Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,476 / Boatman

Posted by Eileen on November 10th, 2011


This time yesterday, I was thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t blogging the Enigmatist. [Well done, Andrew – I was among those who had a busy day and had to come back to it and, by the time I’d finished the battle, there was nothing left to say]. My pleasure at seeing Boatman’s name on today’s puzzle took an immediate dive on seeing the ‘special instructions': two prize-type puzzles on two consecutive weekdays seemed a bit much!

However, it was not so impenetrable as it first appeared. On a first run-through of the clues, there was a preponderance of vegetables but that couldn’t be the theme [could it?] but once I got 19ac, my first undefined solution, the meaning of ‘hinted at’ in the preamble became clear.

This didn’t mean that it was now simply a case of finding more vegetables to fill the gaps: there was some witty and ingenious cluing to sort out [10,18 being a delightful example] with some tricky wordplay: the parsing of 9ac and, to a lesser extent, 6dn, took nearly as long as the solving of the puzzle.

Many thanks, Boatman, for providing an amusing and enjoyable contribution to our five-a-day.

[ I seem to have only ten asterisks – but I’m sure help is at hand!]


7   *MUSHY PEAS: indirect anagram of APES
8   VAGUE: V[egetable] + AGUE [illness]
9   ONE ACROSS: taking ‘man’ from ‘maniac’ [lunatic] leaves IAC, which we more usually write as 1ac – and there is none in this puzzle. Simple once the penny [finally] drops!
10  *MANGETOUT: MAN [island] + GET OUT [escape]
12  APPEAL: PEA [vegetable] in anagram [unhealthy] of PAL
13  INKSTAND: IN [home] + KS [kings] + TAN [copper] + D [old penny] – I think
16  *CARROTS: simple charade of CAR [vehicle] ROTS [disintegrates]
19  *CABBAGE: Boatman usually includes himself in his puzzles and here he appears as AB [able-bodied seaman] + BAG [sack] in CE [Church of England]
22  MADHOUSE: Spoonerism of ‘had mouse’
25  LEGUME: hidden in vegetabLE GUM Ethically
27  *SWEDE: SWEDE[n] [somewhere in the north] minus n[orth]
28  TUNNELERS: anagram [tragic] of RESULT around N[i]NE
29  SLEEK: S [small] [= little – is this a step too far?] + LEEK [vegetable]
30  ASSIENTOS: ASS [fool] + IE [id est = that is] + NTO [anagram [{perturbed} of NOT] + S[pain]: definition: ‘slave treaties’. An assiento was ‘a treaty, esp that between Spain and Britain in 1713 for the supply of African slaves for the Spanish American dominions’


1   *TURNIP: a cheeky sort of indirect anagram: if you TURN IP, you get PI
2   WHEATEAR: HEAT [celebrity magazine] in WEAR [clothing]: ‘outer’ is there only for the surface
3   SPIRAL: anagram of S[outhern] APRIL: this could be &lit, I think
4   *PARSNIP:  reversal [over] of PINS RAP [lays blame] – lovely clue!
5   VACANT: the word VACANT contains [comprises] CAN [container] contained in VAT [container] so it’s a container container container and VACANT means ‘containing nothing’ but I can’t quite reconcile the last  bit, as vacant is an adjective. There must be a better way of putting it: over to you!
6   OUTGUN: OUT [away from home] + [be]GUN [begun minus [excluded] BE [live]
11  *OKRA: OK [good] + RA [Egyptian sun god]
15  DIE: a beautifully seamless double definition, with an excellent  surface, which has to be split after ‘chips': I think this may be my favourite clue
16,14  CUMANÁ: CU [copper – metal] + MAN [image of God reputedly] plus [placed above in a down clue] A: in Genesis 1:26 God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…': CUMANÁ is a city in Venezuela
17,25 *RED LENTIL: anagram [about] of TELL DINER
20  BOGGLING: GG [the crossword horse] in anagram [naughty] of GOBLIN
21  REPULSE: simple charade of RE [{Royal} Engineer] + PULSE [vegetable]
23  AS WELL: A SWELL [wave movement] – but I can’t see how  ‘as well’ equates with ‘too much’ Update: the more I think about it, the more sure I am that I did originally see this is as Stella did @ comment 2 – but thanks, Stella, for reminding me!
24  HEDGES: anagram playing tricks] of SHED and EG [say] – a nice reference to one of our Guardian setters
26  *MARROW: MAR [damage] + ROW [dispute]: another example of straightforward cluing of an undefined solution

63 Responses to “Guardian 25,476 / Boatman”

  1. djawhufc says:

    Hi Eileen

    Great blog as always.

