Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,555, by Boatman

Posted by PeterO on February 10th, 2012


I had considered indicating the definition part of each clue, but had not done so, because (a) I’m basically lazy, and (b) I detail the wordplay, and whatever is left over is generally the definition. If there is anything unusual about the definition, I will add a note to that effect (particularly for a Quiptic or Everyman, which are generally geared to the less experienced solver). However , the discussion of the last few days seems to indicate a desire for a more explicit indication, so I am happy to oblige:  definitions are underlined (which, as we shall see, is not always a trivial matter).
If this crossword were a weather report, I would change channel.

7. Went out before snowstorm in Telford and Harlow, perhaps (3,5)
NEW TOWNS NEWT, an anagram (‘out’) of ‘went’ + OWNS, an anagram (‘storm’) of ‘snow’. Both have NEW TOWN appended to their names.
9. Cold drink (6)
BITTER Double definition.
10. Welcome sign of cold weather (4)
HAIL Double definition. Hail can be produced by thunderstorms even in warm weather.
11. Rendition: a treatment that’s excessive (10)
INORDINATE An anagram (‘treatment’) of ‘rendition a’.
12. It’s cold: first frost on hilltop (6)
FRIDGE A charade of F (‘first Frost’) + RIDGE (‘hilltop’).
14. Always remove injured soldiers (8)
EVERMORE EVERMO, an anagram (‘injured’) of ‘remove’ + RE (Royal Engineers, ‘soldiers’).
15. Adverse weather report overlooked (6)
MISSED A homophone (‘report’) of MIST (‘adverse weather’).
17. Constancy of saint, unaltered (6)
STASIS A charade of ST (‘saint’) + AS IS (‘unaltered’).
20. An island in the sun, after Boatman views report of adverse travel conditions (3,5)
ICY ROADS A homophone (‘report’) of I SEE (‘Boatman views’) + RHODES (‘an island in the sun’).
22,8. Succeed with attempt to set out, turning about in burst of sleet? (6,6)
WINTRY SHOWER A charade of WIN (‘succeed’) + TRY (‘attempt’) + SHOW (display, ‘set out’) + ER, a reversal (‘turning’) of RE (‘about’).
23. Spooner’s call for unlikely defrosting — it’s needed to ease transportation (7,3)
24. An end to snow? What nonsense! (4)
THAW A anagram (‘nonsense’) of ‘what’.
25. Iron alloy beneath surface of fake pound coin (6)
FLORIN A charade of F (‘surface of Fake’) + L (libra, ‘pound’) + ORIN, an anagram (‘alloy’) of ‘iron’.
26. They may be right; the alternative is to embrace evidence, ultimately (8)
THEORIES A charade of ‘the’ + OR (‘alternative’) + an envelope (‘to embrace’) of E (‘evidencE, ultimately’) in ‘is’, with a semi-&lit-ish definition.
1. Star puts curse on a music industry award: Boatman’s lost (8)
HEXAGRAM A charade of HEX (‘curse’) + ‘a’ + GRAM[my] (‘music award’) with MY (‘Boatman’s’) removed (‘lost’). Better luck next year, Boatman.
2. Delayed, held up with other people … (2,2)
ET AL A reversal (‘held up’) of LATE (‘delayed’).
3. for some time in hail, we broke down (6)
AWHILE An anagram (‘broke down’) of ‘hail we’.
4. As a good dog with bone, it deliberated (8)
OBEDIENT An anagram (‘liberated’) of ‘bone it de’. A warning for those of you who do not like this device: there is more to come.
5. Rock artist‘s sound, supported by two family members (10)
STONEMASON A charade of S (the apostrophe s after ‘artist’) + TONE (‘sound’) + MA SON (‘two family members’).
6. Filthy weather, not warm? At first you’ll need this (6)
HEATER An anagram (‘filthy’) of ‘[w]eather’ with the W (‘warm’) removed (‘not at first’). Semi-&lit definition (should the whole clue be underlined?).
8. See 22 across
- See 22 across
13. Exhibition of Spode’s “Troy” ersatz vessels (10)
DESTROYERS A hidden answer (‘exhibition’) in ‘SpoDES TROY ERSatz’.
16. Imagine letters circulating about the end of the pencil! (8)
EMAILING An envelope (‘about’) of L (‘end of the penciL‘) in EMAIING, an anagram (‘letters circulating’) of ‘imagine’. Where is the definition? The clue must be an &lit, suggesting that email makes the pencil obsolete, but I feel it is a stretch.
18. She runs stark ere collapsing (8)
STREAKER An anagram (‘collapsing’) of ‘stark ere’, with a semi-&lit definition.
19. Company goes in to move rest of convoy (6)
ESCORT An envelope (‘goes in’) of CO (‘company’) in ESRT, an anagram (‘to move’) of ‘rest’.
21. Freezing cold, as the Downs are (6)
CHILLY A charade of C (‘cold’) + HILLY (‘as the Downs are’ For those not familiar with, say, the South Downs, they are uplands).
22. Change after end of snowman (6)
WALTER A charade of W (‘end of snoW‘) + ALTER (‘change’).
24. Some sleet or snow on the hills (4)
TORS A hidden answer (‘some of’) in ‘sleeT OR Snow’.

