Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,003 / Pasquale

Posted by mhl on May 6th, 2010


An excellent crossword from Pasquale today, notable for me because of three great &lits, but with many other enjoyable clues as well.

The preamble refers to an anniversary: today is the 100th anniversary of the ascension accession to the throne (24 across) of George V (21 across) Thanks, Jack, for the correction.

1. CICELY CIC = “officer in charge” + ELY = “cathedral”
4. CONSORTS SORT = “type” in CONS = “fiddles”
9. PEARLY Sounds like “Purley”; the definition refers to Pearly Kings and Queens
10. ECCLESIA ECCLES = “Goon” + A1 = “excellent” reversed; an especially difficult clue for anyone not familiar with The Goon Show (essentially everyone of my generation or younger)
11. HOW IS THE EMPIRE (OTHERS WEEP HIM I)*; one of the alternative reports of the last words of George V, the most common being “Bugger Bognor!”
13. PERQUISITE PER = “for each” followed by IS in QUITE = “fairly”
14. RENO RENOIR = “French artist” without IR = “Irish”
16. RAGE RAG = “Newspaper” + E[ditor]
18. IMPALEMENT A lovely &lit: A = “article” in IMPLEMENT = “put into effect”
21. GEORGE THE FIFTH (GET OFF HIGH TREE)*; the definition refers to his queen, Mary of Teck, who was known as “May”
23. AIRTIGHT TIGHT = “drunk” after AIR = “broadcast”; the definition is “Jars may be”
24. THRONE Sounds like “thrown”; “in the auditorium” is the unusual (but quite fun) homophone indicator
25. HUMANIST “Fellow is” = MAN IS in HUT = “shed”
26. GROYNE Sounds like “groin” = “region down below”
1. COPT Sounds like “copped”
2. CLAMOUR CL = “Sri Lanka” (from the international vehicle registration code, presumably from when it was called Ceylon) AMOUR = “affair”
3. LILLIPUT Another excellent &lit: L = “Large?” + ILL = “bad” + I = “one” + PUT = “enter!” “place” Oops: thanks to Eileen for the correction
5. ORCHESTRATE OR = “men” + CHEST = “box” + RATE = “judge”
6. SALOME A third wonderful &lit! SAL = “Woman” + [r]OME = “see” (as in “The Holy See”); Salome asked Herod for the head of John the Baptist
7. RESPITE RE[st] + SPITE = “bad feeling”
8. SHARED OUT SHOUT = “Call” around RED = “leftie”
12. TEST MATCH Double definition
13. PARAGRAPH PAR = “the normal amount” + GRAPH = “diagram”; I’m happy to go with PAR = “standard”, but it’s only “normal” for rather good golfers :)
15. PERISHER PERI’S = “Fairy’s” + HER = “the female”; a word that I remember from Bertie Wooster’s remark about Roderick Spode: “Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?” – the online Chambers says: “old colloq use a mischievous child or other troublesome person”
17. GROGRAM GROG = “Drink” + RAM = “drive”
19. ENTROPY ENT = “part of infirmary” (Ear, Nose and Throat) + ROPY = “poor”
22. BEDE B[lessed] + EDE[n] = “garden”, referring to the George Eliot novel Adam Bede

49 Responses to “Guardian 25,003 / Pasquale”

  1. Ian says:

    Thanks to mhl and to Pasquale for a severe test.

    Apart from a small sprinkling of relatively straightforward answers dotted about the grid
    (all down at 7, 12, 13 and 22 save 16ac) the rest were taxing as you’d expect from this setter.

    The famous George V misquote ‘Bugger Bognor’ is perhaps remembered more than what he actually said. Other intersecting answers were needed to put this to rest.

    For a really beautifully worded clue, ‘Imp a lement’ as an &lit takes the biscuit. The imagery. It went through me. Of the rest, a particular commendation goes to both ‘Groyne’ and ‘Or chest rate’.


  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks mhl, and Pasquale. The three &lits were indeed excellent, as was 17dn, with a giggle at 26ac.

    What does “a time of change” mean in the preamble? A reference to election day?

  3. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    Unlike you, I’m afraid I really didn’t enjoy this.

    I didn’t understand why Sri Lanka = CL in 2. I still don’t understand why fairy = per in 15.
    3 seems a rather loose definition to me as does 12. OR = men in 5 – not again! I’ve never heard of perquisite, grogram, ugrian, or Adam = Bede.

  4. Richard says:


    Today is the 100th anniversary of George V’s accession.

  5. Andrew says:

    Richard – thanks, I know that, but why “for a time of change?”

  6. mhl says:

    Richard: it’s PERI rather than PER:

  7. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, mhl [and Pasquale]

    I loved it – for all the reasons you give: brilliant &lits and many other excellent clues. [And I remember Spike Milligan’s Eccles!]

    [I’m sure you meant to write PUT = place in 3dn.]