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle.

    However like you I can only see ten unclued vegetables.

    My favourite was mange tout.

    I look forward to some bright spark finding the missing vegetable

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen. My misgivings were similar to yours, especially as it’s my turn tomorrow :)

    I enjoyed this eventually, though, and learned a new word, which I would have spelt with only one “s”, but spelling wasn’t so defined in the 16th century.

    I needed your parsing for 9ac and 6d – as you say, easy once it’s been explained.

    As for 23d, I read it as “too” = AS WELL, with SWELL = “much wave motion”.

    All in all, an elegant puzzle, thanks Boatman.

  3. Stella Heath says:

    BTW, MANGE TOUT is the solution to two lights, making eleven in all.

    I had taken the eleventh to be LEGUME, but I realise it doesn’t fit the criteria.

  4. Alex in Oz says:

    Hi Eileen,

    Thanks for the blog. I took LEGUME (25a) to be the eleventh vegetable. Although vegetable is in the clue, it’s also part of the wordplay so you could argue that the answer is undefined. Seems a bit loose but can’t think what else it would be.

    Enjoyable puzzle – found this more accessible than yesterday’s!

  5. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for 23 dn, Stella. I think I did see that originally, then sorting out 9ac intervened!

    I did wonder about MANGE TOUT, too, [as well] but I count that as one solution.

    [I think you might be in for something really special tomorrow. ;-)]

  6. Alex in Oz says:

    Or Stella’s argument seems much more plausible.

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    What a great puzzle. Much easier than yesterday, provided you twigged the theme early on, but still tricky and, I’m sorry Mr JH, much more fun. My way in was the obvious anagram at 17,25 which confirmed my suspicion.

    I agree with you that the fourth container only works if the definition were of VACANCY.

    Surprised you didn’t comment on the spelling of TUNNELER without any “US” indicator.

    I agree with Stella that A SWELL is “much wave motion” – well, compared to a ripple, anyway. :)

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Like Alex in Oz I certainly assumed legume was one of the 11 vegetables – there’s no definition, as “vegetable” is part of the hidden answer fodder, and I assumed it was providing exactly what Boatman alluded to as a hint. Rather cleverly done, I thought. I don’t think you could call mange tout two “solutions”.

    The puzzle as a whole was (hard but) excellent – two brilliant ones in a row from the Guardian.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, needed you for 9a, 6d, 16d and 30a.

    Very enjoyable, especially after yesterday’s.

    I missed getting 6d as I was convinced it was the eleventh veg. I am still puzzled by this number despite the putative explanations above.

    5d VACANT: I had a feeling I had seen something like this before. PUCK 25,004 May 7 2010 25a had VACANT as the answer to “One container within another that’s … (6)”, but I have this feeling there was another clue with a sequence of four or five of the same word.

    15d: DIE I see the first part but don’t understand why I would need this at the casino?

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Thomas99 Sorry we crossed, but I am not entirely convinced by this explanation either :)

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Dave E

    DIE as the singular of ‘dice’.

  12. scchua says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Boatman for an excellent puzzle.

    This is the type of a theme puzzle that is enjoyable – the theme is general enough that one still has to tease out the related answers.

    My entree was MARROW. Many excellent clues to like – MUSHY PEAS, a cluelike answer, TURNIP, another one of those, and BOGGLING. I’m with Alex in Oz and Thomas99 on LEGUME being the 11th vegetable (though strictly speaking, it’s a family of vegetables), for the same reasons they mention. Also if one considers MANGETOUT as 2 lights, then one should do the same with RED LENTIL, shouldn’t one?

