Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25240 Puck … Everything and then some more

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 8th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Phew! What an assignment today. Puck employed almost every cryptic device and then some more. The way I solve a puzzle, I must stop and rationalise the workplay before I move on … this one took me nearly an hour. But it was an enjoyable hour and I paused to admire the creative mind of Puck to dream up all manners of delightful mental torture.

1 LE MISANTHROPE What an absolutely elegant *(another simple) anagram clue to start the day. The Misanthrope (French: Le Misanthrope ou l’Atrabilaire amoureux) is a 17th-century comedy of manners in verse written by Molière. It was first performed on 4 June 1666 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris by the King’s Players. The play satirizes the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society, but it also engages a more serious tone when pointing out the flaws which all humans possess.
10 ILL AT EASE IL & LA (Masculine and feminine definite articles respectively in the Italian language) TEASE (to make fun of or guy)
11 MOORE Cha of MOOR (African) E (ECSTASY, answer for 14) Bobby Moore, captain of the England football team that won the World Cup in 1964, oops 1966.
I sometimes wonder why EPL, the world’s most successful football league cannot nurture and produce a World Cup winning team for close to half a century … and Englishmen need to bask in past glories by constant reference to the 1966 winning team. I also scratch my head in amazement that the last couple of England managers are foreigners.
12 FEMUR Rev of RUM (drink) E (lower class) F (female) thigh bone
13 CLEAN ROOM *(POOL minus River PO + CAMERON)
14 ECSTASY Ins of CAST (company) minus A (first letter of actors) in EASY (simple)
16 AGENDAS Ins of GEN (info) in ADA’S (girl’s)
18 ELAPSES Ins of APSE (part of church) in EL (Spanish definite article) S (south, quarter)
21 MISPRINTS MI (M One, motorway, road) SPRINTS (runs)
23 ACERB Sounds like A SERB (Eastern European)
24 UTERI rha
25 EXCULPATE Cha of EX (former) CU (copper) L (50 in Roman numeral) P (pence) ATE (sounds like eight, 8)
26 UNDER MILK WOOD (5,4,4) The fictional name Llareggub (the setting for Under Milk Wood, a 1954 radio drama by Dylan Thomas, later adapted for the stage) resembles other Welsh place names, which often begin with Llan- (meaning church), but is actually derived from reversing the phrase “bugger all”. Thanks, Dr G for another gem of totally non-functional trivia information that we cruciverbalists are so full of.

2 ECLAMPSIA *(misplace a) a condition resembling epilepsy; now only applied to acute toxaemia with convulsive fits in the last three months of pregnancy.
3 INTER (P) INTER – Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (1930 – 2008), was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet, left-wing political activist, cricket enthusiast, and Nobel laureate
4 ANARCHY Ins of MARCH (demo) minus M in ANY (some)
5 THERESA Cha of THE (article) RE (about) SA (Saudi Arabia or South Africa, country)
7 PROVO PROVE (show) with O (love) substituted for E (English) for a militant member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army
8 DIE FLEDERMAUS Cha of DI (Princess Diana) E (first letter of Elizabeth) FLED (escaped) ER (Elizabeth Regina, the Queen) MA (mother) US (the Guardian) Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is an operetta composed by Johann Strauss II to a German libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée.

I wonder why Puck did not use America to indicate US. The surface reading would have been improved and this clue would make more sense to readers of, say, an Australian paper solving the puzzle syndicated from the Guardian a couple of weeks later.
9 LES MISERABLES (3,10) Ins of  *(BARE LEGS I’M minus G, no good) in LESS (not  so much) with wearing (in) being such a superb and smooth inclusion indicator
15 ASSERTIVE The rev of the ins of (T)RESS (hair topped) in EVITA (MUSICAL, answer to 20 Down)
17 DESPERADO Ins of *(RAPE) in DES (of the French) & DO (party)
19 SUNBEAM *(MEANS Buisness Ultimately) with two definitions, ray and old car
20 MUSICAL M (first letter of MISPRINTS, answer to 21) + ins of SIC (exactly as written) in USUAL (standard) minus US (non-American)
22 STEIN ST (street, road) EIN (German for one)
23 AGLOW AG (silver) LOW (base)

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

36 Responses to “Guardian 25240 Puck … Everything and then some more”

  1. Nigel Molesworth says:

    I kno little of foopball Uncle Yap, but I do seme to rekall it was 1966 when Bobby’s Boys wun The Wurld Cup. Take 100 linze.


  2. sidey says:

    Sorry about the boy Uncle Yap, I’ll change my password.

    An informative blog as usual on a very good Puck puzzle.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY.

    To answer your comment re 8, I suppose he used US for american in 20dn, so didn’t want to duplicate the device.

