Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,092 – Quantum

Posted by Andrew on August 18th, 2010


As usual with Quantum, I am sadly unable to summon up much enthusiasm for this puzzle. Some reasonable clues, though nothing very exciting, but also some rather weak cryptic definitions, and a couple of technical niggles.

1. CLASSIC LASSI[E] in CC (cubic centimetre – a “small volume”)
5. FITFUL FIT (well) + FUL[L]
9. BACCARAT “Backer” + AT
10. DOG-LEG Cryptic definition, with reference to a golf course
17. SEE Double definition
19. DUO Hidden in clOUDs reversed
20. EVERYWHERE If you lose something you would “look everywhere” for it.
22. GOSSIP COLUMN Cryptic definition
28. YARROW Y (unknown quantity) + ARROW (missile)
1. CUBE A cube is six-sided, and eight is the cube of two. This really needs a question mark or a “maybe” as “eight”is just an example of a cube.
4. CRASS GRASS with G(ood) replaced by C(ricket)
6. ISOPOD I + SOP + DO<. Googling for ISOPOD leads to some scary pictures..
8. LIGHT METER LIGHT (portable) + METER (recording device).
11. FEELER FEE (charge) + L + RE<
13. HURDY-GURDY HURDY and GURDY differ by one letter at the start
18. SWIMSUIT Just a kind of cryptic definition, I think.
21. FIASCO IF (provided) reversed + AS (at the tiome of) + CO,
24. GATE A very weak cryptic definition
25. PELT PE + LT (lieutenant)

47 Responses to “Guardian 25,092 – Quantum”

  1. Myrvin says:

    Thank you Andrew and Quantum.
    I think at least one of your cds may have more to it.
    22a GOSSIP is ‘news'; COLUMN is pillar; and the whole is OF (about) the establishment – being traditionally about the movers and shakers.
    I think DOG-LEG has more to it too. It’s found on (of) the golf course; and it’s a sharp bend. But weak I think.
    I don’t understand 18 either. It must have IM in it from the clue – but there I stop.
    Also for GATE; I agree it’s weak. But a gate is an opening, and a gate may be barred.
    I invented ISOPOD; nice to know it exisys.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    You do seem to have had more than your fair share of these Quantums. [I suppose that, for newer solvers, we should have the usual caveat that this is a posthumous puzzle. It is now over two years since Eric Burge died.]

    Even for a 16dn solver, I think this is an unsatisfying puzzle, for the reasons you give.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Andrew. An okayish kind of puzzle I thought, but there were some weak clues – GATE, EVERYWHERE and LIGHT METER were barely cryptic. I did like CUBE, though and the surface for HOT SEAT was very good. No idea on SWIMSUIT and there was a typo in the clue for 14dn in the online version (didn’t stop you getting it once you’d seen it though).

  4. beermagnet says:

    That 14A typo (extra ” to “) is in the paper version too. You can check using the on-line PDF version which is always equal to the print edition in my experience – I looked there to see if it had been corrected.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew.

    I did it without working up any sweat or excitement.

    I’ve also created a much better clue for 12a:

    A warhorse detailed and derailed?

    A roar of approval would now be appreciated.

    Many thanks!

  6. Mick H says:

    Er, roooaarr!
    Agree about the weak CDs, which I find particularly unsatisfactory when there seems to be more than one possible answer. I had ZIGZAG for DOGLEG and LEADER COLUMN for GOSSIP COLUMN at first. The first of those is clearly not as close as the correct answer, but the second is quite possibly better. If you’ve got to guess between potential correct answers you might as well do the quick crossword!

  7. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Sorry, Mick H. Leader column is not better because a) it doesn’t fit the crossing letters and b) leader columns contain opinions and not news. (Ok – some will say that gossip columns don’t contain news either!)

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I share your reservations about this one. Needed the check button for 24dn because of its looseness…

  9. Myrvin says:

    Poor old Quantum. He seems to be something of a whipping boy here.
    As I said in @1, I think you are all being too tough on some of what you perceive as his cds. I dislike Rufus clues – but some of these are not that one-sided.
    Leader is not as close to ‘news’ as GOSSIP is. ZIG ZAG is less obviously to do with ‘course’.
    I don’t see why LIGHT METER is “barely cryptic” – it’s cryptic. It has a def, and wordplay.
    GATE is weak, but two-sided.
    Still mulling over SWIMSUIT though.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Agree with most of above. Pretty humdrum on the whole. I got temporarily stuck on 20a (thinking of ‘over-‘ words), and 19d. This last a bit of a sledge-hammer of a clue. I got it before 20a and the word was not easy to imagine without the ‘W’ of ‘everywhere’.

    Re 27. I thought of this as [B]ITE rather than [I]TEM.

    Given some of the above crits I’m not sure the ‘to’ in 14d is unintended, but ‘you’ would be better.

  11. Eileen says:

    I took the typo in 14dn as being ‘to’ for ‘so’.

