Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24965 – Boatman

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 23rd, 2010

Uncle Yap.

What a challenging puzzle this has been even thought there was an evident mini-theme. I had to check Chambers at least five times for new words that I have never seen before and which I will probably never ever use in conversation or in writing. Quite good fun and very fair.

1 UPHOLDS *(should p, first letter of player)
5 MANGLED *(m leading minus i, last letter of Donadoni)
10,19 FOOTBALL PITCH Bootfall is supposed to be heavy step (unlike most other  Spoonerisms, this one failed to raise a smile from me) and pitch is throw and of course, the themed game is played here
11 FAIR-HAIRED Cha of Fair (beautiful) Hair (sounds like hare, game) Ed (editor or leading journalist) and we all probably know David Beckham likes his hair to have the same colour as his wife, Victoria, who is supposed to be a blonde
12 MOROSE Ins of R (right) in MOOSE (horny creature or animal with horns)
13 SNAPSHOT dd not so much in football but I have seen many a basketball match won in the dying moments by a desperate last-second shot
14 INVESTORS IN (home) VESTORS (sounds like Vestas, matches)
16 ANGER ha
17 REBUT Rev of TUBE (television) + R (right)
23 KOHLRABI KOHL (fine powder of native stibnite, formerly known as antimony, black in colour, used (originally in the East) to darken the area around the eyes.) + RABI (first letters of Rouge And Bleached In) a variety of cabbage with a turnip-like edible stem.
24 TRAMPS Cha of TRAM (public transport) PS (postscript or afterthought)
26 ONE SEVENTH One’s (Boatman’s) Event (fixture) H (first letter of hopes)
27 AWAY A (last letter of Cantona) WAY (means) Well, an away match is always hosted by other (team)
28 GEODESY G E (first letters of Great Eastern) ODES (lines) Y (first letter of Yeats) earth measurement on a large scale; surveying with allowance for the earth’s curvature.
29 INTERNS Sounds like IN TURNS (one after the other)

2 PRONOUN PRO (favour) ins of O (love) in NUN (convent’s staff) Somehow I feel staff indicate a body of people employed in an establishment; so nun in the singular may not be all that halal. This minor quibble is more than compensated by the cleverly disguised definition, Perhaps they
4 DEFLECT Ins of L (left) in DEFECT (to cross over)
6 ASHLAR A (first letter of attack) *(lash) R (first letter of riot) a squared or dressed stone used in building or facing a wall
7 GLISSANDI *(sliding as) effect produced by sliding the finger along keyboard or strings
8 EYESORE E (second letter of Derby) YES (confirmed) OR (alternative) E (middle letter of field)
9 DISSERTATIONS *(into disasters)
15 EQUALISED EQUAL (match) + *(side)
18 ENOUNCE EN (men minus m) Ounce (little weight) to enunciate; to proclaim; to utter or articulate.
20 LATCH ON *(cloth an)
21 CAPTAIN *(actionpacked minus coked)
25,3,22 A GAME OF TWO HALVES *(fool gave West Ham a)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

37 Responses to “Guardian 24965 – Boatman”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I got it all in an hour with only one cheat, from TEAS to get 17a – but I needed you to explain 5 and 26a, and 4 and 21d. Most of the football answers jumped out, but the reasons for them were often obscure. I still don’t get 5a.

  2. molonglo says:

    In 5a I mean the “and” and “player” don’t fit properly

  3. rrc says:

    I smiled at 13 and groaned at 12 and 2 and was totally uninspired by the theme Too many unfamiliar words – a real slog and not particularly enjoyabled.

  4. jmac says:

    I groaned when I saw the theme although this was mitigated by the fact that the only football knowledge required was that the game is played on a pitch, consists of two halves, and that David Beckham has fair hair. It seemed to me the sort of puzzle that is more difficult to blog than to solve, as many answers leapt out (the appalling INVESTORS, ONE SEVENTH, FAIR-HAIRED, etc)without any great understanding of why, so many thanks to Uncle Yap for explaining all. Not being much of a brickie, ASHLAR was new to me but perfectly easy to get; I did like GEODESY and EYESORE, but thought LATCH ON was particularly feeble.