50 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,555, by Boatman”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I gather from your final remark in the preamble that you didn’t much like this – well, I did! I don’t have an issue with these suddenly in vogue “lift and separate” clues. (I think it was Eileen who coined this phrase.) It is unusual to see so many in one puzzle though.

    I agree with you that 16 is definitely meant to be an &lit although also agree that it isn’t the best example of the genre.

    The only clue I would take issue with is 25 – “beneath” doesn’t work in an across clue.

  2. NeilW says:

    Last one in for me was 1dn – I got mixed up between Emmy’s and Grammy’s! :(

  3. Alex in Oz says:

    Hi PeterO – thanks for the blog.

    I enjoyed this puzzle (as I usually do with Boatman), although it definitely made me yearn for my slippers and a big mug of tea. Fortunately we haven’t had the sub-zero temperatures here in Oz (just rain).

    16d is &lit-ish, although maybe the definition is just meant to be “the end of the pencil”. I recently saw an article on the BBC website mourning the dying art of letter-writing so this is quite a topical clue.

    I was also held up briefly, having entered FENICO at 25a, being FE (surface of FakE) and an anagram of COIN (pound being the anagrind). Turns out I was thinking of feRnico, which is an alloy of iron, nickel and cobalt (apparently). Did anyone else make this mistake? Just me then…

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeterO, for the blog, and Boatman for the enjoyable puzzle – although I usually expect the crossword to be a welcome diversion from the gloom of the weather and / or the morning news! ;-)

    Hi NeilW

    I can’t take the credit for ‘lift and separate’: I think I first noticed it in shuchi’s FT blogs and I see from her website

    that she attributes it to Times Crossword Champion Mark Goodliffe.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Boatman

    I enjoyed solving this timely puzzle as I occasionally looked out from the warmth at our snowy but sunny Cambridge garden.

    I too like the ‘lift and separate’ device, at least for the time being, but seem to have missed one. I ticked 20a, 22,8, 23a!, 24a, 4d!.

    Thanks for the parsing of 5d which was unclear to me (notwithstanding my positive comment above). I read it with Chambers’ help as stone = uncastrated (rare) = whole = sound etc. Just about possible but….

  6. Francis says:

    16 down is a ghastly mess. Quite apart from the lack of definition (calling it “&lit-ish” is too kind by half), what’s that second “the” doing? The end of “the” is E; to indicate L it should be “the end of pencil”.

  7. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    This was my favourite puzzle of the week, and took me rather longer to complete than any of the others. I always enjoy this varied use of a thematic idea – Boatman and Brummie are adept at it. And I’m a lover of ‘lift and separate’ (sorry, Andrew!), so there was much fun to be had here.

