Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,530 by Qaos

Posted by PeterO on January 12th, 2012


Fortunately not too difficult, as I had a meeting to attend before solving and blogging this.

There is a theme of computers, particularly revolviong about Apple as given by22D.

1. Far tremor shakes to change planet (9)
TERRAFORM An anagram (‘shakes’) of ‘far tremor’.
6. Employment for Steve? (4)
JOBS The first computer reference: Steve Jobs, late of Apple.
8. “Girl gets parking fine”, ’e said incorrectly (8)
MISSPOKE A charade of MISS (‘girl’) + P (‘parking’) + OK (‘fine’) + ‘e’.
9. Disastrous company model installed in secret (6)
COSTLY A charade of CO (‘company’) + an envelope (‘in’) of T (‘model’) in SLY (‘secret’).
10. Film covering one good sport (6)
SKIING An envelope (‘covering’) of I (‘one’) in SKIN (‘film’) + G (‘good’).
11. Woman was in charge after union left (or was abolished) (8)
ANNULLED A charade of ANN (‘woman’) + U (‘union’) + L (‘left’) + LED (‘was in charge’).
12. Bill raved about the end of Microsoft (6)
ADVERT A charade of ADVER, an anagram (‘about’) of ‘raved’ + T (‘the end of MictosofT‘).
15. Posh one wearing stone-washed shirt as uniform (4,4)
ETON SUIT An envelope (‘wearing’) of U (posh’) +I (‘one’) in ETONS, an anagram (‘washed’) of ‘stone’ + T (tee-‘shirt’).
16. Kills hero at sea, away from land (8)
OFFSHORE A charade of OFFS (‘kills’) + HORE, an anagram (‘at sea’) of ‘hero’.
19. Hatton to punch mother? No! (6)
HITMAN A charade of HIT (‘punch’) + MA (‘mother’) + N (‘no’). A reference to the retired boxer Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.
21. Processing unit’s huge failure (8)
MEGAFLOP Definition and literal interpretation. Flops (floating point operations per second) is a measure of a computer’s speed, and a megaflop (generally rendered thus as a back-formed “singular”) is a million of them; or taken literally, as a ‘huge failure’.
22. Inspects gold — it’s after diamonds (6)
AUDITS A charade of AU (chemical symbol, ‘gold’) + D (‘diamonds’, as in bridge) + ‘its’.
24. After endless wine, perhaps Dracula’s given up anger to modernise (6)
REVAMP A charade of RE[d] (‘endless wine’) + VAMP[ire] (‘perhaps Dracula’ with ‘anger’ given up).
25. Sheep quartet’s organ sounds bliss! (8)
EUPHORIA Rhotic warning, rhotic warning: a homophone (‘sounds’)of EWE FOUR EAR.
26. Prevent vessels capsizing (4)
STOP A reversal (‘capsizing’) of POTS (‘vessels’).
27. Taken over ownership? (9)
POSSESSED Not much nore than a straight definition. ‘taken over’ by itself might be a definition (“possessed by a devil”), but ‘ownership’ is the wrong part of speech to be a second definition – and would in any case be another shade of the same meaning.
1. 1/2 of 30 + 1/4 of 9 … 1,000? That’s suspect (5)
THINK A charade or THI[rty] (‘1/2 of 30′) + N[ine] (‘1/4 pf 9′) + K (‘1000′).
2. Break and rend in half with vengeance (7)
RESPITE A charade of RE[nd] (‘rend in half’) + SPITE (‘vengeance’).
3. Within acting, no man is shown up (5)
AMONG Hidden (‘is shown’) reversed (‘up’) in ‘actinG NO MAn’.
4. Work … work … time … time … echo! (7)
OPERATE A charade of OP (‘work’, the second one) + ERA (‘time’, the first) + T (‘time’, the second) + E (‘echo’, phonetic alphabet). the first ‘work’ is the definition.
5. Non-PC material? (9)
MACINTOSH In addition to the computer and the overcoat, macintosh is the waterproofed cloth from which the latter is made. Incidentally, the computer was named after the developer’s favourite apple variety, the McIntosh, with a slight change to avoid legal trouble with another company name.
6. Jack lost set again, beginning to expect small crowds (7)
JOSTLES A charade of J (‘jack’, cards) + OSTL, an anagram (‘set again’) of ‘lost’ + E (‘beginning to Expect’) + S (‘small’).
7. Dancer’s dance with energy produced rain (9)
BALLERINA A charade of BALL (‘dance’) + E (‘energy’) + RINA, an anagram (‘produced’) of ‘rain’.
13. Unlike another (9)
DIFFERENT Two shades of meaning.
14. So long to Spooner’s dog-end? (6-3)
TOODLE-PIP Poodle tip (‘dog-end’).
17. This jellyfish was into mushy peas (3,4)
SEA WASP An envelope (‘into’) of ‘was’ in SEAP, an anagram (‘mushy’) of ‘peas’.
18. The Fast Show? (7)
EXPRESS Double definition.
20. Cycling outside is dull (7)
TEDIOUS An anagram (‘cycling’) of ‘outside’.
22. Fruit drink, swallowed very quietly (5)
APPLE An envelope (‘swallowing’) of PP (musical direction pianissimo, ‘very quietly’) in ALE (‘drink’). Also, of course, a final computer reference, even if the clue does not admit it.
23. Gang finally caught over botched raid (5)
TRIAD A charade of T (‘finally caughT‘) + RIAD, an anagram (‘botched’) of ‘raid’.