  13. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Good start with MADHOUSE crossing with HEDGES – but the bottom left corner was the hardest. 23d had a nice too-much false link, but 29a’s s=liitle was a stretch, just made finally. Several ahas with the theme, esp the ones with exclamation marks. And I did like 1 across ( I mean 9a). Thanks Boatman.

  14. Boatman says:

    Entertaining as it is to think of you all settling into a day of arguing about the LEGUME / MANGETOUT controversy, I’ll put you out of your misery and confirm that Alex and Thomas have penetrated my logic successfully – after all, if I’d meant “Vegetable” to be both definition and hidden-word fodder it would have been doing double-duty, and we can’t have that … Or can we … ?

    Glad you’re having fun, anyway. My only sadness with this puzzle was that the Guardian content-management system can’t print Greek letters – otherwise, I’d have been able to have a single-character clue at 1 Dn, which would have been something of a record, I’d like to think … I’m ignoring the conventionally blank indication for a well-known eight-letter word, obviously.

  15. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I might still be puzzling over 9a without this blog.

    I found this fun but tough – though I did myself no favours by confidently entering SPLIT PEAS at 7a…

  16. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Boatman, for clearing that up. Knowing us [and you do!] that could have gone on all day.

    I think I’m so used to double-duty clues these days that that explanation hadn’t even occurred to me!

  17. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. Unlike some I found this just about as hard as yesterday’s, despite spotting the theme almost immediately by starting at the end and getting the easy MARROW. It wasn’t made any easier by the grid, in which the four corners are rather isolated: in fact I ended up pretty much filling in each corner separately, from bottom right to top left, with increasing struggles in each. Like Miche I didn’t help myself by putting SPLIT PEAS for 7ac.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, @11, and how slow of me – my brian having a day off today

  19. crypticsue says:

    Like Eileen I was a little deterred by the instructions but the theme was very obvious and enjoyable to solve, thank you Boatman. I too think LEGUME is the 11th vegetable. Thanks to Eileen too.

  20. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog – I needed you for several explanations.

    I am another who started with SPLIT PEAS for 7a.

    I also am another who objects to foreign spelling without an indication in the clue 28a!!

  21. Puskás says:

    Thanks Eileen, particularly for putting me right in the only crossword I have ever done where not only did one across elude me, but there wasn’t one.

    Thanks Boatman, this was as much fun I have had in a long time. Reviewing other comments, it is clear that I can read meat and poison reactions; to me, yesterday was hard work for little reward, today an exhilarating workout. Was I alone in speculating that the theme might be madness related (madhouse, lunatic, Bedlam and perhaps fool in the clues, and the un-Grauniad-like vegetable connection)?

  22. Robi says:

    Thanks Boatman for an entertaining puzzle, and for dropping by.

    Nice explanations from Eileen. I chuckled at TURNIP, but failed to spot the 1ac maniac; lovely clue. ASSIENTOS, WHEATEAR, CUMANA & BOGGLING all new to me. Difficult in parts but more penetrable than yesterday’s.

  23. James G says:

    Is it OK to split a word into two non-words (Cumana into cum and ana)?
    Great puzzle and blog. Thanks

  24. Eileen says:

    Hi James G

    You’re right to raise the query. The general ‘rule’ is that split words should result in bona fide words.
    These are both in Chambers:

    ‘cum: combined with, with the addition of’ [as in kitchen-cum-dining room]

    ‘ana: in equal proportions’

  25. JohnH (not the setter) says:

    Lovely crossword. Totally stuffed on 30a.

    Bit stuffed at first in N.W corner as I too started off with SPLIT rather than mushy. Once the pi clue dawned I realised it was mushy. I was unhappy with split as it didn’t seem quite right.

    The linkage dawned fairly rapidly but I do wonder about the use of that linkage, ie vegetable, five times in the other clues. A bit of a signifier as the POMO brigade might put it. Or “oh dear, what a giveaway” as Monty Python put it.

    And an iPad is as useless as the Guardian CMS as it does not have the pi symbol. In fact it is useless at everything but that is a rant for a different blog (I wanted a Windows 7 Netbook for my birthday but got an effing crapple thing).

