Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,402 – Puck

Posted by Uncle Yap on August 16th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a beautiful morning. The last time I blogged a Puck, it was such a pleasure as his puzzle was “inspired” by a term I coined, Puck the Magic Dragon. This time round, clue after clue, he did not cease to amaze me with his versatility and variety of devices that challenged and entertained. Bravo ! Puck

1 REMEDYING REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) DYING (as in longing for a cold beer after a long hash run)
6 PUCK Rev of K-CUP, indeed a gigantic bra size for an enormous pair. Normal mortals wear cup sizes between A and D. What a cheeky eponymous clue, without doubt, my COD
9 AMAZON dd for the river in South America and of course, the Internet  sales company based in Seattle, Washington
10 ORANGE ha
11 UNMANNED Smooth charade of UN (French for a) M (first letter of motorboat) ANNE (girl) D (departs, yes, fully supported by Chambers, as indeed the following – date; daughter; day; dead; deci-; degree; dele , delete; denarius or denarii, a penny or pence (before 1971); departs; depth; deserted; diameter; died; duke)
12  MORRIS   Cha of MO (moment or second or a tick) RR (Rolls Royce car) IS.
16 SPECIALS Ins of EC 1 (part of London) in S (southern) & PALS (friends)
19 HUSTLE *(SLEUTH) Doesn’t this remind you of Paul Newman?
21 GRANDEUR GR (George Rex, king) AND (with) EUR (rev of RUE, French road or street)
24 BOLERO BOWLER (hat) minus W (wife) + O (old) for a jacket or waistcoat not reaching the waist nor meeting in front
25 ANARCHIC AN (one) *(CHAIR) C (last letter of electric)
26 TEST The TSE TSE fly – take out the last SE and reverse it to get TEST (exam)
27 THEME SONG Ins of *(ESME) in THONG (skimpy garment)

1,3 RIVERDANCE Ins of *(VERDI) in TRANCE (state of ecstasy) minus T (not initially) Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish stepdancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary. It originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, a moment that is still considered a significant watershed in Irish culture. Riverdance is, in essence, the story of the Irish culture and of the Irish immigration to America
2 MARINER MARINE (jolly) R (first letter of Roger)
4 IN TRUST *(IT TURNS) Remember the sign seen in an American pub “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” ? IGWT was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957
5 GOALMOUTH *(HOw MAUL GOT) NeilW, you get the prize for spotting today’s deliberate error :-)
6 PLAINTS PLAIN (clear as daylight) TS (first and last letters of TenniS) In the UK, plaint is a written statement of the grounds of complaint made to court of law asking for the grievance to be redressed
7 CLOSE CALL Tichy way to describe visiting the neighbours
14 SPACED OUT Ins of ACE (A as in a pack of playing cards) D (day) in SPOUT *(STUPOr) with the definition graphically written as t-h-i-s. This clue is as good as Paul’s Make J-U-M-P in wonder (10) in a recent prize puzzle
17 CONVERT Ins of N (name) in COVERT (secret) A near &lit when one remembers that a conversion from one religion to another is usually accompanied by a change in name like Cat Stevens becoming Yusuf Islam
(Morning Has Broken from the 70’s playing in the background on YouTube … Uncle Yap is very easily distracted :-)
18 SURNAME SURINAME (a republic in northeastern South America on the Atlantic; achieved independence from the Netherlands in 1975; formerly known as Dutch Guiana) minus I (setter)
20 SIROCCO SI (rev of IS) MOROCCO (South American country) minus MO (Medical Officer or doctor) for a hot, dry, dusty and gusty wind blowing from N Africa to the north Mediterranean coast. See what I meant about being under pressure on Tuesday morning? I read the offending phrase South American country in 18D when blogging about 20D. Well spotted, harhop
22 PLATE P (penny) LATE (rev of ET AL, the others)
23 FLING Acrostic (first letters of fodder)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,402 – Puck”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Puck for the puzzle and Uncle Yap for the blog. Thanks for the parsing of 1A – I tried to understand how MEDYING meant longing. IVORY NUT was new to me. Any blog that mentions Seattle in it is okay in my book. I’m sure caretman will agree.


  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY, for a great blog as always. This was fun wasn’t it? Clever use of different techniques for the same letters – D, MO etc.

    One tiny mistake – in 5, you’ve forgotten to “detail” HOw.

  3. caretman says:

    Thanks, UY, today’s blog has your typical excellence.

