Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,357 / Pasquale

Posted by mhl on June 24th, 2011


A delightful puzzle from Pasquale – scrupulously fair clues, as ever, and not too hard today. Incidentally, I think this is my 150th post on fifteensquared :)

1. SCABBY CABBY = “driver” to the right of S = “double bend”; Definition: “Despicable”
4. PSALMIST PALMISTS = “Fortune-tellers” with the last letter moved nearly to the front Thanks to NeilW for the correction; Definition: “David?”
9. AUBADE AUBADE presumably sounds like “oh bad” = “Oh dreadful sounds!”; Definition: “Music?” – the OED defines AUBADE as “A musical announcement of dawn, a sunrise song or open-air concert.”
10. YEARLONG YEAR[n] = “Pine endlessly” + LONG = “be desperate”; Definition: “throughout an astronomical revolution”
11. ONE-ARMED BANDIT (ABOMINATED NERD)*; Definition: “something in the amusement arcade”
13. ANASTIGMAT (A GIANT’S)* + MAT = “dull” – Chambers gives this as an alternative spelling of “matt”, although I don’t think I’ve seend that used in real life before; Definition: “It may help someone see”
14. ARGO CARGO = “goods” without C = “about”; Definition: “Ship”
16. RIPE [g]RIPE = “Grumble not good”; Definition: “a bit indecent”
18. ACCEPTABLE C = “Cold” + CEP = “mushroom” in A TABLE = “a supply of food”; Definition: “OK”
21. WELL-ACQUAINTED (A CLAN QUITE LEWD)*; Definition: “familiar”
23. ESTONIAN S = “society” in ETONIAN = “public schoolboy”; Definition: “Language”
24. CONDOR CON = “trick” + DOR = “dung beetle” – “dor beetles” are dung beetles; Definition: “Bird”
25. DEPARTED PART = “character” in DEED = “act”; Definition: “expired”
26. BEAR UP EAR = “Listener” in PUB = “alehouse” reversed; Definition: “to handle difficult situation?”
1. SHAM SHAME = “disgrace” without E = “drug”; Definition: “Quack”
2. ALBANIA ALBAN = “English saint” + I = “one” + A; Definition: “place that values Wisdom” – the comedian Norman Wisdom had huge popularity in Albania (the capital W here was one of the points I was thinking of when I mentioned above how fair Pasquale’s clues are)
3. BAD TASTE Reverse clue: “teats” could be clued with “BAD TASTE”
5. SPEED CAMERA (DECREASE MP[h] A)* Thanks to Kathryn’s Dad for correcting the anagram fodder here
6. L’ORÉAL LO = “See” + REAL = “genuine”; Definition: “company trying to promote women’s self-worth!” the cosmetic company L’Oréal uses the slogan “Because you’re worth it” (or variants of that)
7. IN ORDER Double definition: “Operating properly” and “as a monk”
8. TIGHTROPE A spoonerism of RIGHT TOPE = “correct drink” – William Archibald Spooner was the “tongue-tied don” after whom spoonerisms are named; Definition: “Line up”
12. MAGIC SQUARE MAGI = “Famous travellers” + C = “about” + SQUARE = “100 possibly” (100 = 10²); Definition: “mathematical array”
13. ARROWHEAD Cryptic definition
15. STANHOPE STAN = “Ollie’s friend” (Stan Laurel) + HOPE = “Bob” (Bob Hope); Definition: “carriage”
17. PALMTOP PAL = “Friend” + M[igh]T = “might, in extremis” + OP = “work”; Definition: “computer”
19. BLENDER B = “book” + LENDER = “library?”; Definition: “Something to see in kitchen”
20. TANNER T’ = “the north country” + ANNE R = “queen’s inscription” Update: thanks to tupu (see below) for finding an image of Queen Anne’s signature, which she did indeed write as “AnneR”; Definition: “Old coin”
22. WRAP Sounds like “rap” = “informal talk”; Definition: “Finish recording”

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,357 / Pasquale”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, mhl, for your prompt blog and Happy 150th!

    What a contrast to yesterday’s puzzle: this was precisely clued, with a wide variety of devices and was, most importantly, entertaining to solve rather than a slog. I liked a number of clues today, but particularly PSALMIST and L’OREAL.

    You have a little error in your anagram fodder for SPEED CAMERA. It’s (DECREASE MP A)*.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Glad to hear you found this easy! I struggled with the top half although, as is often the case with Pasquale, at the end I wondered why because, as you say, the clueing was impeccable as always!

    I happened to read an obituary of Norman W last year so was familiar with his fame in Albania but I think many will have found the reference a little unfair.

    You may wish to tighten up your explanation of the parsing of 4… The S doesn’t go all the way to the front.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, mhl, and congratulations!

    I agree entirely with Kathryn’s Dad’s second paragraph and would add 14ac to the list of favourites.

    Thanks, Pasquale – I really loved 6dn!

