Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25294 Pasquale – Green Eggs & Ham

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 12th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

One of the fun things I do every Tuesday while I solve is to think of a suitable title to the blog which should be relevant, witty or otherwise add value to the blog. Unfortunately, the relevancy consideration often gets me into trouble like that famous saying of Sir H.M.Stanley when he first met Dr Livingstone in Africa which I used last week. Although it was a subsidiary part of an answer, I should have been (in the words of our leader Geoff) more circumspect. For my transgression of “spoiling” I do humbly apologise and pledge to be more careful in future.

Today I should do no harm as this is the title of my grandson’s (that rascal in the picture) favourite book by Dr Seuss which I had to read to him at least three times a day while I was visiting him in London … the trials and tribulations of grandfatherhood (sigh)

Today’s puzzle made me hungry with our Don making a mini-theme of meals (marked with *), introduced by the delicious centrepiece clue.
As expected, Pasquale served up an excellent spread of appetising clues for a most entertaining and palatable repast.

ACROSS
7 VERONAL Ins of RON (man) in VEAL (meat from calf) trademark of a barbitone
*8 HIGH TEA HIGH (drunk) TEA (drink that ….)
9 WAND WAN (dim) D (last letter of sacked)
*10 BREAKFAST BREAK (time off) FAST (fixed)
*12 LUNCH LAUNCH (motorboat) minus A (indefinite article)
13 ENROLLED *(LONER) + LED (taken in hand)
15,16,17 MAKE A MEAL OF IT Easy enough introduction to the 6 meals
18 CORDIALS Ins of DI (girl) in CORAL (pink) and S (first letter of serve)
20 SNOOT Rev of TOON’S In Newcastle, where the Geordie dialect is prevalent, town is pronounced as TOON and Brown Ale as BROON (hic)
21 RUNNERS-UP Tichy
22 ALBA ALB (vestment) + A for a type of rose
24 MAGENTA Ins of AGENT (spy) in MAN (fellow) minus N (name)
The Battle of Magenta was fought on June 4, 1859 during the Second Italian War of Independence, resulting in a French-Sardinian victory under Napoleon III against the Austrians under Marshal Ferencz Gyulai.
25 DEPARTS Ins of EP (extended play record) in DARTS (sport)

DOWN
1 SETA Ins of T (time) in SEA (water)
2 CONDENSE CON DEN (two forms of study) SE (SomE)
3 CASBAH Ins of BA (British Airways) in CASH (money) a castle or fortress in a N African town or the area round it, esp in Algiers (also kasbah).
4 PICKEREL PICK (choose) + *(REEL)
5 THRALL THRILL (feeling of excitement) with A substituted for I (thanks to NeilW)
6 DEFT DEFEAT (best) minus EA (each)
*11 ELEVENSES ELEVE (French for student) NOSES (pries) minus O (nothing)
12 LLANO LLA (rev of ALL, everyone) NO (refusal) for one of the vast steppes or plains in the northern part of S America.
14 ELIOT ELI (priest) OT (Old Testament, religious books)
16 ANALECTA Ins of A L (a lecturer) in A NECTAR (a nice drink) minus R for a compilation of literary works
17 OPOPANAX OP (opus or work) x 2 + AN AX (an axe spelt the American way) for a gum resin formerly used in medicine, obtained from the roots of a Persian (and S European) species of parsnip; a perfume obtained from the plant Commiphora.
*19 DINNER DEVIL minus EVIL (bad) + INNER (inside)
*20 SUPPER S (first letter of school) UPPER (stimulant)
21 RIAL RIVAL (competitor) minus V for the standard monetary unit of Iran, Oman and (also riyal) Saudi Arabia and the Yemen Arab Republic.
23 BATS Rev of STAB (attempt)

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

59 Responses to “Guardian 25294 Pasquale – Green Eggs & Ham”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY.

    I learnt something today – THRALL is an old word for a serf thus the modern derivations of the word that we use such as “enthralled”.

    I think the parsing of 5 is a replacement of I with A in the word thrill – feeling of excitement.

  2. Jim says:

    I can not display the interactive screen for the Guardian genius crossword, no 94 by Puck. Has anyone else got this problem?