    Notable clues for me were 20a, 24a, 4d, 5d, 22d, and I liked the allusive nature of 16d, which was one of my last entries (L for ‘end of “the pencil”‘ works for me).

  8. apple grandpa says:

    Thanks Boatman, we enjoyed this puzzle: it rewarded the effort. Have you had it waiting for this weather?

    Favourite clues: 9ac,15ac,20ac,23ac,25ac and 1,4,5,16,21 and 22 dn (our last in).

    Sadly we missed the `lift and separate’ at 4 dn, though we had the answer. Thanks Peter O for the explanation.

  9. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Boatman and Peter O. I am a fan of underlining the definition, and as such this blog was just about perfect. I don’t mind “lift and separate” clues, but I don’t like the expression much. Is it supposed to refer to a bra?

    Is HEXAGRAM a reference to a snow crystal perhaps? How did Boatman know that it was going to snow where I live, near the South Downs, last night?

    Like NeilW, didn’t like the use of “beneath” in an across clue (25a FLORIN). Didn’t get EMAILING and don’t like it much.

  10. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. I enjoyed this more than you, obviously. 4d was very deft, and if 16d wasn`t for the purists it was still very nice. The initial S in 5d did bother me a bit though.

  11. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 19d ESCORT, at first I thought that ESCORT and CONVOY were not synonymous, taking them both as nouns, but then discovered that convoy can be used as a verb, “to convoy”, and as verbs they are synonymous.

  12. Robi says:

    Lovely puzzle, thanks Boatman. I particularly enjoyed OBEDIENT and ICY ROADS (especially when I look outside.) No need to Google the answers here (except I noticed that WALTER was also a main character in ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ which makes 22d even better, in my opinion.)

    Thanks PeterO; I can’t believe I MISSED mist. I thought 16 was OK, as Alex in Oz @3 says, I ‘imagined’ ;) the definition was ‘the end of the pencil.’ I sometimes think we are too critical of the precision of the clues – Francis @6, try reading the surface of 16 without the second ‘the;’ not very pretty.

    The BICYCLE OIL comes from the classic Spoonerism of a ‘well-boiled icicle.’

  13. Mitz says:

    Thanks PeterO and Boatman.

    Always impressive to have so many clues and/or solutions referring to the theme – well over half of them in this instance.

    I’m going to stick my neck out in defence of 16d – I scratched my head about this one (and most of the SW corner) but when I realised what was going on it made me smile. I take Francis’ point about the extra ‘the’ but IMHO an imaginative and original idea for a clue trumps such concerns. The definition part of the clue (as well as an indication that the letter ‘l’ is required somewhere) is clearly “the end of the pencil” – reminds me of the old saw about NASA spending a grillion dollars developing a biro that would work in zero-G, while the Russians simply stuck to the old fashioned (and cheap) method of writing things down.

    I took far too much time over ‘destroyers’ thinking it was an anagram of ‘Spode’s Troy’ with ‘ersatz’ as the anagrind. Kicked myself when I saw the light.

    ‘Bitter’ and ‘stasis’ were both beautifully economical, and I’m also a fan of the kind of misdirection seen in 4 and 22 with the definer sharing a word with the cryptic construction – not to everyone’s taste I’m sure, but good fun in my book.

    Last in for me was ‘bicycle oil’. Don’t know what it is about Spoonerisms: I just always seem to struggle with them. Very nice way to finish.

    I agree with NeilW – ‘beneath’ can only truly successfully be used in this way in a down clue. Also thought 18 was a bit weak. Minor quibbles about an outstanding puzzle.

  14. Mitz says:

    Hi molonglo,

    Re: your comment on 5d – I completely missed that the ‘s after ‘artist’ was the first part of the solution, thinking that ‘sound’ was intended as a synonym for ‘stone’, which I thought was a bit tenuous. For me, the clue is much improved now that I have seen PeterO’s explanation.

  15. Hobnob says:

    First-time commenter on this one, just to say: while I think l&s is fine for the cryptic part of the clue, I just can’t accept it in 22dn, where ‘man’ is the definition but ‘snow’ is part of the cryptic. And I’m not very comfortable with ‘de-liberated’ either! It just feels a bit like a step too far.