  4. mhl says:

    Kathryn’s Dad & NeilW: thanks for the corrections, I’ve applied those now.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog and congrats mhl, and thanks Pasquale for an enjoyable puzzle. As you say, Pasquale could have made it harder by using “wisdom” without the capital.

    Favourites were 3D BAD TASTE, I like those clue-like answers, 13A ANASTIGMAT, new word for me discovered from the wordplay, and 15D STANHOPE. By coincidence, I finished Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw, so 6D LOREAL was easily recognisable.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Pasquale

    A good puzzle with some very enjoyable clues.
    I liked 4a, 11a, 5d, 6d, 8d, 12d.

    I had to check the Wisdom Albania connection, and ‘dor’ as dung beetle, though the answers were clear enough.

    Re 20d? It was clear that ‘tanner’ would be the ‘old coin’ but I was puzzled by the parsing. The clue seems to indicate that queen (Anne) would be INscribed, i.e. between t and r. But assuming that, I could not make sense of ‘tr’ (though it is a country code for Turkey). I could see that ‘t’ = ‘the north country’ as an abbreviated northern form of ‘the’ as in ‘put t’wood in t’ole’. But I can then only see Mhl’s reading making sense if ‘t’ + ‘Anne R’ is simply INscribed in the answer space. I assume this is correct.

  7. Goujeers says:

    Thanks mhl & Don.
    The first word I entered was RUDE ((GRUDGE without the letter G)which held me up at the end as I couldn’t reconcile it with PALMTOP, the last clue I solved.

  8. mhl says:

    Goujeers: I similarly had “rude” at first…

    tupu: is it not just that the queen’s name would have been written (inscribed) as “Anne R” on postboxes documents?

  9. Thomas99 says:

    I think that’s right. It’s quite elegant, as “Anne R” is the kind of abbreviation that might literally be found inscribed (as opposed to, say, mentioned in a newspaper or history book) – for example on an old sixpence or TANNER… And of course it works well for the surface about the coin with an inscription too.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi mhl

    Thanks. Yes, I think something like that must be correct, and I was misled into asking too much of the ‘in’ in ‘inscription’. I’m not completely happy with it, but that’s at least partly disappointment with a failure to see it that way!

  11. tupu says:

    ps And thanks too Thomas99

  12. tupu says:


    Thomas99. However see

    where the Queen Anne coins are in fact ‘inscribed’ Anna Dei Gratia.

  13. tupu says:

    But also see more helpfully

    where the ‘autograph’ is actually given as ‘Anner’.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog. Now I understand why I was correct to put TANNER as the old coin.

    Like several others I put RUDE for 16a. I also misread 4a and put PALMISTS at first!

    My favourite was 18a – once I had wracked my brains for that mushroom that I only ever see in crosswords!

  15. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl and congratulations from me, too.

    I did enjoy this even though I failed to get CONDOR and WRAP,

    Also, thanks for explaining the ‘tongue-tied don’ in 8d.

    I didn’t know much about Norman Wisdom except that we were both in the same regiment – 10th Royal Hussars – albeit at different times. Nevertheless, I still guessed ALBANIA correctly.

    Many thanks Pasquale you are always so challenging.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks mhl. Scrupulously fair puzzle, as you say. And really enjoyable, too. Even so, Pasquale caught me out twice — 8dn and 10ac. Just couldn’t work these out :-(

    14ac is a really good clue! I also liked the reference to Norman Wisdom’s popularity in Albania — a stray bit of trivia that managed to stick in my head.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Enjoyable. Although 4ac and 8d were last in I thought they were excellent clues. I especially liked the refusal to actually name old Spooner, that certainly held me up for a while.
    Further to the Albania discussion which was made very easy by the W in wisdom, what is the general view on the use of capitals or not to confuse.

  18. mhl says:

    tupu: That’s a nice find, and makes the clue even better! I’ll add mention of that to the post.

  19. Conrad Cork says:

    Re 2 down. The dangers of simultaneous translators not translating into their native language was once illustrated in the European Parliament, when, following a French MEP saying that a particular problem could be solved by ‘la sagesse normande’ a non English translator rendered it in English as being about to be solved by ‘norman wisdom’. The others wondered why the English MEPs fell about.

  20. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for feedback and general encouragement. The rule is this about capitals. You can knock a lower case up to a capital but not do it the other way round, said Ximenes — and that makes sense. Given that Wisdom could be seen as an important abstract noun with possibly an absolute quality (like Truth), I thought the capital was quite appropriate. The other trick is to put the word at the beginning of the clue but that wouldn’t have worked so well in this case.

    The comments over at GU fascinate me too, but I’ve no intention of signimg up over there!

    Till the next time

  21. yogdaws says:

    Gratitude to mhl and Pasquale (always look forward to your puzzles).

    Loved this crossword but…’scrupulously fair’?!

    Norman Wisdom’s Albanian following?!