    Thanks also to Dr G for the explanation of 26 – I didn’t have a clue although the answer was obvious enough from the letters.

    I suppose there’s a mini-theme of theatre going on in this.

  4. Swukker says:

    Not terribly difficult (it took me about 30 minutes to complete) but entertainign with soime excellent clues. I did wonder, how many newspapers would have allowed the amusing clue to 24A to stand?

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap

    I do believe that Puck is getting better: there were several clues where I said to myself ‘Well done!’

    Of course, there was also ECLAMPSIA which is as obscure as they come but, on this occasion, I didn’t mind the three foreign ‘entertainments’ or even the Welsh one.

    But poor Princess Di again … will she never be allowed to RIP?

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Like Swukker, I didn’t have any problems. Eg 1a took about 15 seconds, and UNDER MILK WOOD jumped out with only the N available: the bugger all came as an aha a bit later. Still, it was an enjoyable puzzle, so many thanks Puck.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UY and Puck – enjoyed this. Needed your elucidation on 10a and 5d, 7d, but otherwise no problems.

    Bryan @5 should I deduce you are unmarried with no children? :) Eclampsia has been well known, unfortunately, in my family.

  8. Bryan says:

    Dave Ellison @ 7

    Alas, I am a widow but I do have two wonderful daughters: one is a nurse and the other has been trained in First Aid.

    Even so … I have never heard of Eclampsia – Thank Goodness!

  9. Martin H says:

    Good stuff, though not keen on two Camerons, even anagrammatic ones.

    The ‘hair’ in 15 is ‘topped’, UY, and so should be ‘tRESS’

  10. Jim says:

    Finished within 30 minutes but without understanding Under Milk Wood and Clean Room. Thanks for the explanation.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Puck

    Hard work but rewarding with some fine moments of discovery.

    I guessed and checked ‘eclampsia’ and ‘acerb’ in Chambers, and was not quite sure re ‘clean room’ till I saw the ‘swimming [po]OL’ idea.

    I googled llaggerub to check 25a parsing.

    Martin H beat me to the draw re [t]RESS and one Cameron is enough for me too.

  12. tupu says:

    ps sorry llareggub!!

  13. Geoff says:

    Thanks UT and to Puck for a great entertainment on a Tuesday morning.

    At first glance I thought this was going to be rather intractable until I spotted a few easy ones in the bottom half and the whole thing fell out smoothly after that.

    I don’t think ECLAMPSIA is particularly obscure, although the condition is fortunately rare in the developed world these days, since our medical services are alert to the symptoms of pre-eclampsia (including very high blood pressure during pregnancy) and set out to treat it.

    I don’t mind the odd Cameron appearing as anagram fodder, though there was a better clue recently in which the PM was the subject of a satirical &lit.

  14. Stella says:

    Thanks UY for an illustrative blog, especially for enlightening me re 26ac.
    I0d heard of the play, but knew nothing of its setting.

    I didn’t see the parsing of 13ac. either before coming here, and only knew 23ac. in its adjectival form, though I managed to guess it.

    Having read through all the across clues without entering one, I was expecting this to be a tough puzzle, but the bat flew out at me, opening the door to the left-hand side, and from there on everything fell into place.

    Excellent fun, thanks Puck

  15. tupu says:

    Hi Stella
    It seems that ‘acerb’ is also adjectival, like acerbic, and the noun is ‘acerbity’. I don’t remember seeing it before.

  16. Stella says:

    Thanks for that, tupu, I’ll have to look it up. I hadn’t bothered when I guessed the answer, as it seemed obvious.

  17. jetdoc says:

    Very entertaining and enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked the clue at 4d, for ANARCHY.

  18. Robi says:

    I found this quite difficult, but thanks to Puck for a nicely-constructed crossword.

    Thanks also to UY; I knew bugger all about where UMW was set! Or how to parse 10.

    There seems to have been a bit of a MIS theme – apart from the obvious 4, the letters are in ECLAMPSIA, DIE FLEDERMAUS, MUSICAL etc. or am I reading too much into this? 😕

  19. Noddy says:

    The EPL does contain players that are capable of winning the World Cup. It is just that none of them are English.

  20. Qaos says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable crossword from start to finish! I think 1ac set the tone for me, with such a neat, elegant beginning to the puzzle (and always nice to get lots of starting letters too ;-)).

    I also agree that Puck is getter better all the time.

  21. Robi says:

    P.S. Re. 19, a Sunbeam Talbot was my first car. Unfortunately, my brother totalled it before I got to drive it. :(

  22. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I seem to remember finding Puck difficult, but this was a delight that I managed to finish.

    Like Geoff, I made a slow start, but once a few went in I sussed that the long outside clues would be plays or dramas. Beyond that, I thought INTER, ILL AT EASE and ECSTASY were outstanding, with smooth and misleading surfaces.

