Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,327 / Pasquale

Posted by Eileen on May 20th, 2011


A fairly gentle puzzle from Pasquale to round off a week of good puzzles: nothing too controversial or obscure, I think, with a nice mix of clue types and a few smiles along the way.


7   DILATOR: sounds like [reportedly] ‘die later’
MAKE HAY: A [soa]K + EH [what?] in MAY [summer month]: a reference to the saying, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’].  A very topical clue: May is usually thought of as a Spring month but today’s paper reports summer flowers blooming weeks ahead of time this year.
ISLE: sounds like ‘aisle’
10  COME ALIVE: COVE: [old chap – as in ‘I say, old chap’ – and Chambers calls it old British slang] around [‘eating’] MEAL [lunch maybe] + I [one]
12 HO-HUM: HO[use] + HUM[ans]
13 STINGRAY: I [one] + NG [no good] in [‘for catching’] STRAY [gone off course]
15,16,17 KNOW WHAT’S WHAT: triple homophone: KNOW [no] WHAT [WAT – rebel: Wat Tyler, leader of the English Peasants’ Revolt, 1381] ‘S WHAT [sounds like ‘swot’ [hard-working student’]. [This is a very nicely constructed grid, with these entries running in sequence, as do 1,12,21 and 6,14,23dn].
18  ESPOUSED: ESP [extra-sensory perception – ‘sixth sense’] + USED [employed] around [to secure] O [ring]
20  WORST: WORST[ed]: worsted is a fine wool fabric, named after the Norfolk village of Worstead.
21 DISSEVERS: S[on] + EVER [always] in DISS [scorn]
22  HEBE: hidden in tHE BEautiful: the daughter of Zeus and Hera, cup-bearer of the gods
24  RWANDAN: WAND [rod of authority] in RAN [managed]
25  ROLLICK: reversal of ILL [bad] in ROCK [swaying motion]: I think I’ve only ever seen this in its participial form, ‘rollicking’.


1,12,21  WINS HANDS DOWN: cryptic definition, referring to a highwayman’s ‘request’, ‘Hands up!’ [I’d associate this more with gangsters: surely highwaymen said, ‘Stand and deliver!’ ?]
2   GAME SHOW: G[ood] + AMES  [Les Ames 1905-1990 – described by Wisden as the greatest wicket-keeper-batsman of all time] + HOW [anagram {‘worked’} of WHO]
DOT-COM: TC [reversal of CT – caught] in DOOM [catastophe]
4   CANARIES: CAN [jail] + ARIES [stars]: I liked this one.
5   PEKING: P.E. KING [top gymnast]
6,14,23 MADE A FAST BUCK: anagram [fancy] of BACKED A FAT SUM
11  MISHANDLE: SHAND[y] [pub drink taken short] in MILE [walking distance]: great surface, which made me smile.
16 WESLEYAN:  anagram of WALES NYE: another nice surface, referring to Nye Bevan, the Welsh politician and to John Wesley, founder of Methodism.
17  WORMHOLE: [f]ORM [class] in WHOLE [undamaged]
19  ORSINO: [h]ORS[e] [‘he falls off gee-gee’]  + IN + [b]O[g]: the character in ‘Twelfth Night’ referred to as both a duke and a count.
20  WISDOM: WI [Women’s Institute’, traditionally associated with ‘Jam and Jerusalem’, hence ‘jammy ladies’] + S[o]DOM [wicked city]: another nice surface which raised a smile: the ladies of Rylstone have done much to change this image!

39 Responses to “Guardian 25,327 / Pasquale”

  1. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. As you say, fairly straightforward, though annoyingly I failed on 5d – for some reason, I was looking for an Eastern European city, grr!

    The grid was well constructed, but it took me too long to find the three-clue answers. Ah well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Maybe I’ll be more awake for that.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for a v.g. blog and of course Pasquale.

    A satisfying puzzle from Pasquale with some typically clever cluing which allows one to reach the less obvious answers ( :) almost a cruciverbial Heineken).

    I particularly liked 7a, 8a, 15etc., 21a, 4d, 5d, 6 etc., 17d.

    It took some time for the penny to drop in 5d.

    It also took time to see 24 which used to be spelled with a ‘u’

    I tried first to make sense of porthole in 17d.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning Eileen.

    Since the Don started doing Monday Indy puzzles as Quixote, I’ve enjoyed his puzzles there, but I did find this a bit harder than those; got there in the end though. DILATOR was my last one in, so I finished the puzzle with a smile; and I liked CANARIES as well.

    I thought STINGRAY might be a bit iffy, since I was looking for STRAYED to make sense of the grammar; but I guess it’s STRAY as an adjective?

    I too was one who was trying to fit ‘stand and deliver!’ into my thinking for WINS HANDS DOWN.