  26. C. G. Rishikesh says:


    (Not exactly in reference to the wordplay in 16,14d)

    For ‘ana’, Chambers and other dictionaries give another meaning: a collection of miscellaneous information about a particular subject, person, place, or thing.

    I know that this word occurs as part of such terms as ‘Shakespeareana’ but I don’t think I have ever seen the word used separately.

    Yet there is no such indication in the dictionaries.

    Any comment?

  27. Robi says:

    C. G. Rishikesh @26; In case Eileen’s gone to lunch……….

    These definitions are from:

    an·a 1 (n, än)
    n. pl. ana or an·as
    1. A collection of various materials that reflect the character of a person or place: definitive ana of the early American West.
    2. An item in such a collection.

    an·a 2 (n)
    Both in the same quantity; of each. Used to refer to ingredients in prescriptions.

  28. Eileen says:


    I deliberately didn’t include Chambers’second definition of ‘ana’, as in that case it’s a suffix: ‘-ana’, which, for me, does not justify it as a bona fide word and that’s what was being discussed.

    However, I’m glad you sent me back to Chambers, because, underneath that second definition, I discovered what I was looking for earlier, because I knew that I’d seen it there on a previous occasion, when ANA was clued as ‘gossip': ‘a collection of someone’s table talk, or of gossip, literary anecdotes or possessions’ – this time without the – .

  29. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Robi – just beat me. ;-)

  30. Robi says:

    Eileen, OK, I’m off for lunch now….. :)

  31. yogdaws says:

    Excellent crossword. All Hail, Boatman!

    Shared slight bafflement re the eleventh veg. But agree with above re the ‘vegetable’ in 25a being part of of the cryptic bit therefore not strictly a definition.

    Favourite clues. 6d for craftiness. 7ac and 1d for wit and brevity.

  32. Mitz says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thanks very much, Boatman, and Eileen for the blog. Can put my hand on my heart and say that I was lucky enough to spot “mushy peas” immediately, but that by no means meant that this was a walk in the park – far from it. “Okra” was the last of the veggies to go in, and I thought “vacant” was wonderful – when I finally cracked it. “Die” was last of all to go in, and I really kicked myself – which is what should happen.

  33. Robi says:

    Containers……. perhaps the fourth iteration contains ‘of nothing,’ which might be VACANT. Is that possible?

  34. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Boatman

    I too found this as hard as yesterday’s but I enjoyed it slightly less.

    Thanks Eileen for the parsing of 9a. I think this is very clever but I seem to remember that such multiple action has been the source of some dispute i.e. lunatic to maniac minus man to iac to one across.

    I too decided legume was no. 11.

    I liked several clues inc. 7a (I also fell at first for split peas – I took mushy ones to be a cooked form), 19a, 25a, 29a, 1d!, 11d, 23d (read as by Stella etc).

    I also got into difficulties over 6d which I fgirst thought was outbid (out + bid(e)) but was dragged into the correct answer by mange tout.

  35. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Eileen and Boatman. I always find Boatman puzzles tricky and my heart sank when I saw “Special instructions”

    Managed to complete it after quite a long time. Not helped by entering SPLIT PEAS for 7a, don’t agree with MUSHY in the context of the puzzle, and VACUUM for 5d. Had to check ASSIENTOS and CUMANA as I had never heard of them.

    I think because I completed the puzzle it must have been easier than yesterday. Six and half a dozen possibly.

    Let’s have a nice easy Araucaria tomorrow!

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Although my view of this is a bit complicated I think overall it was another cracker;what have we done this week to deserve so many excellent challenges.
    Now the complication: I solved the theme and most of the puzzle quite quickly but was stuck on the NW corner.
    Eventually I scrolled down Eileen’s blog and stopped abruptly at ‘mushy peas’, switched off and went back to replace my ‘split’ and finish the rest in a minute or so.
    This was disappointing because ‘apes’ was to be my COD, an example of the great feeling of getting inside the setter’s head.
    ‘Split’is very justifiable as the ‘pe’ is used to split the ‘as’ and is an excellent clue. I cannot disagree that ‘mushy’ is quite acceptable as an anagram indicator although I think split peas is a slightly better fit in the theme than ‘mushy peas’.
    After sorting that out I loved ‘turnip’ and ‘one across’ and several others.
    Well done setter.

