Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,351 / Tramp

Posted by Eileen on June 17th, 2011

Eileen.

I’ve been looking forward to Tramp’s second Guardian cryptic, having blogged his début Fawlty Towers-themed puzzle, so I was very pleased to land this one, too.

I didn’t detect a theme this time but several of the clues have a theatrical reference.

There’s lots to entertain and amuse in this puzzle and I really enjoyed solving it. There were comments on Tramp’s last puzzle regarding the length of his clues and I have to say that, while I love ‘story-telling’ clues, the tale in some of these did seem rather long-winded. The average clue-length is 8.6 words [and that's with the wonderfully succinct 20,24 for the longest answer!] which some setters might jib at but I enjoyed the surfaces so much that I didn’t really mind.

Thanks for an entertaining puzzle, Tramp: I hope we see you again soon!

Across

1   CIRCUS: initial letters [starts to] of Corner In Reverse + CU [chemical symbol for copper] + S[econd]
5   SEPARATE: PAR [standard] in SEAT [Spanish car maker] + E [Spain]
9   NO-GO AREA: cryptic [?] definition
10  LUVVIE: U ['can be seen by all' - film classification] + VV [two Vs {characters} when touching, forming W, which might represent women] in LIE [story
11  SCENE-PAINTER: SCENE [part of play] + PINTER [playwright]  round A[ct]
13,18  MONOPOLY: cryptic definition, referring to two tokens [car and boot] and one square ['Free Parking']  in the board game : I can’t quite fit the ‘sale’ in. Thanks, Andrew and superkiwigirl: of course, the players with the car and the boot could be selling properties to each other in the course of the game .
14  IDOLATRY: I DO [wedding vow] + LAT[in] + RY [line]
17  CONDENSE: CON [Tory] DENSE [obtuse - answer to 26]
20,24  THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX: MUSE [think] outside of TV ['the box']: this is what we have to do all the time, of course, when solving crosswords! This type of clue is anathema to some but the last time it was discussed here, I think the consensus was that it’s fine once in a while. I loved this one and I think it’s superior to GEGS [scrambled eggs] because the answer is a further clue – very clever! [My only quibble is the 'of' but tupu put me right last week when I complained about that.]
23  FILING: FIL[m]ING: filing your nails is the [preferred] alternative to biting them.
25  EMPHASIS: nicely hidden in conservativE MP HAS ISolated
26  OBTUSE: E, the heart of OB[e]SE [fat], is replaced by TU[esday]

Down

2   IPOD: cryptic definition, by analogy with ‘tripod': this made me laugh.
3   CROSSWORD: ROSS [Jonathan, former BBC chat show host] in C-WORD [its ultimate taboo]: a beautifully constructed clue. It really is a pity about the length, particularly as it’s purporting to be a newspaper headline. I really liked it, though!
4   SERIES: ER [hospital drama] + IE [that's] in SS [first and last letters of schedules]
5   STAGE DIRECTIONS: anagram of ISN’T CATEGORISED
6   PULSATOR: PULSA [anagram {cryptic} of PAULS] + reversal of ROT [rubbish]: Tramp is a self-confessed admirer of our setter Paul, so this is an amusing tribute – my favourite clue, I think.
7   RAVEN: double definition
8   TOILET ROLL: anagram of L[eft] LOO LITTER: another one that made me laugh, referring to this practice
12  MONOTHEISM: you have to remove the question mark, to give the definition ‘single God in this': MOTHE[r] round [to carry] ON + IS M [being married]
15  AT PRESENT: RESENT [begrudge] under [supporting] ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals - 'professional racketeers']
16  ENGORGES: last letters of georgE gershwinG sonG + [p]ORG[y] + [b]ES[s]
19  BISTRO: R[amsay] in [ah!] BISTO
21  NEIGH: E [Aintree's last letter] in NIGH [not far away]
22  ROBS: RBS [Royal Bank of Scotland] with O [nothing] in it – a lovely chuckle to end with!

61 Responses to “Guardian 25,351 / Tramp”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen. I agree that this was good fun, with 6dn being my favourite in a strong field. I’m usually on the “anathema” side of the fence on the subject of clues 20,24, but it was a very good example of the genre, and as you say they’re fine if not overused.

    In 13/15 I took “sale” to refer to the selling of properties that happens in the game.