    I never knew you subscribed to Wisden, by the way …

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi K’s D

    Re 13ac: yes, stray as an adjective, defined by the participle, ‘gone off course’, so the grammar is fine by me. In fact, I see that Chambers gives ‘gone astray’ as a definition of ‘stray’.

    “I never knew you subscribed to Wisden, by the way …”

    As if! I do sometimes resort to Wikipedia, though. :-)

    [If you’re really getting into Quixote, there’s a nice Bradman in the FT today.]

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen – what a great week of puzzles it’s been! “No Watt swot” gave me a laugh.

    I was another to try to get something out of “stand and deliver”, or “your money or your life” for 1dn etc – I though the cryptic side was a bit weak on that one: “wins” doesn’t seem to be indicated at all. Partly as a result of that I was stuck on the NW corner for a while, though the rest was gettable with just the right amount of struggle.

    One more nitpick – although 21ac is perfectly sound it seems a bit of a flaw that DISS appears at the start of the word as well as being the container.

    Thanks again for the blog, and thanks Pasquale for nicely rounding off an excellent week (I’m saving Bradman for later.)

  6. Trebor says:

    Always somewhat nervous when I see Pasquale’s name after the nightmarish Janet Street-Porter themed one from a while back, but enjoyed this.
    I thought of the police more with the “Hands Up” reference but clear what was wanted so not really an issue.
    Canaries was my favourite also.

  7. malc95 says:

    Thanks Eileen & The Don,

    Didn’t parse 17d properly – could only think of [c]ORM in WHOLE.
    2d – Good to see the great Leslie Ethelbert George mentioned; difficult to parse for non-cricket lovers, but very “get-able” from the definition.

  8. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for the blog. For the first time ever, I’m in four papers today (Telegraph, Times, Guardian and FT) — just in case there are any gluttons for punishment.

  9. malc95 says:

    So Quixote had a day off then?

  10. yedrom says:

    Like Andrew @5 I think that this has been a really enjoyable week; especially this morning when I realised that I’d finished before Eileen’s blog. A resoung thanks to all compilers involved and let’s hope that tomorrow’s is also solveable !

  11. Eileen says:

    Congratulations, Pasquale! – and thanks for dropping in. [I wonder if there are gee-gees in all four.]

    malc, Quixote had his day on Monday.

  12. Thomas99 says:

    I’ve enjoyed both the Guardian and the FT, but I think that’s probably enough for me for one day.

    Is it a celebration, or just a coincidence?

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very straightforward and I liked all the three-worders.
    After an early finish I then struggled for a long time with 7a.
    I contemplated ‘dilator’ but dismissed it as not being a drug.
    I am still only partly convinced.

  14. Conrad Cork says:


    Like I suspect many here, I take a dilator every day. It looks like a drug, is described like a drug and taken like a drug, so my conclusion is that The Don is bang on.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Chambers says ‘instrument or muscle’ which encouraged my doubt.
    However,I am sure you are right that it does have a wider nature.

  16. Eileen says:


    I, too, was unfamiliar with dilator as a drug. It isn’t in either Collins or Chambers but googling turned up this, which seems pretty authoritative.

  17. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen and Pasquale – he who usually defeats me but not today.

    However, although Pasquale did make me ponder, I always felt that I would crack this puzzle eventually, although possibly not this side of Christmas.

    I’d never heard of DILATOR but, now I know that I guessed it correctly. I consider an excellent clue. As was PEKING.

    I struggled to find the wicketkeeper and, at first, I could only recall Alan Knott, George Duckworth and Godfrey Evans but then Leslie Ames popped into my head. I bet our non-cricket loving puzzlers are still puzzling over him.

    Being a glutton for punishment, I will try the FT later.

  18. John H says:

    Re #10: Yes, but you may need a diary…

  19. Eileen says:

    Oh Lord, an Enigmatist – and I’m blogging it, too!

  20. beermagnet says:

    I found this much tougher than most here, definitely the hardest G of the week for me. (Though out-toughed by far by the recent Scorpion in the Indy).

    I didn’t get DILATOR or a few others. Ho-hum. (No wait a minute I got that). But I find I’m like many including Mr CCork in taking one every day without realising. I have never heard it (amlodipine) referred to as a dilator.

    So Eileen, ta muchly for the blog which explained several ?s and blanks.
    And good luck for tomorrow.

    6d is MADE (not Make) as per the anag-fodder

  21. yedrom says:

    Re Eileen #19 You could be lucky and find out it’s the Crossword provided by Mr H at the Sloggers and Betters in Derby!

  22. Thomas99 says:

    Eileen (19)-
    What Enigmatist? Where…? Do you mean tomorrow’s prize in the Guardian? If so I must make arrangements…

  23. Eileen says:

    Thanks, beermagnet – sorted now.

