Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25182 / Shed

Posted by duncanshiell on December 1st, 2010


Well, I learnt a new word today, at 2 down, having toyed with TRIBALISM, thinking BALI was the island, before deciding I couldn’t make it fit the word play.  There is no doubt that the correct answer is very precisely clued.

I completed 90% of this fairly quickly, but then struggled for a bit in the SW corner, mainly because I had confidently entered SHOT for 20a (Pellet or it’s victim).  I took longer than I should to get ENDOSTEAL as the wordplay was very clear and I have come across the answer in barred crosswords before.

I’m not sure what the purists will make of the single word ‘milkshake’ in 21 across acting as two distinct words ‘milk’ and ‘shake’.

This is the first puzzle by Shed that I have blogged.  I enjoyed it.  The clueing is almost always very precise and the surfaces are fairly smooth, although I am not convinced that SQUALID works in the wordplay.  There are also one or two other small queries in the wordplay explanations below.

Now back to clearing the snow – we have well over 50 cms (20 inches) of the stuff in Jedburgh already and it’s snowing heavily again.


Wordplay Entry
1 DATE (fruit) + STAMP (to tread heavily) DATE STAMP (indicator of age)
6 S (second) + CREW (hands) SCREW (twist)
9 ETA (Basque separatist organisation) containing (swallowing) VI (six, roman numerals) EVITA (a Musical beloved of crossword setters)
10 TALKS (negotiations) + BACK (support) TALKS BACK (shows insubordination)
11 (LACK [want] + BOAR [pig]) contained in (to interrupt) BD (Bachelor of Divinity, junior to DD [Doctor of Divinity]) BLACKBOARD (old teaching aid – probably still very important in many schools throughout the world)
12 PETS (favourites) reversed (backing) STEP (part of the procedure)
14 (B [black] contained in (infecting) BRIE (cheese)] + RY (railway [lines]) BRIBERY (immoral practice)
15 Anagram of (remix) ROD STEWART excluding (un….d) ART (culture) WORSTED (beaten, using WORST as a verb)
17 TAMBO (reference Oliver Tambo, South African anti-apartheid politician) + UR (ancient city) TAMBOUR (drum)
19 (A + M [male]) contained in [wearing] SARI [female’s garment]) + A SAMARIA (Biblical land)
20 SLUG (a lump of metal; a ball of shot; pellet)) SLUG (reference ‘slug pellets’ to make slugs the victim)
22 (INRI [Jesus of Nazareth; inscription over cross] containing [includes] DUST [to which man returns; ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’]) + A + L (Liberal) INDUSTRIAL (relating to labour)
25 END (wind up) + O (nothing) + STEAL (lift) ENDOSTEAL (within a bone)
26 KO (knock-out; final blow) + A LA (in the manner of; as) KOALA ( reference Koala Bear, an Australian marsupial that looks like a bear, but doesn’t meet the formal requirements for being a bear)
27 A + R (recipe) + RAY (fish) ARRAY (order)
28 UN (French for the indefinite article; a French) + DERWENT (reservoir in Derbyshire ; in the Peak District, not to be confused with Derwentwater in the Lake District) UNDERWENT (experienced)


