Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,338 / Shed

Posted by mhl on June 2nd, 2011


A very enjoyable crossword from Shed. I got stuck on quite a few here, but I suspect that people won’t generally have found this too difficult.

9. AROSE A + ROSE = “a flower”; Definition: “came up”
10. TREASURER (RATE)* + SURER = “comparatively stable”; Definition: “official”
11. BINOMINAL (ON A LIMB IN)*; Definition: “Linnaean terms, maybe” – In Linnaeus’s taxonomy he used two Latin words to name each species
12. AGNES CHAMPAGNES = “expensive drinks” without CHAMP = “Winner”; Definition: “woman”
13. STAMINA ST = “way” + A + MINA = “bird” (an alternative spelling of Mynah); Definition: “Unflagging vigour”
15. WEST END WED = “Tie knot” around NETS = “flimsy curtains” reversed; Definition: “theatreland”
17. ANNUL ANNUAL = “periodical” without A = “one of its articles”; Definition: “Cancel”
18. D’OH! An entertaining clue: HOD = “carrier” reversed; Definition: “Homeric ejaculation” – Homer Simpson very frequently exclaims “D’oh!” – here are 32 examples for you…
20. EMOTE E + TOME = “book” all reversed; Definition: “What to do at the Oscars”
22. DRASTIC TSAR = “Chief” in CID = “detectives” all reversed; Definition: “desperate”
25. MINSTER MINISTER = “Officiant” without I = “one”; Definition: “church”
26. SOBER (ROBES)*; Definition: “Like judge”, as in the expression “sober as a judge”
27. TOWN HOUSE OWN = “Admit” in THOU = “you once” + SE = “directions”; Definition: “second home”
30. FIRST GEAR Double definition: “Nappies” (“gear” as in “clothing”) and “in which to climb hills?” (first gear on a car or bike)
31. KINGS KIN = “family” is KINGS with GS = “groups” removed + G[roup]S = “groups eviscerated” Thanks to jim for suggesting a better interpretation; Definition: “College” (King’s College Cambridge or King’s College London)
1. LAMB M = “male” in LAB = “experimental site”; Definition: “Give birth”
2. FOUNTAIN FAIN = “formerly obliged” around [m]OUNT = “headless horse”
3. TEEM MEET = “Hunt” reversed; Definition: “pour down”
4. STANDARD STAR = “Celebrity” around AND = “+” followed by D = “500”; Definition: “par for the course”
5. MELLOW MOW = “Cut” around ELL = “an arm’s length”; Definition: “gain in tolerance”
6. ISAAC STERN (ACTRESS IN A)*; Definition: “Fiddler”
7. PRINCE PRICE = “charge” around N = “Norway”; Definition: “Eg Fortinbras”
8. ARMS M = “Monk’s head” moving two places in MARS = “planet”; Definition: “insignia”
13. SWARD DRAWS = “Pulls” reversed; Definition: “grass”
14. ILLITERATE I’LL = “It’s my intention to” + ITERATE = “recite”; Definition: “without script”
16. DREAR D[runken] = “introduction to drunken” + REAR = “bum”; Definition: “Tiresome”
19. HOMEWARD MEW = “Catcall” in HOARD = “store”; Definiton: “on the way back”
21. OUTTURNS Julian Clary and Lily Savage, perhaps?” both are OUT, and TURNS in a theatrical sense; Definition: “Yields”
23. ALBERT ALERT = “warning” around B = “boys” (as in OB = “Old Boys”, I suppose); Definition: “Man”
24. CUTTER Double definition: “Saw, say” and “ship”
26. SOFA SO FA[r] = “as yet unfinished”; Definition: “Item of furniture”
28. HAKE [s]HAKE = “Agitate”; Definition: “fish”
29. EASY QUEASY = “a bit sick” without QU = “question”; Definition: “Promiscuous”

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,338 / Shed”

  1. jim says:

    I found this tough going.
    I didn’t get Agnes at all – thanks for the explanation – and I’d never heard of outturns.
    I interpreted 31A as kin + gs (= groups with centre removed).

  2. Mystogre says:

    Thanks mhl. I also found this a pleasant little diversion although 12ac had me over the wine barrel. I just could not see why it was AGNES but realised it couldn’t be anything else. Your answer makes me feel silly now.

