Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,403 – Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on August 17th, 2011


A welcome return for The Don. There’s nothing too difficult here, except that 20dn was a new word for me (though easily guessable), and the phrase at 10dn may be unfamiliar to some, but I enjoyed the usual accurate and elegant clueing, with some nice moments of realisation. Thanks, Pasquale – more please!

5. HISSER HIS (the man’s) + SER[ene]
11. CRISP CRIS[is] + P
12. FOSTER PARENT (AFTER PRESTON)* – nice surface: Peter Preston was editor of The Guardian from 1975 to 1995, and no doubt there were some changes after he left.
15. SUMO SUM (problem) + O, a circle, which can’t be squared in the classic problem of geometry.
16. HEAVEN-SENT VEN[erable]’S (Archdeacon’s) + EN[d] (=aim) in HEAT
18. REAL ESTATE ER (hesitation) reversed + ALES + tate
19. DIDO DID (acted) + O. Dido (lover of Aeneas) was Queen of Carthage. Does that mean she was also a princess? (For once the princess is not “DI”, even thought those letters appear in the answer.)
24. EPACT [th]E + PACT. The epact is “the moon’s age at the beginning of the year”, and it’s used in the calculation of the date of Easter.
25. SIDELINED SIDE (team) + LINED (stuffed), and substitutes sit on the sidelines until they’re needed.
26. TRENDY END (border) in TRY
27. DYNAMITE Homophone of DINAH, + MITE
1. RACE Double definition
2. DRAG Double definition
3. COME-ON [h]OME in CON
4. OVER THE STICKS OVERT (obvious) + HE STICKS (he can’t move). The phrase refers to horse racing over fences, as opposed to flat racing.
6. IN CHAINS CHAI (Indian tea) in INNS
7. SUI GENERIS ER (that hesitation again!) in (GENIUS IS)*. Latin phrase meaning “of its own kind”, hence “one of a kind” or “unique”.
10. SHROVE TUESDAY (DEVOUR THE [egg]S SAY)* &lit, Shrove Tuesday being when eggs are used up (e.g. in pancakes) before the start of Lent.
13. ASTRINGENT RING (gang) in AS TENT (like wine). I’ve known tent=wine for almost as long as I’ve been doing crosswords, but never looked it up till now. It’s a “deep-red Spanish wine”, from Spanish “tinto”, literally meaning coloured or dyed (cf English “tint”), but used to describe red wine: vino tinto.
14. IMMACULATE (AT CLUE MY AIM)* less Y. Another apt surface!
20. SCILLA S + CILLA [Black]. I (perhaps ignorantly) didn’t know this genus of flowers, but the wordplay made it obvious when the crossing letters were there.
22. ANTI A + NT (the National Trust is a major landowner) + I (one)
23. IDLE I’D + LEFT less FT

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,403 – Pasquale”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    The second in a row from Pasquale that was (for the Don) relatively easy but, as you say, “immaculately” clued as ever. Thanks for explaining the significance of Peter Preston, which had completely escaped me and left me thinking it was a very strange clue!

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. I’m impressed that you not only knew TENT as a wine but also EPACT. The SOD gives your definition, but before that ‘the number of days by which the solar exceeds the lunar year of 12 months.’ Some quite nice clues, best for me were 11a and 23d.

  3. Bryan says:

    Very many thanks Andrew & Pasquale this was very enjoyable with several examples of where I was misled – or I misled myself.

    I was at first convinced that DYNAMITE would be a Chili-like foodstuff; and Cilla was not the first female pop singer to come to mind (does she still sing?).

    I also liked REDACTOR, SUMO, CRISP, and HEAVEN-SENT (the father of my closest friend was a Ven.) but every clue was superb!

    More, please, Pasquale.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I did this in bed, without a dictionary, and planned to look up this new flower, SCHERA, [at 20dn] when I got up. This was daft, because I do know SCILLA – but the singer’s always Cher in crosswords! – and the A [one] was there to add on. :-( ] Of course, it meant that I didn’t get 25ac but it didn’t hold anything else up. EPACT – a new word for me – was guessable from the clear cluing.

    I can’t think why Pasquale chose to call Dido a princess, especially since DI immediately springs to mind. This is misdirection in reverse!

    Favourite clues: FOSTER PARENT and SHROVE TUESDAY.

    Many thanks, Pasquale, for the entertaining start to the day.

  5. Mystogre says:

    Thank you for the explanations Andrew. There are always a number if clues I get but am never sure why. HEAVEN SENT and ASTRINGENT being in that category tonight. I could get one half of them but the other made me think a bit much. I did exactly the same as Eileen @4 with the female singer.

    I always thought DIDO was a queen, so that one also made me wonder but the alternative is that the DO bit came from the wedding ceremony for DI. Interesting.

    But the cluing was very good and the answers clear, even if the reasons were not always. That means thanks to Pasquale too. A nice way to spend the best part of an hour on a cold night.

  6. sppaul says:

    Hello all – my first comment ever

    I enjoyed this crossword as every one from this setter.

    I wondered if dynamite could be Diane + a mite. The ‘a’ is in the clue and I tend to say ‘Dyan-amite’ as do others.

