Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,535 / Enigmatist

Posted by Gaufrid on January 18th, 2012


I’m a last minute stand-in for the scheduled blogger therefore this has been prepared in somewhat of a hurry so please excuse any errors.

A most enjoyable puzzle from Enigmatist today, themed around the 1931 book by Walter Carruthers Sellar TEN SIXTY-SIX AND ALL THAT which has the subtitle “a memorable history of England, comprising ALL THE PARTS YOU CAN REMEMBER including one hundred and three GOOD THINGs, five BAD KINGs and TWO GENUINE DATES”. I was not aware of the subtitle until I looked up the book after completing the grid. Had I known it previously it would inevitably have helped the solving process.

I held myself up for a while in the NW corner by confidently entering TATAR for 4dn during my first pass through the clues. However this was eventually changed when I couldn’t think of anything suitable, with the middle letter R, to fit between TWO and DATES in 11,23.

5 POMFRET double def.
9 UPSET cryptic def. & def.
10 TARGET MEN GET (fetch) ME in TARN (water that’s within range)
11,23 TWO GENUINE DATES cryptic def. & def. – see preamble
12 IMPI [l]IMPI[d] (not extremely transparent) – def. ‘warlike, they are’
21 RING [f]RING[e] – two defs, ‘call’ and ‘group’
22 STUDY SKILL *(DUSKY) in STILL (unruffled)
25 RED-TAPIST ED (editor) T (time) in RAPIST (one violating)
26 TOAST TO A T (perfectly) around S (sun)
27 BAD KING *(KIND) in [the] BAG (secured) – see preamble
28 SINE DIE SINE (function) DIE (cube)
1 ACUITY U (university) in A CITY (a place like Cambridge)
2 LESSON double def. – ‘more bare’ = LESS ON
3 HITHERMOST THERMOS (warm flask) in HIT (strike)
4 TATOU A TOUT (a solicitor) with the final letter moved to the front – “an armadillo, esp the giant armadillo” (Chambers)
5 PARANOIAC CRAP (rubbish) around A IONA (Scottish island where you’ll see Christians regularly) reversed Edited, thanks togo @2
6 MEET double def.
15 GOOD THING *(IN HOT DOG) [fillin]G  – see preamble
16 SPARE RIB PARER (something cutting) in SIB (little sister, say)
17 TRINIDAD TRIAD (secret society) around DIN (noise) reversed
24 SAKI triple def. – a Japanese drink, the pen name of the British writer Hector Hugh Munro and a South American monkey


38 Responses to “Guardian 25,535 / Enigmatist”

  1. Mitz says:

    Thanks Enigmatist, and especially Gaufrid for stepping in at the last minute.

    One thing you can be sure of with Enigmatist: you’ll learn new words. Pomfret, Tatou, Impi, Saki and Sine Die all new on me, but gettable from the cluing, especially as the whole puzzle was blown wide open once I had the theme (which came almost immediately: clearly an anagram with two ‘x’s – easy-peasy). A couple of the other clues (Lesson, Fringe) also seemed uncharacteristically easy for Enig. Didn’t like 22 or 25, both of which seemed a bit of a stretch, but 26 is delicious (!)

    PS: I didn’t know the variant spelling for Japanese rice wine (which I’ve only ever thought of as sake) and I’d never heard of Munro so I did struggle a bit with parsing 24, which was last in.

  2. togo says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid (and Enigmatist). I think the @lit for the theme answer 8dn etc is superb, among some pretty fine cluing. I think you have one small error in your rush to rescue us – 5dn has ‘A IONA’ reversed.

  3. Mitz says:

    PPS: Really pedantic, so apologies in advance – PARANOIAC = CRAP around A IONA all backwards.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks Gaufrid – and Enigmatist for a lot of fun.

    This initially looked as daunting as Enigmatist puzzles usually do but I got 8,19,1 reasonably easily [it was obviously an anagram and two Xs and the enumeration were a big help.

    Fortunately, this was not – for me, at least – one of those puzzles that collapse as soon as the long teme answers are entered; there was still some head
    scratching to go.

    A few new words learned, as usual with this setter: I didn’t know a POMFRET was also a fish and I hadn’t heard of a TATOU. I couldn’t believe that RED-TAPIST was a word – but I see that it is.

    Favourite clue: TOAST – lovely!

    I’ve taken so long to type this that I see I’ve repeated practically all of Mitz’s comment – but I’ve written it so I’ll post it!

  5. Mitz says:

    Great minds, Eileen, great minds…!

