to get more routine in solving (because I’m still not extremely good in it without resources).
    Last week I almost send in a comment re Everyman # 3305, of which Lorraine of The Trafites said “Pretty straight forward this week”.
    The funny thing is that I thought thát one was just much better compiled than usual. There were some clever constructions, finely embedded in the surfaces.
    For me it was like a Paul-setting-an-Everyman. I cannot imagine this week’s compiler was the same as last week’s, and for me that is what I don’t like about Everyman:
    you never know what you’re gonna get (well, yeah, less challenge than in the dailies).

    So if I were you, dear Paul B, I would already buy a lot of Chistmas cards …..

    [BTW, did you see the definition in 4d? It is given in the “first person, I”-form.
    Who’s speciality? Indeed!]

    [BTW2, Arthur, please don’t put Rufus on one big heap with Everyman – he has a lot more individuality (even if his crosswords are relatively easy)]

  12. Andrew Kitching says:

    I like ‘Everyman’ because it got me into the world of crosswords. I believe Allan Scott sets the vast majority, but I think Rufus has been known to set one or two of them. I think sometimes the puzzles can be quite difficult. An experienced Times solver told me that an Everyman a few months back took him the same length of time as an average Times puzzle.

  13. Quixote says:

    For the record, Allan Scott sets all of them week in week out. In terms of reward he and I (on the IOS) are similar sufferers. The Everyman aims to be an easy cryptic with 28 clues (four long ones) in the style set many years ago by Alec Robins. The cluing style is basic and that actually requires a lot of work on the setter’s part. Difficulties are most likely to arise on account of vocabulary now and then, but even so the subsidiary indications should make each clue pretty accessible. If you solve other 15 by 15s you may find this one pretty essy (I rarely take more than about five minutes), but that doesn’t matter. It’s a good no-frills puzzle that does what it says on the tin. There are plenty of places where you can get more difficult or contoreted stuff if you want it. Long may Everyman prosper! It fulfils a vital role in the spectrum of cruciverbalism!

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Quixote, I am – in a way – surprised by the fact that there’s only one setter.
    Because I find the cluing style (including the various techniques used by the setter) rather variable.
    As I said in #11, one week there can be a kind of cleverness that is completely missing the next week.
    IMHO, Everyman (though always easy) delivers its easiness at different levels.
    Maybe I was a bit harsh by saying “you never know what you’re gonna get”.
    But for me it feels like that (and therefore I thought it can’t be just Mr Scott).
    And don’t get me wrong, I agree with you (and others) about the importance of this crossword.

  15. Andrew K says:

    Well said Don. I shall be eternally grateful to Everyman for getting me started on the crossword road. As you say, on the whole, it is straightforward, but it introduces you to all the clue types. Having moved on to doing AZED, I like to do the Everyman either as a warm up, or a treat later in the week.

  16. Arthur says:

    Well, wow! Thanks all for the comments including Mr. Manley himself – I think this is a record for the Everyman blog.

    I thought I would just say that I think that I pretty much agree with everyone (if that’s allowed!) in that I think the Everyman is excellent as a starter puzzle, absolutely has it’s place in the puzzling world, and also that the style and, in my opinion, quality varies from week to week. I know that it is purposefully set to use a lot of standard definitions and abbreviations, but I do love it when a sneaky cheeky definition pops up – whilst it may be less obvious, I think it is the penny-drop moment with that sort of clue that encourages people to have a bash at something the next level up. Anyway, I hope the puzzle continues for a long, long time and carries on enticing fresh blood into solving.

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