  12. Fletch says:

    Christ, how many of these Quantums have they still got I wonder?

  13. tupu says:

    HI Eileen

    Yes. ‘So’ fits the punctuation well.

  14. tupu says:

    And only needs a change of one letter.

  15. Myrvin says:

    So nice tupu.

  16. walruss says:

    I agree with the blogger, a terribly weak puzzle. Not i9mpressed, yet again. The Guardian is SO inconsistent.

  17. Stella Heath says:

    Yes, this was somewhat unsatisfactory, and what most of you describe as a typo at 14d, for an EFL teacher is a blatant error which totally jars. Thanks, Eileen, for a more plausible solution.

    On the other hand, I find ‘swimsuit’ acceptable as a cd. They may be used in rough waters – or any other kind, and they are by definition ‘one-piece’ – otherwise we’d have a bikini. The surface reading gives an image, and there are two ‘definitions’. The ‘I’m’ mentioned by Myrvin @1 simply indicates that each definition can be applied to the answer.

  18. Paul B says:

    A general view is emergent, I note.

  19. Myrvin says:

    I am warming even more to GATE.
    It is an opening and it could be (three-)barred.
    But it also could bar the opening (so the opening could be barred), if it’s closed.
    I think it’s quite clever, if simple to solve.

  20. Myrvin says:

    Kathryn’s Dad
    What’s happened to our Indy blog?

  21. Little Dutch Girl says:

    Thank you Andrew.

    Hello Myrvin @19 if you are gated you are barred from going out I think. That’s how I got the answer.

    I was thrown at first by 22a – couldn’t see what it had to do with the establishment – I thought that gossip columns were full of stories about pop stars and other celebrities. So thanks for the explanation @1.

    I liked 5a and 26a – despite having “radish” – it was some time before the penny dropped about why (forgot that brittle could be anagram).

  22. Myrvin says:

    I didn’t think of a student being gated.

  23. Edd says:

    I took 1d and its extra 2 sides to be the “inside” and the “outside”…

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Ingenious, Edd, but there’s no indication to that effect, whereas 8 is, mathematically, a cube.

  25. tupu says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone in my occasional tendency to see more than may well be there. At least with regard to gate, though, I think that expressions like ‘a three bar gate’ or ‘a barred gate’ are so standard as to remove any need for further hunting around. In any caee it’s hard enough to decipher what is in the mind of the living!

  26. Myrvin says:

    tupu. Either way, it’s not just a cryptic definition.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Myrvin
    I applaud your efforts to find jewels in the dust, but I suspect it is just a cd. A gate-way (as opening) may be barred in a different sense but a gate is barred only if it has bars (or also just about perhaps in a broader sense of being banned which can apply to anything). LDG’s ‘Gated (student)’ idea is a nice try but then the student is ‘barred’ from leaving after hours rather than the gate.
    It was not a very inspiring puzzle and I sadly suspect we are reaching the limits of what is worth our rumination.

  28. Brigadier Carruthers says:

    Me no Leica

  29. muck says:

    Thanks for blog & comments
    18dn SWIMSUIT: I didn’t get it and still don’t
    24dn GATE: Gates are 5-barred

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Muck

    Thanks. It makes functional sense I suppose – a breath of the real world!. There is the odd three barred form on Irish military badges, but you are dead right in general.

  31. Carrots says:

    An irritating, flawed puzzle. ZIG-ZAG is at least as strong as DOG-LEG. Sailing boats zig-zag (tack) to maintain a median course and convoys did so in WW2 to confuse U-Boats about their true course or heading. FIASCO is too loosely defined by COLLAPSE as it is more precisely used to describe “a ludicrous or humiliating failure”. HOT SEAT was OK but since when has “conflict” been an anagram indicator? (Or “brittle” for that matter?) “Portable” is not necessarily “light” and a “meter” does not necessarily “record”. A GATE is not an opening, but something attached to one: if the gate wasn`t there, the opening would not be described as one. FILIBUSTER gets away with it by association with “Bronco Buster”, but I`ve not seen this term used since in comics of the 1950s`(Even Clint Eastwood was “Bronco Billy”!).

    I`m grumpy because I wasted time solving this instead of enjoying a second lunchtime pinta.

  32. tupu says:

    Hi Carrots
    Pretty devastating! I am reminded re portable of a quip of Mort Sahl’s (I think) about a large ‘portable’ typewriter – something like “You can tell it’s portable because it has a handle”.

    Chambers has ‘buster’ as ‘horse-breaker’ and so does OED (last quote given 1903), but maybe it’s there to help young EFL students read old westerns.

  33. muck says:

    Hi Carrots
    You wrote “A GATE is not an opening, but something attached to one: if the gate wasn`t there, the opening would not be described as one”. Chambers, and I’m sure every other dictionary, disagrees!

  34. cholecyst says:

    Carrots: Re GATE. Have you never departed from an airport?

