Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,483 – Puck

Posted by manehi on November 18th, 2011


On the easy side for a Puck, partly because 2 and 8 went in immediately. Favourite clues were 12a, 19a and 18d. Thanks to tupu for pointing out that this is also a pangram!

1 SAPPER =”Private” S[chool] + [z]APPER=”remote”
5 ROOF RACK =Luggage carrier F[rom] + rev(CAR), all inside ROOK=castle (in chess)
9 HEIGHTEN =Increase EIGHT=number inside HEN=layer (of eggs)
10 LETHAL =deadly A + L=”display of inexperience” (at driving), all following LET=”cancelled service” (in tennis) + [hatc]H
11 ADZE =a woodworking tool Hidden in rev(chEZ DAd)
12 CLOUDBURST =Downpour cf => C + LOUD=f[orte], + BURST=spurt
13 HUYTON =Part of Liverpool Is pronounced as “heighten”
14 NORTHING =the distance north from a reference latitude N[ew] + ([B]RIGHTON)*
16 ELOQUENT =expressiveness ELO + QUE[e]N are the two rock bands, minus the one e[cstasy], + T[ime]
19 GUTTER =Threaten to go out (as in a candle) G[overnment] + UTTER=”say”
21 ASSIGNMENT =task ANT=soldier with (messing)* inside it
23 UFOS &lit Hidden (“Some”) in reverse (“recollection”) in objectS OF Uncertain
24 VORTEX =turning point V=”five” + OR TE[n] + X=”ten”
25 SHANGHAI =foreign city SANG=”informed” (to police) about H[usband] + HAI which sounds like “high”=drunk
26 JETTISON =Get rid of JET=black + (snot I)*
27 DO-SI-DO =folk dance movement SI=foreign agreement, inside DO=party twice.
2 ALEC DOUGLAS-HOME =former PM A[greed] + (lug old case)* + HOME=”Englishman’s castle”
3 PIGMEAT =Eg pork PIE + A + [model] T, around GM=gram=”little weight”
4 RETICENCE =reserve (ECCENTRI[c])* + E[nglish]
5 RUNDOWN double def
6 OILED =tipsy [b]OILED
7 RETOUCH =Make fresh contact (outre[a]ch)*
8 CHANSON DE ROLAND =Old French epic [wiki] Might also be a song by Roland Rat [wiki]
15 RIGHT-HAND double definition “Sort of man than can be relied on”, and “far from sinister”
17 QUINTET =Band QUIET=piano, taking in the odd letters from TuNe “up”=reversed, thanks NeilW
18 TREASON =disloyalty T[urncoat] + REASON=pretext
20 TRUDGES =Walks wearily [Barnaby] RUDGE is the Dickensian character [wiki], inside T[otne]S
22 NIXES =Vetoes rev(SEX=”the other” + IN=”trendy)

55 Responses to “Guardian 25,483 – Puck”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Puck

    A clever pangram puzzle with lots of taxing clues, the odd new word for me (northing), and a little bit of Merseyside in 13 and 14a.

    I liked 1a, 12a (very neat use of cf), 19a, 23a (nice misdirection), 5d, 15d, and 22d.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi. I don’t particularly associate Puck with pangrams but, certainly, with entertainment and this was no exception.

    Tiny comment – 17 – you have to reverse the TuNe.

  3. Mitz says:

    Good work – thanks Puck and manehi. Lots to enjoy – ‘eloquent’ and ‘gutter’ were my favourites. Wasn’t sure how to parse ‘cloudburst’, but it seems obvious now – the mark of a good clue, very clever. And I got ‘nixes’ from the crossed letters – couldn’t really be anything else – but I don’t really understand how ‘the other’ = ‘sex’. All in all, highly enjoyable, not too taxing: perfect for the end of a long week!

  4. James G says:

    Could the “let” in 10 be a let service in tennis?
    Needed your help to parse this on at all. Hatchback being h. Lovely! Thanks for blog

  5. aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for blog.

    Re Mitz at 3, ‘sex’ as in “fancy a bit of the other?”. Reminiscent of “Carry On” films etc.

  6. tupu says:

    HI Mitz

    It is a common colloqial euphemism as in ‘S/he liked to have a bit of the other’ but :) see where it is glossed as a key concept of continental philosophy!

  7. UncleAda says:

    Mitz @ 3.

  8. Mitz says:

    Thanks aoxomoxoa – just found a reference to a 1969 Stanley Ford film (starring Dennis Waterman of all people) called ‘This, That and The Other’ – from the look of it Carry On… only more so.

  9. Mitz says:

    …and thanks Tupu and UncleAda too – I’ll go and lie down now.

  10. molonglo says:

    Thanks manehi. With e the two 15-letter clues jumping out, this proved very straightforward, with minor delays for HUYTON and NORTHING, novelties, and last in 1a – ‘dapper’ seemed the only option for ‘remote’ but a poor one. I got quite a few (eg 10, 12 and 16a) by skipping the abstruse clueing since the answers wre evident.

  11. PeterJohnN says:

    Manehi, Re 16a, ELOQUENT (adjective) doesn’t mean expressiveness, it means “showing expressiveness”.

