Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,314 / Shed

Posted by mhl on May 5th, 2011


A very nice crossword from Shed, with some tough words / general knowledge, but all fairly clued. (I may not be able to make corrections until much later today, so apologies in advance for any mistakes.)

8. HELLHOLE HELLO = “Glossy” (as in a magazine) around H = “horse” + LE = “the French”; Definition: “house of horror”
9. COURT I think this is a sort of overlapping double definition: “Where to try to win” and “to win affection” Thanks to those who corrected this (Pelham Barton getting there first) the two definitions are: “Where to try” (as in a court of law) and “win affection” – I was stuck thinking about tennis…
10. PELT Double definition: “Hide” and “shower”
11. EAR TRUMPET (A P MUTTERER)*; Definition: “hearing aid”
12. STURDY SATURDAY = “when Grundy died” without the As = “articles censored”; Definition: “Robust”
14. EMENDATE [s]EMEN = “Seed carrier not beginning” before DATE = “fruit”; Definition: “Correct”
15. BLENDER Double definition: “Chameleon” and “kitchen equipment?”
17. FENELLA ELLA = “Fitzgerald” beside FEN = “bog”; Definition: “Fielding”
20. PASHMINA PASHA = “Former governor” around MIN = “little time”; Definition: “shawl”
22. RENAME ER = “queen” around MANE = “hair”, all reversed; Definition: “Provide fresh handle”
23. SCHOLASTIC O = “Nothing” + LAST = “terminal” in S = “southern” + CHIC = “style”; Definition: “academic”
24. HEAD Double definition: “Nut” and “loaf”
25. EIGHT [w]EIGHT = “pounds, maybe” without W = “women”; Definition: ” Figure achieved by women shedding pounds, maybe?”
26. RENEGADE A + (GENDER)* + E[xperience]; Definition: “Turncoat”
1. PEDESTAL PETAL = “sweetheart” around DES = “little boy”; Definition: “Support”
2. FLAT Double definition: “Dull” and “place to live”
3. HOMELY ME = “setter” in HOLY = “divine”; Definition: “Mundane”
4. HEARTEN HEAR = “catch” followed by TEN = “[EIGHT]” + 2; Definition: “Encourage”
5. SCORSESE SCORE = “to purchase drugs” around S[ugared] + ES = “pills” (one ecstasy tablet would be an E, and more would be “Es”) – “popping” in the sense of “swallowing” gives the containment; Definition: “Director”
6. CURMUDGEON (GONE)* under (“covered with”) CUR = “dog” + MUD = “dirt”; Definition: “Sourpuss”
7. STREET STET = “let it be” (a Latin note used by editors to reverse a previous correction) around RE = “troops”; Definition: “Thoroughfare”
13. RUN-THROUGH Double definition: “Transfix” and “rehearsal”
16. EPINASTY A new word for me, but a forgiving clue: (PIE)* + NASTY = “not at all nice”; Definition: “downturn” – apparently EPINASTY is “the downward curvature of leaves etc due to differential growth rates” (wiktionary
18. LOMBARDY (MOB)* in LARDY = “fatty”; Definition: “part of Italy”
19. LANTERN L = “Left” + AN + TERN = “aquatic bird”; Definition: “light”
21. ARCHER [m]ARCHER = “Protester decapitated”; Definition: “old soldier”
22. RACING RING = “Sporting arena” around AC = “account”; Definition: “sport”
24. HIGH You can put HIGH before “summer”, “school” and “society”; Definition: “Stoned”

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,314 / Shed”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Re 9ac: I do not think there is an overlap. The first meaning “where to try” in the sense of law court.

  2. duncan says:

    I managed to put everything in, but there were a couple of things I couldn’t explain, so thanks for clearing them up. I would’ve liked to have seen a hyphen in 25a, between “women” & “shedding” to help the reading…. don’t really understand the “on the contrary” remark. there’s a nice clue struggling to escape that heap of words….


  3. duncan says:

    “pounds shedding women” of course- that’s what the “on the contrary” is telling us.


  4. Ian says:

    Thanks mhl. Well blogged and a very fair and accurately clued effort from Shed today.

    Just two answers needed to be checked with Chambers (14ac & 16dn) prior to entering.

    17ac particularly pleasing as was the wonderful surface for 4dn.

    The thrice-cooked biscuit however goes to 8ac which I hope everyone agrees was just sublime.

    47′ solving time, and gave me the opportunity to lock horns with Nimrod in the Indy.

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    I agree that 9a is a double def, but I don’t think it is overlapping. COURT works as ‘Where to try’ and ‘to win affection’.

    Some good clues here with several smiles – I liked CURMUDGEON particularly.

