Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,367 / Logodaedalus

Posted by mhl on July 6th, 2011


This is a rushed post, I’m afraid, so apologies for any errors. (Also I probably won’t be able to make corrections until much later.) I didn’t enjoy this much, partly due to circumstances (no access to a printer or a printed copy), and partly because of the style of the clues. Personally, I don’t like clues with verbose linking phrases, which there are many of here – I think they make the cryptic structure obvious and the clues seem less elegant. Update: As Berny points out below, there’s a good reason some of these might read a bit strangely, which I’ll mention in the next paragraph to avoid spoilers on the front page…

All the clues in this crossword are in rhyming couplets, which is a great achievement, I think – this explains why some of the link phrases seem a bit strained to me. I love this device, but it’s somewhat galling that I’ve never spotted it myself in any crossword!

1. ROSSETTI (SO SITTER)*; Definition: “Artist”
5. ALFRED A + L = “left” + F = “foot” + RED = “bleeding”; Definition: “king of overbaking” – referring to a story about Alfred the Great letting cakes burn
9. BRIGHTON BRIGHT = “Clever” + ON = “working”; Definition: “this place on sea”
10. BELIEF LI[p] in BEEF = “steak”; Definition: “from doubt that’s free”
11. LACERATE ACER = “Tree” in LATE = “dead”; Definition: “distress” (as a verb)
12. HECTOR (ROCHET); Definition: “To worry”
14. SINGLENESS Double definition: one meaning of “Honesty?” was “Sincerity, straightforwardness, honesty, integrity; freedom from deceit, duplicity, or guile.” (OED), but nowadays (“says the moderniser”) it’s more commonly understood as “Solitude”
18. FLOWER GIRL I can’t see anything cryptic in this, unless you’ve never heard of “My Fair Lady”: “Who learned to speak refined? Must be Eliza (6,4)”
22. EGOISM (SOME GI)*; Definition: “self-praise”
23. ANECDOTE (DANCE TOE)*; Definition: “this story”
24. THROWS TH[e] ROWS = “fights”; Definition: “blankets hide like this” (surely that should be “these”?
25. SIBILATE IBIS = “The wading bird” reversed + LATE = “hot” (I don’t get that…) Eileen suggests that this might be “late news” / “hot news”; Definition: “make a hiss” Thanks to Eileen for the correction
26. DEMAND Hidden in “ruDE MAN Dabbling”; Definition: “this need!”
27. REVEREND REND = “To tear” around EVER = “always”; Definition: “he the prayers might lead”
1. RUBBLE BB = “Bishops” in RULE = “the law”; Definition: “remains”
2. STITCH S = “Small” + TITCH = “small one”; Definition: “shooting pains” (I’m not convinved by “of those” as link words, but if the definition is “one of those shooting pains” the “one” is doing double duty
3. EPHYRA (HER PAY)*; Definition: “This larval jellyfish” – very obscure for a daily crossword, I think, particularly with a borderline anagram indicator
4. TROUTLINGS I think this is just a (not very) cryptic definition: “Trout Meunière” is a dish
6. LIEGEMEN LIEGE = A Belgian place + MEN = “guys”; Definition: “a loyal force”
7. RAIN TREE R = “river” + AINTREE = “course”; Definition: “Whence comes cicada juice” – Wikipedia tells us that “The name “rain tree” was coined in tropical India, especially Bengal. Its origin is the moisture that collects on the ground under the tree, largely the honeydew-like discharge of cicadas feeding on the leaves.”
8. DEFOREST FED reversed + (STORE)*; Definition: “Take away the wood!”
13. AGGRANDISE GRAND IS = “Piano’s” in AGE = “time”; Definition: “call shabby “good”?”
15. AFFECTED Double definition: “la-di-da” and “healthwise, not benign”
16. MONOGRAM MON = “My French” + MARGO = “girl” reversed; Definition: “sign”
17. GERSHWIN (WHINGERS)*; Definition: The “he” of “His Funny Face” – Gershwin wrote Funny Face
19. ACTIVE (CAT)* + I’VE = “I have”; Definition: “in operation”
20. POMADE POE = “a writer” around MAD = “unstable”; Definition: “Hair ointment”
21. LEGEND END = “Finale” after LEG = “stage”; Definition: “a fable”

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,367 / Logodaedalus”

  1. Berny says:

    Like Araucaria now and then, notice the clues were in rhyming couplets!

