Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,206 – Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on December 30th, 2010


A welcome return for Pasquale after nearly two months’ absence. The Christmas gremlins are still crawling around the Guardian site, meaning this puzzle was available 24 hours early, so I had plenty of time for solving and writing the blog. However it was quite a gentle one – a lot easier that some of Pasquale’s recent puzzles. As promised last week, I’d like to wish you all a very happy and crossword-filled New Year, and I hope to meet some of you at the Derby meeting in a few weeks’ time.

4. POSTER Double definition. Bloggers make posts, as on this very site for example.
11. MOTHER’S RUIN A “reverse anagram” clue – if you “ruin” MOTHER’S you get THERMOS
15,17,24. CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (SCARING YOU FOR MEDIC THEN)*. Unusually I pretty much solved this from the long anagram after getting a couple of crossing letters – I guessed SYNDROME as the third word, then saw CHRONIC in the remaining letters, and the rest followed
18. ANNUNCIATED Homophone (“on the radio”) of A NUN C (third-rate) [h]ATED.
22. COUCHANT OUCH (that hurts!) in CANT
23. SATRAP Reverse of PART AS. This word for a Persian governor seems to come up quite often. I don’t expect we’re ever likely to see KHSHATHRAPAVAN, which Chambers gives as the original Old Persian.
25. NAPPER Double definition, NAPPER being an old slang word for the head
1. MENAGE MEN (workders) + AGE (mature)
2. RAGAMUFFIN RAGA (Indian music) + MUFFIN. Very easy if you know the word RAGA for a type of Indian music, perhaps a bit trickier otherwise.
3. CHESTNUT Double definition – though I don’t think “a(n old) chestnut” is really the same thing as “a shaggy dog story”.
4. POLEMICS (COMPILERS)* less R> I didn’t realise that “polemics”, meaning “hostile controversial writing or argument” comes from the Greek for war: polemos
5. SAW STARS Double definition
7. RISK Hidden in touR IS King
8. DISH DIS + H. DIS for hell etc is another one that comes up fairly regularly – originally it’s another name for Pluto, god of the underworld, and by extension the underworld itself
12. SECOND NAME Name = N, of which Anna has two but Amanda only one
13. AGITPROP A GIT + PRO + [UKI]P. AGITPROP is a portmanteau of “agitation” and “propaganda” and originates from Bolshevist Russia, where it was originally intended to have positive connotations: the definition “political disinformation” puts a different spin on it.
14. FELDSPAR F[I]ELDS + PAR. A group of minerals containing aluminium compounds and forming a large proportion of the the Earth’s crust
16. NEATHERD A + THE (two articles) in NERD. NEAT for cattle is another old crossword favourite, and this is a person who looks after them.
19. IN A JAM Double definition
20. ACTS [p]ACTS + S[econd], the book being the Acts of the Apostles
21. TURN Homophone of “tern”; a shock as in “a nasty turn”

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,206 – Pasquale”

  1. stiofain says:

    Due to glitches and gremlins in the grauniad I get to post first on my COTY (crossword of the year I think there were some premature nominees around june/july).
    This was brilliant every clue raised a smile.
    Thanks Don and happy new year to all.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. RAGA is a bit of a crossword favourite (Boatman had in July, Araucaria in January with MUFFIN the mule) so 2d, like much of the rest wasn’t too hard. NAPPER, 25a – second day in a row, a guessable obscure bit of British slang. 12d also quite guessable, but the clueing was pretty forced. I did like 11 and 22a though. HNY, bloggers and posters (BTW re 4a – Bill Posters is innocent).

  3. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Andrew. This was my first completed Pasquale so it is going to be a Happy New Year.


  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew.

    I found this most enjoyable when I did it yesterday but I have no wish to do it again today.

    Could someone please tell me where tomorrow’s puzzle is?

    Looking forward!

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    You seem to have omitted the construction of 20, by the way.

  6. Andrew says:

    Thanks NeilW – not sure what happened there: now corrected.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Andrew, for an informative blog.

    I don’t think I’ve ever managed a Quixote before either, so I was pleased to finish this one; I also found it most enjoyable, with a good variety of clueing, some words that were new to me, and sound structures throughout.

    I thought the long anagram was very clever, and among a number of other clues that hit the spot for me were FELDSPAR and MOTHER’S RUIN. If I have a tiny quibble, it’s at 16dn: for me, a NERD is someone who’s socially inept and a bit geekish, rather than boorish. But still all good stuff, thank you Quixote.

