Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,063 – Rover

Posted by Andrew on July 15th, 2010


A second posthumous puzzle from Rover, and once again, sadly, not one that I can be enthusiastic about. 4dn stands out as a very nice clue, but the rest is rather 6dn, and with a few niggles. I can’t fully explain 11ac.

9. OPERA Cryptic defintion, referring to The Threepenny Opera by Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weil
10. ACER CARE*. Acer is the Maple genus of trees
11. MIDDLE EAST AS in ET (IVR code for Egypt) gives EAST, but I don’t see where MIDDLE comes from.
12. NELSON Double definition
14. AUDITORS A double definition with a homophone in the clue (chequers = checkers) for one of them
15. RETREAT To “RE-TREAT” might be to get another round in
20. SOMERSET Double definition – variant of “somersault” and “(area) round Taunton, say”
22. SINFUL Hidden
23. BARTENDERS ENDER (one dying) in BARTS (hospital). “Punches” refers to the drink.
24. MOAT Cryptic defintion. Perhaps a rather unfortunate choice of word (and clue) for the editor to let through, in view of recent events.
25. GENES Reference to Gene Kelly, actor and dancer.
2. HOAR HOAR[D]. “Hoary” can mean old, and “hoar” can mean “age”, but hoar=old seems dubious.
3. CARMEN Double definition – opera by Bizet, and Carmen Miranda, singer/actress famous for elaborate hats.
4. BRADMAN BR ADMAN (“spinner”). Sir Donald Bradman was an Australian batsman, so not a British spinner. (He also provides Don Manley’s pseudonym for the FT crossword). Definitely my favourite clue of this puzzle.
6. PEDESTRIAN Double definition
13. SERPENTINE Double definition
16. ARSONIST Cryptic definition
18. EMULATOR (AMULET OR)*. I realy don’t like “another” as an anagram indicator.
19. STREAMS Double definition
22. SISTER 1ST in SER[ies] – reference to Chekhov’s play Three Sisters
24. MOTE M.O.T. (test) + E (that drug again)

43 Responses to “Guardian 25,063 – Rover”

  1. P says:

    11 ac AS is in the middle of ET

  2. rrc says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    I didnt think this was too bad – some very nice anagrams and I particularly liked 6d and 12a

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew and Rover – wherever you are.

  4. james g says:

    re 11. Is it also that AS is the middle of EAST? And all the rest (Egypt…say) being defition? Seems a bit of a clumsy one to me too.
    23. Bartenders don’t pull punches, they pull pints.
    I liked 24 a and d being homophones.

  5. Myrvin says:

    Yes, rather tough I thought. I was unsure about why several of my answers were correct. The ‘ender’ in 23 is odd and so is 2. 24a is a Rufus clue & so is 9 & 16. (Maybe it’s not only Rufus then). I thought of two wrong families for 25 (Grace & Ned) before getting the right idea. Nice not to see boring old ‘supporter’ in 4 – although he must have had many.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew
    Mainly straightforward but sticky in places with some puzzling parsing. Look for the simplest possible answer rather than complications seems to help with some clues e.g. 21d.

    15 and 23 held me up for a time – I agree ‘ender’ is odd but the barts part is quite nice.

    I began to think ‘discrete’ might be ‘discreet’ (acc. to Chambers this can – to my surprise – also mean separate) but then I saw retreat – though I’m not sure of the reasoning.

    I wondered if a chance to reload weapons was involved.

    2d seems OK on checking in Chambers and COD.

    I liked 8 and 26.

  7. duncandisorderly says:

    not happy about 11 or 23. will be back later to see if anyone has had a blinding flash of insight on 11. “ender” for “one dying” leaves me cold, though. I was searching for a synonym for “colourist” but got nothing that worked with “bart’s”, which is always doing duty when “hospital” requires more than “h”.

    oh well.


  8. Myrvin says:

    Andrew, for 5d you mean D in COLLIER. I agree with you about ‘another’ in 18d.

  9. tupu says:

    re 11.
    All I noticed was that E is the mid letter of ‘as in Egypt’ and as such is a ‘middle East’, with ‘the area around Jordan’ providing the definition. But the surface is awkward -seems to involves ‘as in’ as both a ‘pointer’ to and a part of the location of the middle E, unless ‘middle e’ can simply be seen without any indication.

  10. Blunt says:

    15 across, RETREAT also refers to the previous clue. Chequers is the retreat of the PM.

