Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25216 Pasquale … Delightful Torture

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 11th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

One gets the feeling that the Don may well have a sadistic streak when he acted like Procrustes, stretching the legs of innocent travellers on the rack  and actually chopping up the good wife for fuel :-)
All in good fun with outrageous wordplay that makes one smile. Very entertaining.

ACROSS
1 BIGAMY BIG (important) AMY (one of the Little Women ala Louisa May Alcott)
4 STROLL S (last letter of rightS) TROLL (evil-tempered ugly monster from Scandinavian mythology) Neat misleading surface
9 BEYOND THE FRINGE *(one frightened by) Beyond the Fringe was a British comedy stage revue written and performed by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, and Jonathan Miller. It played in London’s West End and then on New York’s Broadway in the early 1960s, and is widely regarded as seminal to the rise of satire in 1960s Britain.
10 WILLOW Ins of ILL (sick) in WOW (exclamation like Gosh)
12 THEOCRAT Cha of THE OC (officer commanding) RAT (despicable person)
14 STAPLE dd
15 TSETSE *(SET) x 2 but thanks to the ever-vigilant NeilW, this is actually a simple ha
18 MASSENET MASSE (a stroke made with the cue vertical or nearly so, so as to achieve a sharp swerve in the cue ball) + NET (score) Jules Emile Frederic Massenet (1842-1912) French composer best remembered for his pop operas
21 FIREWOOD *(door wife) most sadistic
22 ROCOCO RO (rev of OR, nothing right) COCO (Coco the Clown, a name adopted by several clowns, but originally Nicolai Poliakoff (1900-1974)
24 COMEDY OF MANNERS *(Yes-man conformed)
25 TEMPER dd
26 RENNET Rev of TENNER (ten-pound note)

DOWN
1 BLEMISH Ins of LEM (Lunar Excursion Module, space vehicle) in BISH (blunder, mistake)
2 GROWL GROW (mushroom) L (left)
3 MEDAWAR ME (this person) *(award) Sir Peter Brian Medawar (1915–1987) a British zoologist awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
TOFFEES T (last letter of strict) of fees (in relations to payments) one of the nicknames for Everton Football Club
6 ORIGINATE *(into gear I)
7 LEG-PULL No joke, especially if Procrustes had put you there
8 THREAT Ins of RE (Royal Engineers, soldier) in THAT
13 ON THE BEAM I often marvel at how those little girls can jump, hop and still maintain their balance on a piece of wood 4 inches across
16 SPIN OUT SPIN (jaunt) OUT (away from home)
17 ECOTYPE The type that cares for ecology or ‘ecotype’ would be enthusiastic about the environment. Chambers defines ecotype as a group of organisms which have adapted to a particular environment and so have become different from other groups within the species.
18 MODIFY MOD (Ministry of Defence) IFFY (problematical) minus F
19 SURNAME Ins of NAM (rev of MAN, fellow) in SURE (certainly)
20 EXCERPT Ins of R (last letter of summeR) in EXCEPT (save)
23,11 CANON EMERITUS Can one merit US ?

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

35 Responses to “Guardian 25216 Pasquale … Delightful Torture”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for a great blog.
    23,11 is beautifully explained by you.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Pasquale for the puzzle and Uncle Yap for your blog. Enjoyed this a lot. Second Pasquale (in a row!) that I’ve completed. Last in for me was STROLL. It finally came to me when I focused on the word constitutional. Misleading, indeed! Learned a new word today: bish.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap, you are still the Fastest Gun in Malaysia. Next, why not try for the World Title?

    As usual, Pasquale has introduced obscurities (like MEDAWAR) and local slang (TOFFEES) that will surely confound most of our overseas colleagues?

    Whenever I see his name I automatically G – R – O – A – N!

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY. I thought that the wife was chopping up the door rather than being chopped up herself…

    I’m sure you’re right but I read 15 as an ha.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I agree with NeilW on both counts – otherwise what is ‘jet’ doing in 15ac?

    Lovely puzzle – I particularly liked BEYOND THE FRINGE and CANON EMERITUS. Many thanks, Pasquale.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    I also saw tsetse as hidden, even if “with” is an odd indicator.
    Would you really call Werther a “pop opera”? Perhaps to a really die-hard Wagnerite…

  7. taxi phil says:

    15 is indeed an encapsulation (jeT SET SEparately) and in my opinion a nice concealment and good clue for one of those hackneyed answers compilers get stuck with when nothing else will fit ! I found this straightforward by the Don’s standards (took me about 8 minutes), but I have shared the clue for “TOFFEES” with my Everton supporting colleagues.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Top blog, Uncle Yap, thank you.