Wordplay Entry
1 DB (first and last letters of [extremely] DUMB) containing (drinking) WEE (urine) DWEEB (nerd)
2 (BAD [naughty] + IS [island]) contained in (during) TRIM (haircut) TRIBADISM (The exact definition is clearly spelled out in all the most common crossword dictionaries (Chambers, Collins, SOED), and is entirely consistent with the female homosexual history of the island of Lesbos)
3 SHACK (humble dwelling) + LET ON (revelaed secret) SHACKLETON (reference Ernest Shackleton, explorer)
4 (ANTONYM [opposite] excluding the final letter [almost] M) containing (devouring) H (first letter of [head] HUMAN) ANTHONY (man’s name)
5 PAL (friend) + WORT (a rarely used word referring to ay herb or vegetable; most common usage Ioday I think is in St John’s wort; not sure it is a weed though) PALTROW (reference Gwyneth Paltrow, actress [is the word ‘actor’ gender free?])
6 SAS (Special Air Service; crack troops) + H (hot). Parsing corrected following comment – thanks. SASH (band)
7 TSAR (head of state) containing (maintaining) O (nothing), all reversed (up) ROAST (aggressively criticise)
8 Anagram of (confused) KEPI and WADI and I WIKIPEDIA (online encyclopedia which may [or may not] give clarification of the difference between ‘kepi’ and ‘wadi’)
13 BRA (supporter, another crossword cliché) + MS (manuscript; writing) + TOKER (one who smokes a cigarette, usually containing marijuana [dope]) BRAM STOKER (author, best known for Dracula)
14 Anagram of (that’s wrong) SETH and B (born) and AHAB BATHSHEBA (Biblical character, wife of Uriah the Hittite [Wikipedia tells me])
16 TERMITE (white ant that damages trees, pest) containing (with injection) NA (chemcial symbol for sodium) TERMINATE (get rid of)
18 Anagram of (queerly) OR AUDEN RONDEAU (verse form, characterised by closely-knit rhymes. Swinburne invented the roundel form of verse)
19 (S (first letter of [it’s own top (?)] + LID [top, again]) containing (in) QUA (in the capacity of)  I think ‘in’ is acting as a verb telling you to enclose QUA in SLID.  I also think ‘top’ is doing double duty.  Please tell me if you think differently. SQUALID (dirty)
21 JUDDER (shake) excludng the first letter J (losing head) UDDER (producer of milk)
23 L (first letter of [origin] LEIGHTON) + EAST (Orient)  If Shed is intending to refer to the English League 1 football team, it’s spelt Leyton Orient) LEAST (most insignificant)
24 E (electronic) + SKY (reference sky blue) ESKY (common in Australia as the name for a portable insulated container for drinks; almost certainly derived from ‘Eskimo’)

55 Responses to “Guardian 25182 / Shed”

  1. mhl says:

    Thanks for the excellent post, duncanshiell. I really enjoyed this one. TRIBADISM and ENDOSTEAL (both new to me) were difficult but fairly clued, as you say.

    I don’t think 19 down involves inclusion – I think it’s intended to be read as S = “saucepan top” followed by QUA LID = “in its own capacity” in the way that you might say “A qua B” to mean “A in the capacity of B”.

    I wonder if I was the only person here who was held up by putting in SHOT for “Pellet, or its victim?”

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for an excellent blog, Duncan.

    Shed is one of my favourite setters and this puzzle did not disappoint.

    We are seeing more and more of the ‘lift and separate’ device used in 21dn. [Cincinnus had a very similar clue in the FT 13,518 on 28th October] and I do like it!

    I did know the word at 2dn, so the clue made me smile. As you say, very precise – but perhaps the verb should have been past tense: it’s a long time since burning Sappho loved and sung’!

    I agree with mhl’s reading of 19dn.

  3. Eileen says:

    PS: all the best with the shovelling – that’s an awful lot of snow!

  4. Ian W. says:

    2d is just not acceptable in a broadsheet crossword. Shed also used “fellate” in a prize crossword on April 10. The editor seems to have ignored my complaint then as no doubt he will now, and I am very disappointed. I often like to do the crossword with my wife and inquisitive young daughter but no longer feel safe doing so. Surely the setter could have used tribalism instead, so he must have intended deliberatley to offend. He succeeded.

  5. Eileen says:

    I knew that it was in a crossword that I had previously met the said word. I now find that it was in Guardian 24,348 – also by Shed.

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks ducanshiell, nice blog. ENDOSTEAL was gettable from the clueing, despite being exotic. Ditto 2d (don’t look it up in 8d), which with several others might suggest today’s setter was trying to gazump yesterday’s in the risque’ stakes. 13d was a tad Pauline, and earned a chuckle. Having got KOALA (definitely not a bear) I should have got ESKY earlier, instead of last of all. Good work, Shed.

  7. Martin H says:

    Why should Shed have been trying to offend, Ian? I must admit I sometimes find setters’ persistent use of sexual references tedious rather than offensive, (and ‘naughty island’ was a bit nudge-nudge) but at least this time I’ve learned a new word. Whether I shall ever get a chance to use it is another matter, but surely the shared fascination with words is why we’re all here in the first place?

    I didn’t know ‘Esky’ or ‘endosteal’ either, but the latter was readily gettable from the clue and crossing letters.

    Generally very well-made crossword, with varied and witty clueing – just one dead spot with ‘bra’ at 13.

    I like imaginative clues for short words – too often we get a banal dd – and SLUG and STEP were both excellent.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Duncan.

    I found this hard, and failed on a couple because I too put SHOT for 20ac. But it was satisfying, with some clever devices and attractive surfaces.

    It’s definitely a good job it’s not our Derby Day today, because I can barely get out of my front door!