    Well done Logodaedalus.

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, mhl, needed several explanations here. I also found this Xword less than exciting.

    I failed on 18a, thinking it was PROPER something. Couldn’t decide if 25a was SIBILANT or SIBILATE, not knowing (and still don’t) what HOT is.

  3. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks mhl. I agree, strange sort of puzzle.

    Didn’t like SINGLENESS and TROUTLINGS. 25a I reckoned was SIBILATE but where the “hot” bit comes in beats me.

    I guessed 3d as EPHYRA, couldn’t find it in my Chambers so had to Google it to confirm.

    As far as I am concerned the jury is out on this one.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    Like you, I didn’t find this enjoyable – and I didn’t even have printing problems!

    Araucaria sometimes [but not lately, I think] used to clue his alphabetical puzzles in rhyming couplets – but much more elegantly than here, where I just couldn’t see the point of it, as it made for some pretty clumsy cluing, for the sake of the rhyme and / or scansion, as in 24ac and 2dn, for instance, which you mention.

    And, as you say, there’s surely absolutely nothing cryptic about 18ac?

    Re 25 ac: I wondered, too, about late = hot and decided both could be applied to news? [The definition is ‘make a hiss’.]

  5. Eileen says:

    Sorry for the duplication, Berny – and sorry I don’t agree with you. :-)

  6. ROGER says:

    I liked 18a. Refined flour for flower

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    It seems I may be on safer ground than previous days in saying that this was pretty bad – I had been planning to use the word “interesting”…

    Like Eileen, I thought LATE was related to “latest” as in a “hot item” or, as Eileen says, “hot news”. A bit weak, though.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Logodaedalus

    Not much enjoyment here. I missed the rhymes but can’t see much point to them, now I know they are there, :) though they vaguely remind me of the Rupert Bear books of my childhood!

    Like others, I was puzzled by 14a and 25a. I decided singleness must be an opposite of duplicity but it was a clumsy clue and this sense of the word is not in my Chambers (similarly ephyra btw). Eileen’s clever suggestion re ‘late’ sounds right but it is once again a poor clue.

    I quite liked 2d despite the double duty, and 21d.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’ve been contributing here for around 18 months now, and have always tried to find something positive to say about the puzzles that I’ve solved (or often not solved), even if they weren’t the best (and when I started here I didn’t know which were the best and which were the worst, frankly).

    But I have to say this was the least enjoyable crossword I’ve attempted in the whole of that time. The rhyming couplets completely passed me by – and in any case, what’s the point of that? It’s hardly entertaining the solver; more just ‘look how clever this is’. Answer: not very.

    In the end, I gave up trying. But my favourite surfaces today for their story-telling qualities were:

    Short lip cuts into steak, from doubt that’s free
    Piano’s found in time; call shabby “good”

    I’ll stop now.

  10. NeilW says:

    Hi tupu

    In Logo’s defence, my i-Chambers gives “single” meaning 14: sincere, honest (rare). Agree with you about EPHYRA though.

  11. Wolfie says:

    I didn’t enjoy this much. As others have commented, forcing the clues into rhyming couplets led to some quite clumsy surfaces. As a zoologist I got ‘Ephyra’ straight away! – but I agree that ‘stretch’ is a poor anagram indicator. I did like 13d and 7d.

    Thanks MHL for the blog.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Wolfie’s reminded me that I forgot to say thank you the blogger (mhl, whom tupu has morphed into Andrew, possibly the most amusement we’ll get today …)

  13. otter says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone in finding much of the cluing rather clumsy and unsatisfactory. Thanks to Benny for pointing out the rhyming couplets – as I was doing it online I didn’t see all the clues together so appreciate this. That explains the phrasing, and I wish I’d noticed this as it might have made the few clues I found difficult rather easier. I found there were far too many superfluous words in these clues, which in some cases made it confusing and in others simply ugly. Oh well.

    Didn’t see anything cryptic in TROUTLINGS or FLOWER GIRL (and possible one of two more) and fail to get ‘hot’ for LATE. Will come back later to see if anyone has answered those (haven’t energy to read all comments at the moment).

