Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,077 (Sat 31 Jul)/Pasquale – Past masters

Posted by rightback on August 7th, 2010


Solving time: 12 mins

Pasquale is one of the most Ximenean of The Guardian’s setters (i.e. his clues generally make good cryptic sense) which usually means a fast solve. This wasn’t the case here, though – the clues were tricky and I didn’t know any of the four thematic answers, all of whom (Google tells me) were former Masters of the King’s Music. I don’t know whether there is any additional connection between these four men in particular.

Music of the day: Something by another Master of the King’s Music, Edward Elgar: his Salut D’Amour, one of those tunes I always recognise and can never place.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 REST HOME; EH (= ‘What’) around ST[reet], all in ROME
5 T(R)OPIC – a tropic as in a line of latitude, such as the Tropic of Cancer.
10 LANIER; (I LEARN)* – a somewhat unkind wordplay to this obscure name, given that ‘Nalier’ would also have fitted.
12 SALVE (2 defs) – Latin for ‘hello’ or ‘hail’, with some uses in English.
13 CLOISONNE; (OILS)* in CONNE[d] – fortunately I knew this word or the top right would have been very tough.
14 ESCAPOLOGIST; (SO TO SLIP CAGE)*, &lit – excellent.
18 CLEARSTORIES; CLEAR + STORIES – I’m not sure about the ‘American’ here; I think it’s included because ‘clearstorey’ is an alternative spelling (with the plural ‘clearstoreys’), but ‘clearstory’ seems to be the standard English version. A clearstory is a high level area (or ‘storey’, though not necessarily with a floor) in a church with its own windows.
21 ALLEGORIC; EGO (= ‘I’) + R[ead], all in [g]ALLIC – the sneaky ‘I’ = EGO meant I struggled here until ‘Gallic’ occurred to me.
23 A(CU)TE – Ate being the Greek goddess of mischief.
24 ENNEAD; [m]EN + [o]NE + [m]AD
25 GEN + IT (= ‘the thing’) + I’VE – a grammatical case.
2 SHIELD (2 defs)
3 HARNESSER; (NEAR H[o]RSES)*, &lit – slightly wordy but I thought this was a pretty good &lit.
4 MUSIC MASTERS (cryptic definition) – I was unconvinced by this (surely noone says ‘master’ any more?) until I realised that it was another thematic answer.
6 ROADS; “RHODES” – Cecil Rhodes was the British statesman after whom Rhodesia was named, until he was ousted by Jeremy Zimbab.
7 PEIGNOIR; PEG around I, + NOIR (= ‘black’ in French)
8 CORVETTE; CORTE[s] around VET – an escort vessel for naval convoys.
11 COLOUR SCHEME (cryptic definition) – liked this.
15 OVER A WING – it’s a lovely charade, but ‘over’ doesn’t seem quite the right preposition. Still, there’s a ‘might’ and a question mark, so no real gripe.
16 SCRAG-END; SEND (= ‘Get off’) + (C[old] + RAG) – I couldn’t quite reconcile ‘Get off’ = SEND here.
17 BERLINER; LINER under (i.e. sunk by) BER[g]
19 CUSINS; C[o]USINS – I thought of this early on but dismissed it as unlikely until the checking letters forced me to reconsider.
22 GRABU; GRAB + U – I spent ages trying to think of something better than GRAB to fit G?A? (meaning ‘secure’).

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,077 (Sat 31 Jul)/Pasquale – Past masters”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks rightback and welcome back.

    This would have been impossible to finish without Mr Google but I guess that’s OK for a prize crossword.

    I thought “get off” = SEND was OK in the sense of “get off a letter to someone.”

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Rightback you are right back where you belong.

    I enjoyed this but I would never have solved it without checking for CUSINS when it seemed a possibility.

    According to the Annotated Solution:

    ‘CLEAR STORIES is the US spelling of clerestories’

    However, I’d never heard of either but the clue worked out fine.

    Thanks Pasquale for an excellent puzzle.

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Rightback. I’m sure you are correct with 18; I think in England they would more commonly be referred to as CLERESTORIES and that CLEARSTORY might be the American usage.