  9. Mick H says:

    Yes, I put SHOT for SLUG at first too – interesting that they’re also both words for a drink.
    Some great clues – ‘tribadism’ a new one on me too, but I see no problem there, though the Lesbos tourist board might object.
    ‘Leighton’ for ‘Leyton’ is a bit of howler though, which should have been picked up in the editing process.
    I think 19 down was a great clue – I read the wordplay as ‘saucepan top’=S, ‘in its own capacity’= QUA LID.

  10. Colin Greenland says:

    Great work, Duncan. You’ve explained everything I didn’t understand, including some I’d got (17a, 4d), some I hadn’t (24d, 27a), and some I’d never have got in a million years (25a, 21d).

    re 5d: many actresses now prefer “actor” as a neutral term, I suppose by analogy with “authoress” and “poetess”, both of which have almost dropped out of use.

  11. Geoff Chapman says:

    TRIBADISM is an excellent clue.

    ‘Leighton’ Orient, along with last week’s two typos, suggest Grauniad crossword editing doesn’t really exist.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks DuncanS and Shed

    A difficult but very enjoyable puzzle.

    Like others I was for a time held up by ‘shot’ even after the logic and answer to 21d became plain. ‘Not another mistake?’ I began to wonder.

    I also wanted tribalism at first but worked out and checked the answer. If anything the word seems pretty anodyne – :) almost one of those sanitising Greek or Latin medical terms and a good word to use if you don’t want people to understand what you are talking about! In any case lesbianism is scarcely a secret these days.

    It took ages to parse ‘Bram Stoker’ – I did not know ‘toker’ and had to check it in Chambers. I’m also getting a bit tired of the appearance of what my mother used to call a ‘bust bodice’.

    Masses of ticked clues as I went along. 15a was one of the nicest and also 22a. 27a was nicely misleading and 24d managed a huge clue for a 4 letter word. But so many others too.

    Ashamed to say I missed the misspelling of Leyton!

    Martin H. I share your sentiments about words. I notice though that some solvers are mainly interested in the technical links between surface and ‘deep structure’. Each has its place of course and even I got hooked on Q marks yesterday.

  13. Steve and Claire says:

    Three very enjoyable crosswords so far this week, keeping us thinking and chuckling in spite of the weather.

  14. Martin H says:

    Missed it earlier, but I don’t like ‘maintaining’ as a containment indicator (7). Maintain can mean keep, but not in the sense of ‘hold’, rather ‘support’.

    duncanshiel, thanks for the thorough commentary. The format you use is very clear and helpful. One small point: the H of SASH is added after SAS, not contained within it.

  15. Ian W. says:

    Martin H @7, your guess is as good as mine why Shed is trying to offend, and my objection is not to unfamiliarity of the term — I enjoy learning new words from crosswords as much as the next fellow — it is to being placed without warning in the situation of having to define felate or tribadism to a child (or worse yet, refusing to define it and causing her to look it up herself). There is a time and a place for most things, and the place for graphically sexual crosswords is Private Eye, not the Grauniad.

  16. mike says:

    Geoff Chapman@11, just wondered if 23d might be an example of a SNAFU?

  17. Stella Heath says:

    Well, I had no idea what 2d was, so looked in Wiki and am now seriously enlightened!

    I don’t know how old your daughter is, Ian, but if she’s old enough to be doing crosswords, she’s probably already experienced some kind of feeling ‘down there’. Perhaps you could just say it’s a way for women to get pleasure, or something like that.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but I find children aren’t so ignorant as we suppose them, and simple honesty is the best policy.

    I was puzzled by a couple of answers here, and learned a couple of new words, while completing an accessible, if challenging, puzzle, so this was a good start to the day.

    Good luck with your snow clearing. Apparently the problem is here in Spain too, but not where I live, which is famous for its cold weather!

  18. tupu says:

    Looking back over the clues, ‘biblical character’ for Bathsheba is a gentle understatement. She was clearly, if not altogether knowingly, an extraordinary femme fatale. Her affair with King David led to personal and political disasters including her husband’s death and that of her baby and the later insurrection of Absolom. After marrying David she gave birth to Solomon who succeeded David with her help.

  19. tupu says:

    ps to 18
    I meant to add that I remember all this because of my blushes as a very innocent young schoolboy when I unwisely chose part of the story for an RE discussion. I was only wanting to discuss the perfidious way in which David had sent her husband Uriah back to war carrying his own ‘death warrant’, but as the story began to unfold, an embarrassed schoolmaster soon made it clear that the story was quite ‘unsuitable’ for my own and other tender young ears!

