Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,496 / Crucible

Posted by mhl on December 10th, 2011


A lovely puzzle from Crucible, and on the easy side for a prize puzzle, I thought.

Once you’ve solved the clues, the rubric reads “Five COLOURS of the RAINBOW appear as solutions, not further defined in their clues; nor are COLOURS and RAINBOW. The other two are hidden in the grid, one of them in two places.” GREEN is hidden across “meaGRE ENvision” while RED is hidden in “tailoRED” and “REDrafts”. I’ve marked the colours of the rainbow with asterixesasterisks below.

Thanks to to NeilW for pointing out that this is a pangram, i.e. every letter of the alphabet appears in the grid.

8. SARAJEVO RAJ = “British government” in (SAVE)* followed by O = “old”; Definition: “city”
9. OBELIX OBE = “award” LIX = 59 = “almost the 60th”; Definition: “Gallic stonemason” – a lovely reference to Asterix’s friend, a menhir maker and delivery man
10. * BLUE Odd letters of BaLl UsEd
11. GROUND RULE ROUND = “Bullet” in (LUGER)*; Definition: “it” in the context of the clue
12. * ORANGE O = “Circle” + RANGE = “Line” (as in a line or range of products)
14. REDRAFTS (STARRED F)* (the anagram indicator is “pilot” as a verb); Definition: “other versions”
15. ADAPTED A followed by P = “priest” in DATED = “outmoded”; Definition: “suit in the past” (i.e. the past tense of adapt)
17. EGG ROLL (REG[a]L GOL[d])* i.e. “regal gold” without A and D = “duke”
20. EFFLUVIA (FIVE)* around FLU = “virus” + A = “one”; Definition: “pongs” – one of the definitions of EFFLUVIA in Chambers is “disagreeable vapours rising from decaying matter”
22. * YELLOW To “React to sudden pain” might be to ‘yell, “Ow!”‘
23. LIMOUSINES LIMO = “over half of Limoges” + USINES = “its factories” (the French for factories); Definition: “cars”
24. QUID QUI = “In Paris who” + D[evalue]; Definition: “our cash?”
25. * INDIGO (DOING)* around I = “this writer” – the anagram indicator is “model”
26. ONE-LINER ONLINER “Web addict” around E = “drug”; Definition: “crack”
1. TAILORED OR = “gold” in TAILED = “followed”; Definition: “[ADAPTED]”
2. LAKE Double definitione: “Superior” (for Lake Superior) and “pigment” – one definition of “lake” in Chambers is “a reddish pigment originally derived from lac”. The question-mark here must be for “Superior”, which is a definition by example…
3. MEAGRE MERE = “Nothing better” (one of the definitions in Chambers) around A + G = “good”; Definition: “if you’re this?” in the context of the whole clue
4. COLOURS CO = “Conscientious objector” + LOURS = “looks threatening”
5. HOUND DOG HO = “Home Office” + UND = “and German” + G = “government” around DO = “party”; Definition: “King hit” (Elvis is the King)
6. BEER BARREL (REBEL)* around ER = “Monarch” + BAR = “pub”; Definition: “this?” in the context of the whole clue
7. * VIOLET VET = “Check” around IO = “10” + L = “litres”
13. NAPOLEONIC (N POLICE)* around ON = “operating” after AN reversed; Definition: “Sort of code” referring to the Napoleonic Code
16. ENVISION (VENISON)* around I; Definition: “Fancy”
18. LIONISED LID around ONE = “unit” around IS; Definition: “to be put on a pedestal”
19. * RAINBOW RA = “Gunmen” + IN + BOW = “part of east London”
21. FEIGNS F[or]EIGN = “to be from abroad” without “or”, followed by S = “Sweden”; Definition: “Pretends”
22. YES-MEN S[tate] in YEMEN = “Arab country”; Definition: “They always approve”
24. QUIZ A compound anagram: (TREAT QUIZ)* gives “quartzite”; Definition: “grill”

16 Responses to “Guardian 25,496 / Crucible”

  1. Biggles A says:

    I found this one a lot more difficult than usual. 1 and 15 were my last entries and I don’t like either of them much. Since when has p been an abbreviation for PRIEST? Fr and eli I know but not just p. And why SUIT? Since when has that been synonymous with TENSE in the grammatical sense? I suppose BLOCK could mean ‘surround’ but it stretches a long bow.

    I just wanted to get that off my chest RCW. Please bear with my pedantry.

  2. Gervase says:

    Thanks, mhl, for a great blog. I presume you were thinking of OBELIX when you put ‘asterixes’ in the preamble instead of ‘asterisks’. Or was that deliberate?

    I didn’t find this quite as easy as you seemed to have done, but it was a fair and very enjoyable challenge. BLUE was my key to the theme (which I probably should have spotted immediately, instead of several clues in).

    A lot of good clues and surfaces. I particularly liked 2d for its concision and (unstated) link to the theme.