    My only quibble is 14ac – contrary to popular belief the standard response in a wedding is not “I do” but “I will”. The use of SCENE in 11ac was a bit weak too – although the two meanings involved are different they are very closely related.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I could handle some more of this setter. First off, he made me smile, which is one of the main reasons for doing a crossword – it’s not an exam, after all. PULSATOR was witty if you were in on the joke, and although I had to cheat at the end to get IPOD, that also was funny. Thought EMPHASIS was very cunningly hidden. I didn’t mind the longer clues today, because for the most part they did convey a nice story.

    THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX I got, but couldn’t understand till I came here. Required a bit of exactly that to solve it, but where does this expression come from, I wonder.

  3. superkiwigirl says:

    I found this a most amusing puzzle, and like Eileen had several good laughs.

    The many theatrical references set me up nicely for a bit of confusion regarding 2d, which was my last one in. I also had difficulty with 13,18a, and it wasn’t until I read the blog that I could understand it (it’s years since I played Monopoly, and anyway I think that the original tokens in our set were long since replaced with other items). Maybe the word “sale” is intended to cover the general aim of the game which is to buy as many sites as possible, and in order to do so the tokens have to land on the squares in question?

    Lots of favourite clues here – I particularly liked 3d, 6d and 8d.

    Many thanks, Eileen, for your usual clear explanations, and Tramp for an excellent crossword – I look forward to your next one with relish.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad

    Here’s one suggestion:

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/think-outside-the-box.html

    Thanks, Andrew and superkiwigirl – I wa being a bit dim about ‘sale’. And of course you’re right about ‘I do’ – it’s such a cliché that I almost don’t notice it, despite never having heard it at a wedding, except from the bride’s father! A quick google confirms that it’s an American version, as I suspected.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Eileen-
    Thanks for that link. I remember that nine-dot puzzle quite fondly and had no idea it was connected to the phrase.

    Thanks for the blog too; you pointed out some extra chuckles – I was just thinking one, pod for 2d, but the analogy with tripod does make it funnier; and I hadn’t stopped to think about RBS’s recent history either (22d). There are also lots of surfaces worth looking back over – it’s easy to miss some of the wit in the haste to solve.

    I’m definitetly in the pro camp for must’ve. As you say, it is superior to GSGE, almost a weirdly inverted &lit, in the imperative mood. I would also never say it with the the “of” but I gather it’s a variant.

  6. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Eileen. I enjoyed this although I did get tied up with 2d which is embarrassing as I work with Apple products every day! I put it in through loyalty rather than deduction, so thank you for the explanation.

    The clues, although longer, were well polished and that meant I only managed about three on the frst across reading. But they came. I always bought the expression was THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, so dismissed it at first, until it became obvious enough for even me to get. This link gives a possible derivation:
    http://Www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/think-outside-the-box.HTML

    As superkiwigirl@3 suggests, there are a lot of nice clues here. It brightened the end of a hard Friday and that means a belated thank you to Tramp too. Many more to come, I hope.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Mystogre

    Your link doesn’t seem to work – but it’s the same as mine @4, which does! :-)

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for clearing up my doubts Eileen. Of course, it doesn’t help that I don’t live in England, so the explanations to clues like 3 and 22d were obscure to me – what’s the “c-word”?

    Despite that, this was an enjoyable solve, except the last in, 13/18, but that’s a pet hate of mine – I call it Monotony :)

    I saw the wordplay in 10ac – unlike with the brilliant long answer – but I don’t under stand the definition: “Player that’s affected”?

    I’ve always understood “think outside the box” to refer to the logic puzzle where you have to join dots without lifting the pen from the paper, going through each dot once only.

  9. Thomas99 says:

    Nobody answer Stella’s first question!

  10. Orange says:

    Really enjoyed this one – change of style. Favourite answer was “Engorges”.
    Stella – the word rhymes with punt!
    Also a luvvie is an actor with an “affected” air.

  11. Orange says:

    Oops – serves me right for being a two finger typist! That’s why I like the ipad.

  12. Martin H says:

    At first I found the verbosity of some of the clues irksome, but as time went on – and it did – I began to warm to the style. The story-telling surfaces can be very clunky, with a few rather dodgy details glossed over – ‘IS’ M for ‘being’ married in 12d, for example; and the laboured and disappointingly obvious containment indications in 25ac – but at their best they are admirably inventive and work very well: 10ac, 6, 8, and 16d. 3d worked better as a summary report than a headline, and, as you say Eileen, was beautifully constructed – and the full identification avoided the simple ‘Jonathan’ that some setters might have given us.

