Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3396/30 October 2011

Posted by Pierre on November 6th, 2011


A bit of a chewy one from Everyman today, I thought.  Some words where I had to look up the meaning to be certain of my answer, and some stuff that people who aren’t as old as I am might have struggled to recognise.  But all clearly clued (except maybe one) and another pleasing Sunday morning puzzle as always.



cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


1 Significant comedian around the South
An insertion of S for South in COMIC.  ‘Significant’ might not be my first choice of synonym for ‘cosmic’, and ‘comic’ and ‘comedian’ are pretty close, but it’s very rarely that you get to quibble about an Everyman clue, so I might as well get that out of the way in 1 Across.

4 Stumped by foundation garment? I don’t believe it!
A rather old-fashioned term to express disbelief is a charade of ST for ‘stumped’ in cricket and ROLL-ON for a type of girdle.  I think they’re a bit old-fashioned too, but I’m no expert, obviously.

9 Drink fizzy pop in ancient city
This setter seldom includes an ‘obscure’ answer, but I’d never heard of this one.  The Syrian city dates back to the third millennium BC.  It’s clearly clued though: a charade of ALE and (POP)*  ‘Fizzy’ is the anagrind, making for an excellent surface.

10 Stupid rioter in Pennsylvania capital
An insertion of (RIOTER)* in PA for one of the three capitals of South Africa (the others are Cape Town and Bloemfontein).  Executive capital, legislative capital and judicial capital respectively.  ‘Stupid’ is the anagrind.

12 Where a customs officer may search, no matter what?
A cd.

13 Gem in pawn taken by nobleman
A charade of P and EARL.

14 Saw Tracy, perhaps, making a pudding
A charade of SPOTTED for ‘saw’ and DICK for Mr Tracy, the comic-strip detective.  The source of numerous smutty puns.

18 Church book in Latin, Pete translated
(IN LATIN PETE)*  ‘A book containing in codified form the canons of the Church’ (SOED).  Another one I hadn’t heard of, although again it’s very clearly clued, with ‘translated’ as the anagrind.  Anyway, that’s what crossing letters are for.

21 Sovereign measure
A dd.

22 Show violence towards powerful member
It’s the verbal form of the term and is a simple charade of STRONG and ARM for ‘member’.

24 Get rid of piece in fountain, say
A charade of FIRE and WORK gives you a type of something you might have seen let off yesterday.

25 Boy arrived a moment ago?
A cd.  If something’s JUST IN, it’s just arrived.

26 Smashed old bust on the rocks
Well, I don’t rightly know what’s cracking off here.  My best guess is as follows: ‘on the rocks’ is a clear definition for BANKRUPT; ‘rupt’ is archaic for ‘bust’, according to the SOED; but where the ‘smashed’ bit comes in, I can’t explain, since I don’t see how it equals BANK.  Anyone got a better idea?

27 I rowed out to identify queer fish
(I ROWED)*  ‘Out’ is the anagrind.


1 Girl left in vehicle is as upset
A charade of L for ‘left’ inserted into CAR, then IS, then AS inverted, or ‘upset’.

2 Female to inform furniture designer
Another one I got and then had to look up.  It’s a charade of SHE and RAT ON, and Thomas SHERATON (1751-1806) was a furniture designer.  Everyman’s taking us round the houses a bit today.

3 Suggest just disposing of leader

5 Brontës’ play?
A cd.  Chekhov’s play is said to have been partially inspired by the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

6 Frank, abroad, rung before noon
A charade of OUT, SPOKE and N for ‘noon’.  SPOKE in the sense of ‘rung of a ladder’ (SOED definition 2a).

7 Rope shown in a trial that’s fixed
(A TRIAL)*  ‘Fixed’ is the anagrind.

8 Net lay spread out nicely
(NET LAY)*  ‘Spread out’ is the anagrind.

11 Runway – one’s seen between flights, ahead of take off
Lovely surface.  A LANDING is what you’d see between flights of stairs; if you take your clothes off, you STRIP.

15 People of the highest standing put up prize trophy
Since this is a down clue, ‘put up’ is Everyman’s way of telling you to reverse REWARD POT.  POT is in the sense of the money that accumulates in a game like poker.

16 Smear about leader in industry in column
An insertion of I for the first letter of ‘industry’ in PLASTER for ‘smear’.

17 Song and dance created by sergeant under fire?
Put NCO (non-commissioned officer) under FLAME and you’ve got your Spanish (in fact Andalucian) song and dance style.

