Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,456 – Pasquale

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 18th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

This is a complete and balanced and absolutely delicious meal from a consummate chef, if you will pardon the culinary parallel … a mini-theme, intriguing linkages between answers, some lovely cryptic definitions, some uncommon words (but clued fairly and simply to compensate) and some tichy devices. I found this puzzle challenging but extremely entertaining. Thank you, Don

9 LIP-READER Ins of I (one) PR (public relations or spin) in LEADER (boss) plus a great def, no natural listener
10 INNER Cha of INN (pub) ER (Elizabeth Regina, Queen)
11 WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER *(THE TORIES TELL A WHINGER) At the Tory Conference in October 2009, George Osborne, then Shadow Chancellor gave a speech about the need to slash public spending and used the phrase “We’re all in this together” Since May 2010, the Conservative Party has formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats and Osborne is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer. My COD for the great surface which qualifies, in my book, as a quasi &lit
12 AITCHES A (first letter of Affair) ITCHES (longs)
13 OGIVE O (zero) GIVE (elasticity or tolerance) for a diagonal rib of a vault or a pointed arch or window; new word for me
14 SYNERESIS *(RINSES YES) the separation of liquid from a gel that is caused by contraction (as in cheese making) Another new and uncommon word to me but fairly clued as a simple annie in compensation
16 TIGHTROPE WALKER What a fantastic cd which gave me quite a chuckle when the crossing letters pointed to the answer. Thanks to NeilW *(A TRIP THE LEGWORK) which means this is a fantastic &lit
19 DEMAGOGUE Ins of EM AGOG (them open-mouthed?) in DUE (expected) Thanks, Eileen
21 ASSAI ASSAIL (attack) minus L for a musical term meaning very
22 RUSHTON RUSH (dart) TON (fashion) for William George Rushton, commonly known as Willie Rushton (1937-1996) an English cartoonist, satirist, comedian, actor and performer who co-founded the Private Eye satirical magazine.
23,24  OSBORNE HOUSE Ins of the rev of O (old) HEN (bird) ROBS (turns over as in rugby or basketball) in OUSE (great river) for a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK, built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat.
25 SUPERGLUE SUPER (brilliant) GLUE (misprint of CLUE), a cheeky device which raised another smile when I realised the answer is defined as excellent setter. Bravo! Don

1 SLOW-FOOTED S (first letter of Slate) LOW (deficient) Michael FOOT (1913-2010, Labour leader) ED Miliband (current leader of the Labour Party)
2 SPURRING S (Last letter of cats) PURRING (sounding happy)
3 MENACE MEN (males) A CE (Church of England) Surely you do not need me to explain the rest of the clue
4 UDAL U (upper-class) DAL (rev of LAD, boy) for a Scottish estate without feudal superior or allodial. New word to me
5 GREAT NIECE Ins of the rev of IN TA (Territorial Army, voluntary organisation) in GREECE (European country)
6 VICTORIA dd (see 23,24 OSBORNE HOUSE) and of course the London Underground station where Uncle Yap has to disembark to travel overland to visit his grandson (see picture above) near Sydenham Hill
8 IRIS IRISH minus H (husband)
In Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet  Molly Malone ,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
“Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh”,
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.
14 SPONGINESS Ins of *(OPENINGS) in SS (middle letters of tissue)
18 KESTRELS Ins of STR (half of STRAYS, those off course) in rev of SLEEK (with glossy appearance)
20 MUSEUM Ins of USE (employment) in MUM (keep quiet)
21 ALBERT Ins of B (bishop) in ALERT (warning)
22 RUHR Alternate letters from RoUgHeR
23 OOPS O (nothing) OP S (works, opus in the plural, indicated by an extra S)

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

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,456 – Pasquale”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY. Two toughies in a row! Perhaps we’ll end up with a corker on Saturday for the prize (which is a little overdue…)

    A couple of points –

    I think you’ll find that TIGHTROPE WALKER is an anagram of A TRIP THE LEGWORK.

    I understood 19 as a “homophone” of “them agog”.

  2. Eileen says:


    I think 19ac is ‘EM AGOG in DUE [expected].

  3. NeilW says:

    Hi Eileen – you’re absolutely right. I wasn’t really happy with my simple “homophone”! :)

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    I think Pasquale must be getting easier, as I finished this one at first sitting. I hardly ever used to make progress with them.

    Thanks for the explanations, UY, of some of the contorted ones (23a for example; I couldn’t be bothered to work it out once I knew I had the answer – RETREAT ON ISLAND, along with an initial O from OOPS + letter numbers were sufficient).

    The quote I assumed was from John O; the Chancellor never appeared in my mind!

    COD 16a.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Pasquale

    And thanks too to Eileen re 19a. Like NeilW I was too easily satisfied with the clunky ‘homophone’.

    I first thought I was going to get nowhere with this but it did not take too long. I had vague memories of udal, ogive and Osborne House and needed to check syneresis.