    I’m familiar with Dylan Thomas and Llareggub, so UNDER MILK WOOD was my lmao moment. If you’re an Archers fan, then you’d have had no trouble with ECLAMPSIA. Helen is such a selfish (another word starting with ‘b’).

  23. Bryan says:

    Robi @ 21

    I had an aunt who used to call it a Sunbeam Tablet!

    I never corrected her.

  24. grandpuzzler says:

    Well done Puck and Uncle Yap. Enjoyed this one but needed the blog to understand CLEAN ROOM and ILL AT EASE. Unfortunately, I must echo the comments of Noddy @19 re the EPL.


  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Too tough for me. Did about 3/4, even including 2d due to the good ole word finder!

    Amazed at the trouble 26 caused, it was my first in and totally obvious to my mind, but amusing for all that. Maybe I’m not so badly educated after all!

  26. Abby says:

    You mean (t)RESS in EVITA, right? Only one T in there.

  27. gm4hqf says:

    Managed to finish the crossword but had to wait for Uncle Yap to explain some of the answers. Quite tough.

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, one Cameron is surely enough (for some) and indeed, poor old Di – but we thought 8d (DIE FLEDERMAUS) was a terrific clue. I don’t agree with Uncle Yap that the use of America for US would have enhanced the surface.

    The only one we didn’t understand was the much-mentioned UNDER THE MILK WOOD, but many thanks to Dr G (whoever he is).

    An overdose of good clues (like 1ac, 9d and 4d (ANARCHY) in particular).

    I know we had a discussion on a similar thing a long time ago, but I still can’t get used to E meaning ‘lower-class’, although I remember someone explaining me why it was. But I forgot … :)
    And if I had to be nitpicky (but I don’t want to), I wasn’t extremely happy with SA for just ‘country’. It didn’t stand in the way to find THERESA, but what would one think of D, F or I being defined as ‘country’?

    Very clever crossword, a delight to solve.
    Not too hard, just very satisfying!

  29. Martin H says:

    Hi Sil, if you’re still there – I share your unease about D, F etc defined as ‘country’. In any case, the equivalent vehicle code for South Africa is ZA, which is also its internet domain code. SA refers in both code systems to Saudi Arabia. I don’t think that clears anything up – quite the reverse, it puts another ? against the clue.

    Being nit-picky, I don’t think E does mean ‘lower-class'; it means ‘lower’ when applied to class, which is not the same thing.

  30. Carrots says:

    What a delightful day! Pintas of Everard`s Tiger to wash down faggots, peas and mash, accompanied by Puck`s puzzle, stiff with Ahh! moments. To crown it all, the Cheese Shop in Melton was celebrating 100 years of Stilton Cheese-making with a half-price offer on the luscious stuff. So, tonight, to accompany it, out came the Vintage Port and to hell with Cholesterol Counts.

    I retire to bed a happy and contented chappy. If (as I suspect it might) Gout tries to avenge this insult to my carcass, I will zap it in the bud with NSAIDS, which my Quack has kindly provided for just such an eventuality. He`s long given up on Health & Efficiency remedies, knowing only too well I`ll only cheat.

    Thanks UY …and especially Puck: see you again SOON!

  31. Martin H says:

    No, I see I was sidetracked by Uncle Yap’s commentary: South Africa doesn’t enter into it. Still iffy though.

  32. PeterO says:

    I cannot pass by this excellent crossword without making note of a different kind of misleading surface. How about 7D’s “Showing love for English”?

  33. tupu says:

    Hi Martin H
    ZA apparently stands for Zuid Afrika. SA seems to be a standard English abbreviation either alone (see OED) or in RSA (Republic of SA). I realise that is a different issue from the general acceptability of such clues. I have nothing against this one, but agree that less well known single letter ones may cause trouble.

  34. Germy says:

    You may be interested to know that this puzzle was published in The Canberra Times on Saturday, 19 February and, in the clue for 8 down, the editor had gone to the trouble of replacing The Guardian with The Canberra Times! So they were on their toes here, but Uncle Yap’s point is still valid, I feel.

  35. maarvarq says:

    Re: the Canberra Times’ unexpected appearance in our edition, this was weird, as I’m quite used to Guardian compilers using “the Guardian” to clue “us”, or even “we”, but having my own paper’s name appear threw me.

  36. Pat O'Brien says:

    Hi Uncle Yap.
    Further comment re 8d:
    It appeared in this mornings’ Courier Mail as –
    Noted drama as Princess Elizabeth initially escaped with the Queen Mother to America.

    This is most unusual as the “Courier” usually publishes them exactly as they appear in the Guardian – typos and all!

    Interesting to read the Canberra Times treatment of the clue though.


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