    (I’m using Java 6. IE 9 says there is a problem with the website; Firefox 4 displays the pushbutton controls, but not the grid. )

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap

    Jim @2 – I’ve not had any problem with IE8 and Java 6 … Why not try using Google Chrome?

  4. Superdad says:

    NeilW @1

    I did better…. I learned Veronal, (Barbitone), Snoot, Seta, Pickerel, Analecta, and Opopanax …but I did know Thrall and Llano.

  5. Superdad says:

    NeilW @1

    I did better…. I learned Veronal, (Barbitone), Snoot, Seta, Pickerel, Analecta, and Opopanax …but I did know Thrall and Llano.

  6. Ian says:

    Hi Uncle Yap. Well blogged my friend and thanks also goes to Pasquale for a splendid effort with a toothsome theme that got the juices flowing this morning.

    It was fortunate that the central gateway clue was encountered almost straight away. That the theme was revealed as it was was due to Lunch at 12ac and I then went in search of the other five undefined clues to fill the grid.

    Two got me stuck for a while. I posited Amaretto for 16dn but then parsed the clue and recalled the word from a recent LRB article.

    Splendid clues included the reversal at 23dn and the stonkingly good 20ac.

    Bravo Pasquale.

  7. Matt says:

    Too many words I hadn’t heard of before… My ignorance showing I guess. I got 3/4 of the way through and ran out of time and had to cheat.

    Veronal, alb and alba, magenta (as in battle), seta, con meaning study, pickerel, llano, analecta, opopanax

    Sigh. Best do some work.

  8. Robi says:

    Quite a nice puzzle, although once the theme was revealed it was fairly straightforward to look out for all the meals.

    Thanks UY for a good blog – I needed your help in parsing ELEVENSES and ANALECTA (like Ian @6, I thought of amaretto at first.) For non-UK posters (or non-football fans), the TOON army Newcastle United football club.

    Like superdad @4&5 and Matt @7, I learned new words, although I had heard of VERONAL before. I don’t much like the ‘battle’ clues as these often lead to some fairly arcane conflicts, although the wordplay here was precise. Last in was DEFT, largely because of the unusual use of ‘best’ as a verb, meaning to defeat.

  9. Robi says:

    P.S. The spam filter kept rejecting my post, so I had to redo the TOON army hyperlink. It should read: ‘the TOON army are supporters of NUFC.’

  10. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Rare thematic from the Don, and a rather nicely unusual one.

    Like Ian and Robi, I played with ‘amaretto’ for 16d until I eventually got the answer. DEFT was also my last entry.

    This puzzle does contain some rather out-of-the-way vocab. Of course, it helps enormously if the words are familiar. I was lucky enough to spot OPOPONAX on the first read-through, as I knew the plant – a fairly simple clue for an unusual word.

    The ubiquitous DI made yet another appearance (18a) – but not as an HRH, mercifully.

  11. Geoff says:

    Correction – OPOPANAX!

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks UY. I had to cheat on 6d – as often happens with four-letter words, there were too many alternatatives, and I couldn’t see one to fit the clue. I did see the parsing before coming here, though.

    1d surprised me, because in Spanish, apart from being a the generic word for wild mushrooms, it’s a euphemistic term for female genitals, so the clue ‘it’s hairy’ !!!

    I wonder what it means in English :)

    I knew magenta as a colour, but not a battle, and Wiki gives opopanax os a shrub, rather than a tree. Other obscurer terms were vaguely familiar, and the meals were all gettable, so quite fun, if a bit on the tough side.

  13. walruss says:

    Some rather ridiculously tough words in this puzzle, and as there’s not much of theme I wonder why they are included?! Some good stuff but it did seem a bit user-unfriendlyh IMO.

  14. Stella Heath says:

    PS. I wonder what the Don’s alter ego Quixote would have made of 1d :lol:

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Three quarters of this was quite enjoyable (didn’t think I would ever say this of a Pasquale), but as so often I failed to finish on a few obscure words. Having ROBE for 22a didn’t help.

    The “It’s” in 6d seems to me to be distractingly superfluous.

