Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,068 – Audreus

Posted by Andrew on July 21st, 2010


After a long break, Audreus seems to be becoming quite a regular again. This was a fairly typical example of her work – nothing too difficult, apart from an obscure meaning at 21dn, but a gently enjoyable solve. If tradition is maintained, we can expect this puzzle to be followed by one from Audreus’s son Shed, which I think will please tomorrow’s blogger..

5. WYCH ELMS “Which?” + E[ncountered] + LMS
9. DOMINEER MINE (what’s not yours) in DOER
13. SALT Double definition
14. AMBULATE MA< + BU[t]+ LATE (As recently defined on "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" – Ambulate: a hearse)
17. STALWART T (head of “tousle”) in SAL + WART
23. HORRID RR + I in D’OH<. I suppose Homer's cry of "d'oh!" could mean "[I'm] stupid!"
25. BEAM ENDS (Barely) cryptic definition – to be on your beam ends is to be short of money
26. ENDOWS DO in E.N.W.S.
2. ROOK Double definition – bird and chessman
3. TRIDACTYL RID in TACT + Y[our] + [anima]L
6. COBWEBBY COB + BB (very black, as in pencils) in YEW<
7. ENNUI Hidden in betweEN NUIsances
16. HARRIDAN H + RA< + R + DI + AN
19. GAUCHE AU + CH in EG<
21. THRUM HR (hour) in TUM – THRUM, I learn, can mean “the fringe of threads of warp left after cloth has been cut off of a loom”. An obscure definition, but the wordplay is easy and it gives a nice surface reading.
22. FLEW Homophone of “flu”

41 Responses to “Guardian 25,068 – Audreus”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Andrew – needed the explanation for 5a.

    We have had two Audreus since October last year – 9 April and 26 May. I though this was much easier than her usual fare.

    21d THRUMS I knew of this because of a house in Kirriemuir associated with JM Barry A Window in Thrums

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Sorry, that should be Barrie.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    As you say, not too taxing, but an enjoyable solve, with some ingenious cluing, eg 11ac and amusing little stories, as in 17, 20 and 23ac et al.

    Despite the mugginess of the morning, I took WARM = ‘close’ as in ‘You’re getting warm’, in ‘Hunt the thimble’! [I’m out of practice.]

    [You’re quite right, of course, but I was trying not to tempt Providence by thinking about it! ;-) ]

  4. Myrvin says:

    Had a few wobbles in the lower left.
    5d goes on for ever.
    9a – Had ‘dominate’ for a while.
    25a does seem a weak Rufus clue. Maybe there’s more to it.
    23a – back to the Simpsons. I didn’t like it.
    24a & 26a I don’t much like the ‘direction(s)’ or ‘quarters’ clue-part. Gives too many possibilities.
    21a – is only obscure to me meaning Fringe. Oddly, the meaning I know is put as second in Chambers. So a new word for me.
    24d – I liked this. Hope it’s not another accent thing.

  5. Myrvin says:

    25a is also men in beads – a sign of destitution?

  6. Martin H says:

    I enjoy this sort of sparring with the setter – nothing too heavyweight, but a good workout to start the day. The only one I didn’t like – unless Andrew and I are missing something – was BEAM-ENDS: I’d have thought there was plenty of opportunity for wordplay there.

    Thrums, offcuts from looms, often brightly coloured, used to be available from woollen mills, sold in bags by weight if I remember correctly. Among other uses they could be knitted into squares which could be sewn together to make blankets.

  7. Richard says:

    LMS was a railway company not a railway line.

  8. NeilW says:

    Richard, could not LMS be a railway line, like P&O was a shipping line? (I’m happy to stand corrected if you have to have a liner to be a line…)

  9. NeilW says:

    Thanks, by the way, Andrew. Was I the only one to find this a “game of two halves”? The right side took 5 minutes and the left about five times as long.

  10. walruss says:

    Me too. I found it easy and hard, with some good and some quite bad clues! Still better than some of The Guardian’s team though by a good way. Shed tomorrow then?

  11. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I’m another one who found this easy in places and quite hard in others. THRUM was new — thanks for all the explanations. My favourite was the double anagram at 11ac.

    I also took ‘warm’ as ‘you’re getting close’ rather than in terms of humidity.

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Easy to get into, then challenging, with a couple of new words gettable from the wordplay.