    Thanks for the blog, MHL.

  14. Andrew says:

    Tupu – thanks for your thanks, but I didn’t blog this! I agree with the general opinion that there was a lot of rather unsatisfactory clueing here, not redeemed by the pointless rhyming couplets.

  15. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew and mhl
    Sincere apologies to you both!

  16. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl but I really must say a word in Logo’s defence:
    ‘Hurrah’ for mentioning Brighton – which is near enough to where I live – well, Hove actually.

    The rhyming couplets went over my head and, like everyone else, I was bemused and unamused by some of the clues – even where I had guessed them correctly.

    The previous occasion when we had a Logo puzzle was on 29 October 2010 and, for me, it wasn’t long enough.

    Given more time, I’m sure that he can do better, perticularly if he forgets the rhyming couplets.

  17. Robi says:

    Thanks Logodaedalus and mhl.

    A bit of a slog with word search programmes to help. I thought the rhyming couplet idea (thanks to Berny @1) was very interesting. I sometimes think we don’t give the setters enough credit for thinking up these artifices (if that’s the right word), and executing them…….. so, like Berny, well done Logodaedalus!

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    No comment.

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl.

    Unlike most posters up till now, from what I read, I suspected there was something going on with the clues, by the time I was half way through reading the acrosses, so only entered the more obvious answers on my first time. Then I decided to ignore the rhymes and look for the intended meaning, which got me through to all but the NE corner fairly quickly, and this finally yielded as well.

    I agree the device wasn’t expertly executed, but I did enjoy seeing it.

    Hi NeilW, I added a final comment to yesterday’s blog this morning, if you’re interested :)

  20. Geoff says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    I was about a quarter of the way into this before I noticed the rhyming couplets, which suddenly explained the forced nature of many of the clues – and why I found some of them rather difficult to solve.

    Much as I welcome novelties in crosswords, I fear that this spoiled what could have been a perfectly good puzzle. As Eileen said, Araucaria sometimes used to write the clues to his alphabetical jigsaws in rhyming couplets, which added a further layer of ingenuity to these clever puzzles, but his verse always scanned properly (as far as I recall). This doesn’t. Pity.

  21. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl. Like NeilW @7, ‘interesting’ came to mind at first only to be replaced rather quickly by ‘strange’ and I too missed the rhyming element which at least accounts for all those long-winded clues.

    Some odd definitions indeed, as at 13d (is tatty the new chic ?) and 14a (wondered whether PC was ‘the moderniser’). FLOWER GIRL was so not cryptic that I started looking for an anagram of must be.

    One high point though … ALFRED was Great (!)

    PS … it’s not me @6 !

  22. John says:

    Whenever setters decide to introduce an extra level of complication, the mechanics of a good puzzle – subtle wordplay, smooth surfaces etc. – are compromised. I wish they would stop trying to be clever and concentrate on the basics.
    Many of the clues criticised elsewhere, and their “solutions”, are pure nonsense as a result of trying to squeeze squares into circles.

  23. MattD says:

    One of the things I like about cryptics is initially looking baffled and then working it out so that I have that “aha” moment and then it all falls elegantly out with me (usually) confident that I have the right answer from the definition and the parsing.

    There were too many here which even once I’d got I wasn’t convinced were right due to unclear definitions or devices. Some of my comments here echo those above I know.

    Singleness (does Single mean “solitude” and is there a reformer called “Ness” (Eliot?))
    Flower Girl (cryptic?)
    Throws (“Blankets hide like this” – huh?)
    Sibilate (hot = late?)
    Affected (What is the “I’m” doing there as it implies a noun and “healthwise not benign” is odd)
    Troutlings (cryptic?)
    Rain Tree (didn’t see “Aintree” at all as I thought “course” was a play on entree)

    Problem is, once you have doubts over a few, the other answers start to seem suspect.

    Like Kathryn’s Dad, I don’t like to criticise setters but this would have benefitted from less florid cluing and scrapping the rhyming thing. Editor anyone?

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    My goodness! How come everyone is trying to do me out of a job? I’m the grumpy old man round here. OK, so I haven’t been on much lately, but it’s still my job! So it’s strange then that I thought this pretty normal with just a few minor queries. Strange old world eh? But I guess that’s what makes it intresting.