38 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,530 by Qaos”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks PeterO.

    My first thought was, “Great, a new setter!” Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by the disappointment of 1ac being so obvious. A few nice clues with very little to dislike but, equally, not much to quicken the blood.

    Still, welcome Qaos!

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. Because I wasn’t familiar with the earthshaking 1a, the NW corner did give me brief pause: 1 and 2d were good. New also was Hatton the hitman. Eyebrows mildly raised here and there, as you point out, too – the genitive in 25a doesn’t quite work, nor does 27a’s abstract noun, 13 and 18d were barely cryptic. But it’s good to have a new setter with new approaches (T=shirt and ‘re’ done as endless wine etc). So, thanks and welcome, Qaos.

  3. Rick says:

    Thanks PeterO and a warm welcome to Qaos. I agree that this was mostly fairly gentle but I can certainly live with that (and going easy might be a good strategy for a new setter). As a Macintosh fan I was always going to be well disposed to the theme!

    I agree with PeterO that 27a seems to be a (more or less) straight definition (given that “ownership” is a noun). Not my favourite sort of clue (even cryptic definitions often leave me a bit cold) – but you can’t please everyone!

  4. IanN14 says:

    I think it should also be mentioned that Apple’s early advertising slogan is in there at 1d. 13d.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Fairly straightforward puzzle from Qaos, whom I am sure we have seen before (but see here). Nevertheless it took me longer than Paul’s crossword yesterday, perhaps because it has a good variety of clues which are not all transparent. 5d was my favourite, for its economy.

    25a is a groan-inducing homophone of Araucarian proportion. ‘Endless wine’ for RE is all very well but 24a is let down by a meaningless surface. And I don’t like 27a either.

  6. rrc says:

    Too much use of the single letter in clues which for me which just makes it a laborious to solve. Few smiles and Aha moments just bewilderment.

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Ian. That shines an entirely 13dn light on this puzzle and I’m regretting being slightly negative in my comment this morning! I was already having second thoughts about 1ac, given that perhaps the most famous of Steve Jobs’ quotes was about wanting to “put a ding in the universe.” :)

    I see APPLE and MACINTOSH are also vertically aligned, just the wrong way round!

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’m afraid I share the niggles outlined above. This wasn’t really my cup of tea, although now the theme’s been pointed out I can see that there is some clever construction in there. However, MISSPOKE made me smile, because although Hillary Clinton probably didn’t invent the word, I remember her using it when she had to retract a statement about coming under sniper fire when she entered Bosnia, which was a load of cobbler’s.

    Anyway, if it is Qaos’s first Guardian puzzle, welcome.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and tahanks and welcome Qaos.

    I solved this bit by bit between interruptions and regretfully missed the theme which I much regret since it raises the puzzle several notches.