  16. walruss says:

    Yes re 6d I don’t think it makes tyhe clue wrong, but it is an unnecessary word.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Pasquale

    A very mixed bag as far as difficulty was concerned. I’m sorry but the easier part was still helped by UY’s spoiler. I caught a glimpse of ‘ham’ and this food reference helped with the theme I’m afraid. I am with robi et al that this is a self-indulgence he should simply forego.

    Some hard words and parsings. I guessed analecta, but saw ‘a lect’ as the reference to lecturer and could not get the nectar part. I know L is a common abbreviation for the same, but was diverted away from it.

    I had to check seta and alb(a).

    I tried amaretto and anisette before getting the answer to 16d.

    Cordials took a time because I kept trying rose and even fit (in pink) before getting there.

    Carefully clued as usual and some nice light touches.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very enjoyable, I liked the built-in theme.
    Easy for 90% but then I was stuck. Mainly because in 12a I took the ‘a’ from linear(motor) to give me LINER, therefore I failed to get ‘CASBAH’. My other failure was DEFT where the ‘It’s’ certainly fooled me.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog and in particular for explaining why I actually had the correct answers for 11d and 19d.

    I solved 15,16,17 fairly early on then forgot it. I finally remembered it when trying to convince myself about 12a. I see I was not the only one there. Then like others I chased around to find the other meals.

    On 18a, like others, I tried hard to fit rose in but it would not go. I managed it eventually.

    I liked 20a and 21a.

  20. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. Like tupu @17, I found this a mixed bag, too. I got the theme phrase quickly and most of the related clues, but struggled quite a bit to finish.

    SETA and LLANO, which were vaguely familiar, were easy enough to get from the straightforward wordplays in both cases. OPOPANAX, which I’ve never come across, required the check button. And 16dn, which I also didn’t know, defeated me.

    I was another one who was trying to make something of ‘rose’ at 18ac for a while.

  21. Robi says:

    Stella @12; can’t see any reference to female genitalia in Chambers or Oxford – it apparently means a bristle-like structure, especially in zoology or botany. :)

  22. Jack Aubrey says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap and Pasquale. A fun accompaniment to the morning coffee. In keeping with the theme, I allowed myself a bacon roll, too.

    Stella @ 12, climbers in Spain also use “seta” as a term for the top flap of a rucksack. Etymology is a perilous pursuit, so I not going anywhere with this!

  23. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, but not, yet again, for the spoiler.

    I agree with tupu @17 that, once the idea of food had been planted by your title, the key phrase, although easy to get from the enumeration and the clear definition, jumped out immediately and I felt I was denied the real pdm.

    It is a convention that bloggers don’t give away any hint of the puzzle in the first paragraph of the preamble and so to see these hints in the ‘Recent posts’ column, before even going onto the blog, is particularly exasperating.

    Perhaps I don’t need to go as far as tupu in asking you to forego the enjoyment you gain from thinking up an appropriate title for the day’s puzzle, and deprive commenters of your wit and ingenuity. Could a compromise be that you suggest an appropriate title at the end of the preamble to your blog?

    Re the puzzle: as others have said, some unusual words [for me VERONAL, PICKEREL and SNOOT - which I guessed from 'snooty'] but clearly and fairly clued. I actually knew SETA / saeta from Latin [but only as a bristle, Stella! :-) ] and, although I didn’t know ALBA as a rose, I did know the vestment, and, since ‘alba’ means ‘white’, it seemed a reasonable name for a rose.

    I flattered myself that I worked out OPOPONAX from the excellent wordplay but I had a vague feeling I’d seen it in a crossword before. I’ve just looked in the archive and found that Nimrod [Enigmatist] clued it as a homophone of ‘Oh Pop, an axe’, with a reference to Lizzie Borden, but can’t tell you more than that, since the Indy doesn’t have an archive.

    Many thanks for a fun puzzle, Pasquale, and as usual, for extending my vocabulary.

  24. chas says:

    It appears from Eileen @23 that some people come to this website before finishing work on the puzzle. Clearly anybody who does this would receive an unexpected bonus from the title of the blog.

    I am one who comes here after I have finished working on the puzzle so I am not bothered by the blog title.

    I wonder how many people come here first and how many people come here afterwards?

  25. walruss says:

    After! I always have a go without assistance, as a matter of principal, chas. The Lizzie Borden thing is due to the possibility that she murdered her parents with a hatchet.