    Who else solved 4 early on and was left with 2,10,19 and 22 after all the others were completed? I had to go to the internet with CUSINS before the penny dropped.

    I particularly liked 21 though I had to stare at ALLEGORIES for a long time after trying to fit in various conjugations of the French ‘lire’.

  4. Biggles A says:

    Sorry Brian. Our comments crossed.

  5. Bryan says:

    Great minds, Biggles A!

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks rightback. This was more a test of web research than anything else, after – like Biggles A – getting all but the 4 clues. Much earlier, divining the theme was too esoteric for words, I’d tried CUSINS but drew a blank: it took GRABU to unlock the theme.

  7. Davy says:

    Thanks rightback,

    This crossword seems better on reflection than it did when solving although it is totally devoid of humour and more like an academic exercise. The theme was obscure though very guessable from the clues and I hadn’t heard of any of the names. Looking at the Wiki entry for Masters of the Queen’s Music, there are familiar names such as Elgar and Sir Arthur Bliss which could have been used although it would not have made the theme any clearer. Interestingly, music used to be spelt musick before Elgar’s time in the post. The last one I got was GRABU which I looked up with not much hope.

    This was certainly not as easy puzzle and there were a few obscure answers from difficult clues. However, this was balanced by many easy clues. I was not happy with the word sequence of the clue with the answer BERLINER although it’s a good answer.

    I’m not sure whether I enjoyed this puzzle or not, I just refused to give up.

  8. tupu says:

    Many thanks rightback and Pasquale

    A difficult puzzle which I solved after hold-ups with the ‘music masters’.

    Oddly I sorted these last of all with everything else filled in. It was clear early on that 2d was ‘shield’ and 19 might be cusins but I did not know or check why till the end.

    I guessed 22 must be ‘grabu’ and looked him up in some disbelief. After that all went fairly smoothly. I plumped for ‘lanier’ and found him with some difficulty. As RB says, little to choose between that and ‘nalier’.

    Some enjoyable cluing e.g. 14, 21, 27, 15 & 17.

    Re clearstories, acc. to Chambers, the standard form seems to be ‘clerestory’ with ‘clere’ an old form of ‘clear’ and ‘story’ from ‘storey’. It does not say if ‘clearstory’ is originally American.

  9. Richard says:

    I should like to echo Davy’s comments.

  10. Stella Heath says:

    I thought early on that the theme must be 4d, ‘masters’, but failed to identify which particular ones in Wiki, and rejected the obvious as being just too simple. So it wasn’t until I had worked out Cusins and Grabu that I stumbled upon their post as Master of the – in the case I looked up – Queen’s Music.

    Unlike other solvers, though, these weren’t my last in – that honour was reserved for 27a, which I put in this morning before coming on here, because in the interim I’d forgotten that I had left the puzzle unfinished.

    Some nice clues and a few smiles, though I failed to parse ‘allegoric’. Thanks, Rightback, for explaining that and ‘Ate’.

  11. Martin H says:

    4d was the key to the theme and should have had better than this lame clue. A headteacher I worked for (indeed probably a headmaster in those days) was giving a farewell speech for the music teacher and referred to ‘our noted colleague’. It was received with contemptuous silence then, and hasn’t improved with time.

    I liked the mix of words in the answers, with the obscure composers, ennead, clearstories, peignoir, scrag-end and so on. Some nice clues too – allegoric, berliner, acute, and even a good cd for ‘colour scheme’.

    like you, rb, I was puzzled by ‘over a wing’. Not only was its structure was odd, I’ve never come across it before; it isn’t in my Brewer’s, although it’s quite an old edition. Anybody know it?

  12. Martin H says:

    Oh for a correction button…….

  13. tupu says:

    Hi Martin

    I perhaps over-simply saw the answer as literally looking over (i.e. from the other side of) a wing.
    Thanks for coming back later re stalker. I left a further response for you and sil this morning for what it’s worth.

  14. Davy says:

    Re Martin #11. Surely ‘over a wing’ is not a well-known phrase or saying, it simply refers to what the flier can see from his/her aircraft seat.

