Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,254 – Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on February 24th, 2011


I’m always glad to see Pasquale making an appearance, though ever since his Janet Street-Porter puzzle a while back I’m also a bit nervous if he turns up on one of my blogging days. However, this one was definitely at the milder end of the spectrum, with a good smattering of easier clues to get started with, after which the rest followed without too much difficulty. There are a couple of slightly obscure words, but as always the clueing is impeccably fair and elegant so they shouldn’t have caused too much difficulty.

The Araucaria lunch on Saturday was a wonderful occasion – you may have seen the photos that have been linked to from this site and elsewhere – apart from the coldness of the hall, which Simon Hoggart mentioned in his speech: (from memory: “there aren’t many 90-year-olds who can get a room full of people clapping, cheering and stamping – if only to keep warm”). I had to drive to Cheshire afterwards to visit my daughter, and, coincidentally and appropriately, spent most of the journey listening to a broadcast of Don Pasquale.

5. PLACEBOS PLACE (situation) + half of BOSses
9. TWITCHED WITCH in TED. Gordius’s use of “witch” caused some comment a couple of days ago, as did another word used here in 2 down
10. BOMBER BOMBE (as in bombe surprise) + R[ecipe]
11. ERSE Hidden in butchER’S Emporium. A name for Scottish or Irish (and also an old version of the word “Irish” itself)
13. BONSAI (A SNOB) reversered + I. “Potty” art because bonsai trees are grown in pots.
14. BEAR DOWN BEARD (challenge) + OWN (personal)
16. STEM CELL STEM (stop) + homophone of “sell” (=trade). Stem cells maybe “material for biological research”, but it seems an odd definition for a single one.
19. SUPINE U (University “at a minimum”) in SPINE (strength of character)
23. RITE Homophone of “right” (=appropriate)
25. ANATHEMA A in ANTHEM + A (the beginning of “anthem” again)
27. ENDOWS END (death) + O[ld] + W[oman] + S[ociety]
2. BEWARE OF THE BULL Cryptic definition, with “cave” = “beware” being the other word used by Gordius that caused some comment as being obscure. It’s the sort of thing Billy Bunter and co might have said: “Cave, it’s Quelch!”. (Pronounced “kay-vee”, by the way.)
3. ARTLESS Double definition
4. EPHEDRINE (HINDER PEE)*. The anagram fodder is highly appropriate, as it seems Ephedrine does indeed cause “decreased urination due to vasoconstriction of renal arteries. Also, difficulty urinating is not uncommon.”
5. PEDICAB B in (I PACED)*. Another name for the cycle rickshaw
6. ALBUM AL[L] + BUM (of poor quality)
7. ERMINED ER (the Queen = top lady) + MINED (searched)
8. ONE MAN WENT TO MOW (A TOWN MEMENTO NOW)*. A well-known (at least to me) children’s counting song, particularly suitable for use on long car jourrneys.
15. ADSORBATE SORB (the Sorbus genus of trees, which includes the Rowan and Whitebeam) in A DATE. Adsorbate is the adjectival form of adsorbtion, which is a bit like absorbtion, but involves liquid collecting as a film on the surface of a material.
17. MALMSEY ALMS (gift) + E (last letter of FINE) in MY (=Pasquale’s)
18. LUGGAGE L + G[ood] AG (silver) in [h]UGE
20. PARCHED C[had] + HE in LEOPARD (spotted animal) less LEO (lion)
22. IRANI I (one) + RANI (high-up Indian woman), with the definition being “in another Asian land” (i.e. Iran). Chambers doesn’t seem to give IRANI as a variant of the more usual “Iranian”, but Wikipedia has it.

52 Responses to “Guardian 25,254 – Pasquale”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Pasquale and Andrew. Feeling quite chuffed since this is the first of the Don’s puzzles that I finished the same day I started. Was unaware of the song in 8dn but worked it out with the crossing letters. Thought 5dn was a nice clue.


  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Andrew – and for the taste of Cambridge [managed to spot you on one of the photos!] Glad you had something better than ‘One man went to mow’ to accompany your journey. :-)

    I enjoyed this puzzle from Pasquale – especially EPHEDRINE!

    I spent a moment or two before entering PARCHED, because I couldn’t account for ‘lion': ‘pard’ is another word for ‘leopard’, which I learned when doing the wonderful ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ for A Level: ‘Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards…’, which amused us schoolgirls because of the other meaning!

    I’m puzzled by 19ac: is the definition ‘weak’??