    Of the succinct clues, iPOD and 20,24 were very clever.

    Quibbles: NO-GO AREA? How does that work, other than as a Rufusian non-cryptic def? ‘More than one episode’ for ‘series’ misses the mark. And MONOPOLY – did anyone get it without the crossing letters?

    Thanks for explaining ROBS Eileen – and I agree that we should see more of Tramp.

  13. Thomas99 says:

    Martin H-
    I think I got Monopoly with just one crosser, the second O, but I was helped by the fact that for a long time I thought 2d might be Iron, which went with Car and Boot and Free Parking. I thought the other “player” would be the dog (“Lassie” instead of luvvie?) or the ship or whatever they are and the whole thing would be Monopoly-themed. It all fell apart as I went on solving and I finally got ipod as my last clue.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I was hoping you would get to blog this one! Like you, I was aware while solving that the clues were rather wordy, but the surfaces made up for this in most cases.

    I really enjoyed working out 20,24 after I guessed the answer. 9ac is barely cryptic.

    22dn made me smile. I also really liked 6dn and 8dn.

    Had to cheat to get 2dn (can’t keep blaming this on the cold, can I?)

  15. Robi says:

    Thanks Tramp for a really great crossword. I loved Must’ve; it reminds me of ‘El’ (3,6,10), which many of you may know or can interpret. I’ll give the answer later if anyone wants/needs it.

    Thanks Eileen for a proficient blog. For THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, see here. Thanks for the help in parsing MONOTHEISM.

    Yes, the clues are a bit long, but no real specialist knowledge needed to solve them. Let’s have more of Tramp!

    Stella @8; although the Guardian has published it, I won’t repeat it here, given the sensitive nature of some of our brethren. Let’s just say it is four letters and rhymes with hunt!

  16. Tramp says:

    Thanks Eileen, once again, for a really thorough blog and thanks to everyone for posting their comments.

    Originally, for IPOD, I had a different clue but it was considered, probably fairly, to be bordering on bad taste.

    For the MONOPOLY clue, I originally had CAR-BOOT SALE, as this is how it appeared in my old copy of Collins. With the hyphen, I was trying to convey a sale between the car and the boot. It probably doesn’t work as well without the hyphen; which is how it appears in Chambers.

    Admittedly, 9ac is weak. I thought the surface might make people think initially of ‘pubs’ – on reflection it’s not very cryptic.

    The clue length is an interesting one and something I need to work on. As Eileen says, my previous (Fawlty Towers) puzzle had an average clue length in excess of 10 words so I’ve got better to some degree! I have several puzzles on the go and they all have similar clue lengths to this puzzle. In my defence, I probably focus a bit too much on the surface reading and this tends to increase my length, as it were. Most quick solvers have trained themselves to ignore surface reading and they’ll find the long clues tedious. I’m guessing posters to this site are not a representative sample of the population in terms of solving times. A while ago, I looked at Enigmatist/Dave Tilley’s excellent publication that was a tribute to the late, great Bunthorne. I randomly opened the book and calculated his average length and for the five or so puzzles I did this for, they all averaged over 8 words a clue. Now, I’m not in Bunthorne’s class, and never will be, but I do think length isn’t so much of an issue if the clues are well constructed.

    Thanks again folks

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileeen for an excellent blog and Tramp for a super puzzle and visit.

    My view of this puzzle shifted as I went along. The length of some clues did affect this (I once or twice felt I was engaged in doing complicated sums without a calculator – now take away the number you first thought of!) but there was a great deal of amusement and satisfaction to be gained from the solving. So many many thanks.

    I enjoyed 10a, 17a, 20,24!!, 23a, 15d, 16d, 22d particularly.

    2d took a time, as did 22d. I first thought it might be anon (an + on = leg) but rapidly gave that idea up!

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Tramp; I don’t think the word length is that important given the nice surface and good clueing. ENGORGES had 14 words but was priceless!

  19. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Tramp, for dropping in and for your detailed response. It’s always gratifying and interesting to get a setter’s insight into the setting process – and thank goodness you’re all different. We’re very fortunate in the variety of puzzles we get.

