Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,231 / Quantum

Posted by Eileen on January 28th, 2011


Pondering what to say in the preamble has taken almost as long as the solve – and I still haven’t come up with anything appropriate. To say that I was surprised to see Quantum’s name on this puzzle is to put it mildly. This is the sixteenth of his puzzles to be published since his death nearly three years ago but, since the most recent was in August last year, I really thought that would be the last. I used to admire Quantum greatly in his lifetime but I really don’t think that these posthumous puzzles enhance his reputation.


8   SYMPOSIA: anagram of S[taff] O[fficer + I AM SPY
9   APRIL: P[rimroses] in A RIL: Chambers tells me that a ril is ‘a small trench’, which, I suppose, could be a covering of seeds – Edit: but it isn’t – please see Thomas99’s comment 1
10  SHAM: two thirds of SHAMAN [holy man]
11  CONDESCEND: simple charade of CON [deceive] and DESCEND [go down]
12  SWATHE: anagram of WAS + THE [article
14 SENTENCE: there is a period [full stop] at the end of a sentence
15  SYNERGY: ERG [unit of work] in SY [Seychelles – VR] + NY [New York]
17  STADIUM: anagram of AID MUST
20  SEAFRONT: cryptic [?] definition
22  BIGWIG: and another
23  ARCHETYPAL: anagram of REAL and PATCHY
24  TAUT: homophone of ‘taught’
25  CHAIR: cryptic definition
26  ALLOPATH: LOP [cut] in A LATH [a thin piece]


1   BY THE WAY: cryptic [?] definition: sounds like ‘buy [believe in] the way [route]’ – but would anyone actually say that?
2   SPAM: reversal of MAPS [again!]
3   PSYCHE: anagram of Y[oung] P[erson] CHES[s]
4   TARNISH: this has a certain whimsical charm, a tarn being a mountain lake: I wouldn’t really equate ‘spot’ with ‘tarnish’ but Chambers gives ‘stain or blemish’.
5   HAZELNUT: anagram of HUNT and ZEAL
6   TRACKER DOG: I think this is another slightly dodgy cryptic definition, referring to tracker dogs being used following a jail break?
7   CLINIC: CLIN[k] [slang word for prison, after the Clink prison in Southwark] + IC [in charge]
13  TWELFTH MAN: I’m not a cricketing person but  Chambers has: ‘a player selected beyond the necessary eleven to play if required as an extra fielder’
16  GOOD TURN: anagram of TO GROUND: this gave me just a moment’s pause, as I was expecting ‘ground’ to be the anagram indicator, rather than ‘gone’.
18  UBIQUITY: anagram of BUY IT around QUI[d]: I wouldn’t necessarily equate this with popularity – but I expect that’s just me!
19  STOPGAP: double [?] definition
21  ENRICH: RI [Scripture] in N[ational] C[urriculum] all inside E[nglish] H[our]
22  BOLDLY: homophone of ‘bowled’ [made delivery] + L[eft] + Y [unknown]

24  TYPE: double definition: omitted earlier – my apologies and thanks to Otherstuff.

50 Responses to “Guardian 25,231 / Quantum”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    I bet this crosses with someone else, but…
    re 9a: “An aril (or arillus) is any specialized outgrowth from the funiculus (attachment point of the seed) (or hilum) that covers or is attached to the seed.” (wikipedia)

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. Like you I was surprised to see yet another posthumous Quantum puzzle. This was a very easy one – I don’t usually time myself, but I started this as soon as it appeared on the web site at midnight and had finished it at 12:07.

    I share your doubts about UBIQUITY: I would have thought that something was was ubiquitous could easily be unpopular or unwelcome.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Thomas99 – that makes much more sense: more simply in Chambers: ‘a covering or appendage of some seeds’. Because the clue had ‘a covering’, I didn’t think to look up ARIL! :-)

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I shared your lack of enthusiasm for this one. I do cricket, and TWELFTH MAN is rubbish. UBIQUITY does not equal ‘popularity’ by any stretch of the imagination. TRACKER DOG is also poor.

    I liked TARNISH.

    Will be in a better mood at the Derby Do tomorrow, I promise. For those coming, safe journeys and looking forward to seeing you all.

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Strange to have such a straightforward solve on a Friday after a week of relatively tough ones. I thought for a while that this was going to be a pangram, but it just has a lot of Ys! Not a classic crossword, certainly, but not one to give shame to Quantum’s shade.

    The flesh of a litchi is technically an aril: it is wrapped around the seed rather than enclosing it.