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Richard. I bet you’ve heard of the abbreviation ‘perk’ for perquisite?

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl. I hope longer standing bloggers will forgive an early entry (need to get on with other things). I’m afraid I didn’t find this particularly entertaining and completed it without any great feeling of satisfaction – but your commentary on 11 and 21 did enhance those clues for me. I had hoped there might be something special for election day, and that may partly account for my lack of enthusiasm. I got 26 quickly because I had thought of using it (wrongly instead of argyle) in a puzzle last week!

  9. tupu says:

    On submission, I now see I’m not as early as I thought!

  10. Richard says:

    Thank you. Indeed I have. At least I now have the satisfaction of having learnt something today!

    Thanks for your explanation. I’d thought it was PER IS HER.

  11. mhl says:

    Eileen: thanks, I’ve corrected that now.

    Richard: sorry, I realise I’d forgotten to put the apostrophe-S in my explanation – now fixed.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    As usual, Pasquale difficult for me; only managed 9 answers, in the bottom half.

    6d excellent, but not convinced by 18a, doesn’t quite work for me.

    I googled GR V, for his last words but didn’t find the one in 11a.

  13. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, I was unable to complete this.

    However, I do question whether Salome ever asked for John’s head. This, surely, was a dramatic invention?

    I’d never heard of CL = Sri Lanka which, I guess, is a throwback to the colonial days of Ceylon. Or UGRIAN. How obscure!

    No knighthood for Pasquale. I’m afraid, not until he cuts out such obscurities.

  14. Eileen says:


    You can read the story in Matthew XIV, 3-11 or Mark VI, 17-29.

    If you want to be picky, it was actually Herodias, Salome’s mother, who put her up to it.

  15. Richard says:


    John’s head being served on a platter is described in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 14:

  16. retired pleb says:

    Completed OK, but disappointed not to have an election special !
    UGRIAN (ugh) last entry.
    Didn’t get anniversary reference until reading the blog.

  17. Ian says:

    Retired Pleb @ #16

    Try today’s Indy puzzle – suitably election themed!

  18. Bill Taylor says:

    I thought 2d was very iffy. No problem with UGRIAN, though I’d never heard the word before. But there was nothing else it could be. I found this a bit of a slog and not terribly uninspiring. But that sums up the week so far. I wonder what tomorrow and Saturday hold in store. I keep hoping Araucaria will pop up with something that will, albeit belatedly, blow our minds.

  19. Bill Taylor says:

    Sorry, I meant not terribly inspiring. High time for another shot of caffeine…

  20. Median says:

    Richard @3, Bryan @13: CL on a vehicle number plate indicates that it comes from Sri Lanka. See:

    I agree, it must be “a throwback to the colonial days of Ceylon.” How is the Empire, BTW?

  21. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I found this quite difficult and had to use the check button on occasion, which always makes things less enjoyable for me, but is hardly the fault of the setter! UGRIAN was new to me, COPT and PEARLY my last two. My first entry BEDE had me wondering if the anniversary was something to do with George Eliot…

    Favourite clue was 3dn.

  22. IanN14 says:

    Bill Taylor @ 18,
    If you really want Araucaria to blow your mind (to pieces), have you tried this month’s Genius? I’d say that would be pretty much guaranteed…

  23. Eileen says:

    Hear, hear – but well worth it! :-)

  24. Bill Taylor says:

    Thanks for the link, Ian. I’ve just printed it out and now I definitely need more caffeine!

  25. IanN14 says:

    No problem Bill.
    (You might need more than caffeine…)
    Eileen, does that mean you’ve…….
    …actually, I think I’d better hot-foot it to the chat-room in case Gaufrid comes round the corner.
    See you there?

  26. Jack says:

    Thanks mhl

    Enjoyed this one – usually do enjoy a ‘Don’ Xword.
    Being pedantic, in your preamble I think you confused your ‘accessions’ with ‘ascensions’ – although the thought of GR V ascending to the throne is interesting.

    RE Andrew #2 & #4 – ‘time for a change’ could simply refer to a change of monarch but I suspect it refers to the fact that on his accession GR V changed the name of the royal house to Windsor from Saxe-Gotha Coburg.

    Also Araucaria’s Genius 83 is fantastic as stated, finished it but not sure of 26down if anyone can help.

  27. Bryan says:

    Median @ 20

    The Empire is still going strong even though it now only comprises the Isles of Lundy, Wight, Dogs and Thanet.

    That’s a-plenty!

  28. Bryan says:

    Jack @ 26

    George V didn’t change the ‘House’ name to Windsor until 1917.

  29. Jack says:

    Bryan #28

    I stand corrected thanks – I should have known that, I remember reading somewhere he changed the name during WWI because of anti-German feeling in the country. So, simply a change of monarch then?

