Posted by duncanshiell on August 10th, 2011
The appearance of a Crucible puzzle in The Guardian today was flagged in the Fifteensquared comments on yesterday’s Independent puzzle from Radian. Crucible is The Guardian incarnation of Radian. Perhaps compilers could tell us why they use different names in different publications.
There were a number of themes running through this puzzle – anonymity, sports, Trade Unionism, other meanings of striker and injunctions (which I suppose in the case of super injunctions amounts to anonymity). I note that the word or phrase super-injunction or ‘super injunction’ has not yet made it into Chambers Dictionary. Speaking of Chambers, it is a joy to find that Crucible doesn’t take his definitions slavishly from the Dictionary. He makes much greater use of equivalent phrases or meanings, many of which, of course, appear in Chambers Thesaurus rather than the Dictionary.
There was some very intricate and complex cluing in this puzzle which is the type of clue construction I enjoy most. I hope the blog below illustrates the point.
In terms of sport we had references to cricket, rugby (union and/or league), football, golf and boxing. Looking at the rain streaming down outside, and scanning the local forecast for the next feew days, I don’t think I will be venturing onto the golf course soon.
If I was being pedantic at 1 Across, I would say that the England Lions are the second team rather than the top cricket team and probably don’t play in Test matches. The rugby team would be the British Lions not the English Lions, and although the English football team sport three lions on their vests, I don’t think they play Tests. Afternote: As cholecyst says at comment 3 below, I am being completely pedantic and actually wrong, as English and test player are two separate elements of the clue and should not be connected. Thanks.
It was good to see Murrayfield used in a sporting context rather than a purely Scottish context. No doubt some solvers thought they were looking for a Scottish word initially at 19 Across. I did. Twickenham or The Millenium Stadium or The Aviva Stadium or any well known rugby ground could have been used in place of Murrayfield but the use of Murrayfield gave good misdirection.
The use of ‘Wells canon’ was another good piece of misdirection given the religious connotations of Wells cathedral and Canons.
I am not a regular reader of Esquire magazine but have been known to browse copies at my hairdresser while waiting for a cut.
You can probably deduce that I enjoyed this puzzle.
Finally, if any HTML geek [wonk] can tell me how to get a fixed width column within an otherwise variable width table, I would be grateful. As I understand it, I have to format the whole table as variable width to allow it to reformat iself onto different size screens. If you are viewing this on a handheld I suspect you will struggle with any column. The Structure column in the table below would look better as a fixed width. In the meantime I’ll experiment with the use of non-breaking spaces and see if that can effectively force a constant width. Afternote: forcing non-breaking spaces into the longest occurence of an entry in the structure column seems to provide the solution.
Another afternote: As pointed out at comments 12 and 13 below, the grid is a pangram.
Final note: I’ve done a bit of tweaking of the formatting and clearing out of minor irritations that have got into the template over nearly 100 blogs. I would be keen to hear from people who have had problems vieiwng the blogs on small screens, whether this offering is any better. If you see no change, please say so. Thanks.
|No.||Clue||Wordplay / Structure (if appropriate)||Entry|
|9||Delivery as English test player got out protecting century … (9)||(E [English] + LION [player in an international sporting fixture or test match]) containing (got) (OUT containing [protecting] C [century])
E (L (O (C) UT) ION)
|ELOCUTION (the art of effective speaking in terms of enunciation and delivery)|
|10||… to this hook? (5)||CATCH (given that Crucible seems to be implying cricket Test Matches in 1 Across, one of the ways of getting dismissed at cricket is by being caught)||CATCH (anything that fastens or holds; hook) double definition|
|11||United Nations geek backed new 25 (7)||UN (United Nations) + WONK (a serious or studious person, especially one with an interest in a trivial or unfashionable subject; geek) reversed (backed) + N (new)
UN (KNOW)< N
|UNKNOWN (unknown person; anonymous [which is the entry at 25 Across])|
|12||Guy somersaulting in nude shocked 25 (7)||MAN (guy) reversed (somersaulting) contained in (in) an anagram of (shocked) NUDE
UN (NAM)< ED*
|UNNAMED (unknown person; anonymous [entry at 25 Across])|
|13||Penny-pinching meal’s great (5)||SUPPER (meal) excluding (pinching) P (penny)
|SUPER (exceptionally good; great)|
|14||Strikers would be the same at Lord’s, taking credit for pressure (9)||CRICKETERS (cricketers play at Lord’s cricket ground and are also strikers when batting) excluding (taking) CR and replacing it with (for) P (pressure)
|PICKETERS (people or groups stationed to watch and dissuade those who go to work during a strike; strikers [themselves])|
|16||Part of Wells’ canon’s new habiliments hide varicose vein (3,9,3)||Anagram of (new) HABILIMENTS containing an anagram of (varicose [twisted]) VEIN