  6. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen ~ and as Andrew says, something of a breeze this morning. Presumably there’s a reference here to twelfth man being ‘one less than’ the thirteenth clue ? Hunted in vain for J,V,X but TARNISH raised a smile.
    Hope all goes well tomorrow, folks.

  7. pommers says:

    Enjoyed this one except for 13d which is clearly wrong IMHO.
    The twelfth man cannot bat but the other 11 can, so one less than this number an you DO get to bat!

    Thanks for the review Eileen, and thanks to Quantum’s shade if he’s looking!

  8. pommers says:

    Thanks Roger – you got it there!

  9. muz says:

    Many thanks Eileen

    Almost a Quiptic Quantum, unfortunately.

    Does TWELFTH MAN come from “one less than” clue 13?? If so, it’s something a little different from the remaining stock.

    We will all agree to liking 4d, I suspect.

  10. muz says:

    Sorry, Roger, we crossed.

  11. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    I agree this was quite straightforward, which I for one don’t mind, as I was beginning to doubt myself having been unable to do the prize three weeks running :)

    I didn’t know ‘tarn’ or ‘aril’, though I guessed correctly, and I think you have too many ‘I’s in your parsing of 18d.

    I hope you all have a good time tomorrow. Wish I could be there.

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    Thanks for that – I’ll eliminate the first one.

    I know ‘tarn’ from the lovely Tarn Hows in the Lake District, which I’ve walked round several times. Feast your eyes on this:

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I very seldom get involved in detailed discussions about a clue’s accuracy, but since it’s cricket-related …

    Sorry, but TWELFTH MAN just doesn’t work. I would usually say ‘thirteen down’, not ‘the thirteenth down clue’. Okay, ‘man’ for ‘one’ kind of fits, if that’s what Quantum intended; but the bloke (or increasingly these days, woman (but let’s not talk about the one-match Ashes series that took place this Tuesday)) who ferries drinks and messages about tactics to the batsmen has never been called TWELVE MAN.

    I’m out of here for today and am off to finish some work and then iron my best shirt for tomorrow.

  14. malc95 says:

    Thanks Eileen and RIP Quantum.

    Too many homophones for my liking, and didn’t like “gone” as an anagrind in 16d.

    Didn’t see a problem with 13d though – if you’re number 12 you don’t get to bat.

  15. Colin says:

    I don’t have a problem with the clue for 20Ac.
    Main = Sea
    Part = front
    Not the best clue in the world IMHO

  16. Geoff says:

    Colin @15: ‘Main’ for sea is certainly the wordplay here. I also thought that with ‘part’ = front, this might be a dd, but SEAFRONT is not ‘resort’, so Eileen is right that it is just a cryptic def even though there seems to be more there.

    Have a good time tomorrow, everyone. sorry I can’t be there.

  17. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    As you say not one of Quantam’s best,too many,average at best,cryptic definitions for me.I saw the TWELFTH MAN/thirteenth clue connection,but agree with K’s Dad that it still doesn’t work.
    I also liked 4 down,but the my favourite was 9 across.As a common example,the ‘berry’ of a yew tree is an aril.
    BTW,you’ve missed an A in 26 across.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and rip (please) Quantum

    Not very exciting. I had to check aril.

    I hstily misparsed ubiquity after seeing it. Surely though, answers need to have overlapping meanings rather than be full synonyms. Ubiquity MAY often imply popularity.

    However, I was in Soviet Estonia at one time and was told a typical ‘Soviet’ joke. ‘You can tell that the buses are popular from the fact that they are so crowded!.’

    Synergy seemed quite good, and tarnish was amusing as others have noted

  19. tupu says:

    ps re twelfth man

    I was puzzled by this. I did not see it might relate to the clue number. I read it differently, for what that is worth. The twelfth man does bat as a substitute if there is a drop out from the eleven. So if there are eleven, he does not bat.

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Scarpia – sorted now.

    I take your point about UBIQUITY, tupu – I was really just making the same wry observation as Andrew.

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    tupu, I know I said I was going to leave Eileen’s blog in peace and quiet, but at the risk of turning into Sil (only joking …) The twelfth man in cricket cannot bat: he is a substitute only for fielding if one of the eleven is injured or indisposed during the match. If you get bored with anax’s and Nimrod’s crossies tomorrow I will explain night watchman, jaffa and bunsen burner as well if you like …

  22. tupu says:

    Thanks K’D
    As I say I was puzzled. As a non-expert, I looked up twelfth man in Chambers which says simply ‘a player selected beyond the necessary eleven to play if required as a substitute’ and I assumed that would include batting.