  15. tupu says:

    Hi Davy

    We crossed! BTW I left you a response re anodyne the other day.

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A warm welcome (right)back!

    It took us about ten times 12 minutes to nót finish this crossword [that is, without aides].
    In the end we missed out on four answers, of which three were themed [the other one being the splendid ENNEAD].
    Luckily, the theme was only a mini-theme, which didn’t stand in the way of enjoying the crossword as a whole.
    [yet, I think, a disppointment for the setter to see so many people failed to unravel the theme to the full]

    For us, Pasquale’s crosswords often have an ‘aristocratic’ feel to them [hope that’s not an misplaced word, or worse, an insult].
    Many words that you don’t see every day, and a lot of references to Great Britian’s History & Culture.
    And although this makes solving [at least for me, as a non-Brit] rather hard, the clueing is so scrupulously fair and precise that it is very rewarding to get there in the end [well, almost, this time].

    Our conclusion: difficult, fair, rewarding, bit unsatisfying theme.

    Best clues? Don’t know, hard to choose. Perhaps 14ac (ESCAPOLOGIST) or 21ac (ALLEGORIC)?

    I don’t see why we are discussing ‘over a wing’.
    The answer of the clue is OVERAWING (so, one word, rb) and ‘over a wing’ is just a loose allusion to where one finds the aileron. Nothing wrong with that [and no need to look for it in a Dictionary or otherwise].

    Finally, we made one mistake: in 13ac (CLOISONNE), one of those words that we didn’t know (apart from some bell-ringing).
    In our ignorance, we entered CLOISANNE, with [s]CANNE[d] instead of CONNE[d] – which works just as well as a construction.
    BTW, and this is a question for tupu (#13):
    What do you think of CONNE[d] representing CONNÉ in the answer, after yesterday’s ‘stalker’ discussion in which you said something about the compatibility of pronunciation in both the clue and the answer? Acceptable?
    [I have seen your recent comment, and give my humble view on that in another place – so please, not here, as it will become off-topic]

  17. sidey says:

    OVER A WING is the charade part of 15, the answer is OVERAWING (frightening).

    I’ve tried rather hard to think of a reference book that might contain the music masters, I certainly haven’t got one. I’m not sure I like the necessity of the web to solve a puzzle.

  18. Martin H says:

    Yes, thanks Davy, Sil and sidey, I didn’t look back at the grid, forgot what the true answer was and took rb’s three word version above as the solution.

  19. Martin H says:

    Sil and tupu – the stalker has not yet disappeared.

  20. Claire says:

    Hi folks,

    This is a genuine question, ie not any kind of Luddite snobbery, but I would be interested to know if anyone else out there still uses ordinary reference books and dictionaries to do the crossword?

    My partner and I generally solve the Guardian everyday, but I don’t think we’ve ever googled or used wikipedia. Just wouldn’t occur to us – though it would probably be a lot quicker as we wouldn’t get so sidetracked by other entries in reference books leading us enjoyably astray. I’ve absolutely no qualms about using this site for a helping hand when all else fails, and I do enjoy this and other sites, so I’m not a technophobe. I guess I just think googling the answers would take all the fun away.

    Maybe I am sooooo last century.

  21. Little Dutch Girl says:

    House elf solved this on his own. Well not quite on his own like many others he had to resport to Google. He complained a lot about obscure Masters of the Queen’s Music. However he now is proudly able to tell us how many there have been (not many) and it’s no longer a job for life (sounds familiar – sorry Martin H @11 no pun intended).

    Claire @20 I don’t think it matters what you use to solve the clues. As long as you enjoy doing the puzzle.

  22. tupu says:

    Martin @18
    :) I know you’ve had a lot to deal with from me recently, but please see tupu @13 also.

  23. tupu says:

    Re cloisonne. Rightback notes that Pasquale is one of the Guardian’s most Ximenean setters. I had no difficulty with this clue. I do not worry about shifts of pronunciation – cf. 15d for a much powerful example – and am sorry if I gave that impression.