    Plus, according to my Chambers, AUBADE is pronounced ‘Oh-bard’ not ‘Oh bad’.

    Have a good weekend.

  22. beermagnet says:

    I baulked at putting in TANNER till a chap in the pub offered an explanation of “north country queen” involving Elsie Tanner which seemed enough for me – the Queen Anne route is clearly preferable (she’s got better legs)

  23. Mal P says:


    I too can’t think of anywhere in the UK (not sure about overseas accents) where ‘Oh bad’ would sound very close to ‘Aubade’. Otherwise very fair.

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Nothing much to add to the above comments
    on another excellent puzzle from the Don, but I think AUBADE sounds closer to “Oh, Bud” :)

    Thanks for the blog mhl.

  25. MattD says:

    Enjoyed this. Minor correction of the correction of the 5d parsing. The final ‘a’ comes after the anagram not within it as indicated by the word “before” in the clue.

    Got Albania from the parsing but missed the wisdom bit. Assumed it was a classical reference I didn’t know!

    Thanks for clearing that up

  26. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I don’t want to start another homophone debate otherwise we’ll still be here on Sunday night, but AUBADE comes from the French word for ‘dawn’, l’aube. It’s a French word too, obviously, and if I say it in French it sounds like OH BAD to me – but then my OH is the North-East version as in ‘when the bOAt comes in’, rather than the late Dan Maskell’s ‘Oh, I say!’ which was wheeled out regularly at Wimbledon.

  27. Disco says:

    Just to chip in my first ever penny’s worth (I can’t stretch to a tanner)…

    In South Wales, particularly around the Rhondda and surrounding valleys, “bad” is pronounced similarly to “bard” (especially when it’s used to mean “ill”). I doubt that was the intention but it’s not often I can contribute a bit of uselesss knowledge in this particular circle.

    Thanks for the blog mhl – and to everyone else who fills in the blanks I’m left with most days.

  28. Eileen says:

    Thanks for that very topical comment, K’s D. [I’ve been fondly hearing that [Oh I say!’ in my head quite a lot in the last few days!]

    My French isn’t top-class, certainly as far as pronunciation is concerned, but I’d been thinking that ‘Oh bad’ was a pretty good representation, so I’m glad to get the confirmation from an expert.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Oh, come on.
    Everyone knows that Mr Pitkin is a National Hero in Albania, don’t they?

  30. medici says:

    Here in Wales “bad” is pronounced “bard” so no problem for those not speaking French!

  31. muck says:

    My Collins-Robert gives the pronunciation of AUBADE as [obad] – [o as in eau, a as in plat]

  32. muck says:

    Chambers has AUBADE [o-bad’] where the a is pronounced as in name.

  33. muck says:

    It has been pointed out to me that Chambers [o-bad’] has a solid line over the o but two dots over the a, so the 2nd vowel is pronounced as in palm. Had to get stronger lenses to confirm this!

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    We thought this was a Most(ly) Magnificent crossword.

    I have no opinion on the homophone for AUBADE, but around the area that I come from it doesn’t sound like ‘oh bad’ at all. In the Netherlands AUBADE was a very familiar word. That is, once a year, and only until the mid-sixties. At Queen’s Day groups of school children would go the village hall to sing a few songs (sometimes exclusively written for the day) in honour of Our Queen. At 8 o’clock in the morning …. Those were the days! :)

    As I said this was a very good puzzle, fair as ever and not even that many ‘obscure’ words on our way.
    We failed to get WRAP, and didn’t understand why CONDOR was CONDOR [well, we did, but we were not sure] and why TANNER was TANNER.

    Nice to see the use of ‘tongue-tied don’, even if at the time of solving we didn’t understand. Thanks for enlightening us, mhl!

    Only 13d (ARROWHEAD) didn’t give us a warm feeling inside.
    Some setters are better in cd’s than others (we think, I hasten to say).

    Yes, and then L’OREAL (6d).
    Many of you liked it, and to be honest, we thought it was very witty as a crossword clue. But, we just don’t like brand names to be the full solution in puzzles (other than the ones given a mention in dictionaries).
    Moreover we had a discussion on the enumeration. More or less of course, we can’t do (1’5), but I/we do think (1,5) is better than (6). The L’ stands for La (or Le, I don’t know), which is a separate word. It didn’t make any difference in finding the answer, but still.

    By miles the best clue of the day: SPEED CAMERA (5d) – how brilliant is that?

    Enough about this puzzle now.
    Because I do not want to miss a single minute of the one-off gig that Anax, Paul B and Puck tonight are doing at Glastonbury (with Pasquale on vocals!). Eat your heart out, Bono!

    See ye all (or at least some of you) tomorrow.

  35. tupu says:

    Best wishes to you all tomorrow in Birmingham -home of back to back housing where some of my great grandparents were living about 150 years ago. I’m sorry not to be able to be there with you. Have a great day!

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