  23. walruss says:

    The twelfth man is not allowed to bat or bowl, tupu.

  24. Eileen says:

    I resolved not to get into this cricket dispute but, with respect, tupu, the Chambers definition is NOT, as you say, ‘simply’ ‘a player selected beyond the necessary eleven to play if required as a substitute’ but, as I said in the blog, ‘a player selected beyond the necessary eleven to play if required as an extra fielder’.

    K’s D – fair enough but just don’t start on the offside rule. :-)

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Your Chambers is, as I remember, newer than mine. :) I quoted correctly, but clearly from a less well informed source!

  26. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen @ 24.

    You understand the offside rule; I iron shirts. What’s sex-role stereotyped about that? Why is it that the poorer the puzzle is the more random and interesting the blog becomes? Now I really, really, really am out of here.

  27. Stella Heath says:

    And I’m grinning on my return, reading the ‘conversation’. I don’t know enough about cricket to opine, and unfortunately don’t get to see any over here. I just popped in to see what was going on, and found Eileen’s link to the Tarn-Hows, on which I dutifully feasted my eyes :)

    When I was in the Lake District with my husband and kids, I got us lost trying to go in a straight line from I don’t remember where to Granmere.
    Still, we had a great time.

  28. Gaufrid says:

    Getting back to the topic of this puzzle, and in defence of Quantum, two reliable sources support the definition in 18dn.

    For ‘ubiquity’, Chambers Thesaurus gives “commonness, pervasiveness, universality, frequency, popularity, prevalence formal omnipresence” and Merriam-Webster has ‘popular’ under ‘ubiquitous’.

  29. John Doe says:


    [One less that this number] = one less than thirteneenth (clue) = twelfth.

    [and one] = man

    so the word play gives ‘twelfth man’ = [does not get to bat]

    20a Most seafronts are located in towns that would call themselves resorts, so while there are many resorts without seafronts, the intersection of all resorts with all seafronts is surely large enough to make the clue credible.

    18d Again a question of a large enought intersection: popular can imply ubiquity, while ubiquity can imply not pleasant things. NO objection to using pup as a “small dog” when the young of other animals are also called pups

  30. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks for your blog Eileen. I was proud of my solving time on this one until I read Andrew’s comments (shades of Rightback!). Re SYNERGY: shouldn’t the ERG be inside NY not SY?


  31. tupu says:

    :) Hi Eileen
    I should have read you blog more carefully and noted @24 the discrepancy between my correctly quoted but misleading (1998) edition of Chambers and yours.

    Looking forward to tomorrow! It should be fun. Sil, Andrew and I expect to travel together if the tickets we’ve bought will allow us to sit near each other!

  32. tupu says:

    for @24 above read @25

  33. walruss says:

    One less than this number and one does not get to bat = TWELFTH MAN? Well ‘one less than 13′ is 12, or twelve, so not twelfth, and one = man? Only kind of, I think, so that is not a good clue. Someone said that these puzzles are not doing Quantum’s name any favours, and I agree. Really loose. But then we are spoilt this week by the FT, and as ever by the Independent.

  34. Eileen says:

    You’re right, of course, Grandpuzzler @30 – I carelessly took the wording from the clue, which, now that I look at it again, is not very accurate, is it?

    tupu, I’m sure your conversation will intrigue your fellow-passengers, especially if you have to shout to each other if you don’t manage to get adjacent seats! Safe journey! :-)

  35. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen and grandpuzzler

    It doesn’t much matter but I wonder if one has to specify NY. Isn’t erg in SYNY (“the Seychelles and New York”)?

  36. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    That’s how I took it when I blogged. Perhaps I should have used ‘and’ rather than a plus sign.

    As you say, it doesn’t really matter.

  37. Otherstuff says:

    A lot of references to 24 in these 36 responses but unless my browser is seriously
    wonky then I do not see a solution to 24d which is TYPE which is sort of a double definition. Nearly did this one with recourse to this site, but not quite, thanks

  38. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Otherstuff – solution included now.

    [I don’t understand the first few words of your comment.]

  39. Otherstuff says:

    Thank you Eileen, sorry I thought I had missed something so I searched the page for 24 and it occurs a few times – there is 24 in the calendar, 24ac, the 24th entry and the 26th and 32nd entries mention the 24th. I was a bit sceptical about FACE = TYPE thinking that the words are actually joined – typeface, but have found that they are synonyms.

