Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24989 – Pasquale

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 20th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

What a lot of goodies, including hard-boiled eggs, all found on one plate. Medieval tales, English slang, British television trivia, etc. Thank goodness for Wikipedia, without which I would not have been able to produce today’s blog to guide the uninitiated. Extremely challenging for a weekday puzzle and great fun, too.

ACROSS
9 ALLOTROPE Cha of ALLOT (grant) ROPE (something binding) chemical substance existing in more than one form eg carbon, be it charcoal, graphite or diamond, is an example
11 SPRIG Spring (due season from sprig to appear) minus N (new) This clue would have sounded so poetic if the second half had read “name is forgotten”
12 PLANARIAN Cha of PLAN (scheme) + ARIAN, a person who adheres to the doctrines of Arius, considered a heretic ; a class of ciliated flatworms.
13 BONKERS Bankers (types getting huge bonuses) with A (ace) replaced by O (nothing) What a lovely clue which reflects how many of us feel when greedy people reward themselves at tax-payers’ money (sounds just like the MPs who claimed outrageous allowances/expenses)
14 TAIL END Ins of AIL (be ill) in TEND (nurse)
17 GRAVE GRAVES (a white or red table wine from the Graves district in the Gironde department of France; (loosely) any dry or medium-dry white wine.) minus S
19 CID dd for Criminal Investigation Department and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as EL CID Campeador, a Castilian nobleman, military leader and diplomat who is considered a national hero of Spain for fighting against the Moors.
20 CUT IN CU (copper) TIN (rev of NIT, idiot)
21 SUBVERT SUB (rev of BUS, vehicle) VERT (green)
22 SAN JOSE Ins of JO’S (little woman’s) in SANE (stable) From Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has sprung the popular cryptic use of “little woman” which can be Jo, Meg, Beth or Amy” Beware, it can also mean “girl” :-)
24 PATCHOULI *(hit cupola)
28 KNELL Sounds like NELL (girl)
29 SEVERALLY Cha of SEVER (cut off) + ALLY (friend)

DOWN
1 BAAS With ?A?S, this can only be BAAS like in Baa, baa, black sheep … there must be a S.African leader by that name
2 FLORIN Ins of OR (gold) in FLIN (chuck or fling minus G, not good)
3,18,10,26  ST AGNES EVE  AH BITTER CHILL IT WAS *(What is a t best all night ice verse) The opening line of John Keats’s The Eve of St Agnes, after a 4th Century martyr
4 CORPUS Ins of U (university) in CORPS (body) The actual name is Corpus Christi
5 RECANTED Ins of CANT (hypocrisy) in REED (grass)
6 ACTA Cha of ACT (proceed) A, official minutes of proceedings; official proceedings or acts.
7 DILIGENT DIL (rev of LID, hat) I (one) GENT (distinguished fellow)
8 CLAN CLEAN (virtuous) minus E (Ecstasy drug)
13 BOGUS Cha of BOG (slang word for toilet or John) USE minus E (cryptically denoted by useless) or more correctly (as pointed out by NeilW) U/S (unserviceable or useless)
15 INCENDIARY Cha of IN + ins of N (name) in CE (Church of England) + DIARY (record)
16 DANCE Disco is a dance but I did not see the word play until pointed out by Lanson. Gate is ATTENDANCE and when sealed off at ten, leaves DANCE. Neat eh?
19 CUTPURSE Ins of *(put) in CURSE (great evil)
22 SKIVVY SKIVE (play truant) minus E + V (very) Y (last letter of wearY)
23 ORWELL OR (other ranks or men) WELL (supply) for George Orwell, pen-name of Eric Arthur Blair (1903–1950) best known for Animal Farm and 1984
24 PIKE It is fortunate that I was a fan of The Goons and remember fondly Spike Milligan (remember his book, Adolf Hilter, My part in his downfall?) For the other allied reference, a bit of googling brought me to Dad’s Army, a hilarious TV series in the 60’s and 70’s where there was a character called Private Frank Pike who was often referred to as “stupid boy” by Captain Mainwaring
25 HOLT Ins of L (lake) in HOT (dangerous)
27 SKYE sounds like SKY (heaven)

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

54 Responses to “Guardian 24989 – Pasquale”

  1. Lanson says:

    Thanks Don and Uncle Yapp, enjoyed this one, 16d (atten)dance = gate

  2. Lanson says:

    Apologies for mis-spelling your name Uncle Yap, in 1d baas is Afrikaans for boss

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Congratulations on great blog. This was hard! I think 3dn was a little unfair without a bit more of a pointer in the def. and this spoiled what was otherwise a great puzzle for me.

