Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25258 Crucible – Bravo! Maestro

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 1st, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a tour de force by Crucible. I was thoroughly tested by several ingenious cryptic devices composed around the Musical Greats. Alas, not only did I have to solve them, but also to explain them in this blog. Took me a long time today and Wikipedia once again served as my source for a morning of education and entertainment.
Bravo! Crucible! Bravo! Maestro!

ACROSS
1 DEVICE Ins of VI (sixth) C (concerto) in DEE
4 LYRICAL *(CYRIL & AL) cleverly using et (Latin for and) as conjunction; misleading solver with et al, an abbreviation in its own right for et alibi , and elsewhere; et alii, aliae or alia , and other (people or things).
9 STRINGENT Ins of RING (Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner (1813–83) in S (second) & TENT (canvas)
10 ETUDE *(English DUET) a short composition for a solo instrument; intended as an exercise or to demonstrate technical virtuosity
11 ADIEU *(IDEA schUbert)
12 POLONAISE *(LEO PIANOS, answer to 15) a Polish national dance or promenade of slow movement in 3-4 time
13 RECITAL A cunning anagram clue implying that the answer plus HAT would be an anagram for THEATRICAL or *(THEATRICAL minus HAT)
15 PIANOS Ins of O (old) in *(SPAIN)
17 ENTREE ha
19 BOHEMIA Ins of *(HOME) in BIA (initial letters of Born In Austria-hungary) and a probable &lit seeing that Mahler came from very humble beginning
22 ADULATION *(LAUDER minus ER, the queen) with Harry as anagrin and indeed, Sir Harry Lauder (1870 – 1950) was a real person – AT & I ON (rev of No 1)
24 OPERA O (jOy) PER (rev of REP, theatre) A; what a crafty allusion to Verdi’s Ode to Joy
26 LISZT Ins of S (soprano) in LIZ (Elizabeth II, monarch of UK) + T (tenor)
27 INSTITUTE Ins of TIT (bird) in *(I TUNES)
28 ROSTRUM R (first letter of Rattle) + *(TOURS) M (money)
29 MEDLEY MEDDLE (fiddle) minus D + Y (Yankee)

DOWN
1 DESPAIR Ins of A (last letter of AIDA) in *(PRIDE’S) I was looking frantically for the connection between slough and despair and my trusty Chambers came to my rescue : the Slough of Despond (the state of) extreme despondency, great depression.
VERDI *(DRIVEn) and of course, he wrote Aida
3 CONDUCTOR dd a conductor will take an electrical charge and Mahler was the conductor at the Vienna Opera around 1900
4 LET SLIP Ins of *(SILENT minus Name) in LP (long play, old record)
What a clever ruse to use movie as anagrin.
5 RHEIN *(IN HER) The Rhinemaidens are the three water-nymphs (Rheintöchter or “Rhine daughters”) who appear in Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. This is the German spelling for the familiar RHINE
6 CRUCIFORM CRUCIble (I’m mostly) FOR (in favour of) M (Mass) for something shaped like a cross
7 LIEDER Sounds like LEADER. The concertmaster/mistress (from German Konzertmeister) is the leader of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader. Schubert (1797 – 1828) was a prolific composer who wrote some 600 lieder.
8 PEN PAL *(PIANO PLAYER minus ORIYA) another cunning and devious anagram device
14 CONQUESTS Substitution of QUEST (search) for CERT (certainty) in CONCERTS
16 APHRODITE *(HIT OPERA, answer to 24Across, Down) What a sly setter Crucible is. When I was parsing this, I said to myself, “Opera is the answer to 24 A and there is no 24 D”
18 ELITISM ha
19 BANISH Ins of NI (middle letters of miNIms) in BASH (do or party)
20 ACADEMY Ins of *(MADE) in A CITY minus IT (sex appeal)
21  MAHLER *(Made LEHAR)
23 ACTOR A + ins of TO in CR (credit)
25 EQUAL Ins of QUA (half the letter in QUAver, semiquaver) in EL (Spanish definite article)

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

46 Responses to “Guardian 25258 Crucible – Bravo! Maestro”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Thanks UY for a truly great blog.
    Thanks Crucible for giving me so much pleasure this morning

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I didn’t like this puzzle nearly as much as you, although it wasn’t hard, even for a non-muso like me. A lot of clues seemed to strain for surface or theme, like 19a with its “crammed in” (meaning what?). Others with little niggles were 28a (the he, and m=money), 8d (trained?) and 14d. On 24a, did you mean that Verdi (allegedly) loathed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy?