  5. SimonG says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

    No doubt the sporting mini-theme will cause a few raised eyebrows but, as you say, all the clues were fair and didn’t require a knowledge of football to solve.

    That said, I was defeated by 23a so thanks for your explanation – with hindsight I think it’s a nicely subtle clue..

  6. Conrad Cork says:

    Kohlrabi is often mistaken for a root but it grows above ground.

  7. johnb says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap

    I think 13 across is a ‘shot’ on goal after the game ‘snap’ – meaning something taken by photographers……?

  8. Martin H says:

    Nice blog UY, and I suppose thanks for explaining about Beckham’s hair, although ignorance on these topics doesn’t seem to me to be much of a drawback.

    Some very nice clues here, and clever misdirection, but I felt that Boatman forced the theme too insistently. Inside right and outside left I suppose are natural clueing language, but after a while someone who finds football tedious anyway thinks, ‘no, not again’, particularly when it plainly doesn’t work, as in ‘player’ to indicate an anagram.

    Boatman’s habitual and gratuitous introduction of his name into his crosswords didn’t help endear me to this one either.

    ‘semibreve’ has nothing to do with ‘glissandi’.

    Finished without aids, so a fair crossword, but little sense of satisfaction. Looking back to Duggie’s remark on Saturday about the difference between a dull and a joyful crossword, a forced and unsympathetic theme, (or too many cryptic and double definitions, for instance), can cast a shadow over the whole solving process.

  9. johnb says:

    molongo @ 2

    Perhaps it’s Broken – and (= otherwise represented as) heading for madness (m) + *(leadng) which is ‘leading’ minus i – Donaldini’s backing) Player is the anagrind I think.

  10. JamieC says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I really enjoyed this, despite a couple of quibbles e.g: there is no proper definition in 7d and it isn’t quite an &Lit and I don’t like “player” as an anagrid in 5a.

    But that was more than made up for by the other good clues, especially 2d.

    I agree with john at #7 that 13a is a charade of SNAP (end – i.e. purpose – of game) and SHOT (attack on goal).

    I think this was a lesson in how to produce a themed crossword that is neither too easy (because once you’ve got the theme you can immediately fill in half the grid) nor too obscure. Some people will have been immediately put off by the theme, but they were all perfectly fair clues and didn’t actually require much knowledge of the beautiful game.

  11. norm says:

    I thought SNAP = game, SHOT = attack on goal, ‘at end of’ = after.

    I liked this. I too groaned at the football theme, but was cheered that most answers had nothing to do with it. And I learned three new words (enounce, geodesy and disquisition).

  12. norm says:

    or rather…

    Attack on goal [SHOT] at end of [after] game [SNAP]

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I needed a little help to finish this. Like Martin H, I didn’t find it the most satisfying puzzle, although it was fair overall.

    I liked the definition at 2dn, but don’t think a nun really equals convent ‘staff’. Didn’t like the homophone at 14ac or the Spoonerism at 10, 19. 23ac was my favourite at the time of solving but if kohlrabi isn’t a root that takes the shine off the clue somewhat.

    I thought the anagram at 9dn was nicely misleading, as ‘disquisitions’ also has 13 letters.

    Shouldn’t 26ac be hyphenated?

  14. Mr. Jim says:

    It was nice to see a theme which didn’t require any specialist knowledge (after the testing Rugby and Duck themes of last week). However, the comments about the clues are fair – got mangled but didn’t have the confidence to put it in.

    Also, Kohlrabi (which I’ve never heard of). I don’t mind obscure words in xwords (that’s half the fun) but when the wordplay also has obscure words (I’d never heard of Kohl either) there isn’t much chance of getting it.

    Just my two-penn’orth.

  15. JamieC says:

    @norm – yes, of course, that’s far simpler. D’oh!

  16. Mr. Jim says:

    An alternative (more surreal) explanation for INVESTORS: When playing football, players usually wear a VEST. If they are playing at home, they would wear the IN-VEST (as opposed to the OUT-VEST or AWAY_VEST). This makes them “IN-VEST-ERS” which sounds like “INVESTORS”.

