Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,021 / Shed

Posted by Eileen on May 27th, 2010


Well, Andrew’s observation turned out right again. I’ve looked forward for a long time to blogging my first Shed, especially since his RHOTIC clue last year, and this didn’t disappoint. [There is  even a mini-theme of homophones, only one of which would have caused my husband [and my choirmaster] to look askance!] I found it quite a challenge [one explanation is still eluding me] but ultimately rewarding, as always. Thank you, Shed.


1   OFFSET: double definition
TRIPWIRE: I hoped the wordplay for this would come to me while blogging but, alas, it hasn’t.
9   HORNPIPE: ‘PORN HYPE': I know Spoonerisms are not everyone’s cup of tea but this one is perfectly acceptable.
10 SPIRIT: I in reversal of TRIPS [pharmaceutical experiences – I like it!]
11  INTERFERENCE: ERE [before] N[oon] in anagram of FRENETIC
13 SMEE: reversal [‘going west’] of s[EEMS] [appears]: SMEE is a dialect name for various ducks, such as the smew, pochard, wigeon and pintail.
14  NOTATION: T[erritorial] A[rmy] [volunteers] in NOTION [idea]
17  DISTRICT: 1ST in DR [medic] + I C [one caught]
18  RUDE: homophone of ROOD [cross]
20  BANDERILLERO: BAN [stop] + E [drug] in DRILLER [trainer] + O [round]. The banderillero is a torero who sets the banderillas, colourful sticks with a barbed point which are placed in the top of the bull’s shoulder. [This was all new to me.]
23  DESIST: S[ceptic] in DEIST [believer]
24 IMPLICIT: IMP [monkey] + LICIT [not forbidden]
25 STANDING: double definition
26  REMORA: reversal of ROME [capital] in RA [artist]: a new word for me but the wordplay is absolutely straightforward – a nice surface and an interesting derivation: the REMORA is the sucking-fish, believed by the ancients to have the power of staying the course of any ship to which it attached itself, hence, figuratively, an obstacle [from Latin mora – delay].


1   FLOW: reversal of WOLF
2   SENTIMENT: N[ew] TIME [‘bird’ is slang for a prison sentence] in SENT [hugely enthusiastic]: I haven’t seen this meaning of ‘sent’ – ‘moved to excitement or rapture’ for a very long time!
3   THIRTY: THIRSTY [parched] minus its fifth letter = 5 6s – nice misdirection.
5   THE DRINK TALKING: double / cryptic definition: ‘the drink’ = ‘the sea’.
6   INSPECTS: P[othead] in INSECTS [low life]
WHINE: homophone of ‘wine’ [‘the drink talking’]
6   RAINCLOUDS: anagram of CORIOLANUS with D[ied] substituted for O [nothing]: a clever surface, as the Romans took the auspices from, among other things, thunder and lightning.
12  AMBIVALENT: M BIVAL[v – dropping 5]E [mollusc] in A N[ew] T[estament] [collection of books]
15  TERRORISM: ERROR [foul-up] IS in TM [presumably abbreviation for trade mark [logo] but it’s not in [my] Collins or Chambers.
16  LIBRETTI: nicely hidden reversal in [b]ITTER BIL[e]
19  BEEPER: BEEKEEPER [apiarist] minus EEK [cry of alarm]
21  DJINN: another drink homophone [gin – spirit]: DJINN [also Jinn] is a class of spirits in Muslim theology.
22  BIER: and another [fittingly, the last clue]: sounds like beer

40 Responses to “Guardian 25,021 / Shed”

  1. sidey says:

    Guts = tripe, jam makers = WI. recipe = R

  2. Eileen says:

    That must be a record, sidey – many thanks!

    [I spent time trying to make something of TIPTREE! :-) ]

  3. sidey says:

    I have to confess I only saw it when I looked at your blog.

    TM for trade mark is possibly omitted from some dictionaries as it is usually written as the superscript ™.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen and Sidey, you make a great team!

    All is now explained except how Andrew managed to predict that it would be Shed’s turn today. I suspect that he overheard a conversation between Mother and Son:

    M: Fancy anyone moaning about EMO!

    S: Mommie, it’s my turn tomorrow and I’ve included BANDERILLERO.