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap but I knew nowt about Mahler so I was left floundering.

    Regarding 16d, my reaction on discovering that there was no 24 down was that it was yet another Grauniad typo.

    Even though I figured out RHEIN for 5d, I considered that this was very affected.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog. UY.

    What a treat, after the excellent Radian in the Indy yesterday!

    I have to disagree, molonglo: I don’t understand your objection to ‘he’ in 28 and we’ve several times lately had M for money; ‘trained’ is a pretty common anagram indicator and you don’t say what you find wrong with 14dn.

    There were some lovely constructions and super surfaces and I found it a great pleasure to solve. Perhaps my favourite clue of all was APHRODITE, with lots of contenders for a close second!

    Many thanks, Crucible, for a lovely start to the day.

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    I’m between the views expressed so far. It was enjoyable in parts, but with about four clues to go, I got bored, and couldn’t be bothered to strain to get the rest, which is unusual for me.

  6. malc95 says:

    Thanks UY and thanks Crucible for this tour de force –

    Most enjoyable, though I got held up by having DESPOND at 1d but couldn’t justify, and LAUDATION at 22a which I could, until twigging “Harry”.

  7. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. This was a most enjoyable puzzle which I found easy at first then more difficult. Incidentally, 11 ac is probably a nod towards Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a, known as the “Les Adieux”

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too really liked the puzzle in yesterday’s Indy from Crucible’s alter ego, so perhaps that put me in a frame of mind for this one, but I thought this was another really entertaining crossword. The theme was fun, because the solutions were the kind of stuff you’d know even if you weren’t heavily into classical music.

    Lots of good clues and devices, apart from PEN PAL, which is a kind of clue in reverse, which I didn’t much care for.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Crucible

    An overall enjoyable mixture of direct and misleading refrences to the world of music. Not as hard as I feared and certainly no ‘baptism of fire’ from this clever setter.

    Some clever ’1 acrosses’ including the hidden anagrams in 13a and 8d.

    Like Eileen I liked Aphrodite a lot and also 22.

    Like molongolo I was puzzled re Ode to Joy. As he says, Verdi apparently disliked Beethoven’s piece, but I have no knowledge of one he wrote himself? I simply read it as a straightforward clue (as parsed by you).

    I first put in Rhine in 5d which held me up for a time!

  10. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. I expect you meant the c in 1a comes from “concerto’s overture”. Many thanks too, Crucible, for a crafty yet well-crafted puzzle … thoroughly enjoyable. I liked, for example, the idea of ‘to’ opening (up) ‘cr’ in 23d.
    And another allusion to Pilgrim’s Progress in 1d, I see.

  11. Wolfie says:

    Thanks UY and Crucible. I thought this was a thoroughly entertaining crossword. I needed some help from the Oxford Companion to Music to check some solutions (e.g. Mahler’s birthplace) and failed to understand the wordplay for 4d until reading the blog. Like Tupu and Monolongo and I don’t think there is any allusion to (Beethoven’s) Ode to Joy in 24ac. Some groan-inducing anagram indicators – ‘Harry’ and ‘movie’ – only added to the enjoyment!

  12. tupu says:

    I see that ‘slough of despair’ (no doubt based on Bunyan’s S of Despond) is part of DOOM – an apparently landmark video game. There is also a Giant Despair in Bunyan.

  13. Jim says:

    Many thanks for explaining recital.
    Missed the anagram for Rhein, but thought it had to be the answer.

  14. Robi says:

    Very entertaining crossword :) and thanks to UY for explaining one or two things that I had missed.