  16. Martin says:

    Nice topical theme – shame about some of the clueing which seemed a bit iffy to me.

  17. PeterO says:

    NeilW @1

    Here we have an example of a throw-away remark with an unintended reading. In the cold light of morning, it is obvious to me that your interpretation of the last sentence of my preamble is perfectly reasonable; however, it was intended as no more than a comment on the gloom of the weather theme. I wrote the blog in something of a hurry, and did not take the time to sit back and form an overall opinion of the crossword. I think that Mitz @13 sums it up very well – minor quibbles about an outstanding puzzle.
    The comments in 15² indicate mixed feelings about the lift and separate device – here it seems mostly positive, and I go with that, particularly when used as ingeniously as in 4D.

    PeterJonnN @11

    Given a little more time, I might have suggested treating ‘convoy’ as a verb. Thanks for pointing this out.

  18. JollySwagman says:

    16D must be one of the finest clues ever written.

    It has two definitions:

    “Imagine letters circulating about”


    “the end of the pencil”

    both of which clearly suggest (albeit cryptically) the answer, and which between them occupy the whole of the clue.

    The whole of the clue gives the wordplay, as it should. “the end of the pencil” is fine for L and makes a superb surface.

    I have never seen this construction (2 defs together in an &lit) before. You could equally view it as a double definition (both cryptic) in which the wordplay is an optional extra.

    Altogether a fine clue, the enjoyment of which is enhanced by the thought of Ximeneans tearing their hair out over it.

  19. NeilW says:

    JS, well done, you’ve got it! It has been rattling around in my mind’s crevices all day. I almost achieved your insight when I read Gervase’s comment @7. As I said, well done and also nice to see you becoming a regular and percipient contributor. Thank you.

  20. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO. I enjoyed this very much, with my only quibble being the afore-mentioned ‘beneath’ in an across clue.

    I am one of those who really enjoyed 16dn, especially as there’s been so much in the papers lately about the death of letter-writing, as a previous contributor said. Made me smile, anyway :-)

    My last was the Spoonerism, which had me staring at -I-Y-L- blankly for ages until the penny dropped.

    Mr Beaver — if you’re reading — thanks for your comment @72 in the Gordius blog. Amazing that Uhuru is still going!

  21. Mitz says:

    JollySwagman: you have deftly summed up exactly what I think about 16d – bravo!

  22. JollySwagman says:

    @NeilW – thanks for the kind words. Actually I missed a lot of the subtlety myself first time through, being happy just to have a solution which obviously fitted and move on to the next clue.

    I was mainly spurred on to re-examine it after reading various criticisms of it, both here and on the Guardian thread. I suppose I am by nature a defender of setters, particularly when the clues of libertarian setters are criticised by ximeneans for supposed failings which, in the libertarian context are not failings at all.

    I think one of the (many) good things on this site is the requirement (usually observed) to be specific in any criticism of a puzzle or clue.

    Sorry PeterO – I omitted earlier to thank you for the thorough blog and update – also of course Boatman for yet another fine puzzle. I always look forward to a Boatman puzzle.

  23. Median says:

    Enjoyable puzzle – clever and timely. I only slipped once on the ice: at 9 I had ‘FROSTY’ for a while before realising it was BITTER.

  24. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 16d, I have never written a letter(communication)in pencil, have you?

  25. PeterJohnN says:

    ….but I do use pencils for drawing. Emailing will not therefore make them obsolete!

  26. NeilW says:

    PeterJohnN, as Mitz recounts @13, pencil is still the best and most reliable and the clue doesn’t necessarily mean letters in the “enveloped” sense – that’s why I liked Gervase’s @7 use of the word “allusive”.

  27. Boatman says:

    You know, I couldn’t have parsed EMAILING as clearly as the Swagman did … It’s a funny thing, you just know after a while whether a clue is working and (to my taste) allusion and double meanings just add to the fun.

