Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,510 – Shed

Posted by Uncle Yap on December 20th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

This should have been quite a pleasant and smooth stroll except that 21Across held me up for a bit. Apart from that glitch, the puzzle is yet another rich variety of cryptic devices that challenged and entertained.

Grandchildren have returned to London after a month-long visit to Malaysia. I thought the old picture of Matthew should be updated to include sister, Annabelle. They look more Caucasian than Sino.

9 MARCO POLO MAR (rev of RAM, male sheep aka TUP, answer to 19A) Ins of P in COOL (unexcited) + O. I like the use of P&O (Peninsular and Oriental) a well-known name in maritime circles
10 ROUGE ROGUE with G & U interchanged – allusion to “Going Rogue: An American Life”, a personal and political memoir of Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican candidate for U.S. Vice President. The book became a New York Times #1 bestseller in its first week of release, and remained there for six weeks.
11 DIVOT DIVO (rev of OVID, Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC – AD 17/18), known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet) + T (time)
12 MAKESHIFT To kick arse is to move forcefully or to make something shift … a tichy clue
14 HIDEOUT The last letter of HIDEOUS (ugly) is S which, in the alphabet, is followed by T
17 PARSE Cha of P (piano or quiet) ARSE (bum)
19 TUP Rev of PUT (set) for a male sheep or RAM
20 UPSET UP (cheerful) SET (performance)
21 RETAKEN Ins of ET (???) in KRAKEN (sea monster) minus first K … I spent more than 10 minutes just on this clue trying to find a monster with the configuration of ?RKEN since I took “anticipated showtime” as ETA (Expected / Estimated Time of Arrival) Has Shed made a mistake here?
22 TALIBAN Ins of B (black) in ITALIAN (European) minus the first I
26 BOLUS Ins of U (university) in BOLS (rev of SLOB, layabout) for a rounded mass; a large pill; a drug dose injected quickly into a blood vessel – a new word for me
28 HALAL Ins of A (one) in HALL of residence, university accommodation. Meat from animals that have been so slaughtered, that may lawfully be eaten by Muslims … same as the Jewish KOSHER as both derived this concept from the same books of the Bible. I often wonder how the greatest enmity in the world should be between the Muslims and the Jews, both directly descended from the same rootstock of Moses and Abraham
29 ROOTSTOCK Cha of ROOT (parsnip is a root vegetable) STOCK (liquor)

1 AMID Ins of M (1000 in Roman numeral or many) in AID (support)
2 CRAVEN C (first letter of colour) RAVEN (black bird)
3 BOTTLENECK BOTTLE (bravery) NECK (effrontery)
4 FORMAT Ins of MA (parent) in FORT (stronghold)
5 WORKSHOP WORKS (classical opera) HOP (dance)
6 ARES ARIES (Celestial ram, part of the Zodiac) minus middle letter to give ARES, the Greek god of war
8 JEST Ins of S (first letter of sick) in JET (airplane)
13 CAPER CAMPER (holidaymaker) minus M (male) thorny S European shrub (Capparis spinosa), with edible flower-buds (also caper-bush); a flower-bud of this shrub, pickled and used in cooking as a flavouring or garnish (Chambers)
16 TITAN TIT (bird) + AN
18 RETICULE Ins of ETIC (rev of CITE, quote) in RULE (regulation)  “a small, woman’s handbag” New word to me and I wonder whether the bag is small or the woman is small :-)
19 TINCTURE *(TURIN ETC) My cure-all for all bruises since childhood is tincture of iodine which is sadly disappearing from the pharmacy’s shelves
22 TURBOT TURBO (motor) T (middle letter of ITS)
23 BALLOT BALL (a round thing) + O (another round thing) T (first letter of TAX)
24 ECHO ha
25 LOLL LOLLY (money) minus Y
27 SIKH Sounds like SEEK (look for)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
rha = reversed hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,510 – Shed”

  1. stiofain says:

    I thought the monster must be the Kraken (as in John Wyndham et al ) too UY but cant make it work

  2. Dr. G says:

    21A: ET
    Entertainment Tonight, a daily television entertainment news show

  3. NeilW says:

    Nice try, Dr. G but I’m with UY as I am sure ETA was intended.

    Thanks, UY, by the way and seasons greetings, neighbour!

  4. sidey says:

    Try the sea monster the ORKEN. A touch unfair in a daily if that’s what was intended.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I’m with you on ETA similarly and wrongly foreshortened to ET. I took ROUGE to be a droll reference to “what’s the difference between a harky mom and a pig? Lipstick!” I liked this puzzle, having no trouble with it, and enjoyed the neat split of P&O in 1a and the misleading 6d which wasn’t ‘Mars’.

  6. molonglo says:

    Or Maybe SP said pitbull, in the lipstick context.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, UY (nice new pic, btw).

    Haven’t seen too much of Shed recently, if memory serves, and it was good to see this offering. Overall not too difficult, but there were a number of clues (including RETAKEN) that I needed you to 17ac. MARCO POLO was cleverly put together.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Shed and Uncle Yap – what a lovely photo :)

    I needed your explanation for 10ac and 18d, two things I’m quite unfamiliar with. Presumably a reticule is made of crochet or some other netted fabric?

    All in all, an enjoyable solve, with a couple of surprises and aha moments.

  9. NeilW says:

    sidey, neither my Chambers nor Google seem to have heard of your orken – if it’s a foreign word then it’s not signalled so, much as I respect Shed, I’m still on UY’s side. Who knows, maybe Shed will drop by and explain what we’re missing?

  10. Allan_C says:

    Well, I’ve found an orken at but so obscure that I hardly think that’s what Shed intended. I’m with UY, stiofain, NeilW et al about ETA.

