Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,465 – Crucible

Posted by Andrew on October 28th, 2011


A very enjoyable puzzle from Crucible with a number of answers (asterisked below – let me know if I’ve missed any) related to the phrase at 4,6. Not too difficult, but there are some unusual constructions in the clues, and perhaps one or two obscurities in the wordplay.

1. *COPPER P in COPER (one who manages), and the first of the money-related answers
4,6. THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (OTHER FOOT[b]ALL)* + LIVE*. Several other “lights” (i.e. answers) are types of money, which is the root of all evil, according to the common misquotation of 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil”
9. *BANKNOTES BAN (outlaw) + TOKENS*, and a reference to the words “I promise to pay the bearer on demand” that used to be printed on Bank of England notes.
10. *BRASS BRASSERIE less (Lake) ERIE. Brass is an alloy of copper (1ac) and zinc, with various proportions being possible, but usually with the majority being copper. It’s also a slang word for money
12. SUPERGLUE (REUSE PLUG)*, with “Scotch” as the anagram indicator
13. *READIES RE (“about”, to start) A + DIES (Latin for “day”) . Readies = sets up, and another slang term for money
15. TWELVE (TWO ELEVEN)* less ONE, using the (amazing) fact that TWELVE + ONE is an anagram of ELEVEN + TWO (Enigmatist used this in one of his puzzles a while back)
17. AFTERS Reverse of FA + TERS[e] (“short”, cut)
19. SECULAR CLUES* + [c]AR[e], with “Lay” as the definition
22. *POUND NOTE POUND (thump), and 23, DOUGH, sounds like the note Doh.
24. ELBOW EL BOW – a formal greeting using a mixture of Spanish and English
26. HINDU Hidden in growtH INDUstries. The apostrope+s after India spoils the cryptic reading a little – why not just “A believer in India’s contribution to growth industries”, where ‘s = is
27. STIPULATE (I PUT)* (“frying” as anag indicator) in SLATE (pan, criticise)
28. TEETHES THE in TEES. Nice definition: “cuts little bits of [tooth] enamel”
29. *TRUSTS Alternate letters of sTaRt-Up SiTeS.
1. COBBLER L in COBBER (Australian friend)
2. *PENCE [s]PENCE[r], referring to the actor Spencer Tracy
3. ERNIE WISE (IS WEENIER)* – Ernie Wise’s supposed stinginess was a running gag in the Morecambe & Wise shows
4. TOSSPOT Reverse of TOPS (is better than) SOT (drunk)
7. *TESTER An old word for a sixpence (which I think I vaguely remember), and reference to testing the temperature of a baby’s bath water with one’s elbow
8. STASIS ST[reet] + AS IS
16. *EXCHEQUER EX (former) + CHEQUERS less its last letter. George Osborne is the current Chancellor of the Exchequer.
18. SPOUSES S[mall] + PO (short for potty, chamber pot) + USES
19. *SPECIE S + PIECE*. Specie means money in the form of coins (as opposed to notes – 9ac)
20. RAWNESS NEWS* in RAS (a headland, cape)
21. UPSHOT Double definition – I’m not sure exactly what’s meant for the photo: maybe an “upskirt shot”? Perhaps there’s a more innocent explanation.
23. *DOUGH Mrs Thatcher’s last Foreign Secretary was Douglas Hurd; if you abbreviate her to Maggie T then he would be DOUG H.
25. *BEANS E in BAN[k]S. Beans (e.g. soya) can contain oil.

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,465 – Crucible”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I think you’re right about 21 – the infamous Britney Spears springs to mind!

    As you say, all very enjoyable. I had the same thought as you about 26, although you may have meant to say the inclusion of “He’s” in the clue.

  2. NeilW says:

    By the way, Andrew, if your count’s correct (and I don’t see any more except, at great stretch, AFFLUENCE) you have the significance of TWELVE in the grid.

  3. Tramp says:

    I really enjoyed this – some lovely clues.

