Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,450 – Philistine

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 11th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

A pleasant stroll through the park … so pleasant that I missed the theme device which is a very clever and creative ruse. Very enjoyable puzzle.



1 COCAINE CO (company, firm)  Michael CAINE , actor
5 SUMMARY SUMMERY (warm) becoming SUMMARY when you substitute A for E (answer to 3 Down)
10 CIAO Sounds like CHOW (food)
11 STATIONARY  STATIONERY (needed to write) becoming STATIONARY when you substitute A for E This is one of those words that can be misspelt without a mnemonic. Mine is CAR standing on the road and car has A
12 CAREER Ins of E (last letter of the) in CARER (nurse)
13 PREVIOUS Ins of REV (Reverend, minister) in PIOUS (how he should be)
14 FIRMAMENT  ARMAMENT (weapon) with the first A replaced by FI (rev of IF, provided backing) for a name given to the vault of the sky conceived as a solid substance studded with stars, so applied in the Vulgate.
16 INDEX Cha of IN (home) DE (of in French) X (symbol for kiss)
17 FLASH FLESH (meat) becoming FLASH when you substitute A for E
19 ELUCIDATE *(CLUE) I’D (compiler had) ATE (troubled, worried)
23 STARLING  STERLING (money) becoming STARLING when you substitute A for E
24 ANGINA  ENGINE (motor) becoming ANGINA when you substitute A for E
26 WEB BROWSER WEB (Arachne’s or spider’s home) + ins of *(WORSE) in BR (first and last letters of burglar
27 NEED NEE (born) D (died)
28 BY HEART Spooner’s “HI BART” (Greeting to Bart Simpson)
29 INGRATE Quite self-explanatory

2 ORIGAMI Rev of I’M A GIRO (cheque) Japanese art of folding paper so as to make figures shaped like animals, birds, etc.
3,7 AFOREMENTIONED Ins of FOREMEN (those in charge) in *(ON A DIET) This is the homophone indicator for many clues marked with the number 3. Personally, I think 7 would have been more appropriate The number 3 in many clues is a very clever instruction to substitute A for E e.g. STERLING becomes STARLING. Thank you EB for putting me right.

4 NOSTRUM Tichy way of saying NO (refusal) to STRUM (play guitar)
6 UNITED Unattached is UNTIED. Move the I to the left of T
8 REROUTE Ins of OUT in RERE (note after note)
15 MISERABLE LES MISERABLES (a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo) minus LES S
18 LOTTERY Ins of OTTER (sleek creature) in LovelY
20 CHAGRIN CHA (tea) GRIN (smile)
21 TANGENT TAN (beat) GENT (man)
22 RIGOUR RIG (fix) OUR (the Guardian’s)
25 GONER ha

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

47 Responses to “Guardian 25,450 – Philistine”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks UY and Philistine.

    I liked this crossword very much.

    I might have misunderstood your explanations of the ‘theme’ answers; you refer to them as homophones (eg stationary/stationery, flash/flesh which don’t sound the same to me at all) but the point here is to read 3d as A for E – i.e. Substitute A for E to get the word to be entered.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Afraid I have to agree with EB. It was a real penny dropping moment when I solved 3, having already guessed STATIONARY and, at first, assumed like you that 3 would be a homophone indicator.

    I really liked the last Philistine and this was just as good – no stroll in the park, though, for me.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, notably for explaining 14a. I think this puzzle deserves louder applause than you’ve given it. The theme is a neat one, and lots of the clues are good: 6d, 8d and 18d just to pick some at random. I cracked it early on when I thought ‘angina’ for ‘motor’ in 24a, and the niggle turned to certainty with the flash/flesh linkage in 17a: but the compiler’s approach was novel, and well handled. Good on you, Philistine.

  4. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Thanks UY for a great blog.
    Interestingly STATIONERY could also at a stretch be described as A4. Homophone of 3(Afore).