  7. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew, Pasquale beat me again. I failed to get the anagram of 7d. SUI GENERIS. Latin is all Greek to me!

    Other than that some nice anagrams in SHROVE TUESDAY and NEUROSCIENCS. I also thought DIDO was a Queen.

    Greetings to sppaul. Another inmate for the solvers asylum!

  8. gm4hqf says:

    Apologies for the typo in NEUROSCIENCE

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Pasquale

    A very well clued puzzle as others have noted. The southwest corner involved two words (tent and epact) that were new to me but easily guessable.

    I got but failed to put two and two together over Shrove Tuesday – I forgot it was the last day before Lent (though I am aware of Carnival (carne vale)etc. in this context).

    I liked 5a, 9a, 12a, 15a, 21a, 23d and several others.

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks also to Andrew for the blog – I couldn’t unravel IDLE – my name is not Eric!

    Welcome sppaul; can’t say that I would pronounce it that way but maybe some do.

    Not sure what the problem is with Princess Dido (Princess of Tyre and Queen of Carthage, if I believe the web; no doubt Eileen knows better :) ) – if you want to read reams about her, try here.

  11. Robi says:

    ………. P.S. I drink quite a lot of red wine, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to ‘vino tinto’ as ‘tent.’ Epact was also new to me.

  12. FranTom Menace says:

    Thanks to Pasquale and Andrew. We found this quite tough today, possibly because we’re both very sniffly and feeling pretty under the weather. We did particularly like 23d and 25a.

    Crosswords make me smile… I wonder how long trendy people like Cilla will keep appearing?

  13. Eileen says:

    Wow, Robi @10, ‘reams’ is the right word! Fascinating stuff.

    I was going to say that, if you asked anyone who Dido was, they would be more likely to say, ‘Queen of Carthage’ than ‘Princess of Tyre’, then realised that we might be lucky to get either, these days. The last time I saw DIDO feature in a crossword, she, too, was clued as a ‘pop singer’!

  14. jackkt says:

    Straightforward today after yesterday’s diversion. The only unknown was EPACT although I have probably met it before and forgotten it.

  15. don says:

    As NeilW #1 says: “The second in a row from Pasquale that was (for the Don) relatively easy”. Good, he’s learning!

    I’m with gm4hqf 7# and think it totally unfair when Greek, Latin, French, Spanish and so on are used in English-language crosswords. It says something that most seem not to mind foreign, even ancient out-of-date languages, but many people had to Google/use aids for ‘sinusoidal’ recently, of fairly common use in science. Does dim mots!

  16. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. It seems to me that although I can (usually) fill in all the answers I am often in the position of saying “I am sure that xxx is wanted here but why? Luckily for me fifteen squared explains why.

    In 12a, once I had spotted the anagram, I gave no thought to why Preston.

    I liked 9a.

  17. chas says:

    I also think of Dido as Queen – do not remember hearing of Princess of Tyre – so I hesitated over putting in DIDO. Having said that, the clue was absolutely clear, so it was just me that was hesitating.

  18. William says:

    Many thanks, Andrew. Another smasher from The Don. Lovely, professional clueing here.

    A couple of minor doubts only – although I wrote in DRAG at 2d, I don’t quite understand the “get behind” part of the clue. Shouldn’t it be ‘put’ or ‘place’ behind? Or even get in front of?

    Also I, too, thought it was Queen DIDO.

    Thanks Don, more please.

  19. Jezza says:

    Thanks to Pasquale for the enjoyable puzzle, and to Andrew for the explanations.
    I spent a while on 20d, as I kept thinking of ‘cher’ as the female pop singer.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    William,if you ever had a small child you would know what a drag being behind is. “My feet hurt”, “My shoes are too small” etc.
    Don, watch the way contributors love to slip in a foreign reference, even when completely irrelevant. I’ll leave you to guess why.

  21. walruss says:

    Eileen’s problem perfectly sums up for me why it is not a good idea to put unknown words into a daily puzzle – unless the clueing is top-notch you just can’t be sure you’ve got ‘em solved! But he does it every time he sets one, as if to remind us that he’s the owner of some dictionaries. Dry fare I thought, though I stuck it out to the finsih.

  22. jackkt says:

    Who is to decide which words are unknown?

  23. don says:

    jackkt says: “Who is to decide which words are unknown?”

    Setters/crossword editors might start by assuming people who read English-language newspapers speak English and not expect them to know foreign words and expressions, especially from obscure dead languages like Latin.

  24. norm says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to call Latin obscure, or even dead. Sui generis, for example, is used in several fields today:

    As for modern foreign languages, I think their common words are fair game, as long as they use the Latin alphabet

  25. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Andrew for the blog and the information on Preston and Tent that I didn’t know, and to Pasquale for the puzzle.

    I don’t usually contribute unless I feel strongly but today I have to endorse jackkt’s comment @22. I don’t speak Latin but “sui generis” is a relatively common expression in modern English. The broad English language is populated with countless “foreign” words imported from other tongues, both ancient and modern, and long may it continue.