    I think your order in INCENDIARY is not quite right and the US in BOGUS is surely just the terminology u/s for “unserviceable”.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, this was a toughie!

    I’d never heard of some of the stuff and, although I suspected St Agnes …, I had no idea why she was spoiling my breakfast.

    But cograntulations Paqsalue – nary a speling mistak in site.

  5. Ian says:

    Well done Uncle Yap! Splendid blogging.

    Characteristically challenging from Pasquale.
    Nothing too daunting though.

    Is ‘Ecstasy’ in danger of being overused though?

    46′

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. This was all pretty good, only quibbles that Corpus is insider-speak for the Oxford college (4d) and patchouli isn’t a tree (24a). I didn’t mind 13a’s GFC dig and liked 22a and d.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap.

    I found this puzzle totally absorbing, to the extent that, having decided at midnight to have a ‘quick look’ to see whose puzzle it was – and finding it was Pasquale I was doomed! – I wasn’t able to go to bed until I’d finished it.

    I was lucky enough to know the poem at 3,18etc, so that came quite quickly, with the enumeration and crossing letters, but working out the anagram fodder took a bit longer. I agree with NeilW here: it’s a wonderful &lit [‘prime bit’ for T[he] and ‘opening line’ [once I got it!] was superb but I don’t really see how anyone could be expected to get this without knowledge of the poem – especially on a weekday.

    4dn is a beautifully-constructed story-telling clue [shades of Morse] but, since CORPUS also means body, I confidently entered that and nearly missed it.

    Favourite clues: 13ac and 24dn.

    Many thanks, Pasquale – I hope to catch up on sleep tonight! :-)

  8. rrc says:

    Excellent blog and a crossword that was most enjoyable

  9. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

    This was clearly one designed for the Oxbridge English graduates…

  10. Martin H says:

    A tough and generally very enjoyable puzzle, with some fine clues, and excellently blogged – if that’s an acceptable word UY. Thanks to you and Lanson for the explanation of 16d.

    Using ‘bankers’ like that was a bit bandwagonish I thought, but the clue was well-constructed, as were most – liked CUTPURSE and SKIVVY in particular. Not keen on sky = heaven though; it should be ‘the heavens’, surely?

    I found myself annoyed at the Dad’s Army reference, just as I was by yesterday’s to the intricacies of Ryan Giggs’s career. These are pub-quiz trivia, and there’s no reason any solver without online access to wikipaedia should know about them. On the other hand I had no problem with the Keats quote. I shall spend a few minutes soul-searching about this, but I can’t see that it will make much difference. Will whoever is setting Guardian crosswords in two hundred years’ time even have heard of of Dad’s Army?

  11. Richard says:

    Martin @10

    Your comments that “These are pub-quiz trivia, and there’s no reason any solver without online access to wikipaedia should know about them. On the other hand I had no problem with the Keats quote.”clearly reinforces my point above @9.
    Are there are many people with the necessary knowledge of Keats trivia to know the quote without recourse to Wikipedia?

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Uncle Yap. This was really enjoyable and quite challenging. ACTA was new to me and so was ALLOTROPE, but both gettable in the end.

    Once I solved the St Agnes Eve quote, I was sure it would cause a bit of a fuss. As Eileen said, there wasn’t much in the clue to help those who don’t know Keats, although ‘night’ and ‘ice’ made the penny drop for me. We ‘did’ Keats at school around the same time Dad’s Army was on TV and I didn’t find the references to either of them irritating :-)

  13. anax says:

    PIKE
    I loved it. To be fair, Martin, (comment @10) Dad’s Army is one of perhaps just a handful of sitcoms which can be regarded as true classics. I can’t say what will happen in 200 years’ time, but appreciation of the Dad’s Army series will continue for many years to come – in fact there’s a classic moment which seems to crop up with great regularity in those comedy compilation programmes on TV:

    German Commander (to Pike): And vot is your name?
    Capt Mainwaring: Don’t tell him, Pike.

    A couple of years ago one setter (wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was Don) used “Dad’s Army” as the wordplay for PASTA with something along the lines of “serving in Italy” as the def.