    Hi yedrom

    Hmm, I’m not sure that would help: there have been a lot of crosswords in between!

    But – back to Pasquale: sufficient unto the day … ;-)

  24. Matt says:

    Beermagnet @20 – I also thought this was hard. Maybe not so much once the solutions are in, but Pasquale seems to have a different style to the other Grauniad setters. Finished it thanks to a LOT of Googling but no actual cheating on the website, although I was severely tempted.

    I think the difficulty to me is exemplified in 11d – once got, it’s simple to parse, but the definition kind of stops in a strange place grammatically (between “with” and “pub”) then we have to guess at a pub drink (there are many). We then ignore the hyphen and shorten it and then there’s a kind of cryptic def/joke (to which there are again many possible answers) to get the rest of the letters. Recent crosswords would have included at least one of “shandy” or “mile” in the clue itself or given more precise clues to get them.

    This isn’t a criticism, in fact I feel proud of myself for completing it, but it is a seemingly different style to the others.

    My only quibble – May is a spring month to me regardless of the flowers which are out! I suspect the liberty was taken for the surface reading and definition.

    Thanks Eileen for clearing up the bits I hadn’t worked out in the parsing, and thanks Pasquale for a tricky crossword and coming here to comment.

  25. Eileen says:

    [Thomas @22: see Comment 18]

  26. Mick H says:

    Some very neat grid-filling here to get those three three-word answers in. I particularly liked P.E. KING, DIE LATER (wasn’t that a James Bond film?) and NO WAT SWOT. Perhaps crosswords really are just an outlet for the kind of puns our nearest and dearest clout us for!

  27. RCWhiting says:

    #16 Eileen
    Yes, thanks, that link plus Conrad’s post had convincd me but the dictionaries are clearly not up-to-date.

  28. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Pasquale and Eileen. Great stuff! I learned that May is a summer month and that I take a dilator (amlodipine). Good to know. Tried to make Olga K or Nadie C or Retton work in 5d. My COD was 4d.


  29. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Eileen. I found this offering from Pasquale quite tricky but eventually finished it. In saying that I was convinced 5d was PEKING although I couldn’t figure out why. Never heard of P.E. King.

    I am not a great fan of crosswords where the answers are spread all over the grid.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi gm4hqf

    Just in case you weren’t joking – and apologies for being patronising if you were ;-) – it’s P[hysical] E[ducation] King. [We used to call P.E. ‘Gym’ at school.]

  31. malc95 says:

    Thanks Eileen, I thought P.E. King was B.B.’s brother.

  32. walruss says:

    Re clues all over grid why not, gm4hqf?

  33. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale for a nice one that I found quite tricky.

    Good blog, Eileen – once I had eventually completed this I managed to parse the answers but found it very difficult to get started. Like you, I thought of ‘stand-and-deliver,’ and 1,12,21 was the only one I thought was rather disappointing. Like Andrew @5, I couldn’t see that WINS was indicated, apart from in the definition. Didn’t know COVE=old chap, which in Chambers gives the origin as obscure. KNOW WHAT’S WAT caused a bit of a groan but I did like CANARIES and MAKE HAY, despite the wrong season.

  34. mike04 says:

    Re 7ac
    The Oxford Dictionary of English (Reprinted 2006) gives dilator: a vasodilatory drug.

  35. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and to Pasquale for an enjoyable puzzle. Late to comment today and nothing much to add that hasn’t already been said. For what it’s worth, I also thought 1,12,21 was perhaps the weakest one out of an otherwise strong batch of clues. My favourites were 3dn, 4dn and 11dn.

    I guessed PEKING from the checking letters — thanks for explaining the wordplay, which passed me by!

  36. tupu says:

    RE 1,12,21
    Andrew, Robi et al
    I quite liked this clue. I see no need for a separate definition for ‘wins’. The definition of the answer is ‘achieves easy success’, and the rest of the clue is a light-hearted hint with a question mark.

    It also struck me that ‘hands up!’ might as well refer to a hold-up in the old wild west, and a quick google search brought up the following powerful image:

  37. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Pasquale at no 8 and Malc at no 9: just discovered that Quixote has the Prize Cryptic in today’s Independent i! I know when John H and Jane got married Nimrod and his alter egos were spread across a few publications, but otherwise this must be some kind of record? The Don will be retiring to the Bahamas soon with all the fees …

  38. Pasquale says:

    No extra fees for the i and I wasn’t even told. All a coincidence by the way, having so many in one day. To the shops…

  39. maarvarq says:

    May is usually thought of as a Spring month but today’s paper reports summer flowers blooming weeks ahead of time this year
    Rubbish. This clue was wrong. Jeez, if you thought this was gentle I’d hate to see a hard one.

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