  12. PeterJohnN says:

    Puck, re 27a, Chamber’s shows “DOSI-DO as two words, not three.

  13. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 3d, why the eg?

  14. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 15a, sinister of course meaning left hand, as opposed to dexter (right hand), in heraldry for example.

  15. Mitz says:

    PJN – I think the ‘eg’ in 3d is there because pig meat could be bacon or ham as well as pork. And regarding do-si-do – every other source I have found has it as three words with two hyphens.

  16. PeterJohnN says:

    Mitz, yes but bacon and ham are cured pork.

  17. PeterJohnN says:

    27a “Si” of course meaning “yes” in Italian, Spanish and French (emphatic), nothing to do with SI units!

  18. NeilW says:

    PeterJohnN, I think it’s very Puckish to present you with the crossing letters P_G_E_T, where the origin of T is obvious and then invite you to spend a while making an anagram, “pie”, of “eg pork”!

  19. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Manehi.

    Oh dear, is it just me, then? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this puzzle – but I don’t think I would have guessed the setter, without the name attached. Apart from 8dn, I missed the characteristic Puckish playfulness that makes his puzzles such a delight and so I was rather disappointed.

    And while I’m in ever-so-slightly disgruntled mode, I’ll say again that the fact that a setter has managed to manoeuvre all the letters of the alphabet into the grid leaves me cold. [This is one of the few times I’ve noticed.] What is it supposed to add for me, as a solver? I’d have thought that even the satisfaction for the setter was beginning to wear off, since we see so many these days.

    Of course, the exception is Araubeticals [© muck]! ;-) Incidentally, those experiencing withdrawal pangs should visit Alberich’s site:

  20. Robi says:

    Thanks Puck for an entertaining crossword.

    Thanks also to manehi for the blog and explaining a few, like SAPPER and UFOS (didn’t spot the reverse ha.) Some clues were fairly obvious (like that for RIGHT-HAND,) but others e.g. for CLOUDBURST needed more intellect than I can usually muster. The pangram helped me with JETTISON as I was missing a ‘J.’

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    OK, I can see that a pangram can help with the last few clues – but you have to spot it first and, as I said, I rarely do!

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    80% went in too easily and without joy.
    The only holdup was self-inflicted. Failing to sort the anagram in 2d, I took PM and ‘home’ to give Lord Douglas – Home.
    This meant a short delay before I got ‘sapper’, ‘heighten’ and ‘pigmeat’.
    Must brush-up on modes of aristocrat address (?).

  23. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Manehi. An easy puzzle from Puck, only wish I had completed it!

    8d was obviously CHANSON DU something but I have never heard of CHANSON DU ROLAND. Nice clue but wasted on me.

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Puck and manehi – I needed your explanation for 10 ac and, especially, 8d, never having heard of the rodent puppet. Fortunately, my erudition does go so far as an glancing acquaintance with the chanson in question, though I’m more familiar with Fierabras.

    I didn’t know 13 or 14ac, which I got from the wordplay, initially misspelling the former, with an “i” instead of a “y”; or 27ac – is this one of my favourite childhood tongue-twister songs?

    Mare’s eat oats
    And does eat oats
    And little lambs eat ivy
    A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

    (For those unfamiliar with the ditty, try reading it out loud as fast as you can :))

  25. Stella Heath says:

    Hi gm4hqf,

    It’s CHANSON DE, not DU, “Roland” being a proper noun, the name of one of the heroes of Roncesvalles, otherwise known as Orlando, who fought for Charlemagne.

  26. Wolfie says:

    Thanks for the blog Manehi.

    Quite a straightforward solve, but as a scouser I should point out that Huyton is not part of Liverpool; though it is in Merseyside it is part of the borough of Knowsley.

  27. Robi says:

    Wolfie @26; no doubt you’re right, but Wiki calls Huyton a suburb of Liverpool, so we can’t really blame the setter. :)

  28. Mitz says:

    Hi Stella,

    I remember the rhyme just ever so slightly differently:

    Marezy dotes
    An gotezy dotes
    An liddlamzy divie…

  29. andy smith says:

    Can anyone explain a correct interpretation of the ‘s (apostrophe s) in 1 and 21ac? Or is that just a bit of licence?
    (TVM for the blog, BTW, Manehi)

  30. David W says:

    Many thanks for the explanations of the ones I guessed at. Some of my guesses turned out to be wrong, but I still think my “niets” is a legitimate solution to 22!

  31. RCWhiting says:

    Eileen @19
    Re:pangrams; I couldn’t agree more. If they are deliberate then they are just plain silly and shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as an alphabetical.

    eg pork = pigmeat, what more could you want from a definition.
    Actually a bit less for me, more allusion, please.

  32. William says:

    Thank you for the blog manehi.

    I’m surprised no one else has mentioned SAPPER = PRIVATE. Surely private is a rank, whereas a sapper is any soldier who undertakes combat engineering duties…could be a corporal or a general for that matter.