    If I was to point out a word unknown to me, look no further than 16ac. As a life-long atheist, Archdeacon = VEN is as incomprehensible as Martian to me. But I accept that it is a commonplace for many Guardian setters and solvers.

    On the other hand, 15ac, SUMO, is part of my landscape. The word refers to the uniquely Japanese wrestling sport/rituals/culture. “One wrestling” is not a Sumo, he (invariably he) is a Rikishi.

    These are not complaints or corrections, just endorsing jackkt’s point that “unknownness” is in the mind of the beholder.

  26. Eileen says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by my ‘problem’, walruss @21 or ‘unknown words’. As I said, I did know ‘scilla’ and the penny dropped as soon as I reached for Chambers. If I’d got 26ac first, as I should have, since it was quite straightforward, I would never have made the daft slip in the first place!

    [I won’t make any comment about the Latin!]

  27. Wolfie says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew and to Pasquale for an entertaining crossword.

    I don’t have a problem with ‘sui generis’, a term that should be familiar to readers of the Guardian and its Sunday sister, since it has appeared in either the printed or online versions of the papers no fewer than twenty-two times this year alone, in a range of articles including reviews of rock music and football reports.

  28. caretman says:

    With regard to the SUI GENERIS discussion, there’s Latin and there’s Latin. ‘Et cetera’ is Latin, yet no one would argue if it were the solution to a clue since it’s such a common expression. So one must take into account how common ‘sui generis’ is in ordinary writing in English. I’ve encountered it at least as often as I’ve encountered ‘boffin’ (just to take an example of a word from a piece of wordplay from a puzzle yesterday) so the two seem equally permissible to me.

    We all bring to solving crosswords different experiences and knowledge. I have a background in mathematics and science, others in literature, others in arts, etc. What is a commonplace word or expression to some may mystify others. ‘Sinusoidal’, mentioned above, is an example. I don’t object to the lights taken from ecclesiastic sources or Elizabethan poets or cricket, even though my knowledge of those areas is extremely limited. I take it as a challenge to broaden my knowledge and to see if I can decipher clues from wordplay and crossing letters alone.

    So if there are common fields of knowledge in which a word or expression is commonly used by writers in that area using English, then I think it’s fair game for an English crossword puzzle. And I may not solve it, or may have to use pattern matching software, or have to come here to find out how it worked, but to me that just meant that I didn’t succeed with that challenge and I’ll try to do the next one.

    So thanks, Pasquale, for this challenge and the efforts you and other setters make to please as many people as you do with your puzzles.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    I apologise, caretman, for the second consecutive day I can just endorse your comment in #28 rather than composing my own.

  30. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    An entertaining puzzle which I found quite difficult but arrived at the correct solution…eventually. The clues were spot on as is always the case with Pasquale.

    All hail caretman for his brilliant comment #28. I agree with him one hundred percent and couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Re comment #27. How do you know Wolfie that ‘sui generis’ has been used twenty-two times in the Guardian/Observer this year ???.

  31. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Andrew and Pasquale.

    One of the joys of crossword-solving is learning new words and expressions and opening new fields of experience. The use of foreign words enriches our language, so – keep them coming, please!

    Also the use of Latin words and phrases are part of our heritage and I agree with caretman @ 28 on the subject.

    Buona notte, Giovanna xx

  32. Scarpia says:

    Davy @30 – see below.

  33. nmsindy says:

    Re SUI GENERIS, this is included in all the standard English dicts, so, regardless of its Latin origin, it seems just fine IMHO for inclusion in a puzzle.

  34. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I must agree with those who previously criticised “tent” and “sui generis”. Personally I’ve never met either of them, although I am fairly well read and old!

    Yet again I find the Don a little “over contrived” in his cluing and (sorry to say) not particularly enjoyable!

    “Who is to decide which words are unknown?” is not really the question we should be asking.

    I believe that all the solutions to a weekly cryptic should be widely known to a literate and fairly well read public.

    The skill of the setter is to give us difficult and entertaining clues to “easy” solutions!

    In my opinion using obscure words, whether they are in the dictionary or not, seems a little lazy! (or dare I say elitist! Yes, I obviously did dare!!)

  35. rfb says:

    Brendan@34: I think we all agree that crosswords should not be composed *primarily* of very obscure words. But one or two (especially if they can be guessed & verified with a dictionary) seems OK to me.

  36. Davy says:

    Thanks scarpia #32,

    I didn’t realise that the search encompassed the text of newspaper articles, so I’ve learned something very useful. I thought that only the home site was searched but there again I’ve never used ‘search’ but I will now.
    Sorry Gaufrid if this is off topic.

  37. Wolfie says:

    Thanks Scarpia for answering Davy’s query, which appeared after I went to bed. As a footnote to the above discussions of ‘sui generis’ it is interesting to see that the expression is enjoying something of a revival in the Guardian/Observer. There were only twelve appearances in 2010 and the previous top score was twenty (in 2007 and 2008). If the current rate continues I predict at least thirty appearances of ‘sui generis’ before the end of 2011. (Sorry Gaufrid!)

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