    M: I’m impressed! That’s really obscure. Sounds a bit foreign, too.

    Otherwise, very enjoyable with 5d and the thematics outstanding !

  5. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    I loved the variety of clueing in this. A good start to the day.
    I agree that TM = logo is rather suspect, and I do find jam makers = WI slightly naughty too. Had never heard of DJINN.

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Richard

    Just for the record, I have no objection to TM: it was just an observation that it was not in the dictionary – and sidey’s comment explains that.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen (and Shed)
    All eminently solvable, with lots of information in the clues, but some testing sticking points and, like others, I had to check some answers – TM via google, and remora. 15d was also nicely misleading in its use of ‘foul-up’, and for a time I wondered how I might fit ‘trigger’ into 5a. I also searched my memory in vain for a monkey beginning with ‘i’ and ending with ‘got it’ before I ‘got it’. 19d was straightforward from the clue and letters, though I first wondered if ‘kee’ was a cry before getting back half-consciously to Beano and Dandy days.
    A one-time interest in bull fighting (passive!) made 20a familiar. All in all enjoyably brain-teasing.

  8. Richard says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I stand corrected. Thanks. Having now consulted the dictionary and reflected, I guess TM = logo is fine – though TM = Transcendental Meditation might have made a better clue in this case.

    btw, I’d really appreciate your opinion on the question I posed @276 in the General Crossword Discussion blog in the Chat Room . Thanks again.

  9. Pricklewedge says:

    Hi Eileen,
    Thanks for the post, I’ve been figuratively banging my head against the wall since 8am trying to crack 20ac and 26ac. Phew!

  10. sidey says:

    Somewhere I have a Punch cartoon from the 1970s, two ducks on a pond, one is saying “I’m a smee, you only see me in crosswords”.

  11. Eileen says:

    … along withe ernes.

    Richard, I’ve posted a reply in the Chat Room.

  12. Eileen says:

    Sorry – ‘with the’…

  13. tupu says:

    re 21d. I suspect ‘djinn’ is what we are more used to seeing as ‘genie’ (in the bottle! or the lamp) in Arabian Nights stories. Somewhere along the line it seems to have got caught up in European mental history with the latter form (Fr. from Latin Genius acc to Concise Oxford) but I assume the origin must be Arabic. Beyond this, I thought the whole mini-theme was very neatly done since the main clue to it was not at all obvious.

  14. retired pleb says:

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle. 45 mins sitting in the sunshine !
    3d & 22d wittiest clues for me. REMORA new word, but clearly clued. Got held up by TRIPWIRE thinking of ripcord and variants.
    Haven’t we had rude/rood recently ?

  15. Bill Taylor says:

    I wished yesterday for something fiendish from Audreus’s lad and I got it. A clever theme. I figured out BIER and WHINE before THE DRINK TALKING dawned upon me. Big smile. I liked 6d, too, and 20a, though “drug” for “E” is becoming almost as common as “men” for OR. I thought the Spoonerism was weak, a lazy clue with a quite obvious solution. Compare and contrast with 5a — I got it and now, thanks to sidey, I understand it. The explanation awakens a vague memory of seeing “jam-maker” for WI in a clue once before (and not making the connection then, either). Let’s hope it never becomes a standard shortcut like drug/E and men/OR….

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Lovely puzzle and a witty theme! REMORA was new to me, but as others have pointed out, fairly clued. I also needed to check the spelling of 20ac since I was unable to work out the wordplay fully.

    I’ve also seen WI clued this way before and I don’t mind it.

    I very much enjoyed the variety in this puzzle. Thanks, Shed!

  17. Bill Taylor says:

    To clarify (if I need to), I didn’t mind jam-maker/WI either (once sidey had pointed it out!). I thought it was terrific.

  18. sidey says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had my name mentioned so often, it’s rather flattering 😉

    I’m surprised so few people knew REMORA, the fishy version appears in lots of natural history programmes and I’m sure Saint Richard of Attenborough has mentioned the Greeks belief that the fish hindered the progress of ships.

  19. rrc says:

    I printed off the cross word just past midnight , read through the clues, and managed with the aid of Bradfords to put in remora, (a new word on me) decided to go to bed and then pick the crossword up in the morning. What a difference the time of day makes because the clues seems to make far more sense. In the end it was a crossword I thoroughly enjoyed although I admit I could not figure out the middle word in 5d without the cheat button, then kicked myself!