    Cluing generally exact as is customary for this setter.

    It might have been worth spelling out the V and A link in 20d since I at least found this an important way into the puzzle.

    Some excellent anagrams esp. 16a and 11a etc. Also liked 25a with its misleading use of ‘setter’. Also fine surface in 12a.

  6. Paul B says:

    Agreed. Pasquale does like his oddities, to wit UDAL, SYNERESIS (anagrammed!) and perhaps OGIVE, but there is, as mine uncle observes, a themette and one or two longer entries to accommodate. And among some very splendid clues we have that excellent anagram at 11 7 17.

    Great work indeed from the Don, although, for the sentiment it expresses 11 7 17 may risk his effigy a burning on the steps at St Paul’s. Nothing to worry overly about however, as someone usually brings a fire extinguisher to these events. Even if it is someone like Mr Edward Woollard and not the Fire Brigade.

  7. Robi says:

    A clever puzzle for clever people. I gave up!

    Too many unknown words and unknown references to stretch my patience. I would never have been able to parse KESTRELS. Perhaps I’d better try the Quiptic; I think this would have been not out of place for a prize crossword.

  8. JohnH (not the setter) says:

    First pass – nothing.

    Second pass – OGIVE and RUHR.

    Third pass – diddly squat. Thought about surrender.

    Pass 4 to n – got stuck in and loved it. Excellent crossword.

    Had to look up UDAL and ASSAI as I had never heard of them but assumed them from the linkages.

    Last one in was RUSHTON. I liked WR but had never heard of TON used to mean fashion and only found it as a definition in the fourth dictionary I looked in.

    Nice one señor P.

  9. Wardihno says:

    Very satisfying crossword. Particularly liked 25a. Did not know Udal but the answer was clear enough.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not quite up to recent offerrings but quite enjoyable.
    I was held up at the end by assai (quite understandable) but more oddly ‘servicemen’.
    Nice to see WR remembered.
    I liked 9ac.

  11. RCWhiting says:

    BTW Udal is the name of an international cricketer (spinner) and when I first came across him I was intrigued by such a rare name that I looked it up in Chambers.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, this baby didn’t lie down to sleep without a bit of a fight. I only really cracked it when I guessed OSBORNE to go with the house and then sussed the long (and clever) anagram. I did like it though, particularly LIP-READER and SUPERGLUE. The mini-theme was a bit of a help too.

    Spookily, I had the pleasure of Shaun UDAL’s company only on Friday last week. He was the guest speaker at our annual cricket club dinner (about 5 out of 10 if you’re thinking of booking him yourself).

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

  13. Alan Eames-Jones says:

    24ac. This exact clue (and the same answer ASSAI), appeared in The Times a couple of Saturdays ago. Could Don be a setter there also. Excellent clue BTW.

  14. harry says:

    Udal tenure, to save some dictionary-delving, is found only in Orkney and Shetland and is a relic from when those islands were owned by Norway. It’s all fairly irrelevant now that feudal tenure has been abolished on the mainland, but used to be an important distinction.

  15. Mitz says:

    Liked some of this a lot (‘superglue’, ‘great niece’) some other parts less so (‘demagogue’, ‘Rushton’) but the right wing bias has spoiled it for me, I’m afraid. Every time I hear an over-privileged Tory politician use Osborne’s awful phrase it makes me want to throw things at the radio!

  16. shuchi says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap. The theme was out of my league but with the internet to help, I am glad I persevered till the end.

    16a and 25a are brilliant.

  17. yogdaws says:

    Thought this was a piece of crossword perfection…

    So many fine clues and lots of wit. 25a…11a…19a…and many more.

    Respect to The Don!

  18. Martin P says:

    Servicemen caused me to pull up too. I think that solution’s about the weakest in an otherwise bang-on puzzle.

  19. NeilW says:

    Mitz, on my way to bed but I’m still surprised by your comment – from these far shores, I have no idea how you could see a “right wing bias” in this crossword. In 11,7,17 the Don’s hardly endorsing right wing policies – his tongue is so far back, it’s in his tonsils!

  20. Mitz says:

    NeilW – what about 1 down?!

  21. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for all feedback, here and on the other channel. Some very happy, others fed up — I kind of expect that by now. I suppose 1 Down hinted at a dig that some were making when I set the puzzle, but the ? is my get-out maybe! Solvers on Fridays will know that I am not averse to a joke about the Tories in the Telegraph. Wasn’t it G K chesterton who said that one should write letters to Sporting Life and the Church Times and post them off in the wrong envelopes (or something like that)?

  22. RCWhiting says:

    I thought 15d was a perfectly fair clue, I was just suprised at how long it took me to get it.

  23. stumped says:

    Well, this was a mixed bag. Some solutions came right off the bat, others were words I’d never heard of – ogive, assai & syneresis (& I read Chemistry at Univ!). Udal I knew, being a cricket fan, but not as defined. Never heard of Osborne House either and the rationale as stated here doesn’t quite work for me. I see – O + SBORNEH(“hen robs” reversed) + OUSE(great? river).