  37. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Boatman puzzles are usually tricky but rewarding and this was no exception. I did find it more or less as hard as yesterday’s.

    Like some others, I plumped for SPLIT PEAS at first, and also OUTBID for 6d (BID being the start of ‘bide’, ie ‘to live’, although ‘excluded’ seemed extraneous…).

    My first few theme entries were all pulses, so I thought the puzzle might have been more flatulent than it turned out. CARROTS broadened the field for me :-)

    Monday’s Rufus and Tuesday’s Gordius were both relatively difficult, for them. After yesterday’s Enigmatist and today’s Boatman I await Friday with some trepidation!

  38. Eileen says:

    Well, we seem to be pretty well split between split and mushy!

    I have to admit that ‘split’ never entered my head and can only put that down to my liking for mushy peas – the processed, fish and chip shop variety, not the modern, upmarket crushed minted ones.

    I did go with OUTBID, though, until I got MANGETOUT.

  39. tupu says:

    re9a (cf 34)
    Am I misremembering about ‘step too far’ arguments re such manoevres?

    re 7a As far as I can tell mushy peas are so only after cooking which makes them an odd one out in the veg. list. Is this right?

  40. Gervase says:

    Eileen: Just one little comment on your (admirable) blog – it is perhaps a little unfair to refer to 7a as an ‘indirect anagram’. That term is used to describe an anagram of a word which is not explicitly present, but is a synonym of one of the words in the clue. This is always frowned upon.
    Instead it is a reverse clue, in which the solution could be used as a clue for the expression in the clue as written. Reverse clues are not strictly Ximenean either, but are not doubly cryptic – and are great fun.

  41. Gervase says:

    tupu @39: I agree with you about mushy peas being a vegetable dish rather than a vegetable per se, and therefore an odd man out in the list. Perhaps that is some excuse for this northerner not getting the answer right first time…

  42. Thomas99 says:

    I don’t think a vegetable can be excluded from a list of vegetables just because it’s cooked. You could just as easily exclude split peas because they’re dried. (To be honest I’m not really seeing how “split” would have worked as an anagram indicator anyway, although “spilt” certainly would.)

  43. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and thanks to Boatman for a great puzzle. I found this a little easier than yesterday’s, which I didn’t finish. My way in to the vegetable theme was CARROTS, having guessed correctly that the first word of 17,25 was RED.

    Had to cheat to get CUMANA, not helped by misreading the clue as ‘Mental image of God’..

    And I would never have seen the wordplay for 9ac! So thanks to Eileen for explaining it.

    After I had finished and noted 10 vegetables, I assumed LEGUME must be the 11th.

    Oh, and I was in MUSHY PEAS camp.

  44. RCWhiting says:

    Thomas,see 36 although you might still disagree.
    I, too, thought ‘spilt’ would have worked at least partly.

  45. riccardo says:

    Well my very first entry was just PEAS for the last four letters of 9ac, as both SPLIT and MUSHY occurred to me at once.

    I was another who was looking vainly for more undefined clues on the theme of madness for a while too.

    Thanks for puzzle and blog… I am looking forward to some palindromic monstrosity tomorrow!

  46. Wolfie says:

    Hello all – late to this blog after having to complete this puzzle in two sessions. For 16d,14d instead of ‘Cumana’ I had ‘Camana’- variously described in the reference books as a town or a city in Peru. The solution works in the same way, since calcium (Ca) is also a metal.

    Thanks to you Boatman for a good work-out and to Eileen for the blog.

  47. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu @39 [Sorry, I’ve been out at a pantomime rehearsal – ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, believe it or not!] so have only just seen your comment.

    I’m not sure that we’ve been using ‘a step too far’ as a technical term. S is quite often clued as an abbreviation for ‘small’ [you see it as such on clothing labels, for instance] but I felt it was a bit of a leap to clue it by the synonym ‘little’ – which, for me, was a bit further than taking three letters from a synonym for ‘lunatic’in 9ac. In the blog, I was asking what others thought.