    For 8 I got the answer by Oriya being spoken in NEPAL* (player) plus P=piano. No doubt your explanation is correct and more elegant.

    I can’t believe that I missed CRUCI as part of Crucible – but I did!

    In 19 there may also be an allusion to the fact that Bohemia remained part of Austria-Hungary until 1919. Maybe that is what UY meant by the &lit (?)

  15. tupu says:

    Hi robi
    I missed that too. Having got the answer I moved on, wrongly assuming the first part was an anagram of part of ‘churches I’m’! Oh dear!

  16. Chas says:

    Thanks UY for (most of) the blog.
    I’m puzzled by 29A: which bit of the clue says “remove D”?

  17. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I enjoyed this a lot, but missed some of the clever wordplay here and there — for example, I saw what was going on at 13ac, but failed to twig that a similar device was being used at 8dn. And I was another one who didn’t spot that CRUCI was part of Crucible!

    Lots of clever stuff here — I liked the variety very much.

  18. Martin H says:

    A very clever puzzle with plenty of adventurous clueing.

    For my liking there were too many clues where I got the answer first and then worked out the wordplay, in two cases only after seeing UY’s commentary. I enjoyed yesterday’s Radian, already praised by Eileen and KD, much more than this: the theme was built into the mechanics of solving. Heavily subject-themed puzzles often seem to constrain the imagination of the setter, leading to forced devices, clumsy surfaces and quiz-answer-type definitions, although I have to admit less so here than in the hands of a less skilful setter.

    I don’t think Despair and Despond are interchangeable – nor did Bunyan apparently.

    Among many other clever devices, I liked ‘helping’ (= portion) as ha indicator in 17. I think UY might have missed that, or he would surely have rhapsodised about it.

  19. MatthewD says:

    Chas @ 16 – “half heartedly” means to take half of the centre of “meddle” which is “dd” to give “medle”

    Strange how coincidences work – downloaded “Aphrodite” (Kylie) last night, am off to Paphos tomorrow (where Aphrodite emerged from the waves) and now it’s in a great crossword as my COD.

    Loved this and only had to Google Mahler to find his place of birth, to check Polonaise was a word and to find the connection between Wagner and Rhein. Otherwise, as others have said, these were gettable and rewarding for even a classical music ignoramus like me.

  20. Scarpia says:

    Thanks UY,
    ….and thanks Crucible for a truly wonderful puzzle.Plenty of unusual clue devices and some very cleverly hidden definitions.
    Kathryn’s Dad @8 – the clue for PEN PAL is a compound(or composite) anagram the same device used in 13 across.
    This type of clue semes to be becoming more popular with setters,Azed uses it regularly.I like them myself,but there are quite a few solvers who don’t.
    Favourite clues for me APHRODITE,RECITAL,ADULATION and LISZT.

  21. Chas says:

    Thanks to MatthewD@19 : it looks simple when sombody explains it but I got nowhere with it!

  22. MatthewD says:

    Chas@21 – no problem – I couldn’t see how “Banish” parsed either. Convinced myself that “to bar” must have a meaning of to bash someone with a bar so to put the “ni” in the middle of bash gave something meaning “do without” which I thought was a completely appalling definition of banish. Also required “in the middle” to have two functions – to get the “ni” out of “minims” and to then put it in the middle of “bash”

    I think the correct parsing makes a lot more sense and doesn’t depend on me making up verbs.

  23. Mitch says:

    Thanks to Crucible for a lovely crossword, and Uncle Yap for the blog, especially the parsing of 13 ac.

    Is it possible to change the colour of the typeface on this site? I plaintively ask ‘cos dark grey on light grey (the odd comments) are a tad difficult for this aged pair of eyes !

  24. Roger says:

    Hi Robi @ 14. I think UY was probably referring in 19a to the humble origins of Mahler and his umpteen siblings … hence crammed in poor home … hence &lit.

  25. Scarpia says:

    Hi Mitch.
    If you use Firefox as your browser you can go to ‘Tools’ then ‘Options’.then click on the content tab. Next click on ‘Colours’ then untick the box saying’Allow pages to choose their own colours’.
    You can also adjust the size of the font.
    This is no doubt possible with other browsers,maybe someone else can help if you use a different browser.