  5. Mystogre says:

    A lovely way to spend the odd hour. Thanks for the explanations UY, especially 19ac. Got them all but wondered about a few. The penny dropped when I solved 23ac and realised what I had been doing, although I had the 3/7 pair earlier but kept saying the first part wrong in my head.

    So, thanks Philistine too as this was enjoyable and eminently solvable. It is nice to have time again to sit and do these properly.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY.

    What a lovely start to the morning!

    As with NeilW and molonglo, the penny dropped with a huge thud – ANGINA was my way in, too. A very ingenious and amusing device and it was very neat to slip it in again in 14ac.

    There were other nice clues, apart from the theme ones: I particularly liked ELUCIDATE, CAMPANOLOGIST and WEB BROWSER [Congratulations on the record, Arachne!].

    Philistine is a very welcome and refreshing addition to the team. Many thanks, Philistine, for putting a smile on my face :-) – I hope we don’t have to wait too long to see you again.

    [I'm reluctant to seem to be diluting my admiration for this puzzle but I have a query about 6dn. Soon after I found 15², there was some discussion about this and, if I remember correctly, I think it was stated pretty categorically that, while it's obviously perfectly OK to use 'I am' to clue IM, the same does not apply to the letter I, so 'I am' cannot be used for 'I is'. One way to get round it is to say 'I must be', which I think would work here.

    I think I may not have expressed this very well. I hope someone will help me out and shed some light on whether this is a hard and fast 'rule' or just something to be avoided.]

  7. Rishi says:

    Don Manley in Chambers Crossword Manual (p. 74) quotes a clue adjudged unsound by X. It is:

    I am in the plot, that’s clear (5) PLA(I)N.

    I is the letter, not the pronoun. To overcome this ambiguity and to render the clue sound, some of the ways suggested are ‘will be’, ‘can be seen’ and ‘should be’, apart from ‘must be’ (instead of ‘am’).

    I do have X’s book but I am not able to locate his stricture there.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Rishi.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Philistine.

    Can anyone explain “seventy” in 22d, please?

  10. freda says:

    I can’t follow the wordplay in 1 across – can some kind soul please point me in the right direction, please?

  11. Robi says:

    Lovely crossword; clever, but no obscure words or references.

    Thanks, UY; I took an embarassingly long time to unravel the ‘A for E,’ getting there by FLASH/flesh.

    I’m not sure I quite understand the ‘I’ issue. Instead of the letter, why can’t it be ‘I’ the person, which could then be ‘am promoted,’ rather than the letter ‘is promoted?’ I would have thought the same applies to Rishi @7′s clue. Maybe, I is missing something here.

  12. Robi says:

    @9&@10; I think CO=firm with Michael CAINE and ‘seventy’ is ‘severity’ at least in the online version.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A lovely device (A for E) which could have produced a lovely puzzle.
    Sadly, and for no particular reason,I started in the SE and wrote in ‘goner’ and ‘tangent’(a hoary old one) and hence ‘angina’ which gave me the theme immediately. This enabled me to write in ‘afore’and ‘mentioned’ and the whole thing was cracked open.
    A great pity because the setter’s ingenuity deserved better.
    Sorry but you will need to explain further, I cannot see ‘seventy’in 22d.
    Michael Caine (actor) has his ‘given name’ substituted by ‘co’ (firm- company).

  14. freda says:

    Robi (@12): the CO and CAINE make obvious sense, but what about the ‘substitute for given name’ part of the clue? I can only assume it’s some sort of instruction to put CO in front of CAINE, but I just can’t follow it.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    22d is ‘severity’ in the print version, too.

  16. freda says:

    RCWhiting (@13): ah, got it it now! Many thanks for the explanation.

  17. Thomas99 says:

    If you mean what I think you mean, it’s probably a debatable point. If the setter IO had a clue “I am found in right chaos” for RIOT (IO in RT), would that be OK? I’m just asking…

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Rishi @7
    says “I is the letter, not the pronoun”. Surely the whole cryptic point is that it is both.