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Enigmatist and Gaufrid for stepping in.

    Unlike Gaufrid, once I had 1066, I just looked up the work and filled in the relevant clues. Without that, I would still be puzzling!

  7. crypticsue says:

    Even with getting the anagrams fairly early on, I still had to work quite hard to get the rest. Never heard of a red-tapist for a start. Thanks to Enigmatist for the brain-stretching education and to Gaufrid for the blog.

  8. blaise says:

    I was skimming through my old copy of 8d and thought I’d share my favourite line, from Chapter 59. Wave of Inventions:


  9. Dave Ellison says:

    I echo Robi’s method and sentiment. I got 8d from the enumeration alone.

    I thought for once I was going to finish an Enigmatist, but 4d (and hence 10a) defeated me; ah, well, next time.

  10. blaise says:

    (Mr. Plimsoll’s invention)

  11. sidey says:

    Pomfret, a flat fish? Well, if you lie them on their sides they are flattish.

  12. cholecyst says:

    Thanks G and E. Lovely puzzle, infused with wit and elegance.
    Could this be the first puzzle that contains TWO words derived from the Tupi language (tatou and saki)?

  13. NeilW says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. Sorry, I’ve been busy so late to contribute, given my time zone.

    I loved this as it took me back to my youth – I must ask my daughter to take a look at 8etc. and tell me how much she understands of it – I remember finding it hilarious at the age of thirteen but I’m not sure history teaching is up to it any more.

    The only clue that I was uncomfortable with was 2 – is “less on” equivalent to “more bare?” Obvious, yes, but is it accurate?

  14. Mitz says:

    NeilW – I suppose that depends on whether you think ‘bare’ is an absolute like ‘unique’ or not. Personally, I think one would be more bare, ie with less on, in a bikini than an all-in-one swimsuit, for example.

  15. Stella Heath says:

    Many thanks for stepping in at the last minute, Gaufrid, and for an excellent resulting blog.

    I would have enjoyed it, certainly, as 8,19,1ac is on my TV table. I didn’t use it to find the other theme answers, and enjoyed the rest of the solve – except the brilliant TOAST, which I didn’t get :(

    I look forward to other “Enigmatists”, and hope to be able to blog him myself next time it’s my turn.


  16. NeilW says:

    Mitz, yes, I’m just nitpicking! Had a long day.

  17. Conrad Cork says:

    Anyone unfamiliar with Saji’s short stories would be well rewarded by taking a look. Edwardian to a t, but alive with savage humour and real savagery (eg werewolves) just below the surface.

    This is not the place to expand further alas.

  18. Conrad Cork says:

    Sorry Saki I meant you, honest.

  19. Mitz says:

    Someone on the Guardian website was just complaining about the definition of ‘spare rib’ being ‘porky’, and I was about to agree with him when someone else pointed out that the solution is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘fib’ – it is now my favourite clue of the day, even better than ‘toast’.

  20. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    Very clever puzzle from one of the Biggles, with too many splendid clues to mention.

    ‘Scottish island where you’ll see Christians regularly’ for IONA is tremendous; wordy, yes, but it makes for an excellent surface.

    I got the main title easily from the enumeration and the two Xs, but the subtitling took a bit longer to fathom. Splendid long anagrams – these often turn out as gibberish. TATOU was my last entry – a new one to me (I did find POMFRET swimming around in a dark recess of the mind). ‘It may be taken hot by Japanese’ immediately brought SAKE (the commoner spelling) to mind – I had to check the dictionary for the alternative spelling once I had remembered Monro and the monkey.

    ‘Statesman’ was used as the definition for ‘Nebraskan’ only recently, so I kicked myself when I eventually worked out 13d.

    RED-TAPIST and STUDY SKILL are slightly off the wall, but not surprising, given what Enigmatist had to insert in his crossword. Puzzles where half the grid is filled with linked long anagrams are not my favourite, in general, but this wonderful example of the genre made a refreshing change.

  21. MikeC says:

    Thanks G and E. I enjoyed this. Needed a little googling to get all the 1066 refs but I was very pleased to finish. Lots of varied, ingenious clueing. Mitz@19, I agree with you that 16d is very neat.

    Sorry NeilW, I really liked 2d – a touch naughty but really just harmless, schoolboy fun. The one that I thought was a bit on the weak side was 28a (SINE DIE). If you knew the phrase, the definition was very precise, and the word play a bit obvious.