  11. sidey says:

    I wasn’t being terribly serious. It appears to be a misinterpretation of a word in Beowulf.

  12. NeilW says:

    By the way, UY, in reference to your joke about 18, that’s why the erudite folk at Chambers have inserted the comma! :)

  13. Mitz says:

    Thanks Shed and UY. Lots of clever stuff here – I particularly liked ‘upset’, ‘hideout’ and the mini-theme around 19. ‘Taliban’ gave me pause – took me a while to see that the required European was an Italian.

    My take on ‘retaken': in the clue Shed talks about the “anticipated showtime” (with a question mark) which is a cryptic way of saying “the time someone or something is expected to arrive”. In the usual abbreviation, ETA, the ‘A’ stands for ‘arrival’, which has already been referred to in the clue as ‘show’. So we’ve got [k]RAKEN about E[stimated] T[ime].

  14. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    Mitz @13 has the best explanation of 21ac so far. It does seem a little contrived, so it would be nice to know if this is indeed what Shed intended.

  15. NeilW says:

    Mitz, if you’re right, which you may well be, for me it’s a bridge too far. I don’t feel that a question mark is enough to suggest de-tailing an abbreviation that is already cryptically clued. Still you’ve give the editor an out! :)

  16. NeilW says:

    Given, even.

  17. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. I had decided that MARCO POLO was the only traveller who would fit in there but I needed you to explain why.

    I was also one who cheerfully put MARS in 6d until I was unable to make 10a do anything useful :(

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I’m with Mitz @13.
    My favourite was ‘hideous(t)’.
    Monday…mmmm…Tuesday…mmmmm…. great thanks to Azed who is still putting up a fight.

  19. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I found this one very straightforward for a Shed – I usually find his puzzles at the trickier end of the Guardian spectrum. Good variety of clues, with (mostly) good surfaces.

    9a is a nicely constructed clue, but I guessed MARCO POLO as soon as I looked at it (the P&O prompted it) which set me off to a good start. Apart from sticking RAM in at first for 19a, that is, but 19d soon straightened me out.

    21a was one of my last entries, after I had all the crossing letters, and I assumed it was ETA in (K)RAKEN without counting the letters carefully. Mitz’s suggestion at #13 may be right, but doesn’t entirely convince me: ‘anticipated showtime’ includes the T as well as the A. However, Shed has added a question mark at the end of the clue.

  20. Mitz says:

    Gervase, I’m not entirely convinced either, but in terms of T&A, there are a couple of other As in the puzzle elsewhere at 12 and 17, so maybe Shed wanted to redress the balance and leave an extra T in!

  21. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Shed

    Like others I was puzzled about ET and wondered if it could simply be an abbreviation for expected time. Chambers gives, inter alia, ‘Ephemeris time’ and I began to wonder about the idea of predictions of the place of planets etc. but this does not seem all that likely.

    I did not know the Palin autobiography and assumed ‘going rough’.

    14a led me first to thinking ‘hi’ and ‘de’ are aplpahabetical steps forward but then the penny dropped. Probably my COD but the parsing of 9a was also clever along with its links to 19a and 6d even though the likely answer itself was clear at once.

    I had to check ‘bolus’.

    I only got to this this afternoon and found it fairly (in both senses) taxing but also quite enjoyable.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Umm, not sure what all the fuss is about. I and many people I know use ET simply for Estimated Time. Who exactly said that Estimated Times must always refer to Arrival times and nothing else? I’ve heard (American)actors say such as “What’s your ET on that” too.

    My main problem was 15. That is the name of the instrument, not the musician. It being normal to add “er” or “ist” to an instruments name to get the musician’s tag, he would be a double-bassist or simply a bassist. As one who occasionally, and appallingly, plunks at a bass guitar, I am refered to as a bassist (but only when people are being polite!).

  23. Mitz says:

    Derek @22: usually I would agree with you, but I have come across instances when the various musicians in the orchestra are simply referred to in terms of the instruments that they play (eg James was second violin; Sally was first clarinet).

    I’m sure you are a fabulous Mr Bass-man…

  24. NeilW says:

    Sorry, Derek. ET = Anticipated Time amongst your friends, yes, maybe. But how do you factor in “show” which clearly means, cryptically, arrival?

  25. Martin H says:

    Mitz @23 – the examples you give, with their qualifications, first clarinet, second violin, are fine, as would be, say, principal horn; but would you say “James was a violin”? I don’t think so, and have to agree with Derek about the double bass. This sort of thing does happen, but always sounds odd – I was at the next table to a couple in a hotel dining room when the waitress brought them the breakfast tray. She was obviously unsure who had ordered what, so the husband said helpfully, “I’m the boiled egg.”

  26. Thomas99 says:

    Martin H (25). I don’t know if it’s decisive, but the answer to “Would you say ‘James was a violin'” is certainly yes. In the context of an orchestra, it’s normal not to add the suffix.

  27. StanXYZ says:

    15d – Musician – Double Bass? Hmmm?

  28. StanXYZ says:

  29. harhop says:

    Reticule – you’re all so young! As a word it is way out of date, but survived into the 1990s in the (ironic) phrase used by ladies now of a certain age – ‘capacious reticule’

  30. Shed says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog and to everyone for the ingenious explanations of 21a, but actually it was just an inexcusable mistake. It was indeed supposed to be ETA in (k)RAKEN – but it isn’t. Sorry.

  31. stiofain says:

    Nice one Shed
    Ive been checking back for the definitive answer all day and great crossword BTW.

  32. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Shed, both for the crossword and the final say on the debate!

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