  17. Daniel Miller says:

    Speaking as a football fan it was fair (with one or two tricky words) – quite clever that the football theme tended to lead you a little astray. The West Ham clue leading to “a game of two halves” was a nice twist on the theme as well.

  18. Daniel Miller says:

    Maybe I should add that 17 across: Rebut – a subtle answer given that “But” is the French word for goal.

  19. Jobs says:

    Thanks Yap. I enjoyed this (puzzle & blog), but can someone explain the ellipses between 26 and 27 to me please?

  20. Martin H says:

    Mr Jim – your reworking of ‘investors’ is certainly original, but your post shows that the last nail has been hammered into the coffin of the word ‘surreal’. Kingsley Amis, where are you when we need you?

  21. crosser says:

    I thought the same as johnb at #7 and norm at #11 & #12 about 13 ac – SNAP = game, and SHOT (attack on goal) comes at the end of it.
    I also agree with Martin H at #8 – I don’t see what semibreves have to do with glissandi.
    Like Liz at #13, I enjoyed the ambiguity of 9d, and would like to reassure her : I think that part of the underground stem of kohlrabi is edible, so it could be termed a root.
    But I don’t know why I’m defending Boatman, since I found today’s puzzle difficult and not really enjoyable. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

  22. Boatman says:

    One of the pleasures of setting CWs for discerning persons such as your good selves is the weirdly plausible alternative constructions that emerge from time to time – so, many thanks for IN-VEST-ERS and RE-BUT. Very funny.

    With hindsight, I think the KOHLRABI comments are fair, and show the dangers of flirting with exotic words. You’re quite right that it’s not a root – a surprise to me, so I’m happy to say that I’ve learnt something today. As to whether it’s fair to have unusual words in both answer and clue – I agree, it isn’t, though I did think that neither was out-and-out obscure in this case. I must have hung around with too many vegetarian thespians at a formative stage of my development.

    Oh, and the ellipses …
    … are purely for the surface reading, and for fun (mine, at least).

    All best …

  23. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Boatman. I enjoyed your puzzle. And who says kohl and kohlrabi are obscure? They’re not to this keen black-eyed gardener!

  24. Ponticello says:

    Very enjoyable and nothing really obscure. But Boatman hasn’t justified ‘semibreves’. As a string player, I’d be very surprised to find glissandi between notes longer than crotchets.

  25. Paul B says:

    Yes, I know what KOHL is (having nearly gone blind I shoved so much of it into my young, stupid, neo-proggist drummer’s eyes), and also KOHLRABI (as it was, was it not, planted in at least two recent griddies).

    Hello Ash btw. Keep up the good work(s).

  26. Tom Hutton says:

    Perhaps Boatman was thinking of semiquavers. Semibreves definitely will not do. Also there is indication of more than one glissando in the clue. I usually like Boatman’s work but there were some forced clues here. I’m with those who think that kohl and kohlrabi are quite common words but it just goes to show that you can never keep everyone happy.

  27. Tom Hutton says:

    Sorry, I should have said that there is no indication of more than one glissando.

  28. johnb says:

    Though I think it’s a fair cop for Boatman on the semibreves charge, I don’t think there’s any need for an indicator of the plural – there’s a clear anagram indicator, and more than one collection of notes……is still a lot of notes.

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Boatman for comments – especially for 5a. I quite enjoyed this, there was only one reference to Boatman today (and it wasn’t the ususal I or ME). Kohlrabi appeared just the other day, and I don’t think it is too obscure.
    I do question a moose having horns, however – antlers certainly.

  30. Boatman says:

    Why, thank you, PB.

    And to the fellow with the cello … ok, I bow (didn’t intend the pun at first, but now it’s there, why not?) to your specialist knowledge. With a keyboard, anything is possible … If that doesn’t sound too much like an excerpt from a manifesto for Speculative Fiction!

    All best …

  31. uncle-herman says:

    I am still in awe of you all for the ability to do these crosswords 3 answers today about average for me but then i am only a crossword baby

  32. Sil van den Hoek says:

    In #8, Martin H referred to a remark by Crucible about the difference between a dull and a joyful crossword, after some critical notes re his recent Saturday crossword questioning the imbalance between undoubtly clever cluing and the solver’s joy
    (I admit, I was one of them).
    Indeed, Boatman’s crossword operates on the same thin line between love and hate, looking at the posts above.
    But today I am completely on the setter’s side.

