Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,420 – Puck

Posted by Uncle Yap on September 6th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Thank you Gaufrid for standing in for me so admirably. I am glad that I made the prior arrangement even though I had internet access in my hotel room in Tianjin and Beijing. What with an erratic schedule of running and late-night revelry and the fact that this blog (like Twitter & Facebook) is proscribed in China. However, Times for the Times is accessible … perhaps Times bloggers are made of tamer stuff :-) Anyway, it is good to be home again after more than a week of frolicking along the Great Wall (I am even more awed after seeing it close up) On! On!

Today’s offering from my favourite Irish setter (the compiler not the dog) aka the Magic Dragon should be as much fun for you as it was for me even though I am of the group that would rather spend 50 quid to hear Elton John in concert than the London Symphony Orchestra. I caught on to the mini-theme quite early, thanks to the 16Across anagram; from whence I solved and blogged this puzzle to the background music here

ACROSS
9 PERSEVERE REP (repertory theatre) SEVERE (hard to endure)
10,20 CLAIR DE LUNE *(I recall nude) Clair de lune (Debussy), third movement of Suite bergamasque by Claude Debussy, a piano depiction of a Paul Verlaine poem
11 CREDITS *(directs) perhaps reflecting modern style of presenting credits AFTER the film when everybody leaves and nobody notices
12 FREEMAN F (following) + rev of NAME (title) ER (Elizabeth Regina, monarch)
13 WAGER DOWAGER (a title given to a widow to distinguish her from the wife of her husband’s heir) minus DO
14 TURBOPROP Ins of B (first letter of boarding) in *(TOUR) PROP (rugby player)
16 MOONLIGHT SONATA MO (moment or second) + *(has gin not a lot) Once I got this classic from Ludwig van Beethoven, I started visiting YouTube and completed this blog to musical accompaniment. I was surprised to learn that MS has 35.6 million hits compared to only 16.3m for Fur Elise, the other all-time Beethoven favourite
19 NODULATED *(custarD ONE ADULT)
21 DINGO ha
22 PILLION M/B/ZILLION (take your pick) with first letter substituted by P (parking)
23 SAMURAI *(US ARMy) + AI (first-rate)
24 RONDO Cha of RON (boy) DO (tonic) for a musical composition whose principal subject recurs in the same key in alternation with other subjects, often the last movement of a sonata. I was reminded by Chambers that tonic is also the first note of a scale. Remember DO, a deer, a female deer, RE, a drop of  ….. ?
25 REFLEX ARC Ins of FLEX (flexible cord or line, esp of insulated electrical cable) in REAR (bottom) C (first letter of Cortex)

DOWN
1 SPACEWOMEN Cha of SPACE (room) W (with) OMEN (sign)
2 ARPEGGIO *(GEORGe + PAId, penny from the 12 that made a shilling) for a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession rather than simultaneously
3 DENIER Ins of NI (Northern Ireland with its 6 counties) in DEER (a peculiar English word which is the same, singular or plural) clued so audaciously as those with head branches. Definition is of someone who denies like Peter thrice before the cock crew. My COD
4 KEYS Ins of Y (unknown in algebra) in KES, a 1969 British film based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines in 1968. First of several answers of physical parts of a piano
5 PERFORATED Ins of ER (hesitation) + F (fellow) in PO (post office) + RATED (valued)
6 ECCE HOMO Ins of EH (rev of High Explosive) in EC (city) + Lake COMO for a representation (picture or sculpture) of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns
7 HAMMER dd a striking-piece in the mechanism of a clock, piano, etc
8 GRAN GRANd (piano) minus D (daughter)
14 TIGHTENERS *(her setting)
15 PIANO PIECE This answer became obvious half way through; however the parsing is not so. I parse this as ins of IAN OP (the work or opus or op of IAN) in PIECE, something scored playing double function. No doubt others will have a more convincing take like NeilW at #2
17 LOLLIPOP Ins of I (one) P (piano) in LOLLOP (bound)
18 ABNORMAL AB (able-bodied seaman) NORMA (girl) L (first letter of Look)
21 DAMPER Rev of REP (representative or agent) MAD (crazy)
22 PART Rev of TRAP (catch); synonymous with PIECE of the action
23 SOFT Ins of F (female) in SOT (drunkard) synonymous with PIANO

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

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,420 – Puck”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Welcome back.
    An excellent blog as usual.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Welcome back.