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew, including for explaining the ‘lights’ in 4,6 and the Thatcher DOUGH – these made me scratch my head, as did a few others (21d made me clear my throat): couldn’t parse 27a, wondered if SR meant sides in 2d, and shrugged at elbow-dipping in 7d. I suppose the K taken from 25d can be plural thousands.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew, I needed your explanation for 13ac and 23d.

    It took me a while to get started, as I for some reason decided the theme alluded to in 4,6 was going to be football teams, British or otherwise, oops!

    I returned to the gate clue having gone through the whole puzzle and entered nothing, and fortunately this time managed to interpret it correctly.

    Great puzzle topical from Crucible, thank you.

  6. dunsscotus says:

    Most enjoyable: thanks for ‘lights’ and ‘DougH’. Especially liked 4d. I think ‘upshot’ is indeed ‘upskirt’. I recall this upward pointing shot being known as ‘single col’ (and therefore the glamour photographer’s angle of choice). However, none of my photographic mentors could say where this rather unusual phrase came from.

  7. BrigC says:

    Good blog on a testing puzzle Andrew…but I don’t think Ernie Wise’s stinginess comes into it, just his diminutive stature, even more of a running joke. That said I completely missed the Spencer Tracy, settling instead for a vague Thunderbirds connection. Ha!

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, especially for the explanation of 27ac – very clever, as so many of the clues are.

    BrigC – what do you make of ‘meanie’ then?

  9. Eileen says:

    Forgot to say many thanks to Crucible, for a very enjoyable puzzle!

  10. BrigC says:

    Sorry Andrew/Eileen, I am of course completely wrong to say the stinginess “doesn’t come into it” I should have said AND his diminutive stature etc.

  11. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Great one from Crucible, as usual from this setter.

    I got held up a while in the SW corner: the ‘apostrophe s’ in 26a obscured the hidden solution, ‘in front’ in 18d is unusual for a down clue (I thought for a while that ‘front’ might be the definition), and two NOTEs in the same puzzle seemed out of character for Crucible, which hampered 22a. 23d is lovely, but I would never have got it without the crossing letters.

    Favourites were 13a and 27a for their wonderful construction and great surfaces.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Crucible.

    A good puzzle. Thanks for the explanation of lights bwhich I should have seen given the theme’s several examples.

    Like Gervase I got held up in the SW corner, partly due to my own fault – I miswrote the tail-end of 14d! Also it took time to see dough (I kept thinking there must be a word ‘dhurd’).

    I liked 13a, 17a, 22a, 27a, 1d among others.

    I took ‘meanie’ simply to relate to E.W’s characteristic tightfistedness which he comically shared with Jack Benny.

  13. cholecyst says:

    Thanks A and C. Can anyone justify “Scotch” as an anagram indicator? No verb senses seem to fit. I can only suggest some meaning to do with (almost all, yes, even malts) Scotch whisky being a blend.

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi cholecyst

    I’ve sen it seversl times. Chambers: ‘to frustrate, put an end to; Collins: ‘put an end to’, crush’.

  15. Eileen says:

    I’ve even seen it several times! ;-)

  16. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew and Crucible

    Found this one very tricky and it took me quite a while to complete.

    Thanks for the explanation of 15a, thought it had to be more than simple arithmetic.

    A lot of very nice clues.

  17. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I was familiar with the “to frustrate, put an end to” meanings as well as Macbeth’s “We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it” but these are pretty poor anagram indics. Collins’ “crush” will do, though -but I have never seen Scotch used in this way (apart from an anagram indicator!)

  18. tupu says:

    Hi cholecyst and Eileen

    re 12a. I assumed that Scotch was chosen as an anagram indicator because it is also a 3M brand name of sticky tape and superglue etc.

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Yes, I thought that, too, this morning when I solved it but, typically, I forgot it in the meantime. Oh dear. :-(

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another fine and really enjoyable puzzle by the C of my cryptic ABC (I’ve put Cincinnus under the O of Orlando ….).