    Re 2dn: the use of ‘cave’ here [cf Gordius’ ‘warning’] is much cleverer and, I think, may have caused fewer problems. Solvers may well be aware of the ‘Cave canem’ mosaics from Pompeian houses, or, indeed, brought home replica tiles. [not quite such a long link as the other day!]

    My only problem was initially wondering why ‘dog’ didn’t fit!

  3. Duncan Shiell says:

    I got off to a good start on this but slowed towards the end with ARTLESS, MALMSEY and ADSORBATE being the last three to go in.

    I liked the construction of PARCHED and BELL RINGER

    Eileen @ 2 – Chambers Thesaurus gives ‘weak’ as a synonym for ‘supine’

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Duncan. None of my three dictionaries gives anything other than ‘inert, indolent, lethargic’. I’m afraid it’s quite a leap for me from there to ‘weak’.

  5. Andrew says:

    I think the “weak” sense of “supine” comes from the idea of letting someone (metaphorically) walk all over you. I can’t find any suitable quotes, but I can imagine Churchill thundering about not Britain wanting to lie supine under the Nazi jackboot. The OED gives the definition “Morally or mentally inactive, inert, or indolent” (not quite the same as “weak”, I admit), with an examples from Thackeray’s Henry Esmond (1852): “He wakened up from the listless and supine life which he had been leading” and Shelley’s Cenci (1819): “The supine slaves Of blind authority.”

  6. Eileen says:

    Thank, Andrew. I see what you’re saying. My thinking was that not bothering to do somethng doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of it! [I’m going out now!]

  7. beermagnet says:

    Thanks Pasquale and Andrew.

    2D: I thought “Cave animal” was a reference to the neolithic art found e.g. in lascaux caves.
    Cop a look at these:
    (Get thee to Eileen – you know it makes sense!)
    Which makes it my favourite in this grid – narrowly beating ARTLESS which also caused a chuckle.

    I thought cave was pronounced kar-vey, but then I flunked Latin.

    I found this one of the best from Pasquale for a long time, being suitable for a weekday commute with no unknown answers.

  8. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew & Pasquale

    Enjoyable puzzle. Stuck for a while on 15d ADSORBATE, a new word for me, as was SORB. Happily I’m fond of dates!

  9. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Typically well-constructed puzzle from the Don, with some very clever charade clues (I particularly liked 5a, 14a, 28a, 15d, 20d).

    My only quibbles are with 1d (like Eileen I instantly spotted BEWARE OF THE… and then worried that the DOG didn’t fit – I needed the crossing letter to get the BULL), although I suppose this is entirely reasonable, and with 22d, which doesn’t quite work as a Ximenean clue – the definition seems to be ‘in another Asian land’. ‘Female’ can’t be doing double duty because it is qualified with ‘Indian’ in the secondary part of the clue. If this were in a Paul or a Shed, or certainly an Araucaria, I wouldn’t turn a hair, but in one of Pasquale’s it seemed to jar.

  10. Andrew says:

    Geoff, I think “in another Asian land” is fine as a definition of IRANI (as I mentioned in the blog), if you think of it as an adjective, not a noun, synonymous with “Iranian”.

    I agree with you about the scope for confusion in 1dn (and, like Eileen, was expecting it to be a DOG), but I can’t think of any other four-letter animals that have signs warning of them. (Beware of the goat, perhaps?)

  11. cholecyst says:

    Andrew: what about “wife”?

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    I wouldn’t necessarily describe this one a ‘mild’, but it was a pleasing and well-constructed puzzle with some fine clues. Enough straightforward ones to get you going, but I took longer than I should have to put my last ones in (ADSORBATE, ERMINED, ANATHEMA).

    I thought BEWARE OF THE BULL was brilliant, but if Derek drops in later he’ll have a perfect opportunity for his second chunter of the week about this word. Other favourites today were ONE MAN WENT TO MOW, BELL RINGER and STEM CELL (which I thought was sound).

    I’ve never heard ‘beard’ for ‘challenge’ though and can’t find it in the SOED. I have heard it referring to a woman carrying out a special function, though, which if you’ve got a twisted imagination from doing too many crosswords would take you straight to cholecyst’s suggestion for 2dn …

  13. Geoff says:

    Andrew @10: I take your point about the solution being an adjective rather than a noun of nationality, but (for me, at least) ‘in England’ doesn’t quite equate to ‘English’ in the way that ‘of England’ or ‘from England’ would.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and for your account of the lunch, which looks wonderful from the photos.

    I enjoyed this puzzle v much. Most of it fell out reasonably easily but it took me ages, and the check button, to get ADSORBATE.