    “I do think length isn’t so much of an issue if the clues are well constructed.”

    The majority of commenters so far seem to agree with you on this and you’ve certainly provided us with some amusement.

    Re ‘car-boot sale': as I wrote my amendment in the blog, I almost added, ‘This would work better with a hyphen’, but thought it would sound too niggly. I’m really glad to hear that that was your original intention!

  20. Conrad Cork says:

    Thanks Eileen and Tramp.

    Must’ve and Gegs belong to a tradition of clues that are wonderfully off the wall, though Must’ve is the best I can remember.

    In the past I have enjoyed Heggs? and HIJKLMNO for, repectively, exasperated and water.

    I expect other people have thier own favourites.

  21. Wanderer says:

    Thank you Tramp and Eileen. I found this highly original, extremely clever and very funny, which is about as much as I can ask for from a crossword. MUST’VE was a classic, the clue for CROSSWORD was hilarious, and the whole thing was a joy from start to finish. (Except that I failed on IPOD!)

    Much looking forward to more from Tramp.

  22. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Eileen and Tramp.

    Great blog and great puzzle. This was enormous fun and I loved Must’ve and the reference to Paul.

    Length of clue isn’t important to me if the clues are as entertaining as this. Keep them coming.

    Giovanna

  23. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and Tramp for an enjoyable puzzle. Have just scanned the posts, and what with ENGORGES and Tramp talking about increasing his length, I feel a visit to the fainting couch is in order. Will pop back later.

    Eileen, I saw IPOD as a charade/chain clue (can’t remember your terminology) rather than a cryptic definition: Player (iPod, the definition) with one (= I) leg (= POD).

    There seemed to be quite a few clues mentioning player, play, theatre as well as solutions such as SCENE PAINTER, and also references to company and so on. Not sure whether every answer has such a reference, but it added a level to the fun for me, even though the references weren’t linked in a strict sense of a theme.

    A good mix of difficulty, as well, from the simple to ones which require quite a bit of pencil-chewing. I didn’t quite manage to parse MONOTHEISM, although I worked out roughly what was going on ‘single god’ and MOTHE[r] around something or other, so thanks for the explanation.

    I look forward to future puzzles from Tramp.

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks to Tramp for dropping in, and to Robi and Orange for your explanations – I’ll think twice before asking next time!
    It’s not so taboo in Spanish, but still a four-letter word which I avoid :)

  25. RCWhiting says:

    As half the solutions fell into place without any hesitation I thought we were in for another doddle. But having notably failed to 20,24 I struggled enjoyably over the second half.
    I enjoyed 3d, mostly in anticipation of the cries of “risqué” from this board!

  26. Wanderer says:

    A thought has just occurred to me about the OF in THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, which seems to have divided people here. The only time I’ve come across this type of clue before, it’s always been along the lines of “something in something”, as for example in a Paul crossword a few months back when he had several in the same puzzle. From memory, they included “Hand in glove”, “throw in the towel,” “down in the mouth” and “hole in one” and perhaps there were others as well.

    So perhaps Tramp was hoping that some of us would recognise the clue type, spot the two-letter word in the enumeration, and automatically assume that IN was part of the answer. If so, it would have been a very nice piece of misdirection!

  27. David R says:

    Thanks to Tramp for the very entertaining crossword and Eileen for shedding light on some of the clues. Favourite clue is 8d for the humourous definition.

    Having read all the comments can someone explain; ‘El’ (3,6,10) and Heggs? – Exasperated.

    Thanks

  28. Tramp says:

    The French Revolution and Scrambled Eggs

    I don’t normally like this clue type but thought it appropriate here as you have to think laterally to solve the clue and so the question mark is a sort of definition. I hate business jargon by the way.

  29. norm says:

    2d was the only one I didn’t get. Now I want to know what the alternative bordering-on-bad-taste clue would have been! I think most of us can handle it…

  30. RCWhiting says:

    David
    (H)eggs Eggs (ex) aspirated.

  31. Tramp says:

    sorry, Scrambled Eggs is for GSEG (9,4). I suspect Heggs = exasparated as they’re hard eggs ie eggs have been asperated. I don’t like this personally.