  20. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, duncanshiell. I really enjoyed this — my favourites were 15ac and 8dn. Didn’t know ENDOSTEAL, but the wordplay couldn’t have been fairer. Didn’t know TRIBADISM, either, and in my haste to read the blog I overlooked the fact that I hadn’t completely solved the clue…Also missed the wrong spelling of Leyton in 23dn.

    Good luck with the snow! Hardly any here but it’s freezing!

  21. duncanshiell says:

    @14 – Martin H thanks for spotting the deliberate mistake in parsing the wordplay for 6d. Parsing now corrected.

  22. Robbie Merrick says:

    23: why so much fuss? Is Shed necessarily referring to Leyton Orient, the football club? He could have used any word or name beginning with “L” but the associative misdirection would have been lost.

    Too many proper nouns for my liking and is 8 in the dictionary?

  23. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Duncan. For some reason this one failed to download to my iPhone so I had to revert to pen and paper (and no reveal button.) I found this to be clever, innovative and a bit quirky, as seems to be the case with Shed.

    I solved 2dn from the wordplay but had to wait to look up the word I had entered. I was a little shocked to find that Wikipedia leads with a lifelike diagram. No problem for me but I think I am with IanW@4 on this. I agree that Shed is trying to shock or offend and I think a crossword in a “normal” newspaper isn’t the place. I too have been introducing my daughter to the pleasures of cryptics, and wrt Stella@17, if anything it is more difficult when they are past the age of innocence. Mine is now 19, returning from uni in Melbourne on Saturday with her boyfriend. I won’t be suggesting we solve a Shed crossword together as a bonding experience.

    Count me in as another who entered SHOT at 20ac. A great answer I thought. But SLUG is better.

    To MartinH@14, I think “maintain” can have the meaning of hold. e.g. “maintain silence”.

    I was chuffed to see 24dn and assumed that the humble word “esky” had crossed into general usage but from the comments here apparently it is still an Australianism. Even after 33 years abroad, I still call the drinks cooler an “esky”.

    I never noticed any misspelling at 23dn having never heard of the team. “Ludwig Orient” would have worked just as well for me.

    Finally, re snow, or rather the lack of it. The ski season in Japan should be well under way but we are still basking in 15-18C weather and the only precipitation is warm rain. I don’t envy you the shovelling but I wish we had some of your snow on our ski slopes.

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Shed’s obviously got a few Scissor Sisters CDs in his collection, then …

  25. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog, Duncan, and to Shed for an enjoyable puzzle. Clues ranged from simple to really quite tough. Ended up struggling with 19d, 25a and 24d, which finally went in in that order. Didn’t know ENDOSTEAL (although it makes sense as ‘inside the bone’) or TRIBADISM, but managed to get them from the clue.

    Didn’t get the parsing of SQUALID when I entered it, but having seen your explanation, Duncan, it came to mind that it is ‘A qua B’ (‘saucepan top’ being ‘S’ and ‘LID’) in the way MHL suggests.

    Good fun, and taxing in a good way too.

  26. William says:

    Top blog, Duncan, thank you.

    I romped 95% and had to grind out the SE corner.

    I wonder if anyone else thinks 6a would be an improved clue with the “with”? “TURN SECOND HANDS” maybe.

    Some wag here in the valleys has fashioned two large human feet out of snow and published a picture of his work with the caption, “We have 2 feet of snow here!”

  27. William says:

    I meant, of course, “without the with”, sorry.

  28. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the solution Duncan, lots of snow in Aberdeen as well, for nearly a week now.

    I also toiled with the bottom half of this puzzle. Failed totally with 24dn, never heard of ESKY but no complaint with the clue.

    ENDOSTEAL was a new word for me but gettable. I take issue with 19dn, SQUALID and 27ac, ARRAY. The answers are obvious but I am not convinced with the clues. Sorry Shed, perhaps it is just me!


  29. Carrots says:

    Thanks Shed…and hi Duncan: I do like the format of your blog and wish one or two others would adopt it.

    Having not heard 2 Dn, I confidently entered TRIBALISM (TRIMS around BALI: Bali-Hai was, I think, the mysterious isle of love for a GI Joe in the musical “South Pacific”). But now that I have the new word I shall air it at every opportunity….and especially in the presence of prudes.

    I`d never heard of TOKER either, but guessed the answer pending access to Chambers.

    We had an ESKY when we lived in the USA….where I`m pretty sure it is a brand name. It was blue too!