  26. HelenEdith says:

    Thanks for the explanations UY!

    I thought that I would have done better than 10 answers as I’ve got some musical background to call on, but found it truly fiendish.

    It was very enjoyable, though: demonstrated by the fact that I nearly got overcarried at London Bridge this morning due to my having my head down labouring away when I should have been looking for Tower Bridge appearing on the right to signal my exit from the train. :-)

  27. walruss says:

    Perhaps the least successful of today’s three for me, but still good. I like Radian generally, but today I find myself agreeing with Martin H about the tendency to get stuff nefore it’s solved.

  28. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Mitch @23
    Actually the odd numbered comments were black on light grey. I have changed the background colour. Is it better for you?

  29. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap Found completing this one to be a bit difficult.

    I got stuck with the top right corner because I entered RHINE for 5d. Puzzled for ages till I realised that RHEIN allowed the rest of it to make sense.

  30. bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Crucible!

    We thought it was a really enjoyable solve over lunchtime. Finding the answer and then working out the cryptic bit doesn’t spoil things at all – Crimea the other day in the Indy gave us a real smile when the penny dropped! Just like Aphrodite today.

  31. Carrots says:

    Despite shooting myself in the foot several times (DESPOND/RHINE/LIZST(!)/DEVISE) I eventually completed this most entertaining of puzzles without aids, so I`m feeling pleasantly smug. Moreover, about 20% of my guesses I couldn`t parse, either partially or completely, so Uncle Yap`s blog provided an extra bite at the cherry, decoding the answers.

    Crucible`s puzzles usually demonstrate his cunning at surfaces and this was no exception.

    I`m begining to get withdrawal symptoms on Sundays: The prize puzzles haven`t been that demanding of late and EVERYMAN is usually tamer than RUFUS. Can anyone recommend a good Sunday puzzle?

  32. Paul B says:

    I thought this pretty good too. Nice grid fill, and I agree with Roger: this was crafty but well-crafted. Keep ‘em a-comin’, sir.

  33. Crucible says:

    Thanks for all your kind words. In case you wondered: Liszt was born 200 years ago and Mahler died 100 years ago. So we’re in for lot of both before the year’s out.
    A pair of compound anagrams is 2 more than I’m allowed elsewhere, hence the overindulgence here. I should also say my esteemed editor had a hand in adding some polish, removing some dross and allowing a few other liberties. So thanks to him too. I thought Uncle Yap’s blog was brilliant; I’ve learnt a few more nuggets from it. CRAMMED was deliberate; Roger is right about the lousy conditions of Mahler’s early days.

  34. muck says:

    Thanks -
    to Crucible for a wonderfully entertaining puzzle
    to UY for the brilliant-as-usual blog
    to the regular commenters and others

  35. RCWhiting says:

    #31
    AZED is a constant delight (he has recently become a fan of compound anagrams, see comments above).

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Re 35
    Should there be a code for compound anagrams, maybe **?
    As Scarpia notes, some solvers do not like them but I am a great fan, especially when surfaced by a master like AZED.

  37. Paul B says:

    If you like clever clues, such as the ‘compound anagrams’ seen today in Crucible’s hot puzzle, go via the 15/2 links page to Derek Harrison’s Crossword Centre. From there find the Azed Prize-winning Clues tab, and Bob’s your uncle.

  38. Martin P says:

    Not as irritating as I expected once I started. A non-intensive general musical knowledge sufficed, (literary themes are the worst in my opinion), though I still prefer a spread.

  39. Mitch says:

    Thanks everybody for your help.

    Sorry for the delay in replying – got myself delayed in the kitchen, then the Man United game started and …

    Scarpia – I do use Firefox, so thanks for the easy-to-follow guide.