    15 is one of those “reversal” clues – IAN is a PIECE of PIANO.

  3. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, and glad you had a good time in China.

    An excellent puzzle. I liked the way 15d was used in the other clues both to indicate works for the piano as well as parts of the piano, and the clues for the individual halves of 15d as well. It was a very well executed theme.

    I worried at first that my unfamiliarity with much classical piano music would be my downfall, but all of the piano works were well-known, and I could dredge from my memory the names for parts of the piano, although DAMPER was about my last one in.

    I parsed 15d in the same way as NeilW @2. In fact, I had the first half, PIANO, and for the second half had .I…, but even though I had figured that the second half would indicate taking a part of the first half it still took seemingly forever to fill in those last four letters. After that things were mostly clear sailing.

    Thanks, Puck, this was an outstanding puzzle.

  4. jackkt says:

    Hi, Uncle Y, and thanks for the blog. I found this quite a tough workout and took exactly an hour to complete it all other than 6dn which I didn’t know and was unable to spot the wordplay, so I looked it up. Not helped by first thinking PIANO MUSIC at 15, then PIANO PIECE but couldn’t justify either so I eventually wrote in PIANO PARTS necessitating a rethink later when I got stuck solving 23ac and 25ac.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Got five clues in the NW within a minute or so and then bogged down. The 16a anagram came with only two cross-letters and even for a musical ignoramus that opened things up.It took a while to parse 15d (as NeilW has it) having got it, and therewere other mystifiers, too – like LOLLIPOP (I have it now, tks, UY) and the tonic=do in 24a. 25a looked non-cryptic for a while. That said, it was fun, so thanks Puck.

  6. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. Enjoyed this despite (because of ?) falling into the (p)AID trap at 2d and trying to make devier work at 3d. All’s well in the end, though, and the definition of DEER was fun. Liked the use of ‘not exactly’ in 17d to save us from LOLIPLOP.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, UY. I had variously, and tentatively, PIANO MUSIC, GRAND PIANO (impossible for 25a), GRAND PIECE (which, in conjunction with 8d, made sense, but prevented getting 14a and 21a).

    Quite hard, but enjoyable, on the whole, I found.

  8. Scarpia says:

    Super puzzle from Puck,clever,witty and ingenious with a varied theme.Much better(IMO) than a themed puzzle where you can fill in half the answers from the enumeration alone(once the theme is understood).
    Like Roger @6 I first thought of ‘devier’ for 3 down,but twigged it eventually from the definition(‘devier’ not being in Chambers)
    Thanks Uncle Yap,for the blog and the link to the wonderful Maestro Arrau,still on cracking form at 85 years of age!

  9. Ann Kittenplan says:

    Thanks UY and, in particular, Puck.

    Exactly the right level for me. Battle commenced 1045. Hostilities ceased 1133. Last one in DENIER (next time hopefully I’ll be a bit quicker on the uptake for ‘six counties’). Also I couldn’t decide on WAGED or WAGER in 13ac and even when I’d settled on WAGER still couldn’t parse it.

    Too many good clues to mention. Can’t remember a more enjoyable crossword.

    Incidentally re the comment at 11ac, the first film I can recall with no credits at all at the beginning was one of the versions of Apocalypse Now. I thought this was effective in immediately immersing you in the film. Also I tend to sit through to the end of the credits, partly because I’m interested in the locations and music, which is usually towards the end (first credit of almost always Unit Production Manager for some reason), and, I have to confess, I enjoy playing spot the silly name :-)

  10. Ann Kittenplan says:

    first credit *is

  11. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog UY – you explained a couple of times why I was correct.

    I was held up for a while on 2d when I took the standard ‘p’ out and tried to anagram what was left. Eventually I realised that the older ‘d’ was the proper thing to remove.

    Is my memory correct: 1971 was the year of decimalisation?