    I might have said EPHYRA was too obscure, but the anagram indicator worked for me and I had the E. So I just sat there thinking, “how are obscure scientific names usually constructed?”. So I put the PH in on the grounds that they often have PH’s and it looks OK after an E. They often have Y’s in the middle and following a PH is OK, which just left two letters and RA seemed a reasonable completion. Then I pressed the Check button and all the letters stayed! So I was doubly gobsmacked as I’d just composed what I thought was a random word but which turned out to be a) real and b) the answer. This was too pleasing to spoil the mood with a complaint!

    I thought “one” was totally spurious in 12, but I’ve seen worse crimes.

    And I’d join the general bafflement re hot.

    But that is nowhere near enough to condemn the entire puzzle.

    The rhymes were lost on me as the Window size I use only shows me the currently selected clue and I usually have no reason to scroll down to see the full list.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Knew I’d forgotton something. Shouldn’t “on” in 21 be only used like that in across clues?

  26. NeilW says:

    Hi Stella

    I think we’re far enough on that Gaufrid won’t mind… don’t see your comment on yesterday’s blog.

  27. mhl says:

    Derek Lazenby: I thought about mentioning the “on” in 21, but I think its use to mean “put after” is pretty common in both across and down clues.

  28. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for their comments. I can’t believe I missed the rhyming couplets!

    Eileen – thanks for your corrections, which I’ve applied to the post.

    In partial defence of 18, it’s at least prompted me to listen to the score of My Fair Lady on Spotify, which is always great :)

  29. Martin H says:

    John @22 – yes, I completely agree.

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Poor Logodaedalus.
    Making a comeback after three quarters of a year with what he thought might be a corker …
    I do not want to rub more salt into the wounds, but I fear John @22 hits the nail on its head.
    As did Matt @23 who mentioned a few things that were dubious in this puzzle, independent of the rhyming.
    I am not sure whether I agree with Geoff @20 when he says “Much as I welcome novelties in crosswords, I fear that this spoiled what could have been a perfectly good puzzle”

    To compensate the lack of Joy here, I more or less rushed through Orlando’s quiptic this afternoon. Yes, I rushed through it, but what a good puzzle, full of Brilliant clues (with a capital B).
    One that brought the Smile back on my face after this unfortunate offering.

    Sorry, Logodaedalus.
    We all have lesser days.

  31. Eileen says:

    Oh dear – as Sil says, ‘Poor Logodaedalus’.

    Like Kathryn’s Dad, I try to make a habit of not being [too] negative but I’m still mystified by the rationale behind the cluing of this puzzle.

    I agree with Geoff @20 that innovations should enhance, not detract from, a good puzzle but have to disagree with his, “… his verse always scanned properly (as far as I recall). This doesn’t. Pity.”

    The scansion [and the rhyme – no dodgy homophones] of the verse here is, as far as I can see, impeccable. But that’s the trouble: it’s all at the expense of clumsy surfaces and sloppy cluing, eg superfluous ‘one’ in 12ac and ‘a’ in 20dn and other examples given above.

    I’m still wondering – why so much pointless affort?

  32. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl.
    Looks like a big thumbs down for Logodaedalus from most of us here!
    Spotted the rhyming couplets early on(solving on paper still has some advantages)which made it easier to ignore a lot of the superfluous stuff in the clues.
    I agree,not the best puzzle ever but I didn’t think it was that bad.
    A bit too ‘labyrinthine’ perhaps.

    Derek@24 – there goes your reputation! :)

  33. Taxi Phil says:

    I came to this a day late, and derived little pleasure from it. I feel less guilty about that since I was (for once) apparently in the majority ! I didn’t much care for 25A (though I nailed it fairly quickly), 3D worked itself out once the crossing clues were solved.

    But MY problem was 4D – “meuniere” is, to the best of my knowledge, served with sole ! Any culinary experts out there with a view on this ?

  34. Scarpia says:

    Hi Taxi Phil,
    Re.Meuniere,I’m no culinary expert but Wiki gives a pretty good explanation –

  35. Taxi Phil says:

    Hi Scarpia ! Only just got back to this, and many thanks for the pointer. I rather like the sound of the trout amandine, although my chances of trying it in the near future are somewhat slim.

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