    Gaufrid – sorry but I still find myself squinting at the screen :-(

  40. Thomas99 says:

    As Crucible has looked in once already I’ll leave a comment in case he does so again – I thought it was a really excellent puzzle. I helped that I know a bit about the theme (I was at a Mahler concert on Sunday in fact, including his Piano Quartet, written at the age of 16 – not long after he left that backwater in Bohemia – and it’s Wagner next week…), but the inventive extending of the musical references to the whole puzzle and the clue construction were brilliant too.

  41. riccardo says:

    Too easy to justify laudation for 22ac, which spoiled this one for me

  42. Mr Beaver says:

    I was very impressed by this one from Crucible – there was a dazzling variety of clues on offer without being impossibly difficult (IMO). There were several which were ‘too clever’ for us (ie we put in answer without being able to fully justify it) – APHRODITE (I still don’t get the significance of 24 down rather than across), CRUCIFORM (yes, me too!) and BANISH. Triffic.

  43. Sil van den Hoek says:

    My PinC’s Famous Penultimate Words were: “very distinctive”.
    But then she asked “what do you think of it?”.

    Well, as I said here before, Crucible is the C of my ABC of favourite setters.
    Last night I found it quite a feat that his (Indy) Radian puzzle contained so many words with an anagram of OSCAR in it. Today I find it equally admirable to see so many clues being linked to (classical) music, nearly all in fact.
    But there is a risk that this goes at the expense of the electrickery (remember Catweazle?) that made and makes Crucible puzzles stand out from a lot of others.
    And, to be honest, I am not completely sure whether this applies to this puzzle or not.

    I think, Crucible made the most of it within the limitations of wanting to have all these fine surfaces.
    But, there were just like yesterday a lot of anagram-based clues: I’ve counted 14 of them, many in the form of “one letter + anagram” like MAHLER, ADIEU and PIANOS.

    Crucible says something about the use of “compound anagrams”.
    There were indeed two of them here, but he’d used them many times in the past.
    In fact, I think it is one of his ‘trademark’ devices. Comparing the use of this device with Azed is IMO not completely fair – the device is much easier to apply in shorter words. And why some editors think ‘two’s the limit’ for such a device is a mystery to me. There were two long hidden answers too – thát’s OK then?

    I found the use of “movie” as an anagrind in 4d just about, and wasn’t happy with ‘only’ an A for ‘Austria-Hungarian’ in 19ac, but did admire a lot of other things.

    My absolute favourite today was APHRODITE (16d), followed by DEVICE (1ac) at a certain distance.
    And 24ac (OPERA) was the odd one out. In fact, I still don’t fully understand the clue.

    My verdict? [I know you were waiting for this ... :)].

    I know a bit about classical music (although I’m more into pop music eventually) and therefore the puzzle handed me some answers straightaway.
    Nevertheless, very well constructed.
    For some a “constant delight”, but, to be honest, for me not tricky enough.
    Or am I getting used to Crucible’s style? Probably that’s it.

    Undeniably good crossword, but too themed to my taste [yes, maybe, tháts it].

    I am sure, dear Crucible, you like my PinC’s verdict more than mine … :)

    [but I'll bear with you - you're still my C]

  44. Eileen says:

    Hi Mr Beaver

    Re APHRODITE: the anagram is HIT + OPERA [24ac] + D[own] ['down originally'].

  45. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    An excellent puzzle from Crucible with many devious devices. 24 down originally, mislead me completely but didn’t prevent the answer from revealing itself. I was however defeated by PEN PAL and was convinced that the answer was an eastern pianist maybe called Yen Pol or something similar. Also LEO,15 I did not associate with clue 15, I was convinced that there was an XV in the answer. Hey ho. I did get POLONAISE though without understanding why. The theme to this puzzle was obviously music but it didn’t require any great musical knowledge which made it very accessible. Even if you know very little about Wagner, like myself, you would probably have heard of The Ring Cycle. So, full marks to Crucible and may he compose many more in this vein.

    Sil, I would imagine that your problem with OPERA was “Joy unconfined” ie O without being confined by Jy.
    Personally, I think this device is a bit loose but I sussed it immediately.

  46. Daniel Miller says:

    Quite brilliant this one!

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