    I thought this was a good, challenging puzzle. Didn’t get too much on the first pass, but there were a few easier ones that got you going and gave you something to work on. I liked STAPLE, BIGAMY and SURNAME. I guessed CANON EMERITUS from the crossing letters but then couldn’t make head nor tail of the parsing, before realising that I had understood it as EMERITUS CANON. When in doubt, read the instructions.

    Nice to see a couple of science-based clues too. I knew MEDAWAR but by contrast had never heard of MASSENET.

  9. Monica M says:

    Hi All,

    Not here to comment on the crossword … but if you’re so inclined … please say a prayer for us here in SE Queensland … things are looking grim.

    Thanks Monica

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Monica

    I certainly did think of you when I heard the news this morning and have just been looking at the incredible news footage. It seems they are right to describe it as an ‘inland tsunami’.

    I’m sure the thoughts of all of us are very much with you. x

  11. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale for an entertaining puzzle, and to UY for a super blog.

    All the clues nicely worded and meanings clear when solved. I, too, missed the ha in 15. Medawar I knew, but had to look up Everton FC – even Englishmen don’t know all the football club nicknames (there are several explanations for how this name came to be adopted, the most well known being that there was a business in Everton village, between Everton Brow and Brow Side, named Mother Noblett’s, a toffee shop, which advertised and sold sweets, including the Everton Mint); from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everton_F.C.#Nickname

    Monica @9 – it looks very bad from a distance; must be awful there.

  12. Robi says:

    P.S. Hadn’t heard the expression ‘on the beam’ before – ‘on the level’ or ‘on the straight and narrow’ are more usual for me – obviously, not nautically-minded.

  13. Martin H says:

    Many good clues – 1ac and 20 stand out for me.

    Temper = cushion? Growl = bark? Hmmm

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Pasquale

    As usual with Pasquale, I found this quite hard though fair and alleviated by the amusing two long anagrams. Stroll was also fun when the peny finally dropped. 17d also took time to see.

    Massenet best known for operas? Yes but I think he was most widely known and appreciated for his ‘Meditation from Thais’ rather than for that or other operas as such.

    I had to check bish and lem in Chambers after getting 1d, and also checked toffees which I worked out from the wordplay.

    I took some time to be convinced that ‘temper’ was right – I thought of it as heating + cooling but of course one can temper ardour and enthusiasm etc?

  15. Jack Aubrey says:

    Re Grandpuzzler @ 2, I don’t think I’ve come across “bish” since the Jennings stories – which I read as a boy sometime just after the last ice age. Darbyshire was won’t to say that some catastrophe was “the biggest bish since the Battle of Bannockburn”. For someone north of the border, this was a very confusing expression.

    Fine puzzle and very helpful blog.

  16. tupu says:

    ps re ‘temper’

    Martin H. Chambers gives ‘soften’ as one meaning so I am happy with ‘cushion’. But it is interesting that it can contextually mean both ‘harden’ (steel) and ‘soften’, out of its general sense of bringing something to a required condition.

  17. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, and Pasquale for an excellent puzzle.

    There were several unfamiliar, or only vaguely familiar, answers which I got thanks to the wordplay, all except the composer, who I’ve never heard of. The only French composers I know are Debussy and Ravel.

    I guessed 5d from the toffees, which rang a bell, with no idea of football nicknames. I’d never heard of the scientist either, but managed to guess his name.

    The two long answers fell into place quite easily with crossing letters, as both evoked vague memories, and I also appreciated the cruel streak, although I eventually settled for NeilW’s interpretation of 21ac; and I read 15ac as a hidden answer.

    Sorry to hear of your troubles down under, Monica. Perhaps deniers of global warming will start taking note.

  18. paul8hours says:

    Quite a challenge today with several answers put in from the wordplay without understanding why, so many thanks to UY for the blog.
    Best of luck to Brisbane. One of our factories is in Rocklea so not many cans being made there at the moment.