  26. Ian says:

    Chas #24.

    Well I only ever post here after the puzzle is completed. I must admit, it had never occurred to me that others might come here before they had finished the crossword or had given up.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    As might have been guessed, I’m with the too many obscuriries crowd. Knowing one that was mentioned elsewhere above makes me feel better though.

    chas, there is another angle. If you use an RSS reader and are monitoring the “posts” feed from here, then in looking at the titles for all updated threads, you are bound to see the full title of this thread too. For example, having posted on two threads yesterday, I want to be looking for any replies to those both before and whilst doing today’s crossword. (The simplistic filters provided by such readers would mean filtering out other threads that I wouldn’t want filtered, before anyone thinks of suggesting it.)

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Chas

    I come to see if there are any leftovers from the previous day’s blog, and occasionally also to see who today’s setter is before looking in the paper. This last is not strictly necessary, but both seem legitimate enough activities without having to have the puzzle marred. This problem with UY has been noted several times before and he knows this, as he notes in his preamble.

    He is not the only one with the habit. Rightback also used to do it.

    Hi Eileen

    You are, as ever, sweetness and light, though I really cannot see why one needs to accommodate this particular habit at all.

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi chas, walruss and Ian

    I’ve been out, hence the delay in replying.

    tupuu has given a couple of perfectly valid reasons for visiting the site first thing and Derek has added another valid point – but they’re actually not really relevant.

    We’re not talking about reading the blogs of individual puzzles – I should imagine almost no one does that before attempting / ‘finishing’ the puzzle – but about visiting the home page, for whatever reason, and finding spoilers there, either in a gratuitous title or in the first paragraph of the preamble.

    The main point is that we have all been asked on several occasions not to do it!

    Having said that, RatkojaRiku has provided a witty, apt and totally innocuous title for his blog of today’s Indy puzzle.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    Oh dear. I am sure that the earth stopped turning for a moment just now.

  31. John says:

    16 ANALECTA Ins of A L (a lecturer) in A NECTAR (a nice drink) minus R for a compilation of literary works

    I’m sorry, but this doesn’t help me at all.
    Why is “nectar” a “nice drink”?
    In what circumstances is L short for lecturer?
    Can anyone explain?

  32. Robi says:

    John @31; don’t get me started again about abbreviations! However, this seems to be used at least in some university circles, see: http://www.classicalassociation.org/CLASSICI/Abbrevia.html. I think the ‘very nice’ might be a reference to ‘sweet;’ and drunk by the ancient gods (or bees.) Maybe someone else has a better idea…….

  33. Eileen says:

    Hi John

    It’s worth remembering L = Lecturer – like it or not – because it does crop up quite often in crosswords.

    Chambers: “Nectar: the name given by Homer, Hesiod, Pindar etc to the beverage of the gods, giving life and beaty; the honey of the glands of plants; any delicious drink … “

  34. Eileen says:

    Sorry – ‘life and beauty’!

  35. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap

    Got to this one late in the day.

    Too many obscure words & even more obscure clues in my opinion. Not very enjoyable.

  36. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen @23
    The full Nimrod clue for opopanax was – Lizzie Borden’s reply to dad’s last question: “What’s that?” “Perfume” (8).

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    I am slightly puzzled by your comment that my own and Derek’s comments are “not really relevant”. Did it mean simply that they were not direct answers to Chas’s question or am I missing some other point. :) It would not be the first time!

  38. tupu says:

    RCWhiting
    :) An intriguing comment @30. Usually it’s when it seems to move that’s special!

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Tuesday is the day that I do not want to look at 15^2 before having solved the Guardian puzzle. On many occasions UY’s headings gave away at least a bit of the theme. Today was no exception. When going to the Neo blog, I saw the words ‘ham’ and ‘eggs’, so: food. I got the idea of 15,16,17 rightaway and after I’d entered LLANO early on, I suggested it would be “Make A Mess Of It” … :)
    Enough for my PinC to enter the right thing. However, I do see the fun UY has in finding an appropriate heading for his blog [yes, tupu, rightback also liked his Saturday titles but those weren't weekday puzzles - quite a difference]. As I was some time ago not very friendly towards UY, I didn’t want to infuriate him (again) – there’s enough fighting in the world going on.

