Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24995 – Quantum

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 27th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

Quantum aka Quark (FT) aka the late Eric Burge who passed away in June 2008 … making today’s puzzle a blast from the past. Apart from a dictionary check to ensure there was such a fish (see 20D), the rest of the puzzle was a breezy walk in the park. A couple of definitions made me smile.

1 DEBRIEF *(fired if) ooops *(be fired) Thanks, Ian in TX
5 MISLAID *(mails I’d)
9 ATLAS AT LAST (finally) minus T (time off)
11 POCKETFUL Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
12 ENDUE Thanks to the very observant NeilW, the word CLUE does end with UE, end-ue, get it?
13 NYASA ha
18 ALABASTER A LAB (place to experiment) ASTER (flower) a soft, semi-transparent massive gypsum, widely used for ornamental purposes.
19 WIELD Ins of E (East) in WILD (uncultivated region)
21 SPRIG SPRING (water outflow) minus N (not new)
23 INHABITED *(Bath I dine)
25 EXPOSITOR EX (former) PO (Post Office) + *(RIOTS)
26 NURSE dd as in harbour/nurse a grudge
27 ENDEARS Cha of END (final) EARS (listeners)

2 BALACLAVA rha a knitted hat covering the head and neck, with an opening for the face after that battleground from the Crimean War
3 ISSUE dd
4 FOOT FAULT A corny Tichy clue which made me smile wryly
5 MODEL MODE (practice) L (learner)
6 SCARECROW *(RACES) + CROW (boast) Lovely def
7 AILED Rev of DELIA (lady)
8 DRY CELL Cha of DRY (no drink allowed) CELL (political group)
14 ANALGESIA Ins of *(ANGEL) in  A-SIA … Thanks Eileen
17 ELECTORAL Cha of ELECT (choose) ORAL (EXAMination)
20 DUDGEON D (first letter of DURESS) + GUDGEON (fish) minus first G
22 RAPID Ins of A PI (a Greek letter) in RD (road)
23 ICTUS ha
24 BUNGS dd bribes

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

33 Responses to “Guardian 24995 – Quantum”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I suppose you could clarify 12ac, in that the word “clue” will always END in the letters UE.

  2. Ian in TX says:

    1A should read DEBRIEF *(be fired)

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, another very enjoyable puzzle.

    Like you, I couldn’t figure out 12a ENDUE so I entered it and hoped for the best.

    Otherwise, nothing to spoil my breakfast.

  4. rrc says:

    Straightforward and satisfying with a range of very nicely constructed clues 3d and 6d I particularly liked.

  5. Ian says:

    You’re right Uncle Yap. A simple though enjoyable way to start the day with a puzzle that had a sprinkling of wit.

    They must be easing the way to a 25,000th that is going to be a real stiff test. One I hope that is a shared effort.

    28′ for this

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.

    As has been said, not much to complain of here, except for the wonderfully vague definition ‘used for ornamental purposes’ in 18ac.

    One minor point: 14dn is an anagram of ANGEL in ASIA.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, sound and enjoyable puzzle. Specially liked POCKETFUL when the penny finally dropped.

    Thanks for blogging, Uncle Yap.

  8. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.

    I fear Ian @5 may be right as today was another fairly simple completion for me. 4dn made me smile and, appropriately, 9ac was the one I got AT LAST.

  9. Martin H says:

    Apart from the Prize on Saturday, three Mondays in a row!

    Cryptic definitions aside (and the not so cryptic: Old Bailey – awful), what I find unsatisfactory about puzzles like this is that the solving mechanism is so often blatantly obvious: solving 1, 2, 7, 13, 23, 25, for example, became a series of mechanical exercises; (barely even necessary for 14 – what else could the solution have been with the definition ‘inability to feel pain’?)

    NeilW’s explanation of ‘endue’ must be correct, but as he says, clue ends IN ‘UE'; ‘clue’ doesn’t ‘end’ UE.

    All this, the generally poorly-knit surfaces, and the ‘alabaster’ definition add up to a disappointing crossword, just ‘scarecrow’ and ‘dudgeon’ providing relief.

  10. Daniel Miller says:

    Not sure I can add much here. 10 minutes to get to 3 remaining. Then a couple of minutes thought and done. Rather simple and apart from perhaps Endue (good clue) very straightforward indeed.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    There’s a good Virgilius/Brendan over at the Indy if anyone’s finished too quickly and fancies a further challenge.

  12. FumbleFingers says:

    Agree with Ian @5 – looks like we’re being lulled into a false sense of security before the big treble-0!

    On another tack – yesterday’s 17d TAIL END and today’s 21a SPRIG both appeared in 24984 by Pasquale, with similar clues.

    Maybe it’s just “red car syndrome”, but I’ve long thought there’s more answer word repetition than I’d expect from chance alone. Since I personally have the memory of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s, I doubt I’d even notice anything spanning more than a week or two. So please don’t be too withering if I’ve made this point before – it’s accidental, honest!