    I was reminded by 5d of a time when I used Word’s grammar check and was told to drop ‘Barons’ from a text in favour of the gender-unspecific ‘nobles’ giving me a doubly PC computer.

    Some new words for me – terraform, megaflop – and a new reference in 19a which I needed to check.

    re 25a – I assumed that the ‘cryptic?’ element involved possessed’s being used as both past participle passive and active.

    15a was my COD. It took a time to see where the extra ‘T’ came from, and the surface was good.

  10. tupu says:

    :) Apologies for excessive regretting.

  11. Robi says:

    Thanks Qaos; it makes a change from Dickens, the Bible and Shakespeare.

    Thanks PeterO; the computer theme was there at the start once JOBS was solved. TRIAD is apparently (Wiki) also used in computer technology: ‘In CRT or computer terminology, a triad is a group of three phosphor dots coloured red, green, and blue on the inside of the CRT display of a computer monitor or television set.’

    For those interested in the derivation of the Apple logo, an explanation is given here.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks, PeterO. I have a vague memory of seeing this setter’s name before…anyway welcome Qaos!

    I liked the theme, esp after IanN14 pointed out ‘Think Different’. Didn’t know MEGAFLOP, but it was easy enough to get.

    Didn’t know Hatton the Hitman, either, so that slowed me up a bit, but overall a fairly gentle solve. Share the qualms about 27ac.

  13. NeilW says:

    At the time, I was thinking more along the lines of demonic possession to look for a cryptic element for 27… Gave up though!

  14. Robi says:

    P.S. TERRAFORMing is also used in computer video games.

  15. harry says:

    Thanks PeterO, and thanks for the rhotic warning at 25ac. Curse these RP homophones!

  16. tupu says:


    That was in my mind when thinking of the passive form.

  17. mismanager says:

    23ac: RAID is also a term much used in computing circles, it is an acronym for redundant array of independent disks or redundant array of inexpensive disks, depending on who you believe. RAID is used in servers to ensure that data can survive the failure of a hard disk. If you want to know more, ask Mr Google! As time passes there are decreasingly few short words that haven’t been grabbed and used (or abused) in this way.

  18. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO and Qaos, whose pseudonym vaguely rang a bell – or didn’t?

    This looked difficult to start with, but that’s always the way with new setters. It all panned out rather well in the end, though I share the qualms about POSSESSED.

    My sister Marian, now back in England, texted me to point out that “‘hop the twig’ is one of the euphemisms used by John Cleese in Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ parrot sketch” – I didn’t know that, and had never heard the phrase :)

  19. jackkt says:

    Didn’t understand all the references but the puzzle was fairly gentle stuff. I’m fairly tolerant of homophones but 25ac is plain awful.

  20. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. You explained why I had the right answer for 19a.

  21. yogdaws says:

    I liked 24ac. And the Apple slogan was a neat touch.

    Well done Q. I imagine compiling a puzzle is pretty tough work. Let alone one with a theme.

    Don’t let the nitpickers get you down.

  22. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Qaos and PeterO. My computer knowledge is lacking but I enjoyed the puzzle. TERRAFORM was a new word for me. Hadn’t heard of the boxer Hatton either. Regarding
    12ac – Bill (Gates?)is contributing to the end of Microsoft – coincidence? You make the call.


  23. Qaos says:

    Many thanks, PeterO, for the post and to everyone else for their comments. As ever, constructive criticism is always welcome and the best way to smooth out one’s rough edges.

    The remit for this crossword was to make it accessible, so I’m glad most of you found it to be at the easier end of the solving spectrum. Not a chemical transmutation in sight!

    In hindsight, I don’t think 27a worked quite as well as I had intended. It was supposed to be read as a semi-&lit. clue, but I think it’s too easily read as a straight definition.

    The homophone in 25a was supposed to be a bit of fun, but I knew I’d get into trouble with it here :-).

  24. Mitz says:

    Thanks Qaos, both for the puzzle and for dropping by, and thanks PeterO for the blog. Plenty to like here, nothing too taxing and a well presented theme. ‘Jobs’ was first in for me, but even so the penny only dropped with a massive thud many, many solved clues later!