  14. Martin H says:

    Richard @11- First, I’m not an Oxbridge English (or anything else) graduate – not a graduate at all in fact. Nor am I a Keats fan – the line following the one used by Pasquale must rank among the silliest in English poetry. The point I was trying to make, if you take what I wrote following the bit you quoted, was about the problem of the use of cultural references in crosswords. Keats is an established figure in English literature and it should be seen as fair for setters in the Guardian to refer to his work, even to quote it. Quotes from Dad’s Army can’t make the same sort of claims on the solver’s knowledge. Like the Giggs history, it’s a question of depth and detail. It’s fair, for example in the same clue, to refer to the ‘headless goon’, (although I would have preferred ‘Goon’), because I think the Goon Show and its performers are well enough known, but to have assumed the solvers familiarity with, for instance “He’s fallen in the water” would have been going unfairly into detail.

  15. sidey says:

    Martin, I think you are being a bit picky and confused. The Giggs clue was in the Indy.

    Dad’s Army is still sporadically broadcast on the BBC.

  16. Bill Taylor says:

    This was tough! A good mental thrash. I agree with NeilW about 3d. I finally figured out enough of the words for my O-Level English Lit. exam to come back into my head (not bad almost 46 years after the event!) and I got it. More of a pointer would have been nice. I’ve never liked the poem and this didn’t change my opinion.

  17. Martin H says:

    Yes, sidey @ 15, sorry, I should have added ‘in the Indy’ to my comment @10.

    Picky? Maybe, but isn’t that one of the functions of a blog like this?

  18. Will Mc says:

    I get annoyed when people moan about popular culture references in crosswords. I’d bet that more people have seen Dad’s Army than have read that Keats poem. (Cue gnashing and wailing about why this is what’s wrong with the country.)

  19. matt says:

    Obviously one can’t be too scientific about this, but I just did a quick straw poll amongst a dozen of my workmates.

    9 of them knew the name of the young private in Dad’s Army, and could quote his most famous moment.

    2 of them were able to complete the sentence: Keats’ poem “The eve of St….”.

    While this may not be representative of the readership of fifteensquared, I suspect that it is fairly representative of the majority of people in this country of newspaper-buying age (and suspect the same is true of knowledge about Ryan Giggs)

    It can be a bit annoying when a setter goes beyond the solver’s frame of cultural reference, as we all know, but I don’t think an accusation of ‘pub quiz trivia’ is a particularly dignified response.

  20. Tom Smith says:

    5d is a neat reference to the novelist Gunter Grass and his recent Waffen SS admissions – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnter_Grass.

  21. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Like some others I remembered the quote from distant schooldays, though the poem is somewhat mixed up in my mind with Coleridge’s Christabel.

    I found parts of the puzzle pretty taxing – I had to guess planarian from the clue (which is a nice change from guessing from the letters and then wondering why). I only got 24a. after a lot of chimp on typewriter guessing. I was misled in this search by wondering if Silly Boy was Luke and then finding ‘silly boy – Luke’ on Google as a song and singer. I then invented the word Kluke for a KKK man, and it took some time to shake all that off.
    25d. also only became clear once patchouli was sorted.
    Overall, quite satisfying once it was all over.

  22. Tokyo Colin says:

    This one had me flummoxed and bewildered and I resorted to the “reveal letter” button numerous times to get through it. I don’t know any Keats, unfortunately; have never seen Dad’s Army, perhaps fortunately, and still don’t get the HOLT/wood connection.

    But I can accept that it was achievable for the target audience and shouldn’t grumble. My turn will come.

  23. JimboNWUK says:

    What is the point of cluing a crossword with a major part that relies upon a fracton of the solving fraternity being famiiar with an obscure (to us non-Etonians) book by Keats??

    Pooh, pants and every oher synonym and expletive that is in Roget’s under “Crud”.

    Not amused or entertained.

  24. Ian says:

    Colin (#22) It will, I assure you!!

  25. Gaufrid says:

    Colin
    “….. and still don’t get the HOLT/wood connection.”

    Holt: a wood or woody hill (Chambers & Collins).

  26. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for the feedback from your definitely-not-an-Etonian setter. In the best traditions of The Guardian, I like to draw on a wide range of cultural references while trying to stick to my own principles of what I regard as fair clueing and what I regard as being within the bounds of good taste. We live in a world of cultural, religious, political,scientific, etc. etc. diversity, as well as within a language with an amazing variety of words, including thousands of proper nouns. I’d like my puzzles somehow to celebrate all of this. Sorry if those who can’t share this vision feel cheated, but thanks to all who can see it as fun. Till the next time in May! (PS That was my PASTA clue, by the way, Anax!)

  27. anax says:

    PASTA
    I guessed it might be. Sheer class.