    Like an idiot I put ENDOSHELL in…and Chambers shot that one down too.

    However a lovely puzzle and a great week so far. I`m glad we`re cut off.

  30. Dave Ellison says:

    A little bit of googling leads to a Leighton Orient

  31. Martin H says:

    Hi Colin @23 – yes, you can maintain/hold silence, but the sense given there is continuing not containing.

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi Martin H

    I think we’re in nit-picking territory here. The root meaning of ‘maintain’ is, of course, ‘to hold in the hand’. Variously, in Collins, SOED and Chambers, are ‘retain’, defend’,’preserve’ – all acceptable container indicators for me.

  33. Headteacher says:

    Tribadism is in the dictionary. Get over yourselves.

  34. Ian W. says:

    Carrots @29, mention it all you want in the presence of prudes, but I hope you watch what you mention in the presence of children.

    Headteacher @33 — I can think of lots of words in the dictionary that are best not used in polite conversation, in the presence of children or, usually, in a newspaper crossword. I’m surprised, frankly, that only one contributor here seems to agree (thank you, Colin) .

  35. Tuck says:

    Chambers: wee short for wee-wee – it may be classed as childish but it’s not vulgar and therefore is quite acceptable.

  36. Robi says:

    Many thanks to duncanshiell for an excellent blog. Thanks also to Shed, although my vocabulary is obviously insufficient for this task. When I cheated on 2d, I naturally assumed that this was just a Grauniad typo. I also wonder where I was in the ’60s as I didn’t know toker as well as tribadism; esky was also new to me (unless it’s a cockney footballer), despite two trips to Oz. It’s unfortunate if offence is taken to words in the crossword; more potentially offensive words are printed daily in the Guardian, so if you want to avoid them, you’ll have to stop reading newspapers.

  37. Davy says:

    Thanks Duncan,

    Your answer format is great and really clear. I enjoyed this puzzle although I failed on ESKY which was certainly gettable from the wordplay.

    I think it improbable that Shed was setting out to offend with TRIBADISM and in my world there are no offensive words, only offensive people. It just amazes me how people, in this day and age, can still be offended by an arrangement of letters from the alphabet. I thought that the days of Mary Whitehouse had gone but maybe not.

  38. g larsen says:

    On 23d, I am reluctant to believe that such a well-known institution as Leyton Orient FC would be accidentally misspelt (and I have fond memories of watching Essex play cricket in Leyton in my youth).

    I prefer to think that Shed was making a pun based on the well-known Victorian painter, Frederic (Lord) Leighton, whose paintings included a number of Eastern themes. The exhibition of British Orientalist Painting at Tate Britain in 2008 included 5 paintings by Leighton, and the gallery devoted to his work apparently includes a collection of Turkish tiles. Just a thought.

    This is my first appearance here after several months of lurking – thanks to you all for vastly improving my solving performance!

  39. Martin H says:

    Hi Eileen – I don’t think it’s really nitpicking, if by that you mean being unnecessarily pernickety. An indicator is an indicator and should do its job, so it’s fair to examine it. I felt Colin’s example didn’t really address the containment point.

    Words drift from their roots (derive). I checked in Chambers before I nitpicked: defend is there, but I see it in an abstract sense as in defend a point of view rather than physically enclose something. ‘Defend’ is fine as a containment indicator – as are the others you give – because it has the physical meaning, but not, for me, via ‘maintain’. I find myself bridling at certain anagram indicators these days too – but that’s for another occasion.

  40. Eileen says:

    Hi again, Martin H.

    I feel I have been nudged into the role of Devil’s advocate here. I fully appreciate what you are saying about what you feel / see ‘maintain’ to mean – and, to some extent, I agree – but, since joining this site, I have, reluctantly, come to accept that, whatever I feel about it, so long as there is one citation of the disputed definition in any of the recognised dictionaries, then it’s acceptable in a crossword. The one that I remember most bitterly recently is ‘to’ = ‘of’ because ‘a quarter of five’ is in Chambers as an Americanism for ‘a quarter to five’ – QED!

  41. Daniel Miller says:

    15 a – Worsted – my clue of the Year.

  42. scarpia says:

    Thanks Duncan.
    Great puzzle from Shed.
    Nothing much to add to the many comments above,just re. 5 down – ‘actor’ for a thespian of either sex is consistent with the Guardian’s style guide.