    My only real quibble is that semen should be clued as ‘seed’ and not ‘seed carrier’. ‘Seed’ is also an archaic metaphor for ‘offspring’, but offspring are not ‘carried’ by the male parent, so it doesn’t quite work like this either!

    Good to see EPINASTY – nastic movements don’t appear often in crosswords, but they are good clue fodder. A ‘-nasty’ is a movement of part of an organism which is not directional with respect to the stimulus – the opening of flowers in bright sunlight is an example (photonasty) – as opposed to a ‘-tropism’, where the part moves either towards or away from the stimulus – like sunflowers turning towards the sun (positive phototropism). (And there is also the ‘-taxis’, in which the whole organism moves).

    Last in was FENELLA – I was misled by the coupling of Fitzgerald and Fielding to search for something more literary…

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. The right side proved easy, the NW corner hard (I was thrown by thinking the “2” was 2d). Lastinwas 8d, but it was a good one, as was 23a. Thanks Shed for a good enjoyable challenge.

  7. Robi says:

    Entertaining puzzle and good blog, mhl.

    For once, I managed to parse all the clues. I particularly liked CURMUDGEON.

    FENELLA (Carry on Screaming) FIELDING, eh. Whatever happened to her? See here.

  8. Robi says:

    P.S. Geoff @5; I think we might be getting into SEMENtics (geddit?) here, but I think ‘seed carrier’ is the correct description for SEMEN (Chambers: ‘liquid that carries sperm.’)

  9. Andrew says:

    Nice blog mhl – as usual an excellent and enjoyable puzzle from Shed on one of his all-too-rare appearances. I couldn’t explain EIGHT, so thanks for that one.

    Just to be picky, 24ac is really a bit of a dud dd, as both “nut” and “loaf” are slang for “head”, but I’m inclined to be more forgiving than usual because of the misleading combination of them.

    Geoff – I think semen=seed-carrier is fine, as sperm=seed are “carried” by it.

    EPINASTY was fun – it took me back to O-level Biology (over 40 years ago – aaargh!) and learning about tropisms etc (as eruditely described by Geoff). I can remember us laughing at “nasty” generally, and particularly at the wonderful nyctinasty.

  10. Robi says:

    P.P.S. I agree with Ian @4 that HELLHOLE provided a stellar clue.

  11. Geoff says:

    ‘Sperm’ can mean either spermatozoa or the liquid containing them, but ‘seed’ is defined by Chambers as, inter alia, ‘semen (literary or poetic)’. Not ‘spermatozoa’. ‘Semen’ is the Latin word for ‘seed’ in its concrete sense of what plants produce (as any fule kno).

    If you’re going to be pedantic, you should do it properly, I always say.

  12. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks mhl both for the original blog and for getting back quickly with the correction on 9ac.

    @Andrew (#9) re 24ac:

    The other five double definitions in this crossword all fit the slightly stricter description “two meanings”, but 24ac is really just two different slang terms for the same meaning of the answer.

    That is not to say that there is anything wrong with 24ac in itself, but if you think that six double definitions are too many for one crossword, then 24ac would be the first to go.

  13. Robi says:

    Geoff @11; I think we should return to the clue. I am not aware of plants producing semen as it is defined today. You are correct that Chambers includes a literary or poetic use of ‘seed’ to mean semen. That is not, however, going to override the usual scientific (and Chambers) meaning that, I assume, was employed in the clue. Thus, although there may be some right on both sides, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the clue IMHO. :)

  14. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, mhl, got stuck in the NW corner, only partly because I couldn’t get out of my mind CHANGER for 15a, which fits chameleon, but not, of course, kitchen.

    Geoff at 5. Curiously FENELLA was my first one in.

    Andrew at 9. Beware over 41 years – I can’t recall EPINASTY at all in my O level biology. It was NUJMB, however, so maybe we didn’t do EPINASTY.

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    I can recall CNIDOCIL and REMEGES and RECTRICES none of which I have used since until today!

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, mhl – needed your explanations for a few today.

    A well-clued and toughish puzzle, I thought, with the highlights for me today being EIGHT, HOMELY and RENEGADE.

    It’s a bit of a boys’ get together on the blog today so far, isn’t it? Have all the ladies been put off by the prolonged discussion of male ejaculate? (I thought 14ac was fine, just to prolong it a bit further.)

  17. Geoff says:

    Robi @13: According to Chambers, ‘seed’ = ‘semen’ =’LIQUID CONTAINING sperm’. Nowhere does this dictionary (or the SOED, come to that) define ‘seed’ as ‘spermatozoa’ – it’s the gametes PLUS the stuff they come in (sorry for that).

    How many spermatozoa fit on the head of a pin?