  32. Coffee says:

    @ Stella – you need Monty Python’s “What a silly bunt!” – I assume those who enjoyed the Fawlty Towers themed puzzle will know which one I mean…

  33. finbar says:

    I began quite confidently but 20, 24 left me stumped; so I set it aside and started to read G2’s Lost in Showbiz column until I came to this line about a quote from Nancy Dell’Olio: ” ‘I hated people closing me in a box. I live my life living outside boxes. I don’t like closing anyone in a box.’ So there’s your first clue: she’s definitely not an undertaker.” It came to me in a flash.

  34. David R says:

    Thanks for the explanations. I think Must’ve was a great clue. I worked out the answer but was too ‘boxed in’ to understand it. Perhaps I need to do some reading to bono up on lateral thinking techniques.

  35. Eileen says:

    Nice one, David R! ;-)

  36. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Coffee@32, I0ll look that one up later. Right now I’m going out for my ‘idem’.

  37. Carrots says:

    I remember Tramp`s debut puzzle very well indeed and this one is out of the same stable. A delight to solve, although I got a non-PC alternative for IPOD. I`ll spare the blushes of our “sensitive bretheren” by not telling you what it was.

    Instead, I`ll tell you a naughty story. Tramp, I understand, comes from Barrow-in-Furness and once, tempted by a broad swathe of yellow “sand” on a map, I bonked off school with my then-girlfriend (now, wife) and drove my motorbike to Walney Island for what I hoped would turn out to be a real bonk. Alas, the “beach” turned out to comprise pebbles the size of boulders, which were bruising just to sit on, let alone get up to anything more amorous. So we came home.

    By the way, is Tramp “our” (15sqd`s) NeilW? NeilW provides some very perceptive insights, so I wouldn`t be surprised if he was.

    Thanks muchly Tramp & Eileen: fearsome combo!!

  38. Will Mc says:

    So your “naughty” story is that you went to the beach and then went home? Steamy stuff.
    Anyway, I’ve heard the C-word on BBC shows including The Thick of It and Stewart Lee’s Comedy vehicle, so it’s not taboo, just not heard often.

  39. Eileen says:

    Dear Carrots

    I love your portmanteau expression, ‘bonk off school’. I always thought it was ‘bunk off’.

    [Anyway,I'm glad you made an honest woman of her.;-) ]

    Auntie E.

  40. ArtieFufkin says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this 2nd puzzle from Tramp.

    6d was a favourite
    8d was clever once I understood the ‘pointed out’ bit
    20,24 was really clever
    5d is a super anagram
    25a is really well hidden
    6d is the best clue in my opinion
    3d I loved but would have preferred a shorter definition of J.R.
    22d was very amusing

    Very entertaining puzzle indeed! Looking forward to the third installment.

  41. gm4hqf says:

    I managed to finish this Tramp puzzle but I have to thank Eileen for explaining 13,18a and 20,14a

    Thought some of the clues were pretty convoluted.

    Can someone explain 7d RAVEN to me? Eileen says that it is a double definition but I still don’t get it. “Bird, hail in the navy” would have been better in my opinion but then I am only a lowly solver.

  42. Eileen says:

    Hi gm4hqf

    Re 7dn: I like your suggested clue! But, as it stands, you need to take ‘raven’ as a noun or verb [to prey - Chambers]

  43. snigger says:

    Felt rather pleased with myself solving “Must’ve”. And everything else bar 2d, even when prompted by 20,24 i failed to see.

    Not sure if this an exact reproduction of the wording – AWDOGSY – 3,5,2,10,4. Was this an Araucaria offering ?

  44. RCWhiting says:

    gm4hqf
    It is commonly used but only in the adjective ‘ravenous’.

  45. Carrots says:

    Will Mc @ 38: Ah, Will, one has to be ultra careful with our Grauniad PC brigade: I`ve often felt the pangs of needles inserted into my doll. Next time, I`ll spice it up with tales of cucumber sandwiches…even though they may get me banned for life.

  46. Tramp says:

    Nice story Carrots – for an awful moment I thought it was going to involve me! I am NeilW but not the NeilW who posts here.

    Incidentally, my original clue for IPOD was:

    Is hearing affected by this harsh description of Heather Mills? (4)

    I was trying to allude to her court case over the McCartney divorce. It is, on reflection, below the belt.