  24. Myrvin says:

    Some battering of brain to get this finished. Wikipedia for the King’s Masters. Never heard of any of them.
    Last in was 27a because I had OPERATION for 15d.
    I didn’t understand several of the answers. Nothing made me smile, except perhaps 27a when I hit on it.

  25. Martin H says:

    tupu – referring to the wing? I just followed the wrong cue from the blog – I’m sure your reading was good. As for ‘a lot to put up with’, I enjoy this sort of extended nit-picking, even if it doesn’t always get anywhere.

  26. tupu says:

    Thanks Martin. No hassle. I just noticed I wasn’t on your list @18 and wondered if I’d missed the point.

  27. Paul B says:

    I think Sil Van Den Hoek’s criticism of Pasquale’s puzzles as somewhat snobbish (if that’s what Sil meant: I am slightly concerned at Don’s objections to us commoners’ fave pastime, the hallowed footie) probably worthy of an airing, but hey! It was a prize puzzle, and in such a thing perhaps some leeway is allowable. But how much is the question. Thus I bid a cautious greeting to lofty LANIER, CLOISONNE, CLEARSTORIES, ENNEAD, PEIGNOIR, OVER A WING (eh?), CUSINS and GRABU.

    Says rightback, being ‘Ximenean’ (like Ximenes, a compiler, revolutionary in his time, who died in 1971 at the age of 69) means one’s clues ‘generally make good cryptic sense’. Well, maybe. But I would hasten to add that being Libertarian (never quite sure what that entails), for example, does not necessarily presage a tide of (Torquemadan?) nonsense. I prefer to think that while there are indeed two types of compiler, these are neither Ximenean, nor Libertarian: they’re just good, or bad!

  28. rrc says:

    I started the crossword in the morning, had the day in London, then completed it in the evening. I had googled cusins early on and to no avail. Later on the evening when I had discovered a list of music masters I was somewhat irritated then to find his name there. I thought the theme was obscure although clued fairly.

  29. Scarpia says:

    Thanks rightback.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle.In fact I love puzzles with unusual vocabulary and esoteric themes.As already stated all clues were fair.
    I knew of Lanier as the first holder of the post of MOTKM and also knew Cusins as he composed a concert overture called “Les Travailleurs de la Mer”.Significant for me as the original novel on which it is based,was written and is set in my island home.
    Claire @20 I only use the internet as a (very) last resort,but I have amassed quite a library of reference
    books over the years.
    Sidey @17 You will find all the MOTKM in the Oxford Dictionary of Music.I picked up my paperback copy for a couple of quid from a charity shop.

  30. PaulG says:

    Dull, dull, dull. No humour, no interest, obscure theme. I agree with some comments above -yes, like an academic exercise, but pointless. Not a good Saturday puzzle. Let’s hope we don’t get the Don on Saturdays too often.

  31. Huw Powell says:

    There were a few nice clues, I thought, with a fun anagram at 14 among them. I also liked 7 and 8. I guessed at 10 early on from the obvious anagram fodder and wikipedia taught me they were a family of court musicians, and decided to ink in 19 due to the musical theme, but missed 2 and 22.

    In fact, I missed almost the entire SW corner, with only the obvious 24 and 18 and the end of 4 intruding on its “perfect” unmarred state.

    So, some little bits of fun, but a tough row to hoe. Thanks for the explanations, rightback, to Pasquale, since it’s always good to face a real stumper once in a while.

  32. Huw Powell says:

    Oh, and Claire @ 20, my feeling is there are three levels of solving – the hardest of course, is using no aids outside one’s head. Then there is an intermediate, using one or some reference works to find or check answers (and that two sub levels – finding vs. checking). I have a large atlas with tiny print leaning against my table leg, a (Webster’s) dictionary on one chair and a Bible on the other. In the old days I would use them as much as I wanted, since otherwise I would virtually never complete a puzzle, with occasional trips out to the office to use the internet to verify truly difficult answers. Since then, though, I’ve added a laptop to the table, and feel comfortable going to the third level, which is to have google and wikipedia at my fingertips. They really aren’t much different than using books, since you still have to figure out what to search for or research. One advantage is for geographic terms I no longer need to triple-stack my reading glasses!