  12. stiofain says:

    Excellent puzzle. It was refreshing to see the accurate “six counties” used in DENIER instead of the usual spurious “Ulster” and the head branches bit made me laugh when I seen it but then I was left scratching my head as to what the definition had to do with the thickness of ladys hosiery until it finally clicked. Well done Puck always a pleasure.

  13. Gervase (formerly known as Geoff) says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Great crossword which took me longer than I feel it should have done.

    Like mongolo, I got several clues in the NW corner but, blinded by my Y chromosome, I couldn’t work out what SPACEW—- was for ages. And I kept trying to fit a solution to 22d in the space for 23d, which didn’t help….

    From the outset, the theme seemed to be musical, which was confirmed by 2d and 16a, but 15d took me a while because I couldn’t parse it satisfactorily – I settled for the same explanation as Uncle Yap, but NeilW’s suggestion is much more plausible. Once I had that, the rest trickled out.

    2d is cleverly sneaky because ‘a penny less’ from ‘paid’ could be any combination of one vowel and one consonant. And 21a gets my vote for the ‘hidden’ clue of the year.

  14. Frank says:

    Thanks to UY and to Puck for a good workout.

    Although not piano-related, 17d could also have a musical nuance, in that LOLLIPOP is a term Beecham used for short titbits to delight audiences (and this is the last week of this year’s Proms).

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Puck for a very good blog of an excellent puzzle.

    Thanks too NeilW for the parsing of 15d – simple once one sees it.

    16a was a tease because I nwas tempted to see Mo as Doctor. But eventually the penny dropped.

    Many excellent clues inc 10,20, 16a,. 21a, 25a, 2d, 17d.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was a vey well used theme for a dozen solutions. The delightful clue at 15d led to a solution which was used in a good variety of ways.
    For some reason I cannot explain (like Roger) I struggled with my last in ‘denier’ although it should have been straightforward.

  17. smutchin says:

    Enjoyed this but found it very tough. CLAIR DE LUNE was the first solution I filled in, because it was the only phrase that made sense from the letters, and GRAN was a relatively easy one to work out, and from that I guessed that 15d had to be PIANO PIECE, but couldn’t for the life of me work out why. (Thanks NeilW for the explanation.) From there I was able to get MOONLIGHT SONATA, though again it took me a while to work it out because there were the “wrong” number of letters in the anagram fodder – I did wonder if MO might be from “Doctor” doing double duty.

    There were still several gaps left when I eventually admitted defeat.

  18. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Puck for a nice blog and, for me, a tester of a puzzle.

    Took me ages to finish and last in was 6d ECCE HOMO. One of these puzzles where, if you don’t get the solution to the referenced clue, it is hard work.
    Once the penny dropped on PIANO PIECE the going got a bit easier. Too many nicely crafted clues to single one out.

  19. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I found this quite hard and resorted the check button much more often than I would have liked. Struggled to see 15dn for ages, then worked it out once I had solved SOFT PART. Lots of enjoy, even if I made heavy weather of it!

  20. Robi says:

    Difficult but entertaining puzzle.

    Thanks UY; although I got PIANO PIECE, I couldn’t parse it, so thanks also to NeilW @2. I never realised that F OFF meant following off – yet another F*ing abbreviation, although it is in Chambers. Perhaps someone can give me the context for this.

    I did like LOLLIPOP amongst many others.

  21. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Puck and Uncle Yap for an entertaining afternoon’s solving.

    I got the theme quite early in the process but like others, I had various accompaniments to Piano!

    What a treat to follow the link to Maestro Arrau and what an inspiration he is to the world.

    Giovanna

  22. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    An excellent puzzle from Puck which provided great entertainment. I couldn’t see how the ‘F’ was clued in FREEMAN and didn’t think of f=following which I thought was quite sneaky. I put DINGO for 21a but totally failed to see it in the clue, so I must agree with Gervase on that one.

    My favourite clue for its graphic surface is TURBOPROP. Thanks Puck.

  23. William says:

    Thank you Uncle Yap. So exotic to have a blogger running in and out of China isn’t it?

    Got there in the end but took ages. Is the F = following (of FREEMAN) some editors mark? Don’t think I’ve come across this before.

    Marvellous crossword, Puck, many thanks.

    More please.

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