    Halfway through (and certainly after EXCHEQUER) we were convinced that this would be another pangram, but no, it wasn’t (J, Y and Z weren’t around).

    We had LIEGE early on [there's only one Belgian city fitting ??E?E], but it took us quite a while to understand why it was LIEGE. Clever.
    Thank you, Andrew, once more for your blog which explained that ‘RAS’ was indeed ‘Cape’ (20d). Initially we entered NEWNESS here. But a) there would either be an S missing from ‘NESS’ or from ‘NEWS’, and b) it would have been a bit strange to have ‘NEW’ in both clue and solution. But 19ac made it clear anyway.

    Last one in was READIES (13ac), another gem.

    So, a very good puzzle, for which many thanks, Crucible.
    But I hope I am not too pedantic when I/we say that we couldn’t find K for ‘thousands’. Oxford and Chambers both give it as ‘a thousand’, but I do not have a Collins and, moreover, I am too lazy to go to their online resources. Perhaps, someone can shine a light on this (25d)?

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    Re 25dn: I took it as KS [thousamds] from BANKS and E as plural. Like you, I can’t be bothered to look it up, but I thnk it’s right. ;-)

  22. Eileen says:

    For the second time today, two ‘spelling’ mistakes within a single comment!

  23. Tchekalinsky says:

    Why does “lights” mean “answers”?

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Sil and Eileen

    I did not see much of a problem here. In many contexts the plural of ‘thousand’ remains unchanged as ‘thousand’, e.g. it cost me 5 K, i.e. 5 thousand. We can also say ‘it cost me many K’ i.e. ‘many thousands’. Similarly ‘euro’ (official) and ‘euros’(vernacular) are used as the plural of ‘euro’. :) So I suppose you can pay your euro(s) and take your choice!

  25. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Eileen, thank you for coming back to this.
    But when you take KS out of BANKS, you’re left with BAN.
    ‘Investing’ ES next wouldn’t give us BEANS, but BESAN or whatever. Moreover I am not convinced that ES = euros [at least Oxford tells me E = euro(s)]. Never seen ES on the mainland either.

    And Tchekalinsky, good question.
    Chambers gives as definition #15 (!!) for LIGHT: “A hint, clue or help towards understanding”. Maybe that’s it?

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, tupu, I do understand that.
    But the thing is, the dictionaries (I have) give:
    m = million(s)
    e = euro(s)
    k = a thousand

    That said, I cannot be bothered that much.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Tchekalinsky

    As noted earlier I failed to parse this clue properly. Collins defines ‘light’ as (inter alia) ‘the answer to a clue in a crossword’. I confess that I myself was not properly aware of this and thought of ‘lights’ as the white spaces in crossword puzzles where the answers go.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    Thanks. OED says ‘Also used transf. to represent 1,000 (pounds, etc.), esp. of salaries offered in job advertisements’. I suppose 10k literally means 10 X 1000 (pounds etc), but there is surely a plural idea there if only because one never says ‘ks’. As you imply, however, it becomes a bit scholastic, and I only bothered about it because of your and Eileen’s discussion.

  29. Huw Powell says:

    Lots of fun, especially once the theme (which I thought might involve too much UK politics to crack) and 4,6 became apparent.

    Minor quibbles… I was thrown by the “it’s” in 13; “not much warmth” in 5 seems a bit wrong, I wouldn’t want to touch one! Also I was happy with Tracy Spencer (a fictional character on a US soap opera!) to get me 2d!

    Some very lovely constructions, I thought – it’s nice to see rarer tools used.

    Thanks for the blog Andrew, and the delightful romp, Crucible!

  30. dunsscotus says:

    Hi Tupu and Tchekalinsky,

    I too think that our ‘lights’ in this context are the white squares themselves. If this weren’t a common idiom where does the derived term ‘cross-lights’ come from?

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