Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,146 – Auster

Posted by Andrew on October 20th, 2010


A pretty easy puzzle from Auster (who I don’t think we’ve seen for a while), with a lot of rather obvious charades and anagrams. Pleasant enough, but nothing stands out as particularly notable.

1. LOSES IT Anagram of [E]LIOT [N]ESS
5. GUNFIRE GUN (Australian slang for an expert “especially in shearing”) + FIRE (sack)
9. UVULA UV (Ultraviolet) + U[sed] + LA (French “the”). The uvula is the dangly bit at the back of the throat.
10. IN ESSENCE IN (popular) + ESSEN + CE
11. SKI JACKETS JACK(sailor) in SKITES*, though only one letter moves in the anagram, and the SKI part was very obvious.
14. MEMBERS ONLY Cryptic definition
25. ENCOMPASS A rather weak double definition
26. ONION ON (working) + (NO I)<
27. SLEPT IN Double definition
28. DETESTS D [oubles] + (SET SET)*
4,13,20. THICK AS TWO SHORT PLANKS R[elease] in (HICKS WANTS TO TALK SHOP)*. As usual with these long phrases, I guessed the answer from the enumeration and a few crossing letters, and worked back to the anagram.
5. GREAT DEAL Double definition
6. NASA (AS AN)<
8. EYE TO EYE Cryptic definition, though to be in agreement is to see eye to eye, not look.
15. MARK TWAIN MARK (Evangelist) + (A TWIN)
16. CLUELESS Double definition
19. SIRIUS Approximate homophone of “serious”
23. CASED AS in DEC<
24. OMIT Hidden in naOMI Told, “the story” being superfluous words.

21 Responses to “Guardian 25,146 – Auster”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for your explanations. Working out the anagram at 4,13,20D took some time for me. I will try to work this new phrase into cocktail party conversation.


  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    This was “painting by numbers” after yesterday’s Van Gogh!

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew.

    It’s definitely Groundhog Day today and I’m now anticipating getting an Everyman tomorrow.

  4. TokyoColin says:

    Thanks Andrew. I too found this extremely easy, almost completing it on first pass. “Painting by numbers” is a very good analogy.

    Even the long anagram yielded immediately since I had T_I_K and “very STUPID” for the definition.

    I also thought it was a bit clunky as suggested in some of your comments.

  5. Stuart says:


    Could 1 Down not also be Louis + A?



  6. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Pleasant enough jaunt, more like Monday-fare. Liked the ‘stupid’ theme teeing up the rather cute 16d.

  7. Andrew says:

    Stuart, you’re quite right. I instinctively went for LOUISE as it’s my sister’s name, but LOUISA fits just as well, making it an even worse clue than I thought at the time. (The online solution gives LOUISE, for what it’s worth.)

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I had LOUISA too. Very easy, especially in contrast to yesterday’s puzzle. I was approaching Rightback speed on this one!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Auster

    Some enjoyable clues (18, 22, 16 and 19) but not a very satisfying solve overall.

    4ac I suppose ‘top’ refers to shearing as in ‘topping a hedge’, otherwise it seems redundant.

    14ac Pretty tasteless but there we are. A clue about ‘arms’ as weapons might have been more interesting e.g. ‘Kind of club where weapons must be taken in’? (I’m sure a proper setter could do much better!!).

    21ac I tend to think of ‘knock back’ as mainly
    relating to drinks but it clearly can be ‘eats’ as well.

    1 down. I first put Louisa but then changed it to Louise as perhaps more common. A poor clue.

  10. Stella Heath says:

    I’ve nothing to add to these comments. This was easier than any quiptic I’ve done recently :)

  11. Daniel Miller says:

    4D – An Allusion to Tom Hicks and Liverpool FC perhaps? :)

  12. Mike M says:

    Pretty ordinary, but at least there wasnt anything dreadful. (Any remember HUMP THE BLUEY? That was Auster…)

  13. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    It was mainly easy but still entertaining I thought. Brings back memories of former tennis star John McEnroe’s famous quote “you cannot be sirius”.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Andrew. Been out and about on business all day and normally my crossword brain switches off in the evening, but I gave it a shot and got there without too much grief. Not the best, not the worst; at least with the SERIOUS/CIRIUS homophone, Auster clued it with ‘as some might say’, which I think is fair enough. A Scottish accent would be my choice, but Eileen’s not been around today to ask.

  15. Eileen says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad

    I’ve only just done it, too [down in London all day at a rally and Parliamentary Lobby] and agree with the general drift of comments. [Between you and me, this should have been my blog today but I had to swap. I think I got the better deal with Rufus – thanks, Andrew! ;-)]

    I can imagine other people than Scots having this pronunciation – I’ve tried saying them both to myself and they sound pretty similar.

    Did no one else enter ???????ARMS for 14ac, on the first run through, thinking of pub signs?

  16. Eileen says:

    PS: I shook Jesse Jackson’s hand! :-)

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Does anyone else remember the Sirius/Cerberus comment in one of the 1960s Colonel Pewter cartoons in the Guardian? I don’t recall it precisely, but it hinged on the Colonel, when introducing Sirius (a scruffy dog from the dog star Sirius, of course), saying “Don’t laugh, this is Sirius”, but, having rehearsed it a few times and thinking it was a bit of a chortle, actually said, come the occasion, “Don’t laugh, this is Cerberus”. I wonder if Auster had this in mind?

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    yes, Eileen, I tried ARMS at 14a too.

  19. Eileen says:

    Glad to hear it wasn’t just me, Dave!

    [Totally off-topic but, having just seen BBC News, I feel compelled to add that mine was the [not surprisingly, unreported] Poverty Lobby: ]

  20. Carrrots says:

    A bit of a breeze, this. Not the hot, sultry southern wind of its author by any means. AUSTER has a sentimental connection for me as one tugged me onwward and upwards on my first solo sailplane flight from the airfield where it was built (Rearsby, Leicestershire) in the early `sixties. Now, having hung up both my (flower-pot man) gliding hat and my headset from later, more ambitious jaunts, the sound of its Gypsy Major engine can still moisten the eyes.

  21. Huw Powell says:

    Late to the blog, but this is one of the first Grauniad puzzles where I actually know pretty much how long it took me to finish – printed at 2 PM, retrieved from printer around 3, completely finished while checking email and editing a wiki by 4 PM, without any research (although I did look up thick as two planks afterwards out of curiousity).

    While it was “easy”, it was still fairly fun. And a cruel setup for Araucaria’s brutal themed puzzle “tomorrow”.

    Thanks Auster and Andrew!

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