  20. NeilW says:

    I got 5ac straight away thanks to having seen the association of jam and the WI before. It stuck in my mind because the previous puzzle referred apparently to a TV series in the UK that I don’t know, living as I do in one of the lands of the Djinns. A bit of research shows that it was an Araucaria from all the way back in March 2009 – no 24,652 – which had two linked clues giving solutions “WOMENS INSTITUTE” and “JAM AND JERUSALEM”. So it seems there is an educational value to doing these things – even if only to be able to do them again more than a year later!

  21. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen.

    I’m afraid in my (fevered) imagination I had you pictured as an archetypal WI lady – but I guess either they don’t actually make much jam these days, or I’m wide of the mark again as usual.

    Clutching at straws to find any imperfections, all I can say is I didn’t know BANDERILLERO or REMORA. But the clues & crossing letters were enough to leave Chambers confidently unopened. Plus I need to accept that my vocabulary is not all it could or should be.

    Overall I thought this was an excellent puzzle, and 5d was a truly masterful thematic clue.

  22. Ian says:

    Thanks Eileen and also to Shed for this tough solve.

    The all important 5 dn required ‘District’ & ‘Notation’ inserting before real progress occurred.
    Along the way many admirably written clues.

    In the end I had to use a Thesarus to pick out ‘Djinn’ from a list of spirits. As is often the case with me I got stuck on a 4 letter word. ‘Flow’ Flow/Wolf took longer that it should.


  23. Eileen says:

    Hi NeilW

    I did a bit of research this morning, too, because I thought I remembered having seen WI = ‘jam-makers’ before and I could only find the same puzzle as you did, where the solution was ‘Women’s Institute’, with the answer to a linked clue being ‘Jam and Jerusalem’, the television programme featuring the W.I.

    But here’s the really spooky bit, which I wasn’t going to mention: in the same puzzle, the answer to a totally unrelated clue ‘Hint by old actor in Essex’ is TIPTREE, which I was trying to work into my blog this morning. [Tiptree is a jam-making company!]

    [Incidentally, do you think this might have been the last appearance of the cruciverbally-beloved ‘old actor’, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree – or is that tempting fate?]

    And FumbleFingers – I’m lost for words! What is the archetypal WI lady – and how have I projected that [?] image? Mind, I wouldn’t mind being identified with the feisty ladies from Rylstone! :-)

  24. Shed says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog and everyone for the comments.

    Bryan #4: I’d never heard of EMO either; I have yet to discover whether Audreus was previously aware of banderilleros.

    Has none of you read A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye’? I haven’t, but it was looking at the title on a friend’s bookshelf that gave me the idea for the mini-theme.

  25. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for dropping in, Shed, and, again, for the great puzzle.

    I’m afraid I struggle rather with A.S. Byatt – I prefer her sister’s work – but I’ve known the word djinn [I don’t know why] for as long as I can remember.

  26. Bill Taylor says:

    Yeah, me too — certainly for as long as I’ve known the word “genie.”

  27. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Eileen and Shed. Re 15dn. I am perplexed at the omission of TM as an abbreviation in dictionaries. And I note TM is usually expressed as a superscript. Have we exposed a flaw in the lexicographers art? Where in a dictionary can one find definitions of ., ,, :,;, $, £,%,@,# and so on?

  28. muck says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog, and Shed for the puzzle.
    26a REMORA was a new word for me.
    5a TRIPWIRE had me thinking of triggers too
    For homophone pedants, 7d WHINE is pronounced [h]wine

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This was by far the best crossword this week – surely the most challenging, so I think it takes a Giant to beat this one tomorrow.

    In our first half hour hardly anything happened. Very tough.
    Yes, we suspected that 5d had to with Demon Alcohol, but it took quite a while to find it.
    And a very original mini-theme it was!

    Like many of you, we hadn’t heard of REMORA, and we’re still not sure whether it’s a good clue or not.
    Of course, it is perfectly gettable, the construction is clear, but is the surface really pointing into the direction of a sailor’s obstacle?
    We had some problem with the word ‘to’ anyway – wouldn’t ‘for’ be better?
    Same question and same word in 20ac: ‘to’?
    And in 10ac. ‘To being incorporeal’ giving us a noun?