19 Rep refurbished marvellous dwelling
(REP)* plus FAB for the slightly dated abbreviation for ‘fabulous’ or ‘marvellous’ gives you the word for the type of house that had its heyday in the UK just after the Second World War (although there are still a few out there today).  It’s a shortened version of PREFABRICATED.  ‘Refurbished’ is the anagrind.

20 German boy turned up at home with an old British coin
A reversal of ROLF for a German boy and IN for ‘at home’.  The coin known to people of my advanced age as a ‘two-bob bit’.

23 Navy going on river is pointless
A charade of N and OUSE, for any of several rivers in England.  Some folk don’t like N for ‘navy’, but RN is Royal Navy, so it’ll do for me.  The etymology of OUSE is interesting: it apparently comes from the Celtic word ‘Usa’, for ‘water’.  Very few words of Celtic origin have survived into Modern English, but AVON for ‘river’ is another one: the Welsh word for river is ‘afon’, but the ‘f’ is pronounced as a ‘v’.

Many thanks to Everyman for a tougher than usual, but still enjoyable puzzle.

9 Responses to “Everyman 3396/30 October 2011”

  1. Bamberger says:

    Very clear blog -thanks.

    I thought this was too hard for an Everyman with 4a, 9a, 24a,26a, 6d & 16d being very hard in my book. If it is the Times, it probably can’t be “too hard” but like the Quiptic, isn’t this supposed to cater for lesser mortals?

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Pierre and Everyman.

    Agree that it’s a harder than usual Everyman.

    26A BUNKRUPT. I had 2 alternatives: first: like yours with “smashed” unexplained, and second: as a triple defn – smashed (financially)=bust=on the rocks, but that leaves “old” unexplained.

    I think in 15D TOP DRAWER, it’s prize=reward reversed and trophy=pot (informally or slang) reversed.

  3. Wolfie says:

    Hi Pierre –

    Thanks for the blog. I read 26d the other way round. ‘Smashed’ I think is the definition – the OED gives one of the meanings of the word as ‘insolvent’. A bank could be a rocky shelf at sea upon which a ship could founder, or be ‘rupt’.

    I remembered Aleppo from a speech by the first witch in ‘Macbeth':
    ‘Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ th’ tiger’.

    An entertaining offering from Everyman, a little tougher than usual, I thought.

  4. Davy says:

    Thanks Pierre,

    For 6d (OUTSPOKEN), I interpreted rung=spoke as in spoke on the telephone. I think your reading is better.

    For some reason, I didn’t think this was much harder than usual but there was an Everyman recently that I thought was considerably more difficult but no-one else commented to that effect. So, everyone is different.

    I particularly liked ALEPPO (excellent surface), WEIRDO (amusing), SHERATON, LANDING STRIP (excellent surface) and FLAMENCO (excellent surface).

    Thanks Everyman

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre and Everyman. I don’t remember this being particularly hard, though it does seem Everyman’s getting just a little more erudite of late.

    I understood a BANKRUPT as Wolfie did, with “smashed” as the definition, then it’s RUPT, an old word for broken or “bust”, “on”, ie. ‘after’, BANK – when you “bank” a craft, you are “on the rocks”.

    I don’t think ALEPPO is particularly obscure as one of the important ancient cities, but no doubt it depends on the individual.

    There’s an echo in today’s puzzle which suggests Everyman may have a particular field of interest which, at least for me, is “obscure” :)

  6. Pierre says:

    Thanks all for the comments.

    Bamberger, it was a tricky one in my opinion too, but generally the Everyman is aimed at less experienced solvers, certainly (which is why I put my hand up to blog it).

    Wolfie and Stella, that’s ingenious, but I’m still not convinced! Nice quote from Macbeth, though.

    And couldn’t agree more – one person’s difficult is another person’s easy. Otherwise crosswords would be boring.

    I know that Everyman has dropped in on the blog in the past, so if he does today, he can perhaps let us know how he intended BANKRUPT to be understood.

  7. Everyman says:

    Sorry to have caused confusion.
    A clue of three definitions, smashed old, bust, and on the rocks.

  8. jackkt says:

    I saw the BANKRUPT clue as a triple definition so I am pleased to have this confirmed by the setter however I still don’t understand “old”. “Smashed” = “bankrupt” so why “smashed old”?

  9. Pierre says:

    I think, jackkt, that the ‘old’ part of the clue is indicating that ‘smashed’ as a definition of ‘bankrupt’ is an archaic usage. My SOED gives it as mid-nineteenth century, and I don’t think it’s used now in that sense.

    Thank you to Everyman for stopping by.

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