    I echo grandpuzzler’s approval of mentioning Seattle in the blog. We’ve given the world Amazon and Starbucks and…wait a minute, is that a point of pride or faint embarrassment?

    This puzzle had a lot of outstanding clues and a wide variety of techniques so it was consistently entertaining. PUCK was my last in; when I had the ‘C’ I thought maybe that was referring to the bra size. Obviously, I was thinking too small, and needed the initial ‘P’ to work out what was happening. It was my COD as well.

    Other favorites were REMEDYING, THEME SONG, and SPACED OUT. Thanks, Puck, for the fun!

  4. Mystogre says:

    Fun for a wet and wild afternoon. An enjoyable way to pass time. PUCK was actually one of my first in which may say rather too much about me. Despite having it, PLAINTS was my last and it took an awful lot of guesswork to find it. So I am educated again and that is good.

    The rest was pretty much straightforward as the cluing was very good – thanks Puck. But, UY, I am still not sure about the detailed bit in 5d. I got it but am guessing that term means you can drop odd bits of the words. Thanks for the other explanations. I agree with caretman@3 about the COD situation. Whole thing was very pleasing.

  5. harhop says:

    Thank you Uncle Yap. Your blogs are an education for a comparative newcomer. In which connection may I ask – what does &lit mean? Its not in the list of abbreviations at the bottom. (Hope its not churlish to add that Morocco is in North Africa…)

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, and also 6 across. This was just the right kind of 26 across (which was as deft a clue as the other). Forty-odd minutes, no aids. Mystogre 24: detailed = taking the last letter off.

  7. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Puck for a very enjoyable challenge.

    Thankfully, unlike Harhop @ 5, I am not churlish enough to mention your deliberate mistake.

  8. William says:

    Thank you Uncle, I needed your excellent blog for the ACE in SPACED OUT. Otherwise, a nice run out. Lovely, interesting clues. Anyone who has tried the larger circulation broadsheet crossword recently will contrast that dry grind with this delightful, nimble offering.

    Welcome harhop @5 – &lit means “and literally so” and is used to tag clues where the clue itself describes the answer. An example might be “e.g., Origin of Goose” (3) where the answer EGG comes mechanically from E+G+G(oose) but it is an &lit clue because an egg is of course how a goose begins life.

    In the case of 17d, the clue is strictly an insert of N in COVERT. The more difficult &lit clue that Uncle Yap refers to might read, “How to turn a cat into Yusef” (7) Not a very good clue but you see what I mean.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Puck

    A very good puzzle. The parsing of ‘spaced out’ (my last in) was hard for me. I did not see UY’s point (A = Ace in cards) and simply decided ‘ace’ = ‘one’ = ‘a’.

    Many enjoyable clues inc. 1a, 6a, 8a, 16a, 26a, 5d, 22d.

    For the record, 16a ‘specials’ = the additional offerings that restaurants write up on their boards as extras to the printed menus. I did not think this was all that obvious – but apologies if I am alone in this.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    No, tupu, it wasn’t obvious, but clever misdirection through its nice surface, which made for an excellent clue.

    Thanks, UY, for explaining 1a. For some reason I only went as far as PUCE for 6a, having dismissed PUCK as too obvious for “me”.

    MORRIS the last in.

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    If caretman will allow me:
    ” PUCK was my last in; when I had the ‘C’ I thought maybe that was referring to the bra size. Obviously, I was thinking too small, and needed the initial ‘P’ to work out what was happening. It was my COD as well.”
    expresses my view perfectly. An enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Rosmarinus says:

    PUCK was my first in. The bold print of ME was a giveaway but I still thought it an excellent clue.

  13. Disco says:

    Gave up on MORRIS (I need to negotiate a longer lunch break) but an enjoyable puzzle nevertheless.

    Glad I wasn’t alone in scratching me head over MEDYING. Completely forgot about REME.

    Thanks Uncle Yap – enjoyable and informative, as ever.

  14. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, Puck. I obviously lead a sheltered life as I didn’t realise cups get to ‘K.’

    Thanks, UY for a nice blog. As usual, I missed the ‘detailed’ instruction! As well as PUCK, I particularly liked MORRIS (yes, I drove a Morris Minor) and PLAINTS with its nicely misleading ‘tennis courts.’

  15. Wysawyg says:

    Very enjoyable Puck.