    But these are all minor quibbles.
    Just a very good crossword.

    One final question: we got 4d (THIRTY) almost straightaway.
    But the more we looked at the clue, the less we were convinced by its rightness.
    Can someone [apart from Shed himself, of course] make an effort to give us a really watertight explanation?

  30. Dave Ellison says:

    I got there in the end (75’!). Took me a long time to get the theme, toyed with WINE, but WHINE didn’t click till long after. I thought for a while the middle word of 5d was WRONG, hence THE WRONG TROUSERS, which wouldn’t fit! Got fixated on TRIGGER at 5a, too.

    All perfectly fair today.

  31. Dave Ellison says:

    I have just read Eileen’s explanation of 4d THIRTY. I read it slightly differently: the fifth (letter) of FIVE SIXES is S, which explains the OF

  32. Bill Taylor says:

    I dunno that the “of” requires an explanation. I think Eileen is right on the money. I’m surprised by all the fuss about REMORA. I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of it as an obstacle but I’ve always known of it as a parasitic fish that attaches itself to sharks and turtles.

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Dave (#31), that was also one of our thoughts (S being the fifth letter of FIVE SIXES), but then ‘5 6s’ is doing double duty, isn’t it?
    Maybe, it is also the order of words [with ‘Parched’ as a starter] that makes this clue hard to parse – at least, for us.

  34. Eileen says:

    Hi Muck

    Yes, that’s the homophone I was referring to in the preamble. [We’re currently rehearsing several numbers including ‘where’ etc.]

    But, now that I’ve blogged my first Shed, this is my final word on homophones. A reminder that I only ever mentioned, tongue in cheek, that there were some that my Scottish husband, tongue in cheek, objected to and, when I started blogging, I referred to them as ‘homophones’. More recently, I pledged not to do so – and I haven’t – and shan’t :-)


    Re 26ac: I don’t think the surface needs to point to a sailor’s obstacle, as such – I only added that for interest.

    I agree that ‘for’ might have been better but, in 20ac, I took ‘to’ as ‘leading to’ and therefore totally acceptable.

    Re 10ac: I nearly mentioned this on the blog. I took ‘being’ as the noun and the whole phrase as analagous with ‘time immemorial': I know there are much better examples but that’s all I can think of just now!

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Eileen, I withdraw my comment on REMORA. Thought it was just an annoying fish, should have looked it up in Chambers, though.

    What I forgot to say was, that we didn’t quite understand SENTIMENT [even though we got it very quickly]. Apparently, TIME can be defined by ‘bird’ [prison sentence]. Have to think now of my PinC who said: “Maybe it’s TIME as in ‘time flies’, so a ‘flier’ [bird]” :).

  36. Carrots says:

    I am not worthy of this company. After an extra pinta during a truanted lunchtime, I threw in the towel with the puzzle and resigned with it only 80% or so complete. I respect the setter enormously but find some of his puzzles akin to going for a paddle in Morecambe Bay.

  37. Eileen says:

    Hi again Sil

    See blog: TIME [‘bird’ is slang for a prison sentence]!

    Time for bed! :-)

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi Carrots

    Don’t give up! 80% of this setter is pretty good going! :-)

  39. FumbleFingers says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I didn’t recognise “Rylstone” until I Googled it – but yes, of course I assumed yours would be more the naked calendar kind of WI, rather than the Jam & Jerusalem kind (tv comedy series OR pectin & prayer) No offense lol.

    Spooky about Tiptree! More evidence that this universe is a computer simulacrum written by a lazy programmer who constantly re-uses a small set of subroutines…

    Shed – many thanks for a really enjoyable puzzle. Also for stopping by here, obviously.

  40. mhl says:

    Thanks for the excellent post, Eileen, and to Shed for what was also my favourite of the week. There’s a small typo in the explanation of 17a – it has to be CT for “caught” to get the last T.

    This was a satisfying puzzle to solve, since we got rather stuck before getting THE DRINK TALKING, when guesses for some of the others fell into place. I particularly enjoyed B[eek!]EEPER.

    Reading up about BANDERILLERO and all the things the bull is put through in a bull-fight was rather upsetting, I have to say.

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