TH (E INV)* ISIBLE MAN*
|THE INVISIBLE MAN (novella by H G Wells, one of many of his in the same genre [canon])|
|19||Tête-à-tête at Murrayfield, special summit about awful mud (9)||S (special) + (CROWN [summit] containing an anagram of [awful] MUD)
S (CR (UMD)* OWN)
|SCRUMDOWN (a closing in of rival Rugby Union [or Rugby League] forwards round the ball. The front rows of the opposing scrummagers go head to head [tête-à-tête]. Murrayfield is the home of Scottish Rugby Union, although it has also staged English Rugby League matches)|
|21||Police about to upset anthem (5)||MET (reference Metropolitan Police) containing (about) TO reversed</b
M (OT) ET
|22||Laughed and left editor pursuing endless subject of 13 5 (7)||GIGGS (reference Ryan Giggs, Manchester United footballer, widely regarded as the subject of a recent SUPER INJUNCTION [entries at 13 Across and 5 Down]) excluding the last letter (endless) S + L (left) + ED (editor)
|23||Promote original article in French (7)||(UR [prefix or primitive meaning 'original'] + THE [definite article]) contained in (in) FR (French)
F (UR THE) R
|FURTHER (promote or help forward)|
|24||Intrigues sometimes conceal suspect (5)||Hidden word in (conceal) INTRIGUES SOMETIMES||GUESS (think; believe; suspect)|
|25||Sadly not many of us save the FT – it’s impersonal (9)||Anagram of (sadly) NOT MANY OF US excluding (save the) FT||ANONYMOUS (lacking distinctive features or individuality; lacking a name; impersonal)|
|1||Sex in Esquire’s spread needs … (10)||IT (sexual intercourse) contained in (in) an anagram of (spread) ESQUIRE‘S (Esquire is a men’s magazine founded in 1933)
REQUIS (IT) ES*
|2||… story trashing pop with Kylie changing sides (5,3)||Anagram of (trashing) POP and [with] KYLIE where the L (left [side]) is exchanged for (changing) R ([right] side). The link to 1 Down is that Esquire magazine could well feature a story about Kylie Minogue [a pop singer of some repute])
|PORKY PIE (Chambers tells me that technically it is PORKY or PORK PIE that are used as rhyming slang for lie [story] but PORKY PIE seems to me to be equally appropriate)|
|3||Guardian’s chasing peculiar kite (6)||RUM (odd; strange; peculiar) + OUR (Guardian’s – this being The Guardian crossword)
|RUMOUR (kite can be defined as a rumour or suggestion thrown out to see how the wind blows)|
|4||Zealot insists original nation starts here (4)||First letters of (starts) ZEALOT INSISTS ORIGINAL NATION||ZION (Jerusalem; the Jewish people; the Christian church [all examples of definitions in Chambers]) Possibly an &Lit. clue|
|5||Was it issued by trendy judge with smarm? (10)||IN (trendy) + J (judge [one letter abbreviation in Chambers]) + UNCTION (smarm is defined as ‘to be unctuous’)
IN J UNCTION
|INJUNCTION (an inhibitory writ by which a superior court stops or prevents some inequitable or illegal act being carried out; clearly issued by a judge, trendy or otherwise)|
|6||Irish hero once managed to pen touching lines (8)||(Anagram of [managed] ONCE containing [to pen] ON [touching]) + LL (line + line; lines)
(OC (ON) NE*) LL
|O’CONNELL (reference Daniel O’Connell, Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th Century)|
|7||Block scurrilous items about celebrity’s bottom (6)||Anagram of (scurrilous) ITEMS containing (about) last letter (bottom) Y of CELEBRITY
ST (Y) MIE*
|STYMIE (block; a situation on the putting green, once difficult to overcome, in which an opponent’s ball blocks the way to the hole; a situation from which it is impossible to proceed)|
|8||Dull report in Thursday’s daily leader (4)||THU (Thursday) + first letter (leader) <bD of DAILY
|THUD (dull sound; dull report)|
|14||Proper men ring first (10)||PRIM (proper) + OR (other ranks; men) + DIAL (to use a telephone dial or keypad; ring)
PRIM OR DIAL
|PRIMORDIAL (existing from the beginning [of the world]; first)|
|15||Mavis’s lad G. Hurst trained at West Ham (4,6)||SON (lad) + G + anagram of (trained) HURST + H (leftmost or westernmost [West] letter of HAM) Football fans will know that Sir Geoff Hurst, scorer of the final goal (giving him a hat-trick) in England’s World Cup win in 1966, played for West Ham United.
SON G THRUS* H
|SONG THRUSH (mavis is another name for the song thrush)|
|17||25 different means to involve the French (8)||Anagram of (different) MEANS containing (involve) LES (‘the’ in French)
NAME (LES) S*
|NAMELESS (anonymous [entry at 25 Across])|
|18||Strikers here in union fight (8)||MATCH (pairing; marriage; union) + BOX (fight)
|MATCHBOX (a MATCHBOX contains matches which you strike to obtain a light or flame)|
|20||Rakes over government crooks (6)||ROUÉS (rakes) containing (over) G (government)
RO (G) UES
|ROGUES (pranksters; mischievous persons; cheats; crooks)|
|21||Tolpuddle man: "It’s my right to protect skill" (6)||(MY + R [right]) containing (protecting) ART (skill)
M (ART) Y R
|MARTYR (reference the Tolpuddle Martyrs whose actions, arrest and trial led to the foundation of the Trade Union Movement in Great Britain in the 19th Century)|
|22||17 organised groups for what 13 5 does (4)||GANGS (organised groups) excluding (less [reference the entry at 17 Down: ‘nameless’) N (name)
|GAGS (a super injunction prevents reporting of [gags] the subject of the injunction.)|
|23||Total failure following cut (4)||F (following) + LOP (cut)
|FLOP (total failure)|