    The test, as ever, is whether a clue is fair, and that means that there has to be at least one unequivocal route to the solution – usually, that means either a Ximenean parsing of the wordplay or a really unambiguous definition, though in this case you have a combination of allusive definitions and wordplay which I’d say is only very slightly sneaky – if you can ignore the extra “the”, at least.

    The same thing goes for the “lift & separate” clues. I find them very attractive, obviously, though we have to be careful about giving a clear definition in order to make them fair. It interests me that most of what Shuchi was talking about in her blog was the separation of words within set phrases, rather than the more surgical processes that I’m experimenting with here – I hesitate to suggest parallels in the beauty industry …

  28. Monkeypuzzler says:

    I think I’ll step into the “I like it” lobby for 16d. My enjoyment in doing crosswords is in getting those “Ahhh!” lightbulb-illuminating-above-head moments, rather than routinely applying the hackneyed decyphering techniques.

    But having said that,I’m not so sure about JollySwagman’s statements @18, as one can’t say one of the definitions is “imagine letters circulating about”, because there is no “l” in “imagine” to make “emailing”. Of course this is where the “end of the pencil” enters the fray (a device I have no problems with, btw). So if we don’t have all the letters to make the anagram, it cannot be regarded as a bone fide definition without it’s missing element (l-ement?!)

    So I think the clue does have to go into the semi-&lit box.

  29. Mitz says:

    Firstly, thanks to Boatman for dropping by – always good to get a response from the setter. Couldn’t agree with you more: fairness should absolutely the number one priority of any setter. Happily, in this wonderfully ambiguous world one person’s fair is another’s inexcusable. Vive la difference!

    Monkeypuzzler: I would assert that “Imagine letters flying about” is a figurative and somewhat poetic way of describing what emailing is: virtual letters (both in the sense of correspondence and characters), flying about through the ether. It certainly qualifies as a cryptic definition, as does “the end of the pencil!”.

  30. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Boatman. A final thought before bedtime: I think that there is little choice on 16: you’re either in the Francis @6 camp or the JS @18 camp – there doesn’t seem to be much to choose between the two. I’m for the latter!

  31. Paul B says:

    Well, Jolly Swagman did warn in advance that he would be coming along at every opportunity call blatantly non-&lit clues &lit clues just to annoy people like me, and I’m so glad to see that he is a Swagman of his word.

    Imagine letters circulating about the end of the pencil! (8)

    does not define EMAILING in any way, shape or form to my way of thinking, contains superfluous material that can’t be justified (to my way of thinking) except to bolster a surface that is clearly struggling to make any sense. At best it makes a (pretty clumsy) build-up FOR a missing definition, but that’s about it (to my way of thinking). Swaggers, you must be Joe King.

    In other news, I still don’t understand what people mean by ‘lift and separate’ when referring to a clue that’s been run-on, i.e. has no link word or phrase between the definition and wordplay (or vice-versa: though it MAY have link words elsewhere, just to add to the fun). It’s just ‘run-on’ isn’t it?

  32. Paul B says:

    I should say though, despite my remarks on the emailing clue (which were entirely designed to counter the propaganda issued by Swag) that I found this puzzle a most rewarding solve. Obviously I didn’t like 16 much, although I could see what the compiler was getting at, but I really like the Boatman’s style: long may he thrive at The Grauniad!

  33. John says:

    In my understanding of a spoonerism, which is “an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are exchanged”, 23 ac isn’t one.

  34. PeterO says:

    Thanks for dropping by; your, and JollySwagman’s, explanation of 16D certainly lifts the clue in my estimation. I have made the earth-shattering revision of splitting the underlining into two parts, but I leave the “stretch” bit in; describing the clue as “allusive” would be a less judgemental way of expressing it.