  40. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. Probably a good thing that this puzzle was so easy today, as I’ve been pretty busy with other things. Like most people, it seems, I liked Tarnish, and had much the same reservations about a few of the others.

    Hope you all have a good time tomorrow. I’m sorry I can’t be there!

  41. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well easy it may have been, but that didn’t stop the class dummy finishing a few short.

    Can’t agree that 22a is a cd, its a charade of BIG (celebrity) and WIG (substantial cover).

  42. Eileen says:

    You’re absolutely right, Derek, that it’s a charade. That was sloppy blogging, for which I apologise.

    However, my reading is:
    definition: celebrity; wordplay: BIG [substantial] + WIG [cover in court].

  43. Robi says:

    Derek, I thought celebrity was the definition with BIG=substantial and WIG=cover :)

    Been rather delayed by Andy Murray and my grandson.

    Thanks Eileen, I thought it was an OK puzzle. Thought that 16 was ‘home turf’ until the crossing letters made that impossible.

    As others have said, I assumed 13 meant that twelfth was one less than the thirteenth clue number.

  44. Robi says:

    Eileen, we crossed! :)

  45. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh OK then. Dang and I so bored and looking forward to an argument!

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A while ago I decided to let Quantums crosswords pass me by, for the same reason that I don’t do Rovers anymore.
    [which is probably not completely fair to them – but their posthumous puzzles do not justify any special attention, IMO]

    So why this post?
    To live up to KD’s expectations @21? :)

    Well, I’m always reading the discussions, and was rather intrigued by the TWELFTH MAN debate. So I looked at the clue and thought about it.

    Maybe I got it wrong but I read it slightly different from what I’ve seen so far.
    “One less than this number” surely refers to “13”.
    Hence, I read it as “One, less than nr 13″ = “One, being nr 12″ = “twelfth man”.
    The second part, “one does not get to bat”, must be the definition.
    I don’t know anything about cricket [I see Men in White, running up and down for days and days], but Anthony Lewis’s WordWeb (part of Crossword Compiler) tells us “(cricket) a designated substitute player; he may field but not bat or bowl”. Yes, I know, it’s not Chambers or Collins, but still.

    I am more into that other sport with the somewhat bigger ball (a round one, not oval), and in that sport in Holland, there is an expression called “the twelfth man”. Meaning: the crowd (to give the players just thát bit extra).
    Maybe it’s like that in the UK too, maybe not.

    Anyway, hope to see a lot of you tomorrow.
    (hope that I will find a way to get out of bed on time, too :))

  47. Mr Beaver says:

    Well, I don’t care if nobody else liked it – we were just grateful to have a crossword we could actually finish after a week of stinkers. So, thank you to the shade of Quantum for that !

  48. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Eileen, and +1 to the ‘mediocre crossword’ comments. I look forward to something better on Fridays.

  49. Carrots says:

    After basking in the glow of a personal all time best (three sips out of half-pinta to see it done and dusted) I read, with sinking heart, all of the foregoing. Alas, poor Quantum…I knew him (as) a fellow of excellent jest and most excellent fancy.

    But, with Murray poised to join our conquering heroes down under, (who would have scorned the need of a TWELFTH MAN), it ain`t all bad.

    Then there`s tomorrow. I`m not sure what crossword hooligans are supposed to wear, but if K`s Dad is ironing his best shirt, I think I`ll settle for a quilted smoking jacket and fez. I just hope I don`t get legless and lose the dammned Chihuaua.

  50. Huw Powell says:

    Much surprised by this – pulled a clean puzzle off the pile to hopefully soothe the frustration of the last few I’ve worked on (which may or may not have been this week’s), and worked through it pretty smoothly, only needing to look up the many definitions of “cob”, as soon as I saw “corylus spp.” it was easy. What really surprised me waas when I looked at the print date and saw it was a Friday puzzle. The grauniad really should try harder to have the difficulty increase from M – F to peak at the prize on Sa. Although with cryptics “difficulty” is very hard to quantify, due to varying specialized knowledge of solvers.

    “Tarn” and “aril” are both very common in simple crosswords, and as I used to do a lot of them those were easy. 13 was fine by me, as was 18 – once cracked, they make a sort of Araucarian sense, not so much Ximenian. Of course the route from “ubiquitous” to “popular” is not one of synonymity, but the other direction is.

    Although I “happily” filled in SYNERGY, all I could find for Seychelles is SC (SY is Syria…), but I suppose SY must be used somewhere, even though it makes very little sense as an abbreviation.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen and the rest of you, and to the gone but not forgotten Quantum!

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