    Thanks, Gervase, @40. I knew when I wrote it that ‘indirect’ wasn’t right but I just couldn’t think of ‘reverse’. You’re right, of course – and the same applies to 1dn.

    I don’t think it matters whether the peas are cooked, or dried, or not. [I thought we were discussing the anagram indicator, split or mushy.] The word PEAS appeared in the answer, so, for me, it was part of the theme. [Spilt may be better as an indicator, Thomas99, but ‘spilt pea’ is not a recognised expression, so. for me, that wouldn’t work.]

    Sorry to be still in pantomime mode but I think we’re splitting hairs now, as well as peas. ;-)

  48. Eileen says:

    Hi Wolfie – we crossed.

    That’s interesting. Logically [alphabetically] I should have googled CAMANA first [I hadn’t heard of either] but CUM came to me more readily as a word than CAM [which is, of course a word in its own right] so that’s the one I went for. Having found the city in Venezuela, I went no further but I’ve just checked the online solution [which I so often forget about] and found that CUMANA was Boatman’s intention.

  49. Sil van den Hoek says:

    For some reason or another I never had the opportunity to solve this year’s Boatman crosswords on the day itself. But today, hurrah, at last!
    I like Boatman’s puzzles very much [not the previous one though] and this one was indeed worth the Saturday spot.
    But mainly for its ‘feelgood factor’, not for being appropriately hard, because we thought this puzzle wasn’t.
    Well, nothing is after yesterday’s [IMO, magnificent] Enigmatist. :)

    Where I didn’t appreciate yesterday’s “Gem” that much, I really liked 7ac and 1d in particular. What a pity that it wasn’t possible to print Greek characters. What a silliness too, in this day and age.

    Of course, Boatman was there himself, as ever.
    And initially I thought that all these vegetables [in the clues] would be used in different ways, another one of Boatman’s specialities. Not today.
    No problems with cum, ana, mange and tout – they’re all in the dictionary.
    We liked the simple but smiling charades of 11d (OKRA) and 16ac (CARROTS).
    And, Eileen, we/I agree that 15d is probably the COD.
    Only at 29ac (S=little) and 23d (much wave motion?) and the fun-clue at 5d (which is more fun than cryptically precise) we raised our eyebrows.
    But apart from that, good fun.
    Very good fun.

  50. stumped says:

    Utterly stumped by this, not sure if I’ll ever get to grips with Boatman :( Thanks for the enlightening blog Eileen.

    4d got the biggest smile.

    Someone may have pointed this out earlier, surely legume is acceptable as 11th ‘vegetable’ seeing as red lentils & mushy peas sre legumes and not, strictly speaking, vegetables. Though clued as a bird, wheat comes in ears as corn does. Luckily tomatoes or mushrooms didn’t appear :)

  51. sheffield hatter says:

    Although I wrote in the answer confidently, I wouldn’t have been able to parse ONE ACROSS in a month of Sundays, so thanks to Eileen for that.

    I thought the contrast between yesterday’s Enigmatist and today’s Boatman was exemplified by two pairs of clues. 1) The totally obscure POTOROO (E) and ASSIENTOS (B) were I thought obscurely clued by E and fairly clued by B, respectively. In fact, I confidently wrote the latter in without checking the dictionary.

    2) The mini-clues “Gem?” (E) and “pi?!” (B) also showed up the difference between these two setters. The answer TWIN (which I had to come here for) did not even elicit a groan from me; it’s just a bad clue. Whereas TURNIP (and to a lesser extent MUSHY PEAS – I didn’t think of SPLIT but it’s a valid alternative) is definitely smile-worthy.

    I enjoyed OKRA too, so thanks to Boatman for an enjoyable crossword (though I thought CUMANA was unfair: I refuse to scan the atlas for possible South American cities, and as has been pointed out, CU is not the only metal that fits).

  52. stiofain says:

    Great stuff
    Boatman @14
    Thanks for stemming the potential torrent of legume related argument to a trickle.
    Even if The Guardian could have used the greek character for pi I dont think it would be possible to make it noticeably reversed.
    Maybe 41.3 ?