    Anyway UY, another great blog of a Pasquale that took us a lot more time than, er, the recent Enigmatist ….. (it’s true) :)

    We just guessed our last few entries: SETA, SNOOT, ALBA, OPOPANAX (works by Anax … ? :)) and DEFT.
    Gosh, they were all right!

    Yes, walruss, maybe not much of a (real) theme, but for us just enough to lift the crossword out of the ordinary.
    We didn’t know that LAUNCH was a ‘motorboat’ but it had to be, because you can hardly fault Pasquale on precision.

    Good puzzle.

  40. John says:

    Thanks Robi and Eileen for your respective valiant efforts re nectar, both of which suggestions deserve more than the bland “very nice”, which seems to be used ubiquitously when no one can think of anything particularly positive to say.
    As for L, as I’ve said before, I am among those who find the indiscriminate use of initial letters irritatingly lazy cluing.

  41. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    Yes, you are right that there is quite a difference. Nonetheless it is not a habit I would encourage any day of the week..

  42. Paul B says:

    ‘Life and beaty’ seems fine to me, Eileen. Good drink for us drummers.

  43. Robi says:

    Hi Sil; after several months I’m still not sure I understand your PinC – is it partner-in-crime or something else?

  44. Geoff says:

    Surprisingly, considering the weird and wonderful wordlist in Pasquale’s puzzle, we haven’t had any comments delving into the background of some of this vocabulary.

    As a chemist and an Italophile, I feel I must say something about MAGENTA.

    As Uncle Yap pointed out in his blog, the Battle of Magenta in 1859 was an important engagement in the Italian Wars of Independence. Together with the later Battle of Solferino, Magenta was instrumental in Austria ceding Lombardy to France – Napoleon III immediately handed the territory over to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia which created the momentum leading within two years to the creation of the Kingdom of Italy, following referenda in the central states and Garibaldi’s successful campaign against the Bourbon monarchy in southern Italy..

    This rapid political change leading to the unification of most of the Italian peninsula in just a few years was similar to the sudden fall of the Iron Curtain in the later 1980s, and, not surprisingly, caught the public imagination throughout Europe (the manufacturer Peek Freans created the Garibaldi biscuit in 1861).

    William Perkin had discovered the first synthetic aniline dye, mauveine, a few years earlier. The French company, Reynaud Frères, followed this up with the invention of another reddish purple dye, which was originally called fuchsine (the colour resembled that of Fuchsia flowers, but Fuchs is also the German for ‘fox’ – ‘reynard’ in French). However, following the battle in Lombardy, the dye was renamed ‘magenta’ – supposedly because of the colour of blood, so much of which had been shed in the conflict.

    ‘Magenta’ has now become the generic name for the reddish-purple primary printing colour (the others being yellow and cyan).

  45. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Robi, what about partner-in-crosswords?

  46. Derek Lazenby says:

    Re 44. In the printing industry, in which I worked for several years, developing the software for a colour scanner, these colours are refered to as secondaries. So when talking about colours in a printing context, I think we should use the terms actually used by that industry.

  47. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu @37

    [I'm sorry, I've been out again!]

    I don’t really want to prolong this, because I think we’ve made our point, but I know you like [and deserve!] a reply.

    I was not casting aspersions on your comment but pointing out to chas, walruss and Ian that “we’re not talking about reading the blogs of individual puzzles” before solving, but about wanting to be able to visit the home page, perhaps for the reasons you cite, with which I agree – or, as I sometimes do, to see what blogs are in place before deciding in which order to try the day’s puzzles – without having the theme, or the answer to one of the clues, there in the title or the first paragraph of the blog. Gaufrid kindly and wisely provided a facility for us to provide an introduction and, perhaps a general indication of how we’d found the puzzle, as a rough guide to others, without giving anything away or spoiling others’ enjoyment.

    It would be a pity to have to impose an embargo on titles: as I’ve already mentioned, RatkojaRiku has an excellent one today and, as Sil points out, rightback was commenting on a Saturday prize puzzle, which is rather different, although even there, the convention is still observed and, as far as I can remember, his titles and ‘music of the day’ were usually spot on, without being spoilers.