  43. Carrots says:

    Ian W: Having sucessfully raised two children and helped out with the child development of two grandchildren, I think I may claim some cognizance of what might, or might not, be “appropriate to mention” to children. Faced with TRIBADISM, I think I would simply say that it “describes ladies loving each other”…and that it is an interesting new word. Pretending it doesn`t exist, or even worse, proscribing it from the repetoire of crossword puzzlers who love cruciverbalism more than life is, in my view, plain daft.

  44. Martin H says:

    Thanks for that Eileen. I’m with you on of/to, but I take the point too about the Americanism – a bit gruesome, but fair enough. But if you start taking it to further stages: the US ‘of’ means ‘before'; so, to = before; to = ‘as far as'; so, before = as far as.

    Anyway, enough. I’ll say goodnight.

  45. Park Benjch Mutant says:


    Good work on the impressive wordplay/entry layout of your blog.

  46. Brian Harris says:

    One of the many joys of doing cryptic crosswords is regularly learning new words. Today was a perfect example. I’ve now been explaining “tribadism” to all my work colleagues, which has been very entertaining. Thanks, Shed.

  47. Ian W. says:

    Admin: This comment has been removed due to the use of offensive language.

  48. Tony Davis says:

    Maybe I’m weird, but I’m far more shocked by Duncan’s rogue apostrophes – two uses of “it’s” as a possessive – than by Shed’s use of an obscure word denoting a sexual practice. A pity, because this was otherwise an excellent blog – and I liked the clarity of the innovative layout. Perhaps the offending apostrophes were simply typos …

  49. Ian W. says:

    Ha ha ha! Well someone at least agrees that language can be offensive. The inoffensive content of my deleted message as that I hadn’t realised that tone and context were no longer subjects of interest to language lovers, nor that language had lost its power to offend (apparently not).

    For the record, I am not offended by the word tribadism, but I find its use in a newspaper crossword inappropriate. Surely we can all agree that we all use different vocabulary and refer to different subjects when we are, say, talking among friends, giving a talk at work, telling a racy joke, speaking to the vicar, etc. It is one thing to say that anything goes because only adults do crosswords (though I dispute the underlying fact), but quite another to claim that “there are no offensive words” or subjects we do not expect to have to explain unexpectedly to our children over our morning coffee instead of at the time and place of our choosing. If this is not the case, why aren’t all crosswords (Private Eye excepted) riddled with more colourful language all the time?

  50. Admin says:

    Ian W.
    You have laboured your point and we are all fully aware of your opinion. Please drop the subject now and move on.

  51. Duncan Shiell says:

    @48 Tony Davis

    I have now consulted the most authoriative text, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, and the more recent book by Lynne Truss entitled Eats Shoots & Leaves.

    Mea culpa.

    Next time, must try harder!

  52. Shed says:

    Thanks to all. I’m surprised that 2dn has caused so much controversy, when I was half-expecting to be (unjustly) accused of homophobia for 18dn. (Swinburne didn’t invent the rondeau, by the way, but he did write a lot of them.)

    Re 20ac, I fail to understand how ‘[or] its victim’ can be construed as SHOT. ‘What its victim has been’, perhaps, but not ‘its victim’.

    But Leighton Orient in 23dn was inexcusable and I do apologise.

  53. Helen Sarah says:

    Just a p.s. to the ridiculous argument above – settled some 80 years ago by D.H.Lawrence in his poem ‘Conundrums’ viz:

    Tell me a word
    that you’ve often heard,
    yet it makes you squint
    when you see it in print!

    Tell me a thing
    that you’ve often seen
    yet if put in a book
    it makes you turn green!

    Tell me a thing
    that you often do,
    when described in a story
    shocks you through and through!

    Tell me what’s wrong
    with words or with you
    that you don’t mind the thing
    yet the name is taboo.

    nuff said!

  54. Ian W. says:

    Helen, I’ve been asked not to defend myself and to move on, but I have to point out that tribadism is none of the things described in the poem, and I have never suggested in any event that it is the word itself that is objectionable — it is the subject matter. Would you really feel equally comfortable discussing various sexual positions and practices with small children, grandparents, strangers and colleagues? I just can’t believe the repeated suggestions of some here that any topic using any words is commonly accepted in all settings. That is patently untrue, and there are lots of subjects as well as vocabulary that all crossword setters, editors and solvers would agree are inappropriate in certain settings. It would also appear that Shed is alone among Grauniad setters in thinking that tribadism and felate are acceptable, or we’d see them all the time.

    Nuff said.

  55. Tony Davis says:

    Duncan, thank you for your gracious acceptance of my gentle criticism. I am of course a devoted admirer of Lynne Truss :-)

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