    Hobnob @15
    I was not ignoring your comment when @17 I said that the vote here was in favour of L&S; I was writing that with the cat on my lap, commanding so much attention that I scarcely had one finger with which to type. As a result, I had not even seen your entry when I finally finished mine. Welcome to the site, and keep your opinions flowing. As put out in the link that Eileen @4 gives, the essence of L&S is the requirement of splitting a naturally associated phrase (shuchi’s prime concern) or a single word (Boatman’s, among others) between wordplay and definition, in order to get the appropriate cryptic reinterpretation of the clue. This is a little more than the “run-on” that Paul B @31 seems to describe.

  35. PeterO says:

    John @33,
    We have had this one before. Your definition seems to be lifted straight from Wikipedia; yet a few lines down, they give the example of “a well-boiled icicle”, in which the b is exchange with nothing. Take your choice.

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A very enjoyable mental exercise for today.
    The theme added nothing to that enjoyment (since it was not used at all to add to the solving process) but nor did it detract in any way.
    So good luck to the themists among you.
    I had not understood previously what references to ‘lift and separate’ meant. Now I do and I thoroughly approve. Any clever, new device to add to the compiler’s toolbox is welcome. I do not really see where the lift comes from but that’s immaterial.
    I think 16d is excellent.

  37. Wolfie says:

    Thanks to Boatman for a most enjoyable puzzle. 16d brought a smile to my face! thanks also to Peter O for the blog.

    For once I find myself entirely in agreement with RCWhiting.

  38. Mr & Mrs Jones says:

    We two are new to cryptics and find this blog invaluable, many thanks to all concerned. Today’s was our first completion without use of the cheat button, and it was a lot of fun.

    For what it’s worth, clueing seems to me the art of saying one thing while also meaning another, so the more allusive and poetically rich the better, as far as I am concerned. I enjoy the mechanics of it, though don’t want to be too rule-bound. For me 16d was graphic.

  39. Robi says:

    Welcome Mr & Mrs Jones; I think the majority opinion was that 16 was a spiffing clue.

  40. JollySwagman says:

    In 16D I wonder whether there really is any formal objection to “the end of the pencil” for L – definite articles being such a rare breed in crossword clues.

    Is there necessarily anthing wrong with treating a noun and its article as a single whole.

    Surely “the middle of the war” gives EW or HEWA – not A.

    Also with a compound noun – “the end of Coronation Street” could obviously give NST but couldn’t it also just give T?

  41. RCWhiting says:

    Possibly not; probably so; maybe; if it makes folk happy.

  42. Dave Ellison says:

    Mostly an OK Xword, but nothing to be excited about, in my view.

    Robi @ 39, I haven’t counted them up, but my vote goes with PaulB @ 31, for once (on 16d) – didn’t like it at all.

    No one else seems to have objected to 12a; a RIDGE is not a hilltop in my experience (though it would lead to one).

  43. Ape says:

    Great puzzle, liked the style.

    Thought EMAILING was excellent in retrospect, but slightly unsatisfactory at the time of solving as with all the half-definitions wasn’t quite convinced it was the right answer, though it sort of had to be.

    I preferred as clue of the day:

    OBEDIENT – As a good dog with bone, it deliberated

    because it reads very nicely and both the synonym and the word play make it obvious once you’ve got it.

  44. PeterO says:

    Dave Ellison @42

    Among the definitions of ridge:

    A long narrow top or crest (Chambers)

    The long narrow top of a mountain or group of mountains (Macmillan)

    A long, narrow hilltop, mountain range, or watershed (Oxford)

  45. Paul B says:

    Re #40 see recent debate at CC.

  46. fish says:

    Re Mitz, @13:

    The story about the Russians simply using a pencil has considerable staying power but, if you imaging a broken-off tip of (electrically conductive) graphite floating round mission-critical electronics in zero gravity, it is clear that no-one would permit a pencil on a spacecraft.

    This is my first post on 15², although I’ve been lurking for some time. It would be inexcusable to sign off without offering huge thanks to all: setters, bloggers and commentators alike.

  47. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, PeterO @ 44. I had checked several online dictionaries before posting, and couldn’t find mention of hilltop. I didn’t have Chambers or OED to hand.

    The Chamber’s and Macmillan definitions do not really mention hilltop as such, and the crest part suggests the usual understanding of ridge.