    My favourites were ARTLESS and BELL RINGER, which had a great surface. Your explanation of the side effects of EPHEDRINE makes this a great clue too.

    re 7dn. I’m sure your parsing of ER as QUEEN is right. I got there by taking the top off ‘her’.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew for a very good blog and Pasquale for an accessible and enjoyable puzzle

    I came to this a little late after struggling to get my frazzled ‘router’ to work after a couple of power cuts last night.

    Some rather nice clues including 5a, 13, 14a, 16a, 5d, and 20d.

    Like Eileen I found myself suddenly confronted by a loose ‘lion’. I remember that there is of course also camelopard = giraffe.

    I enjoyed the misleading ‘high up in’ which suggested inserts and letter order games.
    Like Geoff, the definition of the clue left me puzzling a little. I tend to think of Irani as relating to people but I suppose one can talk of Irani culture or an Irani temple. I did wonder if the definition could be ‘one in a another Asian country’. This seems to need either
    (a) ‘One’ does double duty or
    (b) I = Indian e.g in ‘One (I = Indian + rani = female high up) in another Asian country’.

    The double duty would however be problematic and I can only find I = India.

  16. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle, and thanks to Andrew for a good blog.

    I thought the ‘cave animal’ might be an allusion to the Cretan minotaur bull that lived in a cave (the labyrinth may have been sited at the Gortyn caves

    I guess that people know that the fruit of the rowan tree is the sorb-apple.

    I’m not sure that PLACEBOS are supposed to keep you quiet as they don’t do anything at all – just like homeopathic remedies!

  17. Robi says:

    P.S. The reference to the Gortyn caves as the minotaur labyrinth can be found here

  18. Rishi says:

    Kathryn’s Dad at 12: “I’ve never heard ‘beard’ for ‘challenge’…”

    Haven’t you bearded the lion in his den?

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Many thanks Andrew for your informative blog to a satisfyingly challenging puzzle. With all the comments above, 2d. turns out to be o much cleverer clue than I at first thought.

    Having often heard of rowan trees, with no idea of what they looked like, I now find I have several growing in the streets near my house :) I don’t know what they’re called in Spanish, though.

  20. Robi says:

    Stella, apparently it is ‘serbal de cazadores’ (‘serbal of the hunters?’) :)

  21. tupu says:

    I’m a little surprised at the discussion of ‘beware of the bull’. It took me a little time to get past ‘dog’, but the warning used to be well known on farm pasture land, and I think it has figured in many a cartoon. cf.

    Hi robi
    COED has medicine given ‘to humour, rather than cure, the patient’

  22. Robi says:

    Thanks tupu for a nice cartoon :) – yes, the warning is well known but I still think ‘cave’ may be doing double duty here.

    For placebo, Chambers has something similar, but I still don’t really see why that should keep you quiet.

    P.S. Stella, perhaps the translation should be: ‘hunters’ sorb.’

  23. Roger says:

    Hi Robi. I think it’s something like giving an insistent patient a bottle of medicine (albeit an ineffectual one) just to shut them up.

  24. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    I agree that the minotaur idea is a nice additional one, though it was half bull and half man, and the labyrinth was said to have been constructed, as I recall, rather than natural.

  25. Robi says:

    Roger @23; thanks, you are right, I think this is the sense intended.

    tupu@24; I think ‘cave’ covers all underground structures, whether man-made or natural e.g. this cave

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, I was pleased to finish this, only my second or third completed Pasquale. It started out very easy but then the latter half was much slower. I started this on the bus so it didn’t help putting EPHREDINE instead of the correct spelling; this held up 17a for ages.

    I didn’t enjoy this as much as others appear to have done – I have an antipathy to Pasquale as much as others seem to have for Gordius.

    I don’t agree all the clues ar impeccable; for example the IN in 10a shouldn’t be there, and is misleading as it suggests unjustifiably that the R should be in a word for JACKET.

    I also did not like 2d, a poor CD in my view, despite the several attempts to rationalise it. Beware ot the bull signs are still popular; you can see many if you look at Geograph (an excellent site), for example, this one.

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. I think in 5d PEDICAB the B is not part of the anagram. I spent some time with the B in the middle of the letters , as you suggest, thinking there was no anagrind, but then realised the “AROUND” was the anagrind and the B just appears at the end. No complaints about this clue.

  27. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. I think the final A in 25a may well come from “beginning Again”.

    How about this for making life difficult: 7d PEERESS … ES [se arched (over)] in PEERS
    All cobblers of course but that’s what Pasquale dose to me !

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    Forgot to mention, I reasoned the same as Liz @14 regarding 7d and HER.

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Very satisfying Pasquale crossword.
    I am going to like his style more and more, probably because his constructions are so precise.

