Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,568 / Paul

Posted by mhl on March 3rd, 2012

mhl.

I count myself very lucky to have a third Paul in a row to post about! As usual, this was lots of fun, with a good amount of surprising definitions and intricate wordplay. We found this slow going to start with, until guessing the theme from 4 down – then it was a fast solve until having to deal with a mistake (11 across) and an idée fixe (6 down) to complete it.

Across
4. STAGGER STAGGER[s] = “Problem for [HORSE]s not entirely”; Definition: “shock”
9. E-COMMERCE ECO = “Italian novelist” followed by ME = “Paul” around MERC = “German car”; Definition: “Online business”
10,1. BLACK BEAUTY B = “book” + LACK BEAUTY = “to be plain”; Definition: “Book”
11. PINTO PINT = “a drink” + O = “old”; Definition: “[HORSE]“. We made a time-wasting mistake here, putting in “PUNCH”, thinking it was a double definition “drink” / “old horse”…
12. HIGH TIDES Spoonerism of “Thai hides” = “Southeast Asian skins”; Definition: “Current uprisings”
13. RESCIND RIND = “skin” around ESC = “key” (the “Escape” key on your computer); Definition: “Cut away”
15. RED RUM MURDER = “Do in” reversed; Definition: “[HORSE]“
17,8. DESERT ORCHID Tough wordplay here: (HORSE IT’D C RED)* – the anagrind is the second word of 15 (RUM), with RED being part of the fodder. Definition: “[HORSE]“
19. SPLIT UP (LIPS)* + TUP = “sheep”; Definition: “Part”
22. UP THE HILL HI (Henry I) = “king” HI = HI[king] in HELL beside (PUT)*; Definition: “As a climber went hikingThanks to BigglesA for pointing out this better parsing
24. ARKLE SPARKLE = “to shine” without SP = “price dropped” (SP means Starting Price); Definition: “[HORSE]“
26. HORSE Hidden in “[AUTHOR] [SEWELL]“; Definition: “[BLACK BEAUTY], perhaps”
27. GRENADINE [beer]R in (NEEDING A)*; Definition: “drink”
28. RUDDIER I = “individual” in RUDDER = “guide”; Definition: “More healthy-looking”
29. SEWELL SWELL = “Wonderful” around E = “English”; Definition: “[AUTHOR]“
Down
1. BLEEPER B[lemishes] followed by RE = “on” + PEEL = “skin” reversed; Definition: “Doctor’s assistant” – a silly but amusing definition
2. ACORN A + CORN = “limp reason” (i.e. a reason that you might limp); Definition: “fruit?”
3. TEMPORISE (EMPTIER SO)*; Definition: “Stall”
4. SHERGAR [f]R[o]G = “Frog getting odds cut” in SHEAR = “fleece”; Definition: “[HORSE]“
5. AMBIT M = “Mariner primarily” in A BIT = “some”; Definition: “compass”, in its sense of “range”
6. GRAND-AUNT GRUNT = “Beastly remark” around AND A = “with a”; Definition: “relative”. I got really stuck on thinking that TAUNT must be the “Beastly remark”….
7. RAKISH I K = “one kilometre” reversed with RASH = “reckless” around; Definition: “Dashing”
14. SHELTERED SHE = “woman” + (LET)* + RED = “revolutionary”; Definition: “Quiet”
16. DELTA WAVE (WE VAL[i]DATE)*; Definition: “Evidence of brain activity”
18. TRIGGER Double definition: “[HORSE]” and “set off”
19. SILVER Double definition: “Second” and “[HORSE]“
20. PRESELL P = “Little money” followed by S in “son” in REEL = “rock” + L = “left”; Definition: “market early”
21. AUTHOR AU = “gold” over THOR = “god”; Definition: “Potter, say”
23. ELEMI Hidden reversed in “in tIME LEaking”; Definition: “Resin” – a kind clue for an obscure word (albeit one that comes up a lot in crosswords)
25. KNIFE E[at] + FINK = “grass” all reversed; Definition: “Kris, perhaps”

16 Responses to “Guardian 25,568 / Paul”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I entered through ‘Arkell’ although I took the SP to be selling price but your version is more related to the horses.
    As a non-follower I thought this was a bad omen but the actual named horses were all famous enough to have entered the public awareness.
    Last in was ‘Trigger’, no idea why.
    Quite enjoyable and just about up to standard for a prize puzzle.
    ‘Elemi’was an easy entry although I too have only ever encountered the word in crosswords.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. 90 minutes without aids: how did these (non-cowboy) 26as insert themselves into my subconscious, I wonder. That clue gave the key to the theme, so just as well AUTHOR was easy, providing its first letter. Last in though was 22a, nice one. As was SEWELL, with no link given to 10,1 – how subtle is that?