  19. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. Very enjoyable puzzle — I hope we see more of this setter! FLASH for FLESH was my way into the theme, which I thought was cleverly handled.

    I missed 10ac — the homophone tripped me up :-(

  20. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Philistine

    Most enjoyable with quite a lot of letter shifting and substitution in addition to the 3 theme. I got ‘angina’ first but missed the theme at that point since I thought the motor must be ‘gin’ and suspended parsing till later.
    Once the penny dropped with starling/sterling, it all fell into place.

    Lots of entertaining clues including 1a, 10a, 16a, 1d, 3,7, 15d, 18d.

    I am not greatly worried re ‘I am’ etc. Once one ‘knows the trick’, it is not difficult to spot it.

    More please Philistine.

  21. MikeC says:

    I enjoyed this one: thanks Philistine and UY. Thanks, also, RCW for explaining 1a. I do think the wording here is rather convoluted. On a strict reading of the clue, what is “of” doing?

  22. chas says:

    Thanks UY for the blog.

    Unfortunately I failed to solve much in here – including 3,7. I also failed to solve any of the clues involving 3 :(

    That is the big drawback with a ‘themed’ crossword: if you don’t crack the theme you are definitely up the creek without a paddle!

  23. Rishi says:

    The “I” discussion is on pages 49-50 of the book Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword by D. S. Macnutt (Swallowtail Books, 2001). (I had the original hard-bound book but lost it by lending it to someone.)

    I wouldn’t mind typing the passage (some 30 lines) but the paperback, when open, is like the wings of a flying bird. If I flatten the pages, I fear the binding may come off.

  24. Strawberry Flann says:

    One hall of a crossword!, With my limited Anglish I couldn’t be Ersed!

  25. Paul B says:

    ‘Unattached, I am promoted as one’ is indeed unsound.

    Surfaces of clues arise only as a function of cryptic structure: they are (on occasion) honed to mislead, but only in relation to, and with due consideration for, said structure. A compiler who disregards that causal link may risk ignominy here @ 15/2.

  26. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Robi and RCWhiting – it’s obviously the fault of my small screen :)

  27. Eileen says:

    As I said earlier, I did have some doubts about raising this issue: I was certainly not wishing to bring ignominy on this setter, whose work I admire a lot, but to confirm that the discussion did take place here – it’s quite a while ago and my memory is far from perfect!

    Thank you again for your trouble, Rishi. I have wished for a long time that I had a copy of this book but a quick google proves the current price, variously £60, £80 and £147.44, to be rather prohibitive, I’m afraid. :-( Certainly you mustn’t risk damaging your copy – it’s an heirloom!

  28. Thomas99 says:

    The “I am” in 6d clearly breaks a Ximinean rule. But setters who don’t want (always) to use those rules have to find another way to decide what’s acceptable. The question here is surely whether “I” is equivalent, within the clue, to Philistine himself. That is not a straightforward matter. If the answer is yes, then the “cryptic structure” is a little odd, but intact.

    What about my example above (I made up the clue, but I’m imagining the setter to be Io, in the FT):

    I am found in right chaos (4) – RIOT (IO in RT)

    He’s not in RT; just the letters representing him. So is that OK? If so, can he use the letter I to represent himself (obviously he can) and then use the first person…?

    Eileen’s advice is, of course, the best solution – just use “must be” and avoid all the bother!

  29. PeterL says:

    I think 1a refers to fact that Michael Caine was not original name therefore is substitute for given name

  30. Thomas99 says:

    Damn – it’s XimEnean, not Ximinean. I’ve been writing that wrong for years! Must have got it muddled up with Iphigenia or something. I’ll remember from now on: I’m only in Ximenes once

  31. amulk says:

    Well,as a philistine myself I must say I enjoyed that. Regarding 6dn, I think I am with the doubters, as I have a preference for logical coherency, and the clue does seem slightly illogical for the reasons stated by others above. However, it did not really set me back so no real complaints.

  32. artoo says:

    I gazed – and gazed – but little thought, what wealth to me “afore” had brought.