  13. crikey says:

    Some nice ones here – particularly SCARECROW and FOOT FAULT. But agree with Martin at 9 about OLD BAILEY. Also, I thought that 1 down wasn’t particularly cryptic, if at all.

  14. FumbleFingers says:

    KD @11 – is there any way to get printed copy from the Indy?

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sadly not, FumbleFingers – I don’t like doing them online either if that’s where you’re coming from. I think someone did explain a while ago about how to produce a printed version with cut and paste, but it sounded a bit complex.

  16. JamieC says:

    Thanks for the blog. I was hoping somebody would ask first, but clearly I am the thickest person here: would somebody please explain the corn reference in 4d?

    I’m sure another setter had a very similar clue to 6d recently, with the definition being something like “outstanding in his field”. I bet somebody can find it (I’ve no idea how to).

  17. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I found this mostly straightforward, but didn’t see what ENDUE was all about and it took me a while to get 9ac, which was my last one. 6dn was my favourite.

    I agree about the woolly def at 18ac!

  18. norm says:

    Corn is a type of callus on the foot.

    And there’s an old joke that goes “Why did the scarecrow [or cow] win a Nobel Prize?”

  19. Daniel Miller says:

    Hi Jamie, welcome:

    A corn would be a foot-fault (or more accurately a fault on one’s foot). Therefore not only will the corn affect one’s ability to play (tennis) but disrupt the flow of one’s game. I think that’ll be the right explanation.

  20. Tokyo Colin says:

    JamieC, a corn is “a patch of hard, thickened skin on the foot”, i.e. a foot fault. My only minor problems this time were with two “Briticisms”. Undersealing is something apparently done mainly to English cars, a comment on the roads perhaps? And payings BUNGS seems to be an English trait as well. Tut, tut…

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi JamieC

    The most recent was Bonxie 24,968: ‘with wild caw, scorer crops defender’.

    [Just type the word you’re looking for in the box under ‘Site search’ at the right hand side of this page – a wonderful resource!]

  22. Daniel Miller says:

    In terms of originality 2d strikes me as interesting with the reverse hidden answer. The Endue answer to 12 across was a nice piece of wordplay in the clue.

    The reason I find this sort of crossword less satisfying is not so much the relative lack of difficulty it is more that the answers to many clues jump out straight away without needing to refer to anything I had already put in the crossword – so, for me, around 10 answers jump out straight away from simple anagrams. The Pocketful (of Rye) clue is a nice piece of wordplay but looks rather obvious – although in fairness to the setter I should admit that “rye” and “nursery” is an amusing link.

    It’s difficult to express this without seeming to appear smug. I just expected something a little bit harder that (some of) the clues you might get in other newspapers.

    Tomorrow maybe better but the last 3 days (and indeed the Saturday Prize) haven’t been up to the usual Guardian standard.

  23. JamieC says:

    D’oh! Thanks, everyone.

    And thank you Eileen for the clue and the explanation.

  24. walruss says:

    Yes a pleasant solve, but very easy as other people have said! Quite well-written, for a Guardian puzzle!!

  25. judy bentley says:

    Not so easy for dumbos like me. Can someone please explain 9A ATLAS more thoroughly?

  26. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Evening Judy @ no 25. Someone’s probably beaten me to it, but to make you feel better, I found this one of the harder clues for some reason. A ROAD ATLAS is used by a driver; finally is AT LAST, with T for time taken out.

    And don’t feel like a dumbo – it’s just that you (and I) haven’t practised enough yet. I was the one asking dumb questions a year ago, and here am I answering your query. Progress? Maybe …

  27. John says:

    4 dn is actually a dd with reference to a foot fault in tennis, which will effect the server’s game by costing him a point.
    I have a problem with slack syntax, as in 19 ac. The “E(ast) is in the “uncultivated region” not the other way round.
    And why “underlined” in 23 dn? If it’s only for the surface I find it clumsy.
    13 ac may well be an ha, but “visited” isn’t much of an indicator is it?

  28. tupu says:

    John re 23dn. Underlining seems to be used as a way of marking syllabic stress (ictus), hence I suppose the fact that ‘to underline’ can be used to mean ‘to stress’. The word is almost redundant in the clue but it does indicate that one is dealing with phonological stress rather than other (e.g physical)forms.

  29. Derek P says:

    I agree re 19ac (John @23). I presume that “the uncultivated region in the East” has to be read as “the uncultivated region – in the East” where “in” is a verb meaning “to take in, enclose” (Chambers) but this type of construction feels very awkward to me. Is that right or am I missing something?

  30. judy bentley says:

    Thank you Kathryn’s Dad. Today it was obvious. Must’ve been the wine yesterday…

  31. Daniel Miller says:

    Wednesday: Done in fairly short order with one or two great clues – and perhaps one (or two) doubtful answers. Not sure if it would be appropriate to put something up tho’.

  32. Huw Powell says:

    “delia” = ailed??? Sorry. Also, “bungs”. Lost me there on both. Oh well.

  33. Huw Powell says:

    ok sorry DELIA/AILED I see now, I guess.

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