    18ac was just fun as a comic reference and 6d was another I had to look a long way for.

    Mind you, you had me worried with your reported answer to 26ac above.

  3. Mystogre says:

    The electron trails crossed as I also interpreted KiNGS the same way as Jim@1.

  4. mhl says:

    jim: Thanks, I’m sure you’re right about 31a – I’ve corrected that.

    Mystogre: oosp :) I’ve corrected the typo in 26a.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Shed

    An enjoyable puzzle that took a little time to get into.

    A small typo – 26a is of course sober.

    I carelessly mentally misparsed ‘drastic’ as cid ROUND star.

    I was at first taken by surprise re 31a. Oxbridge does not include London but is there a King’s Oxford. Yes, but not an Oxford University college. But OK I suppose.

    Enjoyed 11a, 12a, 20a, 26a, 27a, 5d, 14d, 16d, 19d and 21d!.

    :) I thought at first that 30a could be ‘bottom gear’ but it didn’t fit of course. Maybe another time.

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Nothing to worry about here except maybe a hyphen in 21d, and the b=boys in 23d. 12a was brilliant. Under half an hour.

  7. Geoff says:

    Thanks mhl.

    Found this pretty straightforward but highly entertaining nonetheless. I plumped for AGNES at 12a although completely unable to explain why – thanks for the illumination.

    A lot of good clues – 18a and 30a were particularly amusing, but by no means the only excellent ones. Like tupu, I raised an eyebrow at KINGS being defined as ‘Oxbridge college’, but as he pointed out, there is a branch of the Kings Colleges group of private schools (named after one of the founders – Frederick King!) at Oxford. I suppose this transforms the clue into something rsther clever…

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl and Shed for an enjoyable and not too testing challenge; although it didn’t look that way at first, as I had no idea of the names in 21d, never heard of 6d and 18ac was terrifying at first glance – 3 letters for a Homeric reference, ouch! Thanks for the link, mhl, did you count them?

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who failed to see the expensive drinks in 12ac.

  9. Gaufrid says:

    tupu & Geoff
    I am confused. None of the on-line versions makes any reference to Oxbridge in the clue for 31ac. The definition is simply ‘college’. Does the clue in the paper differ?

    Not that it matters. Is there not a King’s College, Cambridge, noted for its chapel and choir?

  10. Geoff says:

    Gaufrid: The clue in the dead tree version reads ‘Family groups eviscerated at Oxbridge colleges’. Note that ‘colleges’ is plural – which is why the well known King’s, Cambridge is insufficient on its own. My surmise is that the paper version is an earlier draft, and the lack of a King’s College in the University of Oxford prompted an editorial change.

  11. Geoff says:

    PS tupu and I are both Cambridge men, so we are preternaturally sensitive about these things (and also probably explains our incorrigible pedantry).

  12. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Geoff
    All is now clear. Not only was Oxbridge removed but the clue was turned round, with college singular, to give “College getting family groups eviscerated”.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks mhl, for explaining why AGNES was correct, and the answer to 23d, which I guessed wrongly was Aubrey. I was happy with yesterday’s use of single letter abbreviations, but not so with b for BOYS today. I spent ages trying to fit in BB or BS.

    I started quickly and easily, but the second half was a bit of a grind.

    7d PRINCE is a bit &literish, as Fortinbras was a prince of Norway.

    I am a the other place’s place man, and go along with pedantry on 31a.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very straightforward and enjoyable.
    Last in was Agnes and another 30 minutes before I could parse it.
    I had been toying with Annis and Michael Winner – but a lovely clue.
    31ac – all knickers should be untwisted immediately.

  15. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl and Shed.
    Super puzzle,not too difficult but great fun.
    Tupu @5 – I thought your answer for 30 across much better,maybe more of a Paul sort of clue!

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, mhl, and thanks to Shed for a puzzle that I found pretty tricky. Easy to get into, but a bit of a struggle to breast the tape.

    I liked BINOMINAL and ILLITERATE today, AND D’OH! was a bit of a laugh. Did I read somewhere that this word/phrase entered the latest edition of the OED, or have I made that up?

  17. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks mhl. I found this tougher than most. I still don’t know who those people are and why they are OUT. And I don’t get the EMOTE/Oscars connection although I guessed it from the wordplay. But Agnes was one of my first in. Perhaps because I drink (and pay for) champagne when I can.