    23a was slightly disappointing, although ingeniously constructed, because LIMOUSINE is the (feminine form of) the adjective meaning ‘coming from Limousin’ (the former province centred on Limoges), so is less cryptic than it might have been. The car is supposedly so called because it had a hood reminicent of the headgear traditionally worn by the Limousins.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    I enjoyed this but tend to agree that it wasn’t more difficult than a lot of the weeklies that have appeared of late but I think it was above average compared to recent prizes that seem, with a few exceptions, to have become noticeably easier. (Haven’t looked at today’s yet…)

    I know there has been a bit of negative comment recently about them but I admire these pangrams, especially in a puzzle whose theme is “all the colours of the rainbow!”

  4. Huw Powell says:

    A lot of fun. About halfway through I guessed the “seven” things were the colors of the rainbow (although there are only six really). My big lame question is this, since I am too lazy to work it out myself: is this a “pangram” (uses all letters of the alphabet)? The use of the high-scoring scrabble letters started jumping out at me – Q, Y, Z, W, X, etc.

    My last entry was LAKE at 2 – helped by the lack, so far, of a K.

    Thanks for the “just right” difficulty level, Crucible, and the blog, mhl!

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. The instructions looked worrying but I got 7d in the first minute and with this and the rhythm of the instructions went filled in six more answers, too easy. Favourite clues were OBELIX and HOUND DOG. Least favourite was last one in, 15a.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mhl, for the blog and Crucible for another fun puzzle.

    ‘Special instructions’ initially looked daunting but the mystery soon unravelled, although I did hold myself up unnecessarily by confidently entering RADIUS for ‘circle line’ and vainly looking for hidden oranges!

    Favourite clues: OBELIX, HOUND DOG and FEIGNS.

  7. dunsscotus says:

    Many thanks to Crucible and mhl: most enjoyable. To BgglesA@1. It may be a bit RC, but I’m very used to ‘PP’ for ‘Parish Priest’ and therefore have little trouble with ‘P’ for ‘Priest’. I’ve met it before in puzzles.

    Particularly liked the Elvis clue.

  8. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog.

    When I saw the instructions I thought “this could be tricky … Unless it is just 7 colours of the rainbow”. 4 and 19 quickly confirmed the latter and the colours weren’t hard to find.

    But. I found some of the other clues quite hard and didn’t get 1 or 15.

  9. mhl says:

    Hi Gervase – you’re quite right in assuming that I just had Asterix in my mind when I wrote the preamble :) Thanks for the correction…

    NeilW: thanks for pointing out that it’s a pangram – I’ll update the post, since I (as usual) completely missed that.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Crucible.

    An excellent puzzle with some witty clues. :) I didn’t notice it was a pangram – I gave up looking after one a couple of weeks ago when I had been pleased to signal it and the response seemed to be ‘how boring’!

    I agree with Gervase about Limousines. Given the word links directly to Limoges and Limo is a customary abbreviation for it, there didn’t seem much cryptic content left.

    I particularly liked ‘lake’, Hound dog, and yellow.

  11. Wolfie says:

    Thanks mhl for the blog and to Crucible for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Tupu @10 – I was struggling with my last in – 8ac – until I realised that in order for the puzzle to be a pangram there needed to be a J in the solution. Hey presto: Sarajevo! So, not boring – useful….

  12. stiofain says:

    I found the pangram useful too with the j and k answers. Very enjoyable and great to see one of Crucibles too rare outings. Loved the Elvis clue.

  13. Gervase says:

    I forgot to mention that I did spot that the puzzle was a pangram, which helped with a few recalcitrant answers. Strangely, pangrams are something that I usually DO notice, unlike Ninas or hidden themes. My most egregious ‘failure to notice’ was in a Brummie puzzle a few years ago, which contained the words SNOW and WHITE, as well as the names of all seven dwarfs. But because he hadn’t flagged it up, I missed it entirely, despite finishing the crossword. D’oh!

  14. Giovanna says:

    Thanks,Crucible for a fun puzzle – once I got in to it!Thanks, as always, to mhl for explaining the ones I guessed!

    I didn’t spot the hidden green for a while and went for the highly dubious erba hidden in beer barrel ( Italian for grass, which is green) – far too devious for my own good sometimes!!


  15. Robi says:

    Too busy yesterday to respond – I got YELLOW quite quickly, so the rainbow colours revealed themselves early on; entertaining puzzle.

    Thanks mhl for the blog. As a useless piece of additional information, I found that a pre-Elvis country version of HOUND DOG by Charlie Gore & Louis Innis was recorded at King studios – see

  16. David W says:

    I’m with Biggles A at #1 in being disappointed with Crucible’s use of some kind of private symbolism in 15, and the consequent obscurity of 1. I also did not care for the non-dictionary obelix.

    Perhaps I’m just a poor loser, but I think a better puzzle might have from having either the rainbow theme or the pangram – but not both.

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