  28. Bill Taylor says:

    Re JimboNWUK @23: Did only “a fraction of the solving fraternity” cope with the quotation or did the majority actually solve it? I suspect the latter. “The Eve of St. Agnes” is, in fact, one of Keats’ less-obscure poems (and yes, tupu, I got tangled up for a little while too with Christabel, which was also part of my O-Level exam).

  29. Paul B says:

    ALLOTROPE, PLANARIAN, ACTA? Hmm. And the quote too a wee bit esoteric, unless Don’s right about what people can be expected to know without recourse to a computer or a dictionary. Not exactly solutions that were given away, either!

  30. Martin H says:

    Will Mc and Matt – perhaps I didn’t express my view clearly enough. I have no objection to references to popular culture. And Dad’s Army is not ‘beyond my frame of cultural reference’. I thought it was brilliant – and I solved the clue; I just thought it was unfair of the setter to demand detailed knowledge to get the solution, and with no wordplay except an appeal to a radio programme! Popular culture is a vast field embracing music, TV, film, radio, sport, games, gaming, you name it; all part of Pasquale’s ‘amazing variety’, but should you have to know the detail of who played for what team, who said what in any sitcom, the words of a seventies hit? That’s why I say it’s trivia quiz material, something a bit more specialised that you get points for knowing, if that’s what interests you.

  31. Another Andrew says:

    Six remaining after spending far too long on it. A real slog for me, with quite a few answers that I guessed without understanding – so thanks to UY and others for clearing most of them up.

    I didn’t get close to the poem reference even though I had most of the crossing letters. I don’t understand the construction of the anagram – why is the ‘prime bi’ bit missing ? I guessed it was an anagram, because of the odd way it read, but was thrown when what I thought were the letters contradicted the ‘W’ from 23dn.

    Still, hard work or not, at least it was much better than yesterday, which I enjoyed so little I couldn’t be bothered to post.

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi Another Andrew

    It’s great that you’re still sticking with it – this was a tough one!

    Re the anagram: the T comes from the ‘prime [first] bit’ of ‘the’, which, as I said earlier, was just wonderful, I thought, since it was also the clue to the ‘prime bit’ [first line] of the poem.

    I have to agree with Martin H , Comment 14, that the next line was not one of Keats’ best but, when I studied it for A Level [in a state secondary school, Jimbo! ;-) ] we all thought there was far worse in ‘Isabella or The Pot of Basil! But then we went on to the sublime Ode to a Nightingale and the other odes, which made Keats my favourite poet – apart from Carol Ann Duffy, for ‘The World’s Wife’!

  33. EdUS says:

    I find reading complaints from Brits about the obscurity of some of the answers amusing/annoying. That is part of what makes your cryptic puzzles more challenging than American crosswords.

  34. Median says:

    Pasquale @26

    Thanks for the setter’s perspective on a clever piece of work. I support you in aiming to draw on a wide variety of cultural references and I agree your clueing is always fair. My beef about today’s puzzle is that the poetry bit (St Agnes …) took up an unreasonable amount of space. As an experienced solver but one who is weak on literature, I had all the crossing letters but still couldn’t fill in the gaps. Having looked up the date of St Agnes Eve, I would have groaned and applauded this monster clue on 20 January but, a quarter late, there’s no quarter from this quarter!

  35. carneddi says:

    Why are there complaints about a cryptic crossword being ‘too esoteric’? – Dad’s Army, Keats etc. are hardly remote. Don’t forget there is a range of difficulty for us from Rufus/Rover on Monday through to Azed on Sunday and a cryptic clue does have the answer in the clue so if you can’t get both the straight and the cryptic answer use a reference book/Google/Wikipedia to confirm!

  36. rrc says:

    The quotation I did not know but having got bitter it was I did a google search and was quite surprised to find the quotation in the resulting search. I havent got a problem with this and recognise that at times I need to use the internet to ascertain answers. Oh by the way Pike was put in on the first read through and I thought was a delightful clue. Part of the fun of doing cryptics is the challenge that each one brings.

  37. Paul B says:

    It’s generally held – I think – that difficult words, or phrases and titles etc, in daily puzzles make the solving unnecessarily tricky. One way around it is to ‘give away’ the tough ones, but these ought really to occur only where there is a theme or Nina, which can sometimes (but certainly not always) necessitate such inclusions.