    It took me a long time to see First Gear but appreciated it when I did. Tupu’s version is better still.

  18. Pelham Barton says:

    Tokyocolin @17:

    This is a crossword in a UK newspaper. Both Julian Clary and Lily Savage are well known entertainers who are openly homosexual (=OUT). Strictly speaking Lily Savage is a character (formerly) played by a man called Paul O’Grady who now mainly appears using his real name, which is why the question mark is needed.

  19. caretman says:

    I started this off putting in 9a and 1d in about the time it took to read the clues and thought this would be a doddle. Well, it wasn’t that! It did yield but was nowhere near as easy as those first couple of clues suggested it might be. My last in was OUTTURNS, a word unfamiliar to me but it seemed like the only word that fit the pattern of the crossing letters. And given the comments here I’m chuffed that I got AGNES; usually large deletions elude me so I’m proud I saw that.

  20. John says:

    As well as “b” for boys, I don’t like “qu” for question.
    Neither do I understand “scoring” as an inclusion indicator.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog.
    I needed you to explain why AGNES was correct.

    I was beaten entirely by 30a because I was stuck on the idea of people walking uphill – not motor vehicles! I also was trying to make the second word WEAR which did not help.

    I liked 11a and 24d.

  22. Robi says:

    Thanks Shed and mhl, especially for parsing AGNES – I even got as far as thinking of champagnes but didn’t see the winner=champ connection (DOH!)

    TokyoColin @17; the EMOTE/Oscars connection is the reference to the tendency of some actors to gush with tears on the podium, I think. I seem to remember the ‘stellar’ performance of Gwyneth Paltrow.

  23. Carrots says:

    After my poor performance yesterday, Shed`s puzzle made me groan. I`ve never really enjoyed Shed (much too much like Literary Archeology, where each clue and definition is buried beneath an ice-slick surface). So, I didn`t crack it at lunchtime and it distracted me from The Great British Menu to come within three of completion this evening (ISSAC STERN, OUTTURNS & D`OH….although I`d guessed the latter from the operatives).

    However, I can`t cry “foul!” because, when eventually unravelled, the clues and definitions were fair. Just a bit of a grind.

    Loved Tupu`s alternative suggestion for 30ac!

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not as sunny as yesterday’s puzzle, but a good effort from Shed.
    Nothing spectacularly outrageous, everything’s just well-positioned.
    Although. My PinC had some trouble with the order of things in two of the clues (29d and the as such amusing 12d).

    She read “Promiscuous, and without question, a bit sick” as: a word for promiscuous, and when you take QU off that word, you’ll get ‘a bit sick’. I do understand her objections, but I wasn’t completely with her (a) because it’s not the first time that a device precedes the fodder (even if it is not the logical order) and (b) because the commas make a difference.
    A similar thing in 12ac (AGNES). It is more logical to read it as ‘Winner’ getting rid of ‘expensive drinks’. I think she has a point there. But as I do understand how it works, I won’t put the blame on Shed :). She was also somewhat annoyed by the linking word ‘on’, and again, although I felt a bit the same, Shed hád to.

    Clues like 28d (leading to HAKE) are always a bit ambiguous.
    You can read it the other way around, which I initially did, thinking of [t]ROUT as the answer.

    Some of the best (for us) perhaps ISAAC STERN (6d), PRINCE (7d), the aforementioned AGNES, ANNUL (17ac) and the really amusing FIRST GEAR (30ac). Please no bottom , tupu, one bum (16d) is enough! :)

    Finally, a word about 24d (CUTTER).
    Nothing wrong with it, but the clue could also have been “See, say, ship” instead of “Saw, say, ship” … [C (See, phon.) + UTTER]

    Thanks, Shed.
    And mhl as ever.

  25. Geoff says:

    Like Sil & Co, I felt that 12a was so tricky because the clue was the wrong way round. ‘Expensive drinks champion wasted on woman’ would have been much more satisfactory.

    But I didn’t mention it earlier because even my pedantry has limits.

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    So, meaning: mine hasn’t ….. ? :)

  27. Shed says:

    Thanks all. 31ac as it appeared in print was indeed a mistake (by me) – my revision made it into the online version but for some reason not into print, though I submitted it in plenty of time.

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