Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,985 (Puck)

Posted by diagacht on April 15th, 2010


Second last time out I had Puck also. No surprise then to find some tricky wordplay. I enjoyed this once I got going but I had the feeling this could have been a King John’s Castle moment.

1 PESETA: SET (put) in PE (exercise) and A (area)
9,19,9 THE GRAND OLD DUKE OF YORK: anagram of A GOD HE’D TYKE FOLK R (run) ROUND. Definition is presumably the one who ordered his men to march.
10 AMBROSIA: initial letters of Making Bloke Randy Or in ASIA (incontinent)
11 TEN THOUSAND MEN: TEN (IO) + THOUSAND (M) + ME (setter) + N (no). Refers to the Grand Old Duke of York’s hill walkers.
13 BANNISTERS: anagram of NB SE TRAINS. The definition has to do with flight of stairs.
14 ASTI: first letters (heads) of Italian Town Sparkler Anyway, reversed (turning)
16,22 DOWNHILL: Spooner makes it HOWNDILL which sounds like ‘hound ill’
18 BATTLEDORE: BATTLE (engagement) + D OR E (fourth or fifth, as in letters).
23 EREMITIC: EMIT (issue) in ERIC
24 SALUKI: hidden and reversed in haIKU LASsie. Refers to a breed of dog.
25 DISLODGE: anagram of DOGS LED I (setter)
26 BEFELL: BE (to live) + FELL (hill)
1 POOP: reads the same either up or down
2 SOYBEAN: anagram of BOY in SEAN (Irish guy)
3 TURN TAIL: anagram of RUN in TT (Isle of Man event, IOM) + AI (A1 road) + L (lake). Double use of run off as definition and part of the code.
5 HOME STRETCH: double definition {Thanks Eileen, have retyped}
6 GERUND: hidden in larGER UNDies
7 ASSUMES: (b)UM (bottom without top letter) in ASSES (bottoms)
8 DRAINPIPE: anagram of DIR (60% of ‘dirty’) and NAPPIE (almost ‘nappies’)
12 OUTMARCHING: doing better than the Duke’s men
13 BEDSPREAD: BEDS (county) + PRE (before) + AD (DAys, half the letters reversed)
15 DECREASE: (A + S (initial letter of ‘sort’)) all in DECREE (order)
17 WALKERS: WAKERS (those coming round) including L (prime, or first, of Liveried)
20 ESKIMO: E (language) + SKI (downhill runner) + MO (a second)

27 Responses to “Guardian 24,985 (Puck)”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks for the blog diagacht.

    I loved this Puck. That said, I started off with lazily pencilling in ‘Tier’ for 1a. However, everything then became apparent quickly once the ‘TGODOY’ was in place, the rest was a pice of cake.

    Many well written clues. The highlights I thought were 3dn, 6dn and 18ac.

    Bravo Puck!!

  2. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks diagacht. Spot on with the solutions, to my mind. I agree with Ian. I struggled to get going but then it all fell into place with lots of ahas and chuckles along the way. I had to presume there is a road called A1 and the BEDS has something to do with county but I am sure those are obvious to an Englishman.

    About 30 minutes today. Just about the right level of difficulty for a daily.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Diagacht – you’ve explained some answers that still puzzled me.

    I enjoyed this puzzle tremendously. As always with Puck, some superb wordplay and surfaces, eg 10ac [I love this kind of clue!] 13ac, 2dn, 3dn, 6dn etc…

    I think 4,19,9 is an & lit, as a ‘tyke’ is a Yorkshireman. I wondered why ‘a god’ was in capitals but I presume it’s an acronym for Grand Old Duke, by analogy with GOM [Grand Old Man].

    I read 12dn slightly differently: OUTMARCHING [doing better as walkers] as were 4 19 9’s 11 – OUT MARCHING.

    [You meant to write HOME STRETCH for 5dn.]

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks diagacht. No troubles here, no need for aids, good fun. The theme jumped quickly out with the G in 6d, but that clue’s wearing = put in, rather than put on, always grates. 10a was fine, as were 18a, the double run off in 3d and (grudgingly) the Spoonerism. I thought the maths in 8d was shonky until you explained it.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi molonglo

    I don’t understand your comment re 6dn: ‘wearing’ [maybe] is the definition and ‘some’ is the ‘hidden answer’ indicator.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi diagacht
    In 20dn I think you meant to write E (English) rather than E (language).

  7. Andrew says:

    Thanks diagacht – I really enjoyed this one. I got the Grand Old Duke very quickly, and the related clues followed easily, but there was still lots to enjoy. 6dn was a laugh-out-loud one for me, as was 10ac (slightly less so, as I don’t much like the incontinent = in continent trick).

    I agree with Eileen’s interpretation of 12dn – I thought that was the only weak point in the puzzle, with “marching” having pretty much the same meaning in both definition and wordplay.