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Stella & Marian @18
    I was partially wrong yesterday when I claimed that ‘hop the twig’ was not present in the Parrot sketch. There, it is ‘off the twig’.
    Thanks also,Stella, for that distraction from this very poor puzzle.

  26. Paul B says:

    Well, I did like 4D.

  27. Allan_C says:

    Enjoyable and not too difficult debut puzzle from Qaos.

    Only one comment to add, that TOODLE-PIP is somewhat dated. Chambers calls it “old colloqial”.

  28. Paul B says:

    It’s not entirely out of court though, with loonies like me wittering on at friends in mock RAF-banter. Done before in a Paul puzzle though, I’m afraid.

  29. ContrapuntalAnt says:

    As someone comparatively new to cryptics (half a year since I started attempting the Guardian cryptics regularly) it was a delightful crossword to solve, at just the right difficulty for me. Some enjoyable clues in there too – thanks Qaos!

    I particularly enjoyed 4d [which reminded me of a clue by Paul I saw a month or so ago: Oxygen and another gas, oxygen and another gas, energy individually matched (3-2-3)]. I don’t think I’ve seen many of those types of clues yet, so the novel surface reading of them is a delight. Similarly 1d, which took me far longer to catch onto than 4d.

  30. DROPO says:

    Thanks, Qaos! I solved this one without enormous delay, but several clues kept me guessing. TOODLE-PIP in particular was one of the last to take shape for me – don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say that, even in jest. And yes, 4d is marvelous.

  31. amulk says:

    As the others have said, a nice gentle puzzle. I must be honest though that I did not pick up on the theme. Also did not know that “terraform” was an accepted word in the English language – the online Chambers does not seem to have it and I don’t have anything better than that to refer to. Fortunately, I remembered the word from an old episode of Star Trek (I think) and there was not much else that could have gone in there anyway.


  32. Derek Lazenby says:

    And then there is the ambiguous 21. A TERAFLOP would be an even bigger failure and is still a valid computing term.

    Presumably Eton Suit is something posh so and so’s know about. Whatever, it’s obscure enough to have not made Wikipedia, which takes some doing. Accessible? Hmm.

  33. FranTom Menace says:

    Hi all, and welcome Qaos. As others have found, not too taxing this one, but some really nice surfaces and I’m also a fan of a really short clue. In fact, I often get frustrated at clues which ramble on and the solution is (4).

    Ignore the rude criticisms, Qaos – yes this was a simple puzzle for many, but we wouldn’t say it was a bad one. I’m looking forward to clues as clever as some of these which take a bit longer to work out!

  34. pangapilot says:

    Safely out of the range of homophones, RP or otherwise, I imagine: How are we to pronounce Qaos?

  35. Wolfie says:

    Welcome Qaos – I enjoyed your first Guardian cryptic and hope to see more from you. The PC v Mac theme was clever and amusing, and if you were asked to provide an ‘accessible’ puzzle you certainly fulfilled your remit. Criticisms from some quarters about it being too easy should be directed to the crossword editor rather than to the setter.

    Thanks PeterO for the blog.

  36. Gervase says:

    Derek @32: How about a PETAFLOP!

  37. PeterO says:

    Firstly, thanks to Qaos for the crossword and for visiting the blog. As Gervase @5’s link points out, Qaos has had a Genius published, but as far as I can tell this is his first Cryptic. The Guardian site at the moment seems reluctant even to identify him as a setter!
    Ian N14 @4 – I had missed the slogan. Thanks for pointing it out.
    I am happy to see several unfamiliar names in the comments – welcome to you all.
    Paul B @28 – a quick search in 225 shows that TOODLE-PIP pops up in another three crosswords. As well as Qaos and Paul, Anax clued it as a Spoonerism. Apart from that, the only place I have come across the word before is in the dialogue of some frightfully English caricature in a Hollywood film.
    Derek Lazenby @32 – The Eton suit does get an Honourable mention in Wikipedia – in the Uniform section of

  38. RCWhiting says:

    Wolfie @35
    “Criticisms from some quarters about it being too easy should be directed to the crossword editor rather than to the setter.”

    Since I do not know either setter or editor my criticisms are always directed at the product. I’m sure they’re all lovely people.

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