    Anyone who ever takes a look at my edits to wp might notice a vague correspondence to topics raised in guardian puzzle clues, although the timing is a bit off since I rarely do puzzles on the day I print them.

    I actually think that level 3 (using the net) adds an extra layer of enjoyment – the “distraction” of reading entire wp (and other) articles on interesting topics. I know a lot more about cricket, for instance, than I did a year ago. I also think I memorized a list of world war two aeroplanes somewhere along the way.

    But in the end, I think whatever aids one is comfortable with are fine. If puzzles get too easy, restrict oneself. If they get too hard, loosen up a bit. I usually try to get as much as I can in working “alone”, and then add research to chase the harder clues. Yesterday’s Prize puzzle had me staring at a blank sheet for a really long time, and the first clue I finally got was a term I remember learning when researching some other clue in the past.

    Just don’t brag about solving at a more difficult level than one really uses, that would be rude 😉

  33. Paul B says:

    Thanks for the insight, Huw.

  34. ChrisUnemployed says:

    “…C[o]USINS – I thought of this early on …”

    but the puzzle only took you 12 minutes, so does ‘early on’ really apply?

    Your timings, as u admit using scientific assistance (ie Google) are as fraudulent as in the 2007 Tour.

  35. rightback says:

    Thanks for the comments re clerestory vs clearstory (#2, #3, #8 etc), although having consulted various references I’m still not totally convinced that these are English/American alternatives respectively and wonder if the ‘American’ in the clue was just to guide the solver away from ‘clearstoreys’.

    With regard to the indication of the letters CONNE in CLOISONNÉ (#16), the difference in pronunciation is surely not an issue although the accent is perhaps more arguable. The convention is that these are simply ignored in the grid and in wordplay (although occasionally a clue will indicate an accented letter), which is fine except that it doesn’t seem quite right to me if a checked letter requires an accent in its across answer but not its down answer or vice versa (as in CLOISONNÉ vs CORVETTE here). And just occasionally, accents are a critical part of a puzzle – at least one ‘Ascot Gold Cup’ winner (for the best Listener puzzle of the year) made brilliant use of them (I won’t say which in case anyone reading this should stumble across it one day).

    ChrisUnemployed (#34), any use of Google or other references will be during blog-writing. The solving time refers to the point at which I feel I can do more on the grid (without references). If I have to correct anything subsequently (e.g. had I guessed ‘Nalier’ instead of LANIER at 10ac), I indicate these mistakes after giving the solving time. I hope that clears things up, and assure you that I haven’t yet ventured into blood doping. Watching Vinokourov “win” Stage 13 of this year’s Tour de France left a somewhat sour taste.

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, rb, for your feedback.

    I didn’t make a point of CONNE[d] versus CONNÉ.
    The pronunciation is indeed not important in Crosswordland [and my remark on that was solely addressed to tupu].
    Just like you, I think that the ‘accent aigu’ is something to think about.
    I come from a country in which – under the influence of France and unlike in the UK – the É is part of the language.
    Personally, I consider É as a character different from E.
    I know and understand that, in Crosswordland we don’t look at punctuation marks, apostrophes and accents etc., but my background does not always feel comfortable about how we treat the latter.
    Anyway, soit.

  37. rightback says:

    I think perhaps I have missed previous exchanges involving tupu on this subject, so my apologies if I misunderstood your post! But you make a very interesting point with regard to characters such as É being actually different letters from E (rather than the same letter but with an accent).

    I was further interested by your parenthetic ‘unlike the UK’, because in my adopted country of Wales the alphabet is different and (say) ‘dd’ is a letter in its own right. I can think of very few Welsh words used in English, but something like EISTEDDFOD would be (10) in an English puzzle and (9) in a Welsh one (with ‘dd’ entered in a single square). So not a straightforward issue, but I guess the convention is that any word translated (or transliterated) into English will use only characters from the English alphabet (possibly with accents or other diacritics), and that these are the letters (with any diacritics dropped) used for crosswording purposes.

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