    Didn’t find this puzzle extremely hard, but failed on IRANI.
    Could have looked in a dictionary to find ‘rani’, of course.
    I am not convinced that IRANI is right as an adjective, but that said I cannot be bothered to much about it.
    Interesting statement by Geoff @9: “If this were in a Paul or a Shed, or certainly an Araucaria, I wouldn’t turn a hair, but in one of Pasquale’s it seemed to jar.”

    After the hot-blooded discussion on cd’s two days ago, I can only say: this one was certainly not ‘rubbish’ to me.
    Initially, I was looking for something like a ‘mole in a hole’, but then I remembered ‘Cave’ as a warning.

    Thanks Andrew for explaining where the last “a” comes from in ANATHEMA (and for the rest too, of course). I was thinking of “beginning again” giving the “a” of “again”, but your parsing is much neater.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi beermagnet @7

    Thanks for that: I’ve bookmarked it. [It’s not really so long ago that, being almost a complete computer autodidact, I managed to do links in the first place!]

  31. Wolfie says:

    As Andrew points out in his blog, the clueing for 9ac is the second time this week that a Guardian setter has used ‘witch’ in the sense of a term of abuse for a woman. Gordius a couple of days ago gives it as synonym for ‘old hag’. Pasquale today has ‘horrible woman’ as its equivalent. Sexist clueing spoiled, for me, two otherwise enjoyable crosswords. I accept that all the standard dictionaries do allow these meanings, but I feel nevertheless that setters should avoid such usages. What would the reaction be if they were to use terms such as ‘dyke’ or ‘poof’ as terms for gay people? Or ‘wop’ ‘dago’ ‘paki’ etc as labels for nationality or ethnicity?

  32. Chas says:

    I also was bothered by the idea that placebos ‘keep you quiet’ though it was clear that is what was wanted.

    My last one to go in was ADSORBATE: I had heard of Sorbus as a tree name but never knew SORB.

    “Beware of the…” came quickly but I was like other people – I got to dog then took an age to find the right animal.

    Thanks to Andrew for parsing 26A: I spotted TIM but did not see LAY as put. Ah well.. hope my brain wakes up in the future.

  33. Cosafina says:

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t like Irani as anything to do with an Asian land – isn’t it Middle Eastern?
    By the way, I’ve not seen any links to last Saturday’s shindig in Cambridge, which I enjoyed immensely!

  34. PeterO says:

    Eileen –
    You might also recall the Seven Ages of Man “a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard”. Shakespeare also used beard in the sense of challenge: Henry IV Part One “no man so potent breathes upon the ground but I will beard him”. The full cliché “to beard the lion in its den” is Scott.

    Cosafina –
    The link is under the 225 heading More Araucaria photos by Jetdoc or, to repeat it, here. When I went to school, the continent of Asia started at the Bosphorus and thereabouts.

  35. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for the feedback. It is not my intention to comment on all the things people didn’t like. However, I will defend my defintion of ‘witch’. In my book, a witch is generally not a nice woman (my apologies to any Druid solvers, I suppose), although I would not therefore call any nasty woman (and I’ve known many) a witch. If I am being prejudiced against anyone, I suppose it would be the witches (or the devil!). I think sometimes in our quest for being PC we can all be a tad too precious and look for insults where none are intended.

  36. Cosafina says:

    Hear hear, Pasquale!
    Thanks for the puzzle, which I enjoyed anyway in spite of my quibble @33. ;)

  37. Buddy says:

    Liz @ 14 and Dave Ellison @ 28

    I like the idea of her as “top lady”. It would have been even better as “topless lady”, which is what I suspect Paul may have given us.

  38. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale for dropping by. I agree entirely with your comments, although I guess there are ‘white witches’ who are supposed to be good rather than bad. Nevertheless, as you say, you are not being offensive or calling anyone a witch……….. this is after all only crosswordland.

  39. RCWhiting says:

    Agree entirely.
    I set a private puzzle recently which included welch/welsh whereupon a charming lady from South Wales pointed out that it was not approved of by her compatriots.
    To me, if it is in the dictionary, has (or had) a meaning then it is OK in a crossword.
    It is a string of letters, not an expression of one’s personal feelings.

    25d I’m with the ‘beginning Again’ posters.

  40. tupu says:

    Hi Wolfie

    The use of the term ‘witch’ for ‘nasty old women’ is not at all restricted to men. Women also use it in this way. Again, when much more serious literal accusations of witchcraft were levelled at women in the past, commonly with lethal results, other women were quite often a source of these deadly accusations. Such accusations were horrific, but they were not simply ‘sexist’. Nor is contemporary usage equivalent to the other examples you give, since it does not imply that all or even many women are by their nature evil or nasty.