    I won’t open up a discussion on Munros, tops and Marylins etc!

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    For some reason, in the last few months, I had always other commitments when the compiler was Boatman, therefore not being able to do his puzzles on the day itself. This time, however, I was / we were lucky – hurrah!

    On his website Boatman quotes something that I said long ago about his puzzles – that he is the B in my crossword ABC and that ‘this’ (ie his puzzles) is a reason why people like crosswords.
    To be honest, I found Boatman’s recent puzzles always enjoyable but also somewhat over-clever. And that B could easily be Brendan’s too.
    But this was a charmer of a puzzle.

    Boatman is very keen on themed puzzles, but this ‘theme’ didn’t feel like a ‘theme’ for us. It was more like a ‘wintry flavour’, a bonus that made this crossword a real entity.

    I have read this L&S discussion, but I always thought that L&S meant “splitting up things (esp. phrases or separate words) in a clue that are closely linked through the surface” [which seems to be underlined by Boatman in his post @27]. Cutting up words [like in de/liberated or snow/man] is for me something different. A couple of years ago, I did not really like it, but nowadays it is so common that it has become a ‘new’ device. If one wants to make it part of L&S, fine by me, I can’t be bothered.
    In fact, when I saw 17ac (“Constancy of saint, unaltered”), I immediately thought of “saint,un/altered”, knowing that Boatman loves this trick. Of course, here it doesn’t work.
    Therefore, no problem with de/liberated. However, I agree with Hobnob @15 in what (s)he says about snow/man. It is not common to have one of these parts (here: man) being used as the definition. In the recent Philistine blog, I said a similar thing.
    That said, if we’re splitting up anyway, why not include the definition?

    I can imagine that some people will also have a slight problem with the “apostrophe s” in 5d. When I did this myself a few years ago in the Cryptica competition with “Winter sport’s flight announcement (12)”, Paul wasn’t fully happy with it.
    Times have changed, that’s for sure [but perhaps more in the world of The Guardian than eg in that of The Times].
    And, let’s face it, Boatman ignores any kind of punctuation, a good example of that being 6d (HEATER).

    This was a very satisfying crossword.
    Very accessible – and once you’re in, eminently solvable.
    Perhaps, some don’t like “first frost” for F (as opposed to “first of frost” (which, of course, doesn’t make sense within the surface)0.
    Or ask themselves why a STREAKER is defined by “she runs” (female?).
    Or have doubts about EMAILING – at first, I raised my eyebrows, then started appreciating the imagination of the clue. I am not interested in whether it is called an &Lit or not, as long as the clue works it’s ok for me [and it did].
    And, finally, the funny thing in the ESCORT clue is that “Company” could have been the definition too. I know, it’s not, but it made me feel that there might have been &Lit chances.

    Verdict of my PinC?
    Thumbs up for Boatman!

  49. Huw Powell says:

    A lovely little ramble through the frozen wastes of what is a very mild winter here in my corner of the continent (coastal NH).

    One of the few occasional puzzles I manage to completely solve without aids or looking up odd words or places; I was about 6 or 7 clues in thinking “those were easy, now what awaits?”, but one by one they gently fell, with some lovely “ahas”, ie at 4, 20, 23, 17, etc.

    To chime in on the controversy of the day…

    Imagine letters circulating about the end of the pencil! (8)

    If we take L as an abbreviation for “letters” (can we?), it all falls into place: (Imagine L)* = “the end of the pencil”. Simple enough. Though I was happy with the loose &lit while solving, using the last L for the anagram rather than the first.

    Lovely puzzle, Boatman, and thanks so much for dropping by; and thanks for the carefully presented blog, PeterO, and to everyone else for the lively and interesting commentary!

  50. Paul B says:

    Unfortunately we can’t: Huw, if you want to find out about single-letter inds, just look up the relevant heading in either Collins or Chambers (the two dictionaries most frequently used) and scroll through. Bear in mind that some papers (The Times for one) accept only a limited selection of same.

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