    Monday’s Guardian by Orlando had me totally stumped, on the other hand I had no trouble at all with Saturday’s Prize by Araucaria. Not bad after a month’s worth of catching up after decades away from Cryptics.

    Hi Eileen, I see you’ve been one of the first responders both days this week.

  24. stumped says:

    I just went back and read the clue again, my point is I’m puzzled by “turns over” to mean robs, but then I’m not a fan of rugby or basketball. On the other hand I’m taking “turns” alone to mean robs and ignoring somersaults altogether, which is silly but might make more sense if this was a down clue, if you see what I mean.

    I’m getting myself all confused, so I better stop now.

  25. Martin P says:

    Hi RCW,

    Yes, I suppose it’s a double definition, but only really if you separate the “service” from the “men”. This device does get used though, there again. I think I was looking for something on a similar, craftier level to the other solutions perhaps.

  26. Martin P says:

    Stumped inter alia:

    Can’t “turned over” mean robbed in the none-sporting sense, as in slang/street journalese “turned over a jewellery shop”?

    Thanks Pasquale and everyone for a very enjoyable hour or two.


  27. stumped says:

    Martin P Good point, thanks.

  28. Gervase says:

    Thanks UY and DM

    Another tricky one, after several weeks of relatively straightforward puzzles. I knew OGIVE (one of my first entries) and ASSAI, but UDAL and SYNERESIS were new to me (the latter despite my PhD in chemistry…)

    16a is a great &lit, and 11 etc is up there too, but my favourite clue, for its wonderful surface, is the much simpler 12a.

  29. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    I’m not usually on the Don’s wavelength but I thought this puzzle was superb. In fact, I would say that it’s the most entertaining G. crossword for some while. Lots of different threads and the usual excellent clueing. Of the clues not already mentioned, I liked the simplicity of AITCHES and the amusing surface of SPURRING. The clue of the day is definitely TRW.

    Incidentally, I found this puzzle far easier than yesterday’s Orlando which I still haven’t finished. As the prize puzzle was quite easy, I will persevere with Orlando until I finish it.

  30. stumped says:

    Gervase interesting that a far more accomplished chemist also didn’t know syneresis.

    Davy your comment gives me a useful yardstick to measure my progress. Wondered how the prize compared on the spectrum of puzzles. Now I’m not quite so pleased with myself.

  31. FranTom Menace says:

    What a brilliant crossword today! Completely fair, challenging without being too easy and some superbly written clues.

    We don’t look here until we’ve completed the puzzle or given up, and both came here hoping for a positive response from everyone, it’s good to see we’re all in agreement! My only niggle (and it’s a small niggle) would be that 18d seemed overly convoluted.

    Last one in was 15d, even with all the checking letters and assuming ‘men’ at the end it still stumped us.

    Particular favourites were 16a (such a clever clue!) and 1d for its great surface. Thanks Pasquale!

  32. Davy says:

    Hi stumped,

    Sorry to have burst your bubble. Maybe comparatively easy would have been a better expression. No prize crossword is easy unless you happen to be an expert solver which I wouldn’t describe myself as. To me, it’s reasonably easy if I can finish it on the Saturday (very rare) or Sunday but I often chip away at it all week and as it sits to the left of my computer, I have a quick look every time I sit down. I hope this makes you feel better.

  33. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Just to pick up on stumped’s comment at 23, and since no-one else has made it explicit, the ‘great’ bit in 23/24 is there because the full name for the river in question is The Great Ouse, England’s fourth longest river.

  34. stumped says:

    Thanks Davy

    It’s just that I managed the prize in 2 sittings without use of pencil & paper, yet Monday’s supposedly easy one had me utterly baffled. I’ll have to tackle some past prize puzzles.

  35. tupu says:

    Hi K’s D
    I’m sure you are right about the ‘Great Ouse’. There are however a few more Ouses about including the Little Ouse and the Yorkshire Ouse.

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This was really a fantastic crossword, we thought.
    In the past, some people argued that Pasquale is not really good at writing ‘witty clues’, but as Martin P said @18 this one was ‘bang’-on’.

    And, stumped @23, I hope you meant your solving process was ‘a mixed bag’, because the puzzle surely wasn’t. Btw, the river Ouse is better known (for many) as the river Great Ouse [that’s why Pasquale used ‘great’].

    I really cannot see any negative points.
    And while I know and appreciate, RCW, that you found this quite enjoyable (IMO, rightly so), I don’t agree that this ‘wasn’t quite up to recent offerings’. We thought Pasquale’s brainchild was a (a, not: the) highlight among recent Guardian offerings.
    Thanks, Uncle Yap, and for once (ah well, joking :)) I am fully with you in your preamblian [I thought, let’s make a new word] appraisal for this crossword.

    A delight!

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