  47. Eileen says:

    Hi again Tramp

    Thank you for not giving me that one to blog! ;-) [I'll use the 'preview' and get the wink right this time!]

    [The NeilW who posts here is in Indonesia, I believe.]

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Tramp.
    At times the problem with me is that I have a pretty good memory. Didn’t you make a clue on Heather Mills in Cryptica days? And one on Jonathan Ross (with the same answer as today)?
    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Many thanks for your crossword which we enjoyed.
    3d is indeed very fine, as is 8d (TOILET ROLL) despite the wordiness. I agree with you that the length of clues is not the main thing, but eg the imagery.
    However, I still think that your puzzles would benefit from a bit more concision.
    In general, that is, because can it be more concise than in 20ac?
    We found this clue one very much influenced by Paul (but I hasten to say that I do not want to sound as someone who’s patronising!). As a one-off gag I like it (and this one is very clever in its sort!) but there it stops for me.
    Coming back to long clues (I know a bit about that myself, I confess), the point is that in the pdf-version (which we normally use) some clues are spread out over 4 or 5 lines, making it hard to see them as a whole. Initially, that did put me off, so I let my PinC do the job to make a start with filling the grid.
    She did and after I joined her I enjoyed the journey (but to be honest to you, not as much as I did in the FT puzzle).

    You said already that NO-GO AREA (9ac) wasn’t one of the best. But with a cd it is always a bit tricky. The other one (MONOPOLY) didn’t work for us either, and it was a pity that two mono’s crossed each other here.
    I wasn’t very keen on CIRCUS (1ac) as it felt like A+B+C+D+E, if you know what I mean. And some clues I got straightaway from the definition, like NEIGH, IDOLATRY (which nevertheless was a fine clue) and AT PRESENT (well, after the A was there).

    Maybe you think I’m a bit negative now, but I am not.
    PULSATOR, BISTRO, FILING, ENGORGES and MONOTHEISM were all very good.
    Even though I have seen the device used in ROBS (22d) just recently in a Redshank (the FT alias of Crucible), this was a great clue. But then, great minds think alike.
    Our Clue of the Day was EMPHASIS (25ac). Not just because it was my first entry, but because it was very well hidden in a natural surface.

    So.
    The style of cluing felt very much the same as in your previous puzzle.
    Apparently (or should I say, clearly) that’s you.
    A style different from other Guardian setters.
    Even if I think that some (like me) prefer shorter clues, you have certainly a distinct style, one that appeals to many (including me (not sure about: us)).

    With only two weekly puzzles in your pocket you have managed to make solvers look forward to your next crossword.
    That’s quite an achievement.
    Yes, it is.

  49. Paul B says:

    I was going to ask what sort of a clue you originally had if someone at the bloody Guardian had objected to it. ‘What’s wrong with a bit of cripple-bashing’, one imagines they might have said, ‘when we’ve done every bugger else?’.

    Nice one Trampo. And if you want to get shorter clues, just hack all the superfluous words off and see if the idea still works. If not, put them all back on again, and have a cup of tea.

    Cheers!

  50. Eileen says:

    A thought or two at the end of the day, when no doubt I’m talking to myself [I do a lot of that!].

    I’ve already said [again] today how good it is to get the setter’s point of view but I’d now like to share something of the blogger’s. Reading the comments today has made me, once again, think about what we are doing.

    I find that the preamble can take almost as long to compose as the blog. I often chicken out and come back to that at the end. The aim is, presumably, to give a flavour of the substance and difficulty level of the puzzle, without giving too much away and without revealing any bias [apart from that known to regular readers ;-) ] The dilemma is always whether to play Devil’s Advocate or give hostages to fortune.

    As I said in today’s preamble, I was kindly disposed to this puzzle even before I started on it, because I had been looking forward to it. The elephant in the room was the length of the clues. Was I to mention it and invite criticism or ignore it – and invite criticism? In the event, I mentioned it and made clear my conclusion – and, as I had hoped, the majority decision was that the quality of the clues more than justified any ‘verbosity’. [Thanks, Paul B, most recently @49!]

    Hi Sil – if you’re still there

    ‘At times the problem with me is that I have a pretty good memory. Didn’t you make a clue on Heather Mills in Cryptica days? And one on Jonathan Ross (with the same answer as today)?’

    I wish I had your problem! – and does it matter if Tramp tried out a clue on Paul’s site? Isn’t that what his site was for?