    As a novice crossword solver, I often find Puck’s insurmountable, unable even to get a toe hold in but this time I was proud to get about two thirds of the grid before my lunch break was over!

    Close Call and Amazon were my first solves, the bottom right corner seemed difficult until the last ten minutes when I managed to solve the whole section one clue after the other (after spending a while wondering if Thome Seng was some obscure Air)

  16. jackkt says:

    I struggled to finished this one but got there in the end. Wasted ages trying to justify PUCK. I got the K-CUP but not the reference to the setter as for years I have only been solving the Times crossword where the setter remains anonymous (except now on Sundays) so I am not used to having this additional piece of information to take into consideration. I found this the hardest Guardian puzzle since I started solving regularly on Monday of last week. Hi, Uncle Y (Old friend!), and thanks for the blog.

  17. harhop says:

    Thank you again Uncle Yap, and many thanks to William for explaining & lit so vividly. I’ve been out all day, hence delayed reply;I came back to remind myself of the charade at 11a, which I happened to get from the definition without picking my way through the clue.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Only managed 2/3 of this, dang.

    t h i s, is spaced out, t-h-i-s is hyphenatated out.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    when I can stop repeating the at s

  20. FranTom Menace says:

    Thanks for the solutions UY. We too enjoyed today’s crossword. Like many others we struggled with MEDYING and the MORRIS was the last one in. Good’un today though, thanks Puck!

  21. Davy says:

    Thanks UY and Puck,

    A nice puzzle from Puck with plenty of devious wordplay. I read 1a and immediately started writing RESPRAYING and was horrified to find it was too long. So I reprinted the crossword and then wrote AMAZON in 12a which messed up the grid once more. Not a good start but a very enjoyable puzzle anyway.

    Plenty of clues that I’ve ticked including REMEDYING (took me ages to see that one), MORRIS, THURSDAY (nice surface and anagram), PURIFY, CONVERT (very succinct), SURNAME (clever wordplay) and PLATE.

  22. Ann Kittenplan says:

    Thanks to Puck and UY. Extra special mention to Wysawyg for revealing THOME SENG. Exactly the sort of contortion I can relate to. Some of the nonsense I venture before the answer goes in :-) For the first time in a while I didn’t finish. PLAINTS – I fell for the tennis courts, and (in contrast to Rosmarinus) PUCK stumped me. Incidentally why the bold ‘me’, wouldn’t the clue have worked with plain type?

  23. Puck says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog, and to others for your comments.

    Ann @22, the bold type in the clue for 6ac is purely in there for the surface reading – it would indeed have worked fine without.

    No-one seems to have spotted the subtle hidden theme. Too subtle, probably, and certainly not as clever and sophisticated as the one in today’s Monk in the Indy. That puzzle’s well worth a look if you’ve not tried it yet.

  24. William says:

    Puck @22. Thank you for dropping in, always nice to hear from our tormentors. Sorry, but failed with the theme, do tell.

    Thanks again for a delightful distraction.

  25. caretman says:

    Wait, there’s a subtle theme? Ah, I see! The first and last lines read “Remedying Puck test theme song.” So obviously there’s an anagram of ‘Puck test’ meaning ‘theme song’, and an anagram of ‘Puck test’ is, er, STUCK PET? Brilliant! :)

  26. IanN14 says:

    Surely it’s to do with 1,3d. Rivers (Test, Plate, Amazon) and Dances (Morris, Bolero, Hustle, Fling)?
    Any more?
    I don’t have time to check if there’s a River Thursday…
    And does Theme Tune have any relevence?

  27. Ann Kittenplan says:

    The mystery theme. Cars? Sirocco, Morris Marina (hmmm), Seat Bolero, Volvo Amazon. A bit of a stretch. I’m going with RIVER DANCE as suggested by IanN14. And I’ve just learned that the Orange River is the longest river in South Africa.

  28. Puck says:

    Ian @ 26 and Ann @ 27 have it sussed between you. Four rivers and four dances, and Ian was just missing the Orange. Theme Song has no relevance though, and the Cars idea is lovely but a complete coincidence.

  29. caretman says:

    Rats, that was my second guess.

  30. tupu says:

    Many thanks Ian, Ann and Puck – missed it completely!

  31. maarvarq says:

    I thought 6ac (others’ COD) was cheating somewhat, particularly as “me” wasn’t bolded in my paper – the reversal indicator is clearly attached to “me”, not to the “big bra size”.

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