  53. RCWhiting says:

    Let’s be really pedantically picky at this late hour:
    If you leaves peas on the vine you will eventually get dried split peas;
    however long they stay there they will never turn into mushy peas.

  54. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    I was not being critical of ‘mushy peas’ and thought it was a very clever clue. I was simply pointing out a difference between it and other theme answers, worth noting I think because the invention of cooking was a vital step, like language, in our emergence as a species. It is still different in your terms, since the others are all unqualified.

    Re ‘step too far’ I was not trying to suggest it was a technical term but simply loosely attributing it to a kind of argument I seem to remember from some earlier blogs. Once again I liked it a great deal (in retrospect in this case since I needed your insight to understand it properly). For me the distance from clue to answer is rather long since it contains several steps after the initial substitution (un’man’ning , and then transcribing twice). I don’t remember seeing so many before but that may just be me.

  55. MEB says:

    Thanks for the puzzle, Boatman, and for your comments @14. I would have loved the one Greek character clue. Please put me out of my misery. What is “…the conventionally blank indication for a well-known eight-letter word…”?

  56. Eileen says:

    Hi MEB

    It’s perhaps expecting a bit much for Boatman to drop by again, a day later. I think it’s CLUELESS.

    [A couple of years ago, I went into a record shop and, not finding what I wanted, asked the young assistant about radio recordings. He asked what I was looking for and I grinned and said, ‘I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue’. I was greatly impressed that he knew what I was talking about. ;-) ]

  57. Roger says:

    Sorry I’m a bit late ! The special instructions do say that 11 solutions are ‘of a kind’ (and as it turns out, of a vegetable kind) which presumably allows for the inclusion of MUSHY PEAS and LEGUME … I guess they don’t have to be specific veg. Just a thought.

    Liked TURNIP (the clue, not to eat) and Spooner’s mouse (ditto). Many thanks Boatman for a clever and enjoyable puzzle

    And good luck with the panto, Eileen. Years ago, I had a similar experience when asking in Smith’s if they had “Fate for Breakfast”. You can imagine the reply.

    {Your comments at 4d need reversing, btw}

  58. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the btw, Roger – corrected now,for the sake of the archive.

    How on earth did no one else notice that? ;-)

  59. Huw Powell says:

    What a lovely puzzle, with some hilariously streamlined clues. I got but failed to parse 9a and 6d, and sadly, the wonderful 15d. SPLIT never occurred to me, though for a while when I had only entered PEAS I was plumping for MIXED.

    I liked how there were other vegetables involved besides the unclued theme ones. I liked that getting the theme didn’t ruin the puzzle; I liked that there were no tomatoes. My COD was “all of them”.

    Thanks for the blog Eileen to help me parse what I couldn’t, everyone else for the great discussion, and Boatman for this elegant treat and for dropping by!

  60. Huw Powell says:

    Oh I also meant to mention the grid. This is the “grid from hell” that always gets me mad at Rufus – lots of unchecked first and last letters, and four quadrants only joined by one checked letter each. Strange how that didn’t really interfere here, except for the dawning gloom that finishing up the NE wasn’t going to help with my half-empty NW at all.

    I’d put that down to good cluing and probably a fair recognition that this grid is hard to work with for solvers. So kudos to Boatman for that, as well!

  61. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Everyone’s gone now anyway, but I would like to add that 28ac is a very “unfortunate” clue. While some of us do not like clues related to awful diseases, we weren’t very happy with the context of this particular clue. Just like some people in Wales, perhaps. No blame on Boatman, but/though.

  62. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    I’m still here. I know what you mean. I decided not to comment – but that is why I didn’t comment on the spelling [unusual for me]: it seemed too trivial.

  63. Bill says:

    Sil: If everyone had gone on 12th, then I am surely talking to nobody now. I live in the US, and get the puzzles via the Weekly Guardian, and therefore come to them a week or so late. No one noted this in the comments above, but I was completely wrecked in the NE corner by 2d. I had RA (the hawk) IN GEAR (celebrity magazine) as my “outer garments”

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