  8. Another Andrew says:

    I really enjoyed this one, in spite of having nine left when time ran out. Frustratingly, I’d worked out the construction of the remaining clues (there’s probably a better word than construction) but just couldn’t think of the right word. Thanks, diagacht, for putting me out of my misery.

    My favorite was 13ac as, even though I had the letters for the anagram, the rail-flight bit threw me completely.

  9. Andrew says:

    Oh, another thing. 20dn – Eskimo is not a language: it’s a family of languages (and they don’t have hundreds of words for snow).

  10. Jim says:

    Nice crossword, and thanks very much for the blog, I was rightly stuck on 18a (a new word for me), 3d and 20d – kicking myself with this one: had been thinking of ski, but never made the jump :)

  11. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Diagacht, I finished my breakfast before I completed the puzzle because, sadly, the references to Prince Andrew completely eluded me.

    I assume that he and Fergie are still an item?

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, diagacht. Great puzzle and lots to enjoy. 13ac was superb. My only quibble is the same as Andrew’s — Eskimo is not a single language.

  13. Bill Taylor says:

    Some people hate reverse clues; I’m growing tired of spoonerisms which, like today’s, are often laboured. Otherwise, an excellent crossword with some very tricky moments. I was given slight pause by ESKIMO which, in Canada, is regarded as perjorative. We use “Inuit.” But, fair play, it was a legitimate solution for a good clue.

  14. Uncle Yap says:

    Many many years ago I was forced to recite
    “The Grand Old Duke of York

    … neither up nor down”

    More than half a century passed by before this piece of British gem and wisdom bore fruit … today is my day !!!!

    Does anybody here still have those orange-coloured books called “Everyday Classics”? I was brought up on them from “Under the spreading chestnut tree” to “Hiawatha” to “Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen …”

    Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be (sigh)

  15. Bill Taylor says:

    “Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen …” There’s the making of a great cryptic clue there! Or perhaps several.

  16. Cestrian says:

    This was another gem from Puck. No puzzle in recent years has given me so many laugh-out-loud moments. 6d was priceless. Many reminded me strongly of the late, great Bunthorne, especially the Duke of York clues and 21ac and 1dn. Bunthorne was unsurpassable for panache, wit, inventiveness and sheer cheek but I think Puck is a very worthy successor

  17. Martin H says:

    I’m with you Bill @13 on the current rash of Spoonerisms. they’re usually a let-down, as was today’s. Has anyone found another way to indicate them, by the way, other than by simply using the name?

    Not much to criticise in this, objectively speaking, but I found the whole Duke-of-York complex irritating, and failed to find any satisfying moments of realisation or humour. Some well-crafted clues though, and I learned, having doubted it and looked it up, that ‘bannisters’ includes the balusters as well as the rail used for sliding down.

  18. Bullfrog says:

    I loved the rail-flight misdirection in 13a — I’m sure I wasn’t the only one looking for AIR-something.

  19. Daniel Miller says:

    Straightforward today but some contrived stuff.. Polysaccharide – nice clue tho’!

  20. Duggie says:

    Wonderful surfaces and misdirections with lots of wit and humour. Does anyone know if this particular Duke of York was the one whose reputation was ruined by a calamitous expedition to the Netherlands during the Napoleonic campaign? Not many hills there to march up (or down), so probably not.

  21. cholecyst says:

    Duggie: I wondered too. says no one knows for sure.

  22. molonglo says:

    Eileen #5 – you’re absolutely right: I reacted too quick to a foible, having read 6d as a double, like 3d with run off. You’ll remember Enigmatist’s 24920 in January when you blogged “Shy, wearing GP’s beard?” (INDRAWN) with the comment “”at first, I thought ‘wearing’ was a containment indicator for DR but that doesn’t really work, so I think it’s a charade: IN [wearing] DR [GP] AWN [beard – of barley]”

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi molonglo

    Nice to hear from you. I was afraid I’d got you wrong. As a former Latin teacher, I thought this was a great clue! Thanks for the reminder about the Enigmatist – I do remember it now: isn’t the archive a great thing?

    It was also good to get a comment at this stage. I was surprised the discussion on such a great puzzle had petered out so early. Perhaps everyone has been absorbed with another discussion this evening?

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    … or is still under the spell of that other Great Puzzle today.
    Alberich, in the FT.
    Well, I am.
    [but, make no mistake, we did like this one too – although the theme went a bit too much on and on and on – just like walking úphill :)]

  25. Eileen says:

    Yes, indeed. I’ve already commented elsewhere on how blessed we’ve been in three great puzzles today. I wonder what’s in store for us tomorrow?

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, we start off with a Brendan.
    Could be worse, I think.
    [which is an understatement, of course]

  27. Eileen says:

    I think I’ll leave it until tomorrow – a treat [no doubt ]in store. :-)

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