  11. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks for blog, Andrew – but I’m afraid I didn’t care for the puzzle itself at all.

    23a struck me as one of the most dismal clues I’ve seen in a long time. In the entire history of the English language, has anyone ever called a dying person an “ender”? And BARTENDERS don’t typically pull your leg, a muscle, or many other things. The loose association with punch the alcoholic drink seems woefully inadequate to me.

  12. NeilW says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    AS is substituted in the middle of EgypT in the solution “as it is in the middle of EAST” – well that’s how I read it earlier today. Far too clever for me and, sadly, we can’t go to the source for elucidation.

  13. NeilW says:

    Fumblefingers, BARTENDERS pull pints.

  14. NeilW says:

    Sorry james g @ 4 – I see you had already beat me to the punch.

  15. NeilW says:

    ..beaten me..

  16. carneddi says:

    Re 11a…
    I read ‘the area around Jordan’ as ‘Middle’ i.e. Jordan, the TV celebrity’s(?) waist! Is that too vague I wonder?

  17. Andrew says:

    Just to clarify my explanation of 23ac: I was making the point that punch is a drink that bartenders don’t pull – “they don’t pull punches” (but they do pull pints).

  18. tupu says:

    ps re 11
    Notwithstanding my suggestion at 9,
    I am beginning to prefer a combination of Andrew’s and james g’s solution to this clue, assuming Egypt is left out of the definition.
    If ‘as’ is placed in ET (Egypt car reg) we get East, with ‘as’ in the middle of it. Then the definition is ‘the area around Jordan, say’. This seems to be the only parsing that uses all words of the clue only once.

  19. tupu says:

    Sorry. I should have included P @1 in my last comment.

  20. Paul B says:

    I think Tupu has it, really.

    For ‘As in Egypt’, I suggest Rover requires us to flip as if by magic from the full name of that country to its IVR code – not entirely unheard of in The G, but a bit of a stretch when used in this rather complex way. Essentially, then, he’s asking us to see the AS in ET as the middle of EAST, whereas the phrase ‘AS in ET’ actually denotes nothing in the middle of anything! One of those clues, I’m afraid, in which you can see what the setter is trying, but failing dismally, to get at.

    As to ENDER, I’ve seen (and used) ‘Terminator’ before, but one of these as others have observed is not in any easily translatable way ‘one dying’. Sorry, but I feel this offering, with no immediately obvious redeeming features in any of the remaining clues, to be another truly shocking crossword from The Guardian. Which organ could do (as in the past it has done) much, much better.

  21. Julia says:

    Jordan – DD (as in significant boobies)- in mile.

    Don’t shoot the solver.

  22. Roger says:

    Hi Julia,

    I too have been looking over the finer points in Ms Price’s life in the hope that some details may be forthcoming to help us here ~~ but alas, no. Enlightening … sure. Entertaining … debatable. Ultimately relevant to 11a … ‘fraid not.

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    … but a mile is not an area.
    And, not unimportant, on the eye DD lóóks indeed like two boobies, but then one in front of the other?
    That’s not what I think of when I think of Jordan [which I hardly do – hardly?].

    And I am not intending to shoot anyone, but Julia, are you a woman?

    God, am I glad I started the day with that fabulous anax in the Indy!

  24. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    A typical mixed bag of odd clues from Rover and I finally gave up with the SW corner imcomplete apart from SOMERSET and ARSONIST. I did however like 12a and 21d.

    Can someone explain 20a ?. Apart from somersault sounding vaguely like Somerset, what else is there ?.

    ENDER for one dying, is just bizarre. He’s not got long to live, he’s an ender.

    There will never be another Rover, so perhaps we should celebrate his strange clueing and unique use of words.

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Davy

    As Andrew says, somerset is both the name of the county to which Taunton belongs and also a recognised variant (see Chambers) of somersault. I agree there’s not much to it though.

  26. Davy says:

    Thanks tupu,

    I have never heard of somerset as a variant of somersault and find it quite strange. Maybe someone misheard somersault and so a new word was created. Language is forever changing apart from Latin of course.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Davy

    Yes language,like almost everything, is forever changing, as you say. It is sometimes a problem, though, that everything does not change at the same rate. So while language, outside us, is changing, language in our heads tends to move on more slowly. My wife and children sometimes tease me that I still use words like gramophone and wireless and I still tend to translate decimal currency into old LSD – though the shock of the result is beginning at last to put me off that painful game.