  30. mhl says:

    Jack: thank you, that’s very helpful pedantry, since I think I’ve often said ascension (thinking of the Ascension of Christ) when I meant accession. Correction made…

    With regard to this month’s Guardian Genius, I’m afraid that here it’s very much Not The Done Thing to discuss clues to prize puzzles whose deadline has not passed.

  31. Gaufrid says:

    Re your comment #26, we don’t discuss prize puzzles on this site until after the closing date for entries. However, I will email you privately.

  32. Gaufrid says:

    My email has bounced with a statement that the email account you used has been disabled or discontinued. If you can supply a valid email address (it needn’t be made public, just use it when posting a comment) I will resend my reply.

  33. Tokyo Colin says:

    I enjoyed this until I got stuck and then hated the clues to the missing solutions as I revealed them. Purley, pearly, shmurly – how was anyone who doesn’t live in London supposed to guess this?

  34. Jack says:

    Hi Gaufrid #31&32

    Sorry for my slip-up re Genius 83. I only recently became aware of the ‘genius’ puzzles and as I don’t submit solutions for it or any other Xwords I guess I forgot the implication.

    Another apology re this e-mail A/c – it’s one I’ve had for ages but not my main one. I use it for things like this discussion board and others. I’ve checked and it was deactivated because I hadn’t sent an actual e-mail from it for a couple of months. It should be OK now so perhaps you could resend your message.

    Many thanks.

  35. Daniel Miller says:

    Tough today, but enjoyable. Got half home on 3-4 but decided to pack it in. Particularly enjoyed Paragraph and Ecclesia (even if The Goons mean very little to me). Bede was a smart little clue as well.

  36. Richard - Strasbourg says:

    A bit late but must add give my thanks for a superb puzzle. And of course (R)ome was the see in question, the one question mark on my printout. And thanks also to the excellent explanations that MHL and the rest of you offer. It made a dreary, rainy evening after work well worthwhile.

  37. Martin H says:

    Apart from the &lits at 3, 6, 18, which were very well done, I didn’t find much to enjoy here: too many homophones – one or even two maybe, but five! Some poor definitions: ‘Jars may be’ for ‘airtight’, the feeble Test Match cd, and ‘men’ for OR; Eccles, sad to say, is dated now, as is, surely, ‘peri'; and the old ‘red’ leftie needs putting to bed. Hardly enough of a theme to warrant a preamble, and what was ‘time of change’ about? Otherwise competent, but standard stuff and not particularly challenging.

  38. Brian Harris says:

    Found this pretty difficult today. Did it in three separate spells, but got there in the end. Guessed a few, but all turned out to be correct. Good to have a trickier puzzle for a change.

  39. Duke says:

    Would someone please explain to this beginner what, exactly, is an &lit? And how do you pronounce it?

  40. tupu says:

    Re Ugrian, this is most commonly encountered in the term ‘Finno-Ugrian’, which is the standard term for the Finnish-Hungarian language family. It is said that when the ancestors of the Finns and Hungarians went their separate ways, it was agreed that the ‘Finns’ should take the vowels and the ‘Hungarians’ would keep the consonants.

  41. Dave Ellison says:

    Duke #39 “&lit” stands for “and literally”, meaning the whole of the clue (rather than just a subsidiary part) defines the answer, too. I would think it is pronounced “and lit”.

  42. scarpia says:

    Funny how we all have different ideas about what makes a great puzzle.
    I’m not the Don’s biggest fan,but I did enjoy this one.Had to check Ugrian and also looked up George’s final words.Enjoyed the homophones(I usually do)and loved 3 and 5 down.
    Wasn’t keen on 6 down though,I thought the wordplay was more akinto that found in a barred puzzle.
    But perhaps I’m just being thick!

  43. Gerry says:

    I struggled. I think Goons ref.s are pretty redundant and guessed Ugrian from hearing of Ugric. The rest I just sweated out, basically.

    Goons and ‘royals’! Not my things.

  44. Paul (not Paul) says:

    One man’s wonderful and lit is another man’s obscure bag of washing.

    Too hard for me. At least half a dozen words or references that meant nothing to me.

  45. rrc says:

    i found this difficult, i actually gave up and used the cheat button on two clues. in fact this week has been a total contrast to last week. perhaps its possible to find the middle ground

  46. Geoff Chapman says:

    It was far more interesting than watching the election – but took me about as long. ‘Grogram'(because I’d never heard of the word) and ‘Ecclesia'(because I’m too young for the Goons) last in.

    Why does ‘OR’ equate to ‘men’?

  47. Bryan says:

    Geoff Chapman @46

    OR = Other Ranks (in the Army) – very popular with several setters.

  48. Bill Taylor says:

    Today’s (that is, Friday’s) Puck is truly awful — but too appalling for someone to blog about it?

  49. walruss says:

    Bill, I am waiting to get my teeth into that, and for the same reasons as you! I will sign off from Pasquale with a complaint that OR does NOT equal ‘men’, but only ‘other ranks’. It isn’t fair to ask us to take another step, it’s indirect.

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