    It’s quite ironical that all this has blown up today, because I’d actually [for the first time] thought of an apposite title for my blog of last Saturday’s prize puzzle! ;-)

  48. Peter Owen says:

    Have I missed something in 17 down? OPOPANAX is defined by “tree”. But it’s not a tree is it?

  49. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Peter, in Oxford they say:
    “An acacia tree with violet-scented flowers that yield an essential oil used in perfumery, native to warm regions of America and cultivated elsewhere”.

    But I agree, nearly everyone else talks about a “plant”.

  50. Carrots says:

    Obscure solutions/limp clues/routine grind. Didn`t like it. Pasquale is capable of better than this.

  51. tupu says:

    Hi Carrots
    Good to see you back even if you do sound a bit grumpy. I hope the tooth fairy came and that all s now sorted!

  52. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Carrots,

    Obscure solutions? Some were perhaps, yes, but.
    Limp clues? Pasquale’s fault?
    Routine grind? Where?
    Didn’t like it? It’s of course a matter of taste.
    Pasquale is capable of better than this? Is he? And if indeed so, tell me why.

    Sometimes I think the average Guardian solver [I haste to say "it's not you"] doesn’t want to do thát little bit extra to really appreciate the setter’s brainchild.
    I fear next Saturday’s Bonxie blog will be an example of it too.

  53. Paul (not Paul) says:

    I like to learn a little every day. Maybe a couple of unfamiliar words, a couple of unfamiliar abbreviations.

    This was half a good crossword and half a lot of very obscure stuff. The obscurity could have been ameliorated by less strained definitions. E.g. seta = its hairy

    Enjoyed the first half but spoiled by the slog through the rest.

  54. bogeyman says:

    Enjoyed this for three quarters of it; thereafter it just became tiresome. The obscurities seem somewhat excessive.

  55. Pasquale says:

    From some of the responses here and on the Guardian site it is evident that I wasn’t the only one making a meal of it. But thanks for all the feedback, positive and negative — it’s good to know that someone cares!

  56. walruss says:

    Well no star shouldn ignore his public! No offence sir, but clearly this was not your most liked presentation.
    Eileen, I have not problem with what you say. I like the way 15/2 is set up, and I always expect to get info when I come here. But this site has always increased, and not in any way decreased ny enjoyment. Thankyou for your post at 47.

  57. Robi says:

    Pasquale; thanks for getting back to us – always appreciated when a setter comments. I found the obscure words quite interesting to solve; the clues were sufficiently robust to allow the answers to be found.

    Thanks also to Geoff @44 for the nice historical trip – very illuminating!

  58. William says:

    Hello Pasquale @55

    Always nice to hear from the setter, thank you.

    The 9 or 10 obscure words simply meant that I couldn’t quite finish, but that’s not a criticism. They were all perfectly reasonably clued and if we end up learning new words, that’s fine by most people I think.

    Thank you for a great puzzle and to UY for the blog.

  59. Carrots says:

    Hi Tupu, Sil…and any usual suspects who may be interested…….

    Tupu: Thanks for the welcome home: touched, I was. You were quite right in detecting a certain grumpiness in my post. This was born, after two “Pintas Maximus”, of having as many gaps in Pasquale`s puzzle as there now are between my teeth. I was, perhaps, a little hard on Pasquale and I should have mentioned some of his clues which ticked every box.

    Sil: Before learning, over breakfast, more of Armies, Arabs and Africans killing each other, I always turn to the crossword to see who the setter is. Pasquale has always been a firm favourite for illustrating what creativity can do instead of warfare. I welcome the odd couple of “new” (i.e., obscure) words…..but SEVEN ??? Alongside a few wet lettuces so easy that I thought they might have been a double bluff and hesitated about entering them!

    I stubbornly refuse to buy a pocket magic box so that I can rake the internet and Chambers et al from anywhere I happen to be (usually a pub). When I got home yesterday, it took precisely seven minutes to insert the answers I hadn`t got (and stood no chance of getting without aid).

    Pasquale: Much appreciated your stopping by. In spite of my little spat yesterday, you are a fondly appreciated setter and I look forward to your next and many subsequent puzzles.

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seven + = 12