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And, Davy, to make it even worse, it can also be summersault and summerset …..
    [and some seem to say tumbleset]
    Flipping language!!

  29. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Quite a mixed bag from Rover as is usually the case.His puzzles often seem to spark quite a debate here,so I guess they’re not to everyone’s taste.His clueing is sometimes a bit vague and allusive but I suppose if you end up with the right answer it can’t be too bad.
    I parsed 11 across pretty much the same way as james g @9,but I do like julia @21 ‘s suggestion!
    Favourite clues 10 and 15 across and 4 down.

    Davy @24 As Andrew says in his blog, somerset is a variant of somersault

  30. Vin says:

    Does no one but me remember in the Beatles’ “Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite” on Sgt Pepper: … “ten summersets he’ll undertake on solid ground”?

  31. Blunt says:

    I’m surprised no-one has commented on 14 and 15 across, they were a pair of good clues delightfully smudged together.

  32. Paul B says:

    Unintelligible the both of ‘em.

  33. Koran says:

    I remember it Vin! One of the best songs on the album! But – given the spelling – shouldn’t it have been clued as ‘Acrobatic leap, say, performed around Taunton’?

  34. scarpia says:

    You’re right,they were an excellent pair of clues.

  35. Richard Pennington says:

    I thought it was all OK really, although I’ve just finished it now on Friday morning. I am happy with extreme obscurity and leaps of logic as long as it all hangs together in the end.

    Got “Bradman” early although I took “B” for British and assumed “Radman” was some obscure profession I hadn’t heard of.

  36. El Stano says:

    RP @ 35
    I thought BR(itish) + ADvertising MAN = “spinner” but then that leaves the second half unused unless it alludes to the great man’s shyness: cf “the privacy that he ardently desired” from wiki.
    Any good?

  37. Paul B says:

    Oh, so 14 & 15 were ‘excellent’? Let’s quickly re-examine the data:

    ‘They listen to Chequers …’

    Right, so AUDITORS listen, that is true. Tick that box. But the other half of the DD? Well, CHEQUERS does not equal CHECKERS (auditors can be these as well as listeners) without a homophone indicator, and there isn’t one of those in this OTHERWISE EXCELLENT clue.

    ‘… a quiet place for getting more rounds in?’

    Okay, so a link (and a nudge and a wink) back to CHEQUERS, the official residence of the British PM, which Rover seems to imagine is somehow ‘a quiet place for getting more rounds in’. Not sure I’m entirely convinced that the tie-in is all that strong, given the consistently tight-assed behaviour of such as New Labour’s spin doctors, but such conjecture is not the meat of the matter – let’s move on. Yes, a RETREAT is a quiet place – if that’s a sufficiently explanatory description of what a ‘sanatorium or monastery’ (Collins) is – but what about the other half of the DD? If ‘for’ is mere link, then are we to agree that ‘getting more rounds in’ is (a) re-treat? For if so, when you buy me another drink, you re-treat me. Well, all right then, I don’t have to go home just yet, but under this set of circumstances what you are treating me to is booze rather than, say, a pair of fluffy pink panties. Not that I would necessarily want one, although I am very sincere when I say that I am not hung-up about cross-dressing. But again, let me quickly say how small a blemish this is on an OTHERWISE OUTSTANDING clue.

    And as a pair (of clues, fool), of course, 14 and 15 constitute a marvellous example of why The Guardian’s compilers are the torch-bearers for those who would link their clues together. I apologise for #32 accordingly.

  38. Scarpia says:

    Paul B @37
    It’s only a crossword puzzle!

  39. Paul B says:

    Outside of a specialist crossword puzzle site, I think you’d be making an excellent point!

  40. Fletch says:

    I find it easy to ignore puzzles by setters I know I’m not keen on. Why some prefer to print and solve them just so they can fly into a fit of apoplectic rage is quite beyond me.

  41. scarpia says:

    Paul B.
    I must admit I didn’t read any more than a couple of lines of your rant.Your use of capital letters seemed to point to a man in a temper.I imagine your keyboard was getting quite a hammering.
    I have attached a link you might find useful –

  42. Richard Pennington says:

    El Stano @ 36

    Sorry just picked up your helpful reply to my post. Yes I think you must be right. Doubt you’ll see this now, but wanted to express my gratitude.

  43. El Stano says:

    Thanks [blush]

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