    If I can quickly mention the Derby sloggers and betters event that Andrew refers to, numbers are now over 30, with at the last count 8/9 setters confirmed. I’ll be in touch early in the New Year with the final details, but I’m already really looking forward to meeting everyone.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Andrew, you have a tiny typo at 18ac – it’s AN NUN rather than A NUN.

  9. Andrew says:

    K’s D – I did wonder about A/AN NUN, but I think it’s part of the homophone: the first part of the word sounds like “A NUN”.

    I do agree with you about “nerd” though – I meant to mention it in the blog but forgot. Mind you, Chambers defines “boorish” as “awkward or rude”, and “nerd” as, inter alia, “a socially inept person”, so perhaps it just about works.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Andrew, you’re right with your parsing of ANNUNCIATED. Just couldn’t see it.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Pasquale.

    An A+ blog as usual and a much more enjoyable puzzle than the previous two by this setter.

    Hard at first to get into but excellent clueing helped a lot. Also the clues and answers were often interesting and/or amusing.

    I kept trying to make sense of low-fat in 6a but got there in the end. In haste, I missed the exact parsing of ‘annunciated’ once the obvious answer was seen. A very nice clue.

    Particularly liked ‘mother’s ruin’ and ‘couchant’.

    Also worried a little re chestnut, but noted the ‘?’ as suggesting inexactness and COD gives ‘stale joke or anecdote’. OED gives “6. slang. A story that has been told before, a ‘venerable’ joke. Hence, in extended use, anything trite, stale, or too often repeated”.

  12. tupu says:

    ps I agree about ‘boorish’. I wonder slightly if the lexical similarity to ‘boring’ has been an unconscious influence. Boorish itself is very old (Shakespeare at least) and basically means rustic, clownish, lacking urban(e) manners etc. similarly to uses of peasant, yokel etc. It connects to Germ. Bauer (farmer, peasant) and Afrikaans Boer. The German also means ‘builder’ as in ‘Bob der Bauer’!

  13. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale and Andrew.

    Bit of a curate’s egg – easy in some parts and difficult in others. Thanks for explaining SECOND NAME and I didn’t quite get the second part of the homophone in ANUNCIATED.

    SATRAP seems to be used quite often in crosswords.

  14. Martin H says:

    Some definitions well off target at 3, 13 and 16, all covered already, and a weak dd at 19, but otherwise a good crossword with well-constructed clues showing plenty of variety: 11 and 23 stand out.

  15. Swukker says:

    A good crossword, not too difficult although a tad obscure in places I thought especially for casual solvers.

  16. Carrots says:

    Thanks Andrew….I needed your blog to explain a couple of my guesses. As it happens, COUCHANT and NAPPER were both correct, but I was unfamiliar with the latter word and unsure about the precise definition of the former.

    This was a jolly good offfering from Pasquale, pitched at just the right level of difficulty (for me at least!). I could nit-pick about a few definitions (e.g. TURN

    Good news about the Derby Do. It will be fun comparing my imaginary 15sqd contributors with the real McCoys!

  17. morpheus says:

    first pasquale we’ve managed to complete with a slight use of the check button to rule out saints name for 12D – thanks Andrew for the explanation.

  18. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew enjoyed your blog as ever.

    Hi Stiofain at 1. I realise there has been recent confusion about which puzzle relates to which day, but this Pasquale offering as COTY?!? No better than average in my book with some CHESTNUTS ripe for joining the RAGAMUFFINS and SATRAPS in crosswordland’s DIS.

  19. Robi says:

    P.S. In 18, would third-rate be C1 as in occupation groupings (A, B, C1, C2, D, and E) with ‘ated?

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Robi at no 19.

    I struggled with 18ac as well before Andrew put me right. I think the whole thing is a homophone, with the CI being a representation of the letter ‘C’.

    And I realise on re-reading my earlier comments on the blog that I confused Pasquale with Quixote. Perhaps he does that himself from time to time.

  21. fearsome says:

    Really enjoyed this one – particularly liked “Mothers ruin”

  22. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Really don’t understand the great affection for Pasquale. Maybe its just that he’s a bit tricky for me. I slogged through to the end with two mistakes dash/dish and couching/couchant.

    I put this setter in with Gordius. Some great clues and some stinkers. I though Annunciated was dreadful. A really clumsy, convoluted construction. Neatherd, Chestnut and Second Name were all poor as well, I thought. But the fun often comes from seeing the joke early and getting it late (as I did with a lot of this puzzle) takes a lot of the fun away.

  23. Daniel Miller says:

    Didn’t bother with this one I’m afraid – the language in the clues looked extremely contrived and made little or no sense to me so didn’t even start!!

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