  22. Mitz says:

    Just got this email back from the Grauniad, with reference to (gently) complaining emails that I sent in yesterday and today:

    “Thank you very much for both your emails about the cryptic crossword layout straddling the fold in the main section — you are not alone in expressing some anguish about this!

    We wanted to let you know that editors will definitely be taking a hard second look. Any change to a segment such as this can have knock-on effects not immediately apparent from the reader side, so revisions are not a simple matter … nonetheless, your point is definitely receiving serious attention.

    With luck, solutions will be found (pun intended).

    With best regards, and with thanks for your loyalty to the Guardian”

  23. Sarah says:

    In 5a isn’t it the sweet (Pomfret or Pontefract cake) that’s flat rather than the fish? A nicely misleading comma.

  24. Gervase says:

    Mitz @22: Thanks for flagging up the way to object to the position of the crossword in the new format of the paper. I got exactly the same email in reply to my own complaint, as, I imagine, did many others.

  25. Robi says:

    Mitz @22; I got a similar reply.

  26. bat020 says:

    still confused by 22a. what is “models” doing?

  27. Mitz says:

    bat020 @26

    ‘Models’ is the anagrind for ‘dusky’, which then ‘cracks’ (ie gets inserted into) ‘unruffled’, indicating ‘still’.

  28. chas says:

    I also got the same answer when complaining to newspaper.changes. I was all set to copy it in here but I see I was beaten to it.

  29. tupu says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid and Enigmatist

    I spent a bit of time on this this morning and then came back to it mid-afternoon and rather tired. I recognised the book but not the subtitle which I had to work out for myself from the clues.

    The puzzle was hard but entertaining and rewarding with some fun clues. I missed the rhyming subtlety of 16d and Sarah’s point @23. I also failed to parse paranoiac (having guessed it from the clue and crossing letters. I tried to do something with Aran which led me up proverbial Goose Creek).

    Lots of good clues.

  30. Andy says:

    TY Gaufrid for the blog.

    I have already whinged on the Guardian thread about the mispelling of ‘Saki’ for ‘Sake’. Just because the word is repeatedly misspelled in the West shouldn’t be an excuse to sanctify it in the dictionary. Japanese is phonetic with an unambiguous roman transliteration and sa-ke is the word for rice wine. sa-ki is something different.

    A very nice, tricky, elegant crossword, but it would have been improved IMO by choosing an accurate double defn for 24d, as opposed to an inaccurate triple defn. Karaoki anyone?

  31. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A great challenge which I am not sure whether I actually passed. I got the theme early and remember the book quite well but not the word ‘genuine’, hence 4d and 10ac only came out after I had read Gaufrid’s preamble.
    I also do not usually like long multi-clue anagrams but this was so good that I was happy to unravel them.
    Let’s have more puzzles like this, preferably not transgressing the fold!

  32. Stella Heath says:

    Sorry, Andy@30, but I find it a lttle less forgivable to misspell “misspelling” than a Japanese word which, though I’m sympathetic to the ‘phonetic’ nature of the language, few, if any of us can distinguish.

  33. Paul B says:

    Don’t understand the Iona ‘Christians regularly’ bit. Anyone?

  34. andy smith says:

    Stella @32 – hahaha – But the nature of the onlin interfce is that typing errors occur and yes I should be more careful to double check posts before sending them… You will note however that I didn’t msspell misspelled further along in the sentence, so unless you attribute me to some Shaksprian flexibility wrt to splling you can probly assume that I know how to spll the wrd.

    And in any event, some misspelt wittering by me at the back end of a blog is on a different order to a crossword published in the apaer.

    As far as the sake/saki thing is concerned it grated with me – like spelling ka-ra-o-ke karaoki – but the (misspelt) alternative is in Chambers so it isn’t a hanging offence, just not quite right, IMO.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    You tutched a nurve there, I think.

  36. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Enigmatist and Gaufrid for some fun in the late evening.

    Nice to be reminded of Pomfret cakes!

    Paul B @ 33, Iona is also known as Holy Island, which is an old established place of pilgrimage for Christians.


  37. tupu says:

    Hi Giovanna and PaulB

    I think it is Lindisfarne that is more usually known as Holy Island.

    As I noted @29 I missed the parsing of this answer. Apart from getting the island wrong I was looking for some reversal of intermittent letters of Christians to surround it rather than the more literal idea of regular Xtian pilgrimage to Iona whose monastery was founded by St Columba in the late 6th century.

  38. Husky says:

    Andy @30 – repeated misspelling is the best excuse for including “saki” in the dictionary. That’s how many words get in there. Dictionaries are records of usage, not correctness.

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