  19. Monica M says:

    For us in Brisbane we have to wait til Thursday for the worst … we (at Brisbane City Council that don’t do emergency work have been told to stay home) …I have a colleague staying with me who had to evacuate … we’ll just have to wait. My mother lives in Toowoomba, fortunately she has been holidaying in north Qld … but one of her best friends who lives there ( and is 80) said she has never seen a more frightening thing in her life. Thanks for your good wishes.

  20. Martin H says:

    Hi tupu – I still don’t like temper = cushion. As you say, the verb implies the bringing of something to a required conclusion; however, this must be done by subjecting it to a change in state. The softening effect of cushioning doesn’t seem to me to carry this sense. It’s a question, as often in discussion of fairness in clues, of how far you can go along a chain of synonyms before a reasonable connection between the clue word and the word clued breaks down. But no doubt ‘reasonable’ will be interpreted differently by different solvers.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hard work for some, like me, dead easy for others. Hmm, makes it difficult to make any meaningful comment. Just as a matter of interest, I was the other way round, heard of Massenet but not Medawar. Nor had I come across On the Beam before.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi Martin H
    I take your point – a nice one too. I suppose ‘soften’ is a good intermediary between ‘cushion’ and ‘temper’ but you are right that different processes (external v internal) are involved. And once you get a situation where word A is like word B which is like word C etc., or word A is like words B and C in different ways and so on, you soon get to a point where the similarity if any between two words is tenuous (if visible at all) and the acceptability of a connection becomes contestable

  23. walruss says:

    Somehow old school this, with a few hardish words. Medawar unkown to me. The Indy today very topical with no hard words. Hmmmm!

  24. sidey says:

    On the beam is an aeronautical term, it refers to radar guidance. The opposite ‘off the beam’ is probably more familiar’

    Having been at a rather lovely wedding at the weekend I have to question whether it is a married or single woman who changes her surname. When the bride was asked to sign the register it was “the last time in your old name”. The change would seem to occur when the Registrar declares the couple to be man and wife so I’d say it is the single woman who changes.

  25. Robi says:

    Thanks sidey @24 – I think you have the right derivation. Just out of interest there is also a nautical term ‘on the beam’ that means: in a line with the beams, or at right angles with the keel.

  26. John says:

    What has “being acknowledged in Scandinavia” got to do with a TROLL?

  27. Martin H says:

    John – a troll is a being which is acknowledged to exist in Scandinavia.

  28. stiofain says:

    john @26 I was stumped by that for a while too if u read being as a noun it makes sense.
    I thought this was tough but fair with some great clues and along with the Dons pre new year puzzle a return to form after a few dodgy ones.

  29. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog UY
    Pasquale was too tough for me this time, although I did know Medawar, or at least his niece
    Good luck Monica and all in Brisbane – please forgive me Gaufrid for going off message

  30. Scarpia says:

    Thanks UY.
    Nice puzzle,with just a small amount of general knowledge required.Really liked 23/11 and 21.
    I assume your reference to Massenet uses “pop” as short for popular.As Thomas99 @6 says Werther(based on the story by Goethe),or for that matter any of his operas are hardly “pop” as we usually use the term these days.

  31. Carrots says:

    I found this hard but boring.

    For the record, “on the beam” derives from the ILS (instrument landing system) still in use to guide aircraft towards a safe touchdown. It comprises a localiser (horizontal path) and a glideslope (vertical height)to “funnel” pilots down onto the “numbers” of an active runway.

    I never, ever, want to “shoot one” in anger, ever again. Even sitting in the back of a nice, big, fat 747, I get the collywobbles if I sense the guys at the pointed end are “chasing the dragon” (i.e. indicator needles).

  32. Paul (not Paul) says:

    How does he get away with this sort of obscurity?

    LEM? Bish? Amy?

    A Masse is not a stroke its a shot. There is no way the downward action could be said to be stroking.

    Medawar?

    Why is Pasquale so popular? Ah well another puzzle tomorrow…probably a Gordius!

  33. Pasquale says:

    Good to see PNP putting the terminal boot in!

  34. William says:

    A French pox on the naysayers, Don. This was tough but fair. Those I couldn’t quite explain I was able to derive anyway and The Uncle did the rest.

    Excellent crozzie, more please!

    Lastly, Monica, our thoughts are with you. If you’re still reading, what would help?

  35. Daniel Miller says:

    Sorry, Blemish and Ecotype were beyond me – but Toffees was easy enough for an Evertonian :)

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