    I had to look up ‘harridan’, having got to ‘harri…’ with now idea of who the girl might be – couldn’t she have been a princess? (consideing the obscurity or the word a little extra help..?)

    All in all, this was fun

  13. Stella Heath says:

    I should have previewed – that was ‘considering the obscurity of..’

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Audreus

    A very good puzzle with lots to smile at and plenty teasers. I kept thinking 5d might be mistaken and must be hardheartedness, but then the penny dropped. A good clue. The ‘warm’ is I feel sure ‘getting close’ as in games. Warm otherwise is not the same as close, which typically involves the idea of (humidly) ‘stifling’ I think.

    I have not been a follower of the Simpsons and had to check ‘doh’, and also thrum.

    Harridan is not literally a witch – more a bad tempered old woman.

    Favourite clues were 5a. and d., 11a, 12d.

  15. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks Andrew
    Not a great puzzle, but nothing to complain about apart from BEAM-ENDS, the clue for which struck me as somewhat less than “barely cryptic”.

  16. rrc says:

    Enjoyable, I was quite surprised on how much of the grid across was completed on the first run through the clues. Im afraid the discipline didnt hold on the down clues with the right hand side being completed first. Left hand was trickier but enjoyable. I particularly liked eyelid

  17. otter says:

    Phew. Too hard for me today. I got perhaps a third of the clues without too much difficulty, but am not familiar with this setter so found the phrasing difficult to parse on many occasions. Struggled and eventually got another third of the answers but eventually had to give up.

    Hadn’t heard of ‘beam ends’ for destitute; ‘uppers’ and the other phrases I know were no use and no word play to help me.

    Is ‘cobwebby’ in 6d a poetic reference? Not something I can place or recognise, so again a massive struggle to parse the clue.

    5a got ‘elms’ pretty quickly (I’m happy with ‘line’ for a railway company), but totally failed to think of the correct soundalike for ‘questionable identity’. Kicked myself when I saw the answer.

    There’s certainly some clever and enjoyable clueing, and I look forward to meeting this setter again.

    Thanks very much for the blog and the explanations, which has helped me learn a bit more.

  18. Carrots says:

    Sorry to introduce a discordant note, but I found the clue-ing on this puzzle laboured: unduly long-winded, over-convoluted and lacking variety in structure. There was little evidence of Googly-style wordplay: practically each clue could be dissected like a laboratory specimen. I half-expected not to find “COBWEBBY” in Chambers, but it is there alright, so it is, perhaps, me being even more of a grumpy old git today.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    Got totally stuck by the NE corner for some wierd reason. Went to the bookies for an hour, came back and finished ir straight off. Nothing like a break eh?

    NeilW, Line is not used in railway circles in the sense that nautical circles use it. The LMS, as a railway company, operated a number of lines, i.e. routes. So then using a singular as a collective for a plural would not be wonderful. It’s ok nautically because individual routes are not called lines (I think, probably wrong again as usual).

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry NW corner. Sigh.

  21. tupu says:

    Hi otter
    I too had wondered about this – especially after the complex Titania quotation yesterday. It is quite a poetic image as you say. If you google ‘dawn cobwebs frozen hedges winter poem’
    you’ll find a link to a relevant ‘winter poem’ and also several other likely bits and pieces. I can’t see any well known poem – the one I’ve seen seems to be by a pseudonymous poet on a blog.

  22. FumbleFingers says:

    @otter/Carrots 17/18

    Re COBWEBBY – whilst I suppose that particular inflection is just about acceptable, I can’t say the same about wiktionary’s offerings cobwebbier and cobwebbiest. Just goes to show that user-generated content has its limitations (present company excepted!).

  23. otter says:

    Thanks, both. I’ll look into it. It’s a lovely image, wherever it’s from.

  24. Myrvin says:

    I quite liked COBWEBBY, especially when I found it was a real word. I think I shall use it frequently.
    Additional clues for 25a:
    The Beatles with the Maharishi – men in beads.
    The last word in cots – amen in beds.
    Make amends be your answer.