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Pleasurable and quite straightforward although I struggled a bit with the NW corner. This was mainly due to ‘pelt’ and ‘flat’ which I spotted but was not very convinced – seemed a bit vague.
    I am inclined to support Robi on the ‘semen’ point.

  19. Robi says:

    Geoff @17. The answer is quite a lot!

    My last word on this subject is that I think we both agree that semen is both the liquid and the spermatazoa. We are, however, in crosswordland and the only real point of this discussion is whether Shed was correct to make the clue in the way that he did. The Chambers definition of semen (as above: ‘liquid that carries sperm’) whether entirely correct or not would allow the use of ‘seed carrier,’ I think. In Chambers, sperm is defined as both semen and (combining form denoting) seed. I spent some time thinking that seed carrier might be hod or husk or somesuch but I undestood in the end his thinking.

  20. caretman says:

    I’ll stay out of the EMEN fight, but will say I really liked that clue. I also appreciated in 13 dn the use of ‘transfix’ in its literal, physical sense rather than the figurative sense in which one encounters it most nowadays. This was a wonderful, challenging puzzle and well worth the effort. Thanks to Shed!

  21. Robi says:

    P.S. ‘Pod’ not ‘hod’ above; that is a different sort of carrier!

  22. Stella says:

    Thanks mhl, especially for explaining 24d, which I got, but couldn’t make head or tails of.

    An interesting discussion has ensued re 14ac, but considering how men may talk of ‘planting their seed’, I think the clue is fine.

    As has been mentioned, Shed’s appearances are rare, which probably explains (I hope) why I didn’t find myself on his wavelength today, and needed a lot of help from Chambers Online to finish the puzzle. Shame, as it was a good one.

  23. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks mhl. I had to work hard for this but got there in the end. Not helped by never having heard of Fenella or Grundy. My least favourite clue was others pick at 8ac. Never seen a magazine called Hello and never heard a magazine referred to as ‘glossy’. My COD was CURMUDGEON. Great surface!

  24. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. I have struggled long and hard with Shed’s puzzles in the past, but managed this one without much grief or head-scratching. Good puzzle and very enjoyable. (I’ve no problems with 14ac, either the clue or the discussion :-) )

    I liked 24dn and 5dn very much — which I hasten to add has nothing to do with any activities of mine :-)

  25. riccardo says:

    Re.9ac – surely to court is to try to win affection, rather than to actually win it… so still an overlapping DD in my book. I spent a while stuck on pesthole for 8ac, and was scratching my head trying to connect pesto and glossy. Finally, I thought howe was a perfectly good answer for 10ac, which three me even more in the NW corner.

  26. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    I enjoyed this puzzle for the most part. Eventually caved in with just one to go: PELT. Went through all the combinations I could think of and just couldn’t come up with the right double definition. Knew it would be simple.

    Like Duncan in message 2, I couldn’t understand how ‘On the contrary’ fitted into 25a, but reading the way mhl analysed the clue, it’s suddenly come to me. A ‘figure of eight’ is not the type of figure/shape a woman who lost weight would have. If you see what I mean. (Not sure this is actually true, but I think that’s what the clue’s getting at.)

  27. slipstream says:

    Re 20 across: I live in Alaska, so I attempted to use PALIN (instead of PASHA) for “former governor.”

  28. Martin P says:

    I was thrown by “curmudgeon”, simply because, for no good reason, I had “sourpuss” as female and “curmudgeon” as male, so not equivalents in my mind…

    Enjoyable, I found though, so thanks to Shed.

  29. Jan says:

    Thanks, mhl and Shed. How lovely to see an all-too-rare Shed puzzle. Many, many years ago I used to groan, “Oh, sh**, it’s Shed!” I could never finish them.

    Andrew@9 and Dave@14&15 – my Biology O and A levels were more than 50 years ago – also NUJMB, Dave. I had never heard of EPINASTY, but I could tell you about the very large polymorphonucleocytes in Pseudotsuga taxipholia.

  30. Shed says:

    Thanks all. I could have done with Geoff’s advice when compiling this, as my original clue for 14ac was ‘Seed not beginning to precede fruit? Correct!’ – which is much snappier. But when I was double-checking and read the Chambers definition of semen, I thought ‘oh dear, I’ll get pedants complaining about that’, so I added ‘carrier’. And look what happened.

  31. Stella says:

    Thanks for dropping in, Shed. It just goes to show you can’t please everyone!

  32. Robi says:

    Shed; look what happened indeed. Never mind, it was all good fun and the crossword was very enjoyable.

  33. Geoff says:

    Shed: Agree entirely with my good friend Robi. Great crossword, and we all enjoyed 14a despite my nit-pickings. These pedantic little spats are generally light-hearted and all part of the fun of the blog.

  34. Daniel Miller says:

    Curmudgeon – great surface.

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