    This was not really a themed puzzle (like, for example, last week’s rugby one),
    because there wasn’t any knowledge of football needed.
    The crossword reminded me of Brendan’s War puzzle in which (almost) every clue and/or solution referred to the theme.
    Apart from the fact that it is quite an achievement to compile a crossword like this, it must also give the setter a lot of fun.

    We’ll forgive Boatman the ‘semibreves’, the singular ‘staff’, the unsatisfactory Spooner and the weakish LATCHES ON (because it is too similar to ‘cotton on’ – although we understand why he did it).

    11ac (FAIR-HAIRED) , 13ac (SNAPSHOT) and 8d (EYESORE) have just superb surfaces.
    And West Ham must be proud to have a place in a crossword for the second in a week in a row (and there couldn’t be a more appropriate solution to this anagram).

    Some posts made a remark about the fact that Boatman likes to mention his pseudonym in crosswords. I don’t have any problems with that (you can speak of ‘a style’), but defining ‘Boatman’ as ‘One’ (26ac) is a bit of a stretch.

    Finally, I’ll come to another double-billed mini-theme in the puzzle.
    Four times Boatman uses ‘leading’ and three times ‘match(es)’.
    From a setter’s point of view (which I sometimes have) I find it amazing that these two words are used in so many different ways.
    In 5ac (MANGLED) – just like may of you, we got it, but why – ‘leading’ is part of the anagram, with ‘player’ as the indicator. A bit unusual, but it reminded me of one of my own clues that was criticised by people around me because of ‘player(s)’ being a noun:
    “No score against ten Chelsea players (5,5)” – perfectly appropriate clue for this crossword.
    Back to ‘leading’, in 1ac it tells us to take the P of ‘player’.
    In 11ac and 21d one should take it as ‘foremost’.
    And then the word ‘match’.
    In the Spooner it is clearly the game itself.
    In INVESTORS (14ac) it’s about these things that set the place on fire.
    In 15d ‘match’ = ‘equal’.

    Moaning? No!
    Groaning? No!

    Let’s say, for those who are not into the theme, Boatman won on AWAY (27ac) goals.

  33. Dave Ellison says:

    Oops! Can’t count – as Sil points out, two Boatmans today.

  34. Davy says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    First of all I must apologise for my ill-judged comment on yesterday’s RUFUS. It was unwarranted and I shouldn’t have posted it.

    I nearly gave up on this puzzle after reading through the clues 3 times and not seeing anything obvious.
    However, a little perseverance works wonders and the puzzle was opened up after getting the WEST HAM anagram.
    An enjoyable puzzle from Boatman if not exactly easy. Boatman likes to use repeated terms in his puzzles and today’s were inside, outside and player. Remember his “dead end” crossword from last year. This contained one of my favourite clues “Attacked with hammer in deserted complex. (10)” .

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Davy (re #34), yes, Boatman uses repeated terms (I already mentioned ‘leading’ and ‘match(es)’), but ‘outside’ is there only twice (in 12ac and 4d), and in the same way.
    And, um, where’s ‘inside’?
    ‘Player’ is indeed very present (in combination with ‘leading’).
    In one clue it is anagrammed (5ac), in another one it is just part of the definition (21d) and in 1ac we should just take the P of ‘player’.
    All very clever, as I said.

  36. Boatman says:

    Sil – You got the point exactly. You and I are on the same wavelength, and it’s a pleasure to entertain you. The challenge is to do these things with enough subtlety and charm to give everyone a chance of finding something that satisfies them … or perhaps I should be content to operate on, as you so clearly put it, the thin line between love and hate. All best -

  37. Jobs says:

    Thank you for clearing up those ellipses and for all of your posts here. For whatever reason I get some extra joy when the setters reply to comments on this blog.
    I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that your West Ham anagram, when I showed it to a West Ham fan (but not a crossworder), went down a treat and they played with the rest of the crossword during the lunch hour. (I doubt I’ll get them help with another…)
    Again many thanks.

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