  51. Carrots says:

    Auntie E: I had little choice over the “honest woman”: she was the only person I knew who could de-coke the cylinder head of my ancient BSA 125cc Bantam, essential on any trip over 50 miles. Interesting to know that “our” NeilW is in indonesia. I wonder what attractions there are for crossword solvers on foreign shores…it seems there are now so many that the last of us remaining will probably have to turn out the lights.

    Tramp: Bravo for publishing your clue…and joining in the fun. Setters` visits are always more than welcome and Paul B @49 says it all. Roll on your next puzzle!!

  52. Martin P says:

    Re No.8, Stella, I gather that pedant historians now refer to King Canute as “Cnut” (well, might as well; he was a bit of one by all accounts…)

    :)

  53. RCWhiting says:

    I know this is just a single opinion, but my order of interest is:
    1. Any clues I couldn’t parse;
    2. Posters views;
    3. Preamble (you compose it last….I read it last).

  54. Eileen says:

    Hi Carrots

    “I had little choice over the “honest woman”: she was the only person I knew who could de-coke the cylinder head of my ancient BSA 125cc Bantam, essential on any trip over 50 miles.”

    Too much information, for me, I think! ;-)

    and thanks, RCWhiting, I’ll bear that in mind.

  55. Martin P says:

    Furthermore, in Saxon times Nottingham was known as “Snottingham”. However the Old French speakers who came with the Norman Conquest struggled with an “S” followed by another consonant, so the name became as we know it now. It’s understandable that the good burghers of Scunthorpe fought them so fiercely.

  56. Andvari says:

    When I first scanned this one, I thought I wasn’t going to like it much but when I started to do it, I really enjoyed it, one of my favourite crosswords I’ve done for a while. I got 20,24ac after a few crossing letters and thought it was just some really laconic definition of what you must’ve done to get the clue…never saw the rebus-style part of it at all!

    In general that’s the problem, if there is one, with these type of clues, they don’t have a secondary definition. I suppose neither do cryptic definitions, but there is always a sense that you should have two ways to get to the answer and then you’re sure. I think where I fall in these type of clues depends whether I got them or not! I love the old “Nothing squared is cubed (3)” clue along those sort of lines.

    Surprised people seemed to struggle with Monopoly, it was the first one I got! Not sure about the crossing monos though, but did love the cunningly disguised definition for monotheism.

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who thought 9ac was the weakest. I didn’t really understand RAVEN either but it seems that’s me not the setter.

    22d was a superb clue. Probably my favourite.

  57. Tramp says:

    Hi to anyone who’s still reading this

    For the last few years, I’ve been compiling the odd clue here and there and keeping them in an Excel file. Some of these clues I entered in the weekly clue-writing competitions on cryptica; I figured it was better for a few people to see them than for them to sit on my hard drive. I have used a few of these clues in my puzzles so far – I don’t see the problem Sil. It’s not like I’ve used them in other crosswords or pinched them from someone else. I appreciate all the comments posted here and I think your blog was perfect, Eileen.

    See you all soon

  58. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Tramp. My reference to Cryptica shouldn’t be seen as criticism. Unlike most solvers, I guess, I did remember some ‘crossword’ clue involving Jonathan Ross. I only mentioned this in my post because it was for me part of the solving process of your fine puzzle.
    You ‘don’t see the problem’, I don’t see one either! :)

  59. Tony says:

    “Think outside of the box” spoils the crossword for me for being (in my view) bad English style. The “of” is unnecessary – “think outside the box” is much better.

  60. Taxi Phil says:

    Tramp – hope you’re going to pick this up again. I didn’t get to the puzzle until 6am today while sitting in my cab waiting for the opening job of the shift. I have to say it gave me a tremendous amount of enjoyment. Took me a while to break “Must’ve ?” but once I did I gave you a round of applause ! “IPOD” was the last one in and I didn’t really see it until I got to this blog tonight. If anyone has trouble with 3D they shouldn’t be reading an enlightened journal like the Guardian in my opinion. All in all, a fine piece of work. I look forward to the next, and many thanks for getting my day off to an ultra-bright start.

  61. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Eileen and thanks Tramp.

    Its not often we get something that feels new in the fusty old world of crosswords, so thanks Tramp for shaking things up a bit!

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