  25. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    I really enjoyed this one,not too difficult but certainly challenging enough.The only weak point for me (like most others here)was 25 across.Cryptic definitions are not my favourite sort of clue,some work but most are disappointing.
    Liked the double anagram idea at 11 across(charity meal I regurgitated).
    Definition at 21 down was new to me.
    I liked COBWEBBY even though I was,pleasantly,surprised to find it was a “real” word.
    Not keen on the use of DOH or anything Simpsons related but I have given up railing against it,as it now seems to have become acceptable in “crossword land”.

  26. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew for the excellent blog.

    I managed to grind this one down despite a few ‘doh’ moments of my own, but I wonder if someone would indulge me with 2 wrinkles?

    Firstly, where is the definition for 11ac ARITHMETICAL? Jolly clever double anagram but where’s the def?
    Secondly, why are Wych Elms “wild”? You wouldn’t say an oak or a beech was a ‘wild tree’, would you?

    Many thanks in anticipation.

  27. Myrvin says:

    Chambers had “a common wild elm, also called Scotch elm or witch-hazel.” I guess the compiler looked it up.
    11ac has ‘Touching figures’ which I read as ‘about figures’, which might suggest ARITHMETIC or ARITHMETICAL. People say “Touching the subject of ….”. But I’m not convinced.

  28. duncan says:

    could not get going on this one. unfamiliar with setter? too many distractions? not sure. I managed about 8 on my own, then gave up for the rest of the day. looking at it again half an hour ago, I still couldn’t do more than another three. this after finishing yesterday’s in under 12 minutes. ho, as they say, hum.
    not impressed with “d’oh”, nor with “beam ends”, which was crying out for some trickery. something including “live with repairs” would have been more like it. & why did 11ac have two anagrams of itself? that threw me right off course. I suppose that’s the idea, though…


  29. otter says:

    I thought 11a must be ‘Touching [as in ‘concerning’] figures’, to give it an adjectival sense.

    ‘Doh!’ as an exclamation of dismayed surprise has a longer pedigree than the Simpsons; it was popularised by James Finlayson, who frequently played the stooge in Laurel and Hardy’s films.

  30. Myrvin says:

    I think he said “Doooooooooh”
    According to the OED, the word (in the sense of a frustrated grunt) goes back to ITMA:
    Diana: The man I marry must be affectionate and call me ‘Dear’-Tom: Oh you’re going to be a stag’s wife-Diana: Doh! Tom: Same thing.
    Gettit? Doh: a stag’s wife.

  31. otter says:

    The person who plays Homer Simpson once stated that he got it from James Finlayson. Finlayson’s might have been more drawn out, but I think it’s the same expression. Anyway, I digress…

  32. William says:

    Thanks, Myrvin #23.

  33. FumbleFingers says:

    @otter etc.

    Thanks for that info. I was challenged this afternoon for saying that so far as I knew it was Homer who introduced “D’oh” to our lexicon – but since we were out in the garden and it was too hot to move, no authenticating research was produced by either side in the debate.

    I’m now older & wiser. I must also retract my earlier snipe at wiktionary, having just scanned their extensive coverage of the expression.

  34. Bob says:

    How does bishop become “RR” in 23a?

  35. Mick H says:

    Right Reverend = bishop.

  36. Roger says:

    The natural consequence of doing these puzzles late at night, of course, is that most comments worth making have already been raised by the time one gets here in the morning !
    East easier than West … check
    Touching on the subject of figures … check
    Getting warm when close to the thimble … check
    … and so on.
    However, wrt 14a, AMBULATE means to walk, surely, as in the clue. Hence ambulatory, the semi-circular walk way at the east end of a cathedral. Can find no references to hearse in this context. Gaufrid, you’re usually good at these things.

  37. Martin H says:

    Roger – ambuLATE as ambuLANCE for the dead (Andrew did give the ISIHAC reference)

  38. Roger says:

    Thanks MH, perhaps I’m missing something here. I took walk to be the definition.

  39. Richard Pennington says:

    I agree with all comments criticising this crossword, but only because I couldn’t finish it. I liked “D’oh” in 23a as this was my precise reaction when I saw the answer.

    Hope I have more luck with Shed today.

  40. Martin H says:

    Roger – yes, ‘walk’ is the definition. The hearse thing is an aside, a quote from the radio programme. Read Andrew’s note without ‘As’.

  41. Roger says:

    Ok, thanks Martin. In light of what you say, Andrew’s note now makes a bit more sense.
    (To my shame, though, I’ve never listened to ISIHAC !)

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