  33. Gaufrid says:

    William @32
    From Chambers: sapper “a private in the Royal Engineers (formerly Royal Sappers and Miners)”. Collins and Oxford Online both have something similar.

  34. RCWhiting says:

    That’ll be the day when officers dig ditches.

  35. Jim morton says:

    “Mairsey doats” was a popular American song of the forties. Don’t know which came first -the song or the children’s rhyme.

  36. tupu says:

    Hi Andy at 29. I think the apostrophe’s are probably for ‘has’. I seem to remember not everyone likes this usage.

  37. William says:

    Gaufrid @32. Fair enough, I stand corrected – and to attention.

  38. tupu says:

    :) Sorry for the apostrophe in apostrophes!

  39. Eileen says:

    Dear tupu – I thought it was deliberate! ;-)

  40. Eileen says:

    Another of those weird, inconsequential coincidences: I almost commented earlier that I knew HUYTON – and its pronunciation – only because it was the constituency of Harold Wilson, who was on my mind as I finalised my tomorrow’s blog on last Saturday’s Prize Puzzle, in which he appeared. BBC’s ‘Mastermind’ has just posed the question: ‘What was Harold Wilson’s constituency?’ [or the other way round – already, I can’t remember! :-( ].

  41. MrChigleysAunt says:

    As a learner, I thought this was going to be my ‘breakthrough’ puzzle because I solved three clues in as many minutes. I was wrong though. Two hours later, I had solved five correctly and one incorrectly. That was 6dn. I was very pleased to get Wench, which was much more fun than the correct answer.
    I am surprised nobody has mentioned that IDO in 27ac also refers to the International Dance Organisation.

  42. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    That’s kind. :) I just got confused between the medium and the message typing without reading glasses in a hasty effort to be helpful!

  43. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Andy@29, as far as I’m concerned, “‘s” has the wonderful capacity of meaning what the setter wants it to mean, as long as it’s valid both in surface reading and within the clue.

    This could apply to a number of words, of course. The trouble is, even native English speakers have lost the notion of when to use it in the Saxon genitive, so it’s more open to question.

    To Mitz@28, that’s more or less how it sounds, but the song goes on:

  44. Stella Heath says:

    Sorry, I hit the wrong button.

    As I was saying, the song goes on:
    If these words seem queer
    And funny to your ear
    A little bit toppled and tivey (?*)
    Sing ‘mares eat…etc.’

    *”topsy-turvy” maybe?

  45. Paul B says:

    FYI appearing in these senses in Chambers (and not in Collins, for example), PIE is a noun (type confusedly mixed; a confused state; confusion) and a transitive verb (to reduce to pie).

  46. stumped says:

    13a Could someone please explain ‘9, say’ = “heighten”?

  47. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to manehi and Puck. The ‘back-to-back’ dance move is, in French ‘dos-a-dos’ as you’d expect (imagine the grave accent please), then gets a little roughed up crossing the channel. Chambers gives ‘dos-a-dos’ and the variants Puck needs. Very neat.

    Not knowing Liverpool, I at least knew the answer had a ‘y’ in it! A most enjoyable puzzle.

  48. g larsen says:

    Thanks – I enjoyed this.

    Keeping the Liverpool theme,I’m old enough to recall Denis Norden’s version of ‘Mairzy dotes and dozy dotes’ starting with the words ‘Mersey Docks and Harbour Board’, which fitted perfectly.

  49. g larsen says:

    Stumped @ 46 : the answer assumes that Huyton is pronounced in the same way as the answer to 9 – heighten. Whether this in fact true, I don’t know.

  50. Tony Davis says:

    Stella @44 – the line you queried should be ‘A little bit jumbled and jivey’, where ‘jivey’ refers to jazz musicians’ slang. In checking for confirmation of this in case my memory was at fault, I found the following fascinating dissertation on mondegreens:

  51. stumped says:

    g_larsen @ 49 – Thanks!

    Now I feel even more silly ;)

  52. ernie says:

    Not too difficult. Thanks to Puck, and to manehi for explanations.

  53. Huw Powell says:

    Not so much pleasure for me on this one… wouldn’t have ever got HUYTON, even if I’d seen how the “9” was being used. Not being well enough versed in UK political history, the list of PMs at WP brute forced 2 and 8 stayed pencilled due to not making any sense to me. 12 stayed in pencil, too, though at least I appreciate now that the parsing is quite witty. 10 also unparsed. And many I did parse just left me a bit flat. And since when is “GM” an abbreviation for gram(me)?

    Oh well, you can’t have everything you want every day!

    Re the pangram thing, meh, I get no thrill from it. What I *do* like is anytime a setter manages to use a Q (like today), a V, an X or a Z in a checked square.

    DOSIDO apparently can be punctuated pretty much any way one wants.

    Thanks for the blog, Manehi, and the puzzle, Puck.

  54. Huw Powell says:

    Hehe, Eileen @19, thanks for the link; ironically, today’s Prize turned out to be an Araubetical!

  55. RCWhiting says:

    50 years ago when I was studying science I think gm (lower case) was pretty much universal for gramme.
    It is true that g is now more common, probably due to the introduction of the SI.

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