  35. Myrvin says:

    Tut tut Quantum. If he were alive he’d be saying “infamy infamy, they’ve all got it infamy.”
    To record a measurement, you don’t have to store it in the meter. Chambers ‘record':”to register (on an instrument, scale, etc)”.
    A gate is not just the thing that blocks the way (although I argue that’s in the clue too). Ch’s “a passage into a city, enclosure, or any large building”. Did the Brandenburg gate have gates? Doesn’t matter.
    If something is light, it’s likely to be portable.
    Fiasco: “a failure in a musical performance; a complete failure of any kind” – that can be a collapse.
    Dogleg “something bent in that way, eg (golf) a hole with a bent fairway.” A zigzag course may be OK, but it’s not in Chambers.
    A 5-barred gate is still barred. (I thought there was a 3 one)
    I remember bronco-buster, and it’s in Chambers.
    RIP Quantum.

  36. tupu says:

    Looking back over the puzzle and the comments, I think I stick with my original comment ‘pretty humdrum on the whole’. I don’t feel it’s as bad as some others seem to feel, but I felt the absence of anything very interesting, despite Myrvin’s gallant efforts. I have got into the habit of putting ticks against pleasing clues and question marks against iffy ones, and my copy of this one has none of either. The clumsiest clue is the one with the typo, and that can hardly be blamed on the setter!

  37. Gerry says:

    I took a while to finish this, and then wasn’t too impressed.

    Like others, I found it dificult to get away from zig-zag, especially once ‘light meter’ was entered. Then again, a zig-zag is a double bend, and a dog-leg isn’t.

  38. Carrots says:

    Tupu/Muck/Cholecyst/Myrvin et al: I am chastened by your invocations of higher authorities (such as Chambers) and welcome your thoughtful and helpful comments. Alas, I am in the habit of solving the daily Grauniad in a basic drinking establishment in which, were I to ask for a Chambers, would be gruffly told to spit in the sawdust on the floor. I detest those electronic “portable” dictionaries almost as much as “portable” phones, so I fumble my way to solutions limited as much by own prejudices as linguistic knowledge…or lack of it in this case!

    I don`t usually get to this site until relatively late in the day, so there`s not much I can usefully add “when the hurly burly`s done” (to labour the precedent set by 13dn.) I do follow your deliberations though…and marvel at the blogger`s ability to function before 08.00am., which is like the middle of the night for me.

  39. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Pretty easy puzzle from Quantum with a couple of “loose” clues.Cryptic definitions usually seem to split opinions – I liked SWISUIT but thought GOSSIP COLUMN was poor.Like MickH @6 I put in leader column,which I think better fitted the definition(pillar of the eatblishment = leader).1 down would have worked better if it was 2 down.

  40. tupu says:

    Hi Carrots
    Kind of you to include me in the list – though I thought I was fairly sympathetic in my own response. You were just a little OTT but, for what its worth, I generally enjoy your stylish and refreshing sallies.

    Another memory – The Crazy Gang performing their version of ‘The Scarlet Pimple!’ He has assembled a group to take to safety in England when the enemy arrives. ‘Quick. Hide them in the secret chambers!’. ‘Where are the secret chambers?’ ‘Under the secret beds you fool!’. Sorry!

  41. Paul B says:

    For Myrvin (who @ 35 says: ‘if something is light, it’s likely to be portable’. And: fiasco, a failure in a musical performance, a complete failure of any kind, that can be a collapse), I’m afraid to say that definitions for clues, not to mention SI elements, for published cryptic crosswords really need to be much tighter than that. Indeed, excluding accepted inaccuracies as seen in the dire but ubiquitous crosswordese, they probably need to be as good or the same as the dictionary def itself (unless the clue is an &lit or a cryptic definition).

    Solvers need to know for sure they’re getting it right, and poor craftsmanship does nowt to reassure in that regard.

  42. Scarpia says:

    Re.39 – That should have read SWIMSUIT and establishment.

  43. Ian W. says:

    Stella @17 — since when is a bikini not a swimsuit? The bare reference to “one piece” without a “for example” just left me, as with several other clues, scratching my head after solving, still wondering if I was missing something. The measure of a good clue, to my mind, is not whether it can be justified with Chambers et al., but whether it leaves an unambiguous sense of completion and satisfation on solving. Alas, too many in this did not.

  44. Richard Pennington says:

    Well I liked it.

  45. Barnaby Page says:

    2d: is ARCH, meaning “chief”, really a word on its own? Surely it’s just a prefix.

    28ac: possibly this is nit-picking (surely not…) but the “as” didn’t work for me. “Unknown quantity by missile plant” would have led more logically to YARROW.

  46. Roger says:

    Am a bit late here due to internet problems ~ but for what it’s worth , I read 1d in the sense that “It’s six-sided or eight (sided)” and a CUBE can have 6 faces (“sides”) or 8 edges ( also “sides” ?).

  47. Roger says:

    Oh no it can’t ! 12 of course, silly me. Better go back to sleep. Has got 8 corners though but that doesn’t really help. Now, where’s that retract button ? :(

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