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. Unversed in the sport of kings I had to seek assistance with racehorse names after BLACK BEAUTY and HORSE revealed the theme.

    In 22 I thought HIKING less KING was HI et seq.

    Grand-aunt was unfamiliar to me, I would have used great-aunt to describe a grandparent’s sister.

  4. crosser says:

    Thanks, mhl.
    I parsed 22a as Biggles @3 did.
    I didn’t know the word kris (25a).

  5. Robi says:

    Masochistically entertaining as Paul bounced me around the grid. I got H???E for 26, but didn’t know for a while whether it was going to be house or HORSE. This was quite a work out for me (took most of Sat evening!)

    Thanks mhl; especially for the parsing of DESERT ORCHID. I, too, played with Great AUNT, and parsed 22 as Biggles @3.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul

    An very enjoyable and quite testing puzzle. As RCW says, the race horses were famous enough for a non-aficionado to get. Trigger and Silver brought back memories of Saturday morning cinema lomg ago.

    I parsed 4a as an anagram (problem) of GGS + TARE (incomplete weight in various senses). mhl’s parsing is unclear to me. Am I ‘blinkered’ here?

    I parsed 22a as BigglesA and crosser.

    I ticked 10a, 12a, 15a, 19a, 26a, 2d, 14d.

    I’m not sure about molongolo’s comment re 29 which is linked to 10,1 in 22a.

  7. Robi says:

    tupu @6; very inventive parsing of 4a, but I can’t see anything wrong with mhl’s parsing. STAGGERs is a problem [disease] for horses, isn’t that so?

  8. tupu says:

    thanks robi. I did not know that. It is no doubt the correct parsing though it diminishes the interest of the clue.

  9. tupu says:

    Re Saturday morning cinema, one of my favourites was Buck Jones. My vague recollection is that he too had a horse called Silver and this seems to be correct (it’s bound to happen some time! :)).
    http://filesofjerryblake.netfirms.com/html/buck_jones.html

  10. rrc says:

    i managed ecommerce and temporise and then came to a halt – when I later discovered the theme was horses I gave up completely. Far too many clues interlinked which made this difficult.

  11. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog mhl. I enjoyed this despite being very slow to get the theme. After plenty of crossing letters the penny finally dropped and I feared for the worse, not being a horse person (although born in that Chinese year :)

    In the end DESERT ORCHID was my favourite, by a short head from AUTHOR.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    I have remembered why ‘Arkell’ was my first in: it is the name of the local brewery where I first started visiting pubs as a teenager.
    tupu, isn’t nostalgia great?

  13. tupu says:

    Hi RCW
    Yes but I’ve heard it isn’t what it used to be

  14. molonglo says:

    tupu #6: Credit to Paul for not making it easy, by linking 10 & 29 at either end. Sewell, author, is solely famous for Black Beauty.

  15. Gervase says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Nice solve. Quite early I spotted that 24a could be ARKLE and checking with 26a, for which HORSE obviously fitted, I was up and over the first fence. TRIGGER and SILVER were last in – not because the equines were unfamiliar, but because of the exiguity of the clues.

    I had to check ELEMI in the dictionary, but the wordplay clearly led in that direction.

  16. mhl says:

    Sorry for not replying and updating earlier – I was away over the weekend. Thanks for all the comments. I’ve corrected 22a now.

    I didn’t know TRIGGER or ARKLE were horses, but both were familiar to my partner, fortunately. The trio of SHERGAR, RED RUM and DESERT ORCHID are the names that the equine-illiterate (such as myself) randomly answer in quizzes whenever the answer is expected to be a horse, which seems to be fairly successful :)

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