  33. RCWhiting says:

    PeterL @29
    I don’t think so and certainly hope not. After all, both his names were ‘substitutes’ for his real names. Also ‘given name’ means forename.
    One could argue that the ‘name’ serves a double purpose ie ‘name of drug’ = cocaine.
    I wouldn’t bother because the ‘of’ doesn’t bother me at all!

  34. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, UY. Pleasant, certainly; a stroll, certainly not. I had three-quarters of this solved before I twigged the AforE instruction. Very clever. I could handle some more of this setter.

  35. Allan_C says:

    No-one seems to have noticed that apart from the first letter in 24a the A for E substitution only affects unchecked letters – which imho is a wee bit unfair. Not that it stopped me solving those clues once I twigged what was going on.

  36. Paul B says:

    Sorry Thomas, but there is a complete and utter distinction (or should be) between the cryptic structure and the surface for all compiling styles, not just the Ximenean one: simply being Libertarian is not per se a licence to write poorly.

    In reality the only grammar a clue has is in that cryptic structure, with the surface an arbitrary result. Sure, you can jazz up your surface by moving elements of the cryptic grammar around, or adding link words, or changing lower case first letters to caps, or whatever, but if to accommodate your surface you change something that destroys the logic of the sub-structure, then you’ve goofed.

  37. Norman L in France says:

    Choked by an indigestible mess of crow, humble pie and my own words. I was wrong on Sunday when arguing the TETRAMETER/rockily thingy on your GLOWWORM blog. Apologies to UY and all involved.

  38. caretman says:

    Thanks, UY, for the blog.

    Like others who have responded, my way in to the theme came from FLASH and FLESH. Since I already had A . . . E for 3d, AFORE came to mind quickly, and there aren’t a lot of common words with AFORE as the first five letters. That point finally broke the puzzle open for me; I had only about half completed and was thinking this could be another time I couldn’t quite get it.

    Thanks, Philistine, for a fun puzzle. I echo the request for more from this setter.

  39. Brendan (not that one) says:

    “A pleasant stroll through the park …” ?????

    Just how short a stroll was this UY? 5 mins? 30 mins?

    Personally I found it more of a hike. A very enjoyable hike but a hike nonetheless!

  40. john goldthorpe says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle – and yes, more Philistine, please. I agree that 6d is not Ximenean but I’m a bit surprised by all the to-do in view of what other eminent setters – you know who I mean – get away with.

  41. Paul B says:

    As I was trying to say, the clue at 6D is simply wrong: it’s not a question of its being Ximenean or otherwise. And so there’s every reason why we should expect discussion (as opposed to a ‘to-do’) about it.

  42. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Philistine’s third puzzle and a corker it was, we thought.
    Splendid feature device which was especially nice in 5ac and 24ac (even if we weren’t happy with just ‘a pain’ for ANGINA).
    That said, I would have left it there. And not have written two more clues with a similar device (14ac and 1ac, in which Philistine surely didn’t mean anything else than replacing ‘Michael’ by ‘Co’).

    There were a lot of very well-written clues, like 5ac (with the ‘wrap-up warm’ combination), the superb 13ac in which ‘Former’ and ‘minister’ should be unlinked, 3d,7 (with the neat definition (‘above’)) and 2d.

    Not sure though whether ‘Feeling mortified?’ is a good definition for CHAGRIN, even if ‘Feeling’ might be seen as noun.
    And the STATIONA/ERY clue was, in our opinion, ambiguous because the first part was described insufficiently. Just ‘needed to write’ for STATIONERY is a bit meagre. We had a feeling that there should have been something between ’3′ and ‘needed’: the word ‘in’ or ‘in + a noun’, for example. It looked like it was edited out.