    It’s one thing to increase the difficulty via tough clueing, but if recondite words are thrown in where there isn’t strictly a need, there arises the suspicion that the difficulty might be present for its own sake, or for the purpose of testing solvers’ general knowledge, with which practice I do not agree.

    An opinion, I know: I suffer from them terribly.

  38. carneddi says:

    Un/fortunately in the age of Google every clue is solvable; even Azed where every answer must be in Chambers.
    You can’t imagine how pleased/smug I feel when I complete an Azed, Puck, Auracaria, Shed etc. without external aids or with, maybe, just a quick peek in a dictionary but without recourse to a computer.

  39. liz says:

    Eileen — Keats, yes. Carol Ann Duffy, more so. ‘Prayer’ is sublime!

  40. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks for the explanation Eileen, and the words of encouragement. The thought of posting here often keeps me going longer I normally would have the patience for.

    Also, could someone tell me what a Nina is (as mentioned by Paul B @37). Do we get them in the Guardian puzzles ?

  41. FranTom Menace says:

    I really struggled with this one this afternoon. I have to be honest of the few I got I wasn’t sure or happy with most. I was happy with 24d, but thought there’d be some people have a go! I was more bothered with ‘incendiary’, which I never knew was a synonym of ‘arsonist’, I always thought it to refer to inanimate objects. I got cross at ‘heaven’ as opposed to ‘heavens’, and some others.
    This crossword beat me on vocabulary, general knowledge, crossword shorthand, the lot. Boo!

  42. Bryan says:

    Another Andrew @ 40

    A Nina is a hidden word inside a Solution. I don’t recall one inside a Grauniad for some time. Or maybe they’ve been there and I haven’t spotted them?

    Here’s the allusion:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Hirschfeld

  43. Paul (not Paul) says:

    bag of washing.
    Where’s the definition to 3d?

    Tosh utter tosh

  44. Paul (not Paul) says:

    &lit !!! 3d the more I look at it the worse it gets. It makes no sense! I can’t unpick the anagram fodder…and if I could I wouldn’t know what I was looking for. Rubbish.

    Bah!

  45. sidey says:

    “even Azed where every answer must be in Chambers.”

    Wrong.

  46. Macca says:

    I enjoyed most of this but despaired at the Keats. No way known I would have come to that. Don’t know Keats’ stuff, had no idea what the clue was about. It took up too much space.
    Diversity is good but this one just bogged down the whole puzzle.

  47. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks Bryan. I’d not heard of Al Hirschfeld before and I love the idea of the hidden Ninas, even if she wasn’t fussed about them herself.

  48. Ian says:

    Andrew – #40

    Here’s a printed example of a Nina.

    http://www.crosswordunclued.com/2009/10/what-is-nina.html

  49. rrc says:

    So I assume that when the outside letters of the grid is used as Araucaria has done in times past those are ninas

  50. Mister Sting says:

    I love these comment strings –
    High/low battles for right.
    I scroll down; the chant rings
    In my head: “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

    I’ll set puzzles in time
    And many will be miffed
    As with my awful rhymes
    With mentions of The Smiths.

  51. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks Ian. I think I can safely say I’ve never spotted one and I didn’t see the one on the linked page even though I knew it was there.

  52. smutchin says:

    Hello all, I’ve not visited fifteensquared for a while but it’s reassuring to see the same old arguments are still going strong – last time I was round these parts, Pasquale was being castigated for including GADSDEN PURCHASE in a grid. Plus ca change! I have no complaints at all about this crossword or the range of cultural references. Crosswords would be boring if they were limited to basic vocabulary. I can’t remember who was the author, but I do fondly remember the clue that came up a while back that required knowledge of both the Simpsons and Shakespeare. Those kind of clues are precisely the reason I do crosswords rather than Sudoku. I don’t want them to be just a grid-filling exercise.

    My only complaint is a technical one – I solved this using the Crosswords app on my iPhone and for some reason the long clue wasn’t properly linked, so I had no idea which spaces to fill or in what order. But the clue was obviously an anagram, and with the checking letters, it was possible to get to the solution eventually, even though I’m no fan of Keats.

  53. TRIALNERROR says:

    I was really held up by putting “PACIFIST” in for 7D, thinking (not very clearly)of Ernest William Barnes, a Saint if you want someone to raise your cap to…and obscure cultural references are fine by me.

  54. snigger says:

    more “etc etc diversity” – less mangled anagrams/piss poor efforts to make the first line from some 1960’s homework fit into a crossword.

    ps for those who swotted up on keats on a saturday night, instead of watching dads army – hope it was worth it?

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