  41. Carrots says:

    I`m afraid that I can`t wholeheartedly share the seeming enthusiasm for this puzzle. There were too many stretched or unfocussed clues which I found mildly irritating….to the extent that I didn`t put some answers in because I wasn`t sure of my guesswork.

    For me, PLACEBOS aren`t a palliative medicine: they don`t have any effect at all. “Bum” in ALBUM seems slang-like (I much prefer yesterday`s bum of the ROKEBY VENUS). “Witches” can be WHITE (and the exact opposite of “horrid”). MINED is not defined by “searched”…its what happens after minerals etc. have already been found. ABSORBATE I`ve never heard of, but that`s purely my ignorance. MALMSEY….well, I can`t stand the stuff!

    Before the pit-nickers start filing their teeth in anticipation of chewing my bones, please remember that I don`t use any aids (other than a pint) when solving crosswords…..which is one of my excuses for getting it wrong so often!

  42. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the beard = challenge explanations. Shall file away for future use.

  43. Wolfie says:

    Hi Pasquale – Thank you for your explanation of 9a. It certainly wasn’t my intention to accuse you (or Gordius) of being deliberately offensive or sexist. My worry is about the thoughtless use of sexist language and I have been moved to express this on fifteen squared only because it seems to me that this type of clueing is becoming more noticeable. In recent puzzles in the Guardian I have seen, for example, terms such as ‘scrubber’, ‘tart’ and ‘trollop’ used with reference to women of ‘loose morals’, and I do find this disconcerting in a newspaper that prides itself on its careful use of language. I accept, however, that I appear to be a lone voice here. (Are any of the regular Guardian setters women, I wonder?)

  44. Stella Heath says:

    Hi robi, it’s a little late in the day, as I often post my comment, then go off to do other things, but your second attempt at translating ‘serbal de cazadores’ seems spot on – although I doubt even hunters refer to it by that name. When it comes to flora and fauna, there’s a wide variety of local terminology which would be known to some (older) people in the villages, but the younger ones rarely have occasion to use it, and the professionals tend to go for the scientific (Latin) names.

    No doubt there are people who know what a ‘serbal’ is, and I shall now include myself in that category, in case it ever turns up in a crossword here :)

  45. duncan says:

    as regards “witch”, I cringed at the time, because as has been pointed out, this is frequent & a tad off, especially if one knows white witches or indeed, attractive witches of the bad kind. could our setter not have said “magical” instead & led us the same way?
    I managed all but three (malmsey, adsorbent & irani) without recourse to google/wiki or any dictionaries, which is gratifying. “beware of the…. ” stayed like that until “russia” arrived. I’d always assumed that bunter & co were making a joke on “caveat”, & I’m sure “cave” is used as a cry of warning in one of the beatles films.


  46. Paul B says:

    ‘Charming woman’ is one way out, even if I do say so meself.

    And there is, as I shall endeavour to add without labouring the point (who, ME?), that there is a bit what they call context vis somewhat tasteless references in the Anagruid. However, if Wolfie makes a subtle point about the Graun’s political awareness in the journalism as opposed to a possible lack of same in the xwds, this is noted.

  47. Robi says:

    Useless fact: Ronald Gordon King-Smith OBE (27 March 1922 – 4 January 2011) better known by his pen name Dick King-Smith, was a prolific English children’s author, best known for writing The Sheep-Pig, retitled in the United States as Babe the Gallant Pig, on which the movie Babe was based.

    He also wrote: ‘Beware of the Bull.’

  48. Joe Pasquale says:

    For me, Pasquale never fails to cross the line from clever to smart Alec.

  49. Ianh says:

    Being a bedtime solver only just got here. A minor quibble, possibly, I’m no expert but I don’t think malmsey is thought of as a fine wine. Tried it in Madeira and it was unpleasantly sweet. I’m sure someone out there will put me straight on this?

  50. Eileen says:

    Hi Ianh

    Re MALMSEY: the definition is simply ‘wine': ‘fine’ is in the wordplay only to provide the E, as Andrew says in his blog.

    All I’ve ever known about malmsey is that the Duke of Clarence is supposed to have died in a vat of it.,_1st_Duke_of_Clarence

  51. IanH says:

    Thanks Eileen. I skipped that bit of the blog as I was confident that the “e” came from “….th(e) ultimate..”

  52. Paul B says:

    But that Shakespeare, eh? Think of him as an Elizebethan version of ‘The Sun’ and you’re getting there (an opinion, naturally). His mistress was nothing like it.

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