    A lot of the discussion tonight is about 6d, which we thought was clever.
    Paul B @41 makes it very clear: it is simply wrong.
    Well, I would say, if you follow the crossword rules of Ximenes, yes.
    But why should you?
    For me, seeing ‘I’ as the person that goes up (with the accompanying ‘am’) is quite defendable. I see me , the person that I am, going up, nót the letter.
    Isn’t it time to be a bit more flexible and less rigid, without, btw, handing oneself over to “anything goes”?

    We enjoyed this crossword very much.
    And unlike you, UY, we found it a bit more than just a pleasant stroll through the park.
    He’s a clever setter, Philistine, and we look forward to see more of him in the future.

  43. Uncle Yap says:

    When I can solve and parse every clue (even though wrongly as a homophone for those A for E clues but with the right answers) without referring to Chambers or Wikipedia, it is a stroll which means very much quicker than 30 minutes. While solving this one, I needed to refer to my dictionary only once to confirm FIRMAMENT as vault. Yes, that was a pleasant stroll.

  44. Brendan says:

    Sil @42 mentions that this was the third outing of Philistine. We thought it was his first, having not come across the name before, but we have been on holiday for a couple of weeks. Finished it – except for a couple in NE corner. Got the ‘theme’ fairly early on, but neither the wife or I enjoyed this offering. If Philistine is going to become a regular he may well grow on us, but it had the appearance of someone trying too hard to be clever. I will suspend judgement for now and will search the archive for two we missed and see if we like them any better.

  45. Paul B says:

    Hi Sil, but your flexible shield isn’t enough to defend 6D – it just won’t parse! Eileen, who clearly has an excellent grasp of the difference between cryptic (deep & murky) grammar and what’s going on up top (sunny surface), explains the fault very well. The thing is, preserving the distinction I’ve already rattled on about seems to me to be what clue composition is all about: it’s that very tension (excruciating) that makes it all worth doing in the first place. Here’s one from Sabre, who is no fool on grammar, obviously:

    Weed with dead leaves ripped off (7)

    W/ (D)IDDLED

  46. Matt.vantage says:

    Really enjoyed the theme in this one, and on the whole found it solvable. The only new word for me was ‘firmament’.

    Many thanks for the blog

  47. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Paul (@45), don’t get me wrong, I know exactly what you mean.
    While Eileen @6 opened up the problem, especially your own post @36 makes things very clear. And it’s not that very long ago that Anax gave me a ‘reprimand’ for a similar thing.

    As I find this thing about ‘flexibility’ an interesting issue, I will give one more example.
    And don’t look at the nonsensical solutions below (nor at the number of letters in each solution).

    Clue: I am behind a tree.
    [let's say this tree is an 'ash']

    ASHIAM: ok? [because the letters IAM are behind ASH]
    ASHIM: ok, too? [because "I'm" for "I am" is ok?]
    ASHI: wrong [because the letter I *is* behind the ash tree]

    But now I look at the clue again: I am behind a tree.
    The imagery is very strong here – I see myself hiding behind that tree. And therefore I opt for ASH+I.
    Of course, I know, the surface reading (or that what it evokes) and the cryptic construction (based on doing something with symbols) are mixed up now. But see, my intuition tells me that this is reasonable this time because of the visual aspect of what happens in the clue – and so I want to be ‘flexible’.

    Apparently, the Guardian’s crossword editor was flexible too in this case, but I also want to add that I think “I should be promoted” would have been a much better option anyway (apart from the discussion above).
    Why? Because moving the “I” up is a movement. And I think that an imperative-like “I should be promoted” or “I must be promoted” is a better way to indicate that movement. “I am promoted” feels like something static.
    In everything I do intuition plays a big part and this is another example of that – whether one might tune into that or not.

    Finally, your Sabre clue did confuse me.
    Do you think it is right or not?
    When you cut up the clue in separate pieces you’ll get WEED/WITH/DEAD LEAVES RIPPED OFF. I do like the misdirecting use of ‘leaves’, but I am not convinced by the cryptic use of that word in the last part of the clue [I would have preferred 'leaving' but, of course, that would wreck the clue].
    Maybe you are so kind to return this ‘Ball of Confusion’. :)

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