Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,576 – Qaos

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 6th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Welcome Qaos, to a very distinguished panel of Guardian setters.

Quite an entertaining puzzle but I find that devices (eg 1 for one and R for right side) are being repeated in the same puzzle. This may not be wrong but it is inelegant.

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue

1 PAISLEY Ins of AISLE (sounds like I’ll) in PY (extreme letters of PLAY, performance) Isn’t this indirect?
5 ICE CUBE  Alternate letters from bIg ChEf CrUmBlE
10 DONE  D (down) ONE (1)
11 THE HORRORS  Ins of HORROR (fear) in THESe
13 DECISION  DEC (Declan Joseph Oliver “Dec” Donnelly, one half of the English acting and TV presenting duo Ant & Dec) I (one) + SImON Cowell (of Britain’s Got Talent & American Idol fame)
14 GEOGRAPHY  *(EGO) GRAPH (plot) Y (last letter of vanity)
16 MARSH  MARS (planet) H (hot)
17 PARRY  PAR (rev of RAP, strike) RY (railway lines)
19 LIVERPOOL  LIVE (to be) R (right) POOL (water)
23 JET BLACK  Ins of *(BELT) in JACK (man)
24 MIASMA  ha
26 HAILSTORMS  Ins of M (my head) in *(THIS SOLAR)
27 RUSH  dd a marsh plant & a darting movement
29 KENNEDY  Ins of ED (middle letters of REDS) in KENNY Dalglish, current manager of Liverpool FC
2 AGONISE  Ins of O (oxygen) in *(AGES IN)
3 STEEL  Rev of (ins of E, English in LET, allow + S, first letter of serf) for David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, KT, KBE, PC, a British Liberal Democrat politician who served as the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 until its merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
4 ECTHYMA  *(THE YMCA) an eruption of the skin forming large pustules
6 CROUCH  C (first letter of ramp) R (right side) OUCH (that hurts!)
7 CARD SHARP  CARD (programme) *(GRAPHICS minus CGI)
8 BURROWS  dud Verb & noun of the same root word or water from the same well
15 GARIBALDI  Sounds like GARY (Cooper) BAWLED (cried out loud) I (one). I must have seen this same word at least three times in the past week; but this one takes the biscuit :-)
18 AVERAGE  Ins of VERA Lynn in AGE (time) Have I related the WWII story of Dame Vera Lynn, considered a national treasure being moved to the north of Scotland away from German bombs? In those days of rationing, boring diet and harsh living conditions, she awoke one morning and danced her merry way to the wharfs to greet the returning fishing vessels. She gambolled onto such a vessel, drew back the protective tarpaulin covers and then had a look and wailed out the immortal lines “Whale meat, again?!”
20 EN MASSE  *(MEN) ASS (fool) E (Ecstasy)
22 TATTOO  THAT minus H, hard TO O (love)
25 APRON  AP (rev of PA, father) R (right) ON

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


45 Responses to “Guardian 25,576 – Qaos”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks UY and Qaos.

    Enjoyed this – quite liked the Liverpool FC theme – players/managers/ex director etc.
    Would have liked it more if they hadn’t beaten my team in Carling Cup Final!

  2. Dr G says:

    Thanks UY for a nice blog.
    Agree with your comment regarding repeat use of same device.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY.

    A strange mixture of very easy and rather odd clues, especially 1ac. Not only is PY indirectly clued but the homophone itself is also “indirect” in that it’s not pronounced like that in PAISLEY. Still, I guess, well done, thanks, Qaos for trying to be different!

    Like EB, I too spotted the LFC theme but then I would, being a fan since boyhood.

  4. Monica M says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    Great to see a new setter enter the fray.

    With the assistance of the internet I was able to understand the very British (IMHO) clues (13a, 29a & 13a).

    Favourite clue 24a.

  5. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for blog.i make it 8 clues being LFC related (1, 6, 8, 17, 19, 27, 28 and 29). Sadly, this season, you could also argue that 2 and 18 apply.

  6. bagbird says:

    There was a theme? I managed to complete this while remaining completely oblivious to any LFC connections. But then, I can’t stand football. Enjoyed the puzzle despite my blissful ignorance , thanks Qaos.

  7. NeilW says:

    This isn’t actually the first appearance of Qaos in the Guardian Cryptics – that was January 12th this year. That puzzle was also pretty straightforward.

    What’s surprising is that his/her first Guardian appearance was last year as the setter for a Genius puzzle! Perhaps it’s just a question of overshoot in coming down from the dizzy heights of the Genius and the next one will have found level flight. :)

  8. William says:

    Thanks, Uncle, and welcome Qaos.

    Not generally in my nature to be negative, especially to a newcomer, but this wasn’t really my cup of tea.

    I thought both THE HORRORS and BURROWS used a double device that rendered the clues not very cryptic.

    PAISLEY requires one to derive PLAY before hollowing it.

    The clue I did enjoy was DONE at 10a, but what a shame to squander it on a grid with no 1down? It would have been an elegant misdirect if there had been one.

    Like Bagbird @6 I failed to spot the theme being a footiephobe. My father used to say it was the only game played with the outside of the head.

    Hey-ho, press on Qaos and thank you. I look forward to your next.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, UY. I’m another who didn’t spot the ghost theme, and I am partial to a bit of football. But so what? It was a pleasing puzzle with some nice smiles – particularly for KENNEDY and DECISION – and I also particularly liked the clever HAILSTORMS clue.

    Generally pretty accessible, but with some trickier clues thrown in. Yes, there are one or two niggles as people have already said (I’m not keen either on the indirectness of 1ac, but exactly the same device is used in today’s Indy). And I’m slightly confused by the seemingly random dropping of the final ‘g’ in flippin’ in 17ac. Perhaps it’s another Liverpool reference, to the Scouse pronunciation of de werd …

    Good stuff; I could handle some more of his or her puzzles.

  10. Paul B says:

    In 1ac ‘recite’ also irks for tense, if you either are, or try to be, a purist. The other way around, ‘recite I’ll’, offers an imperatival sense, but I don’t think you can have that from what’s there at the moment. And, as has been mentioned, the containment device is indirect. Maybe not your ideal 1ac?

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Qaos

    A mixed bag as some others have said.

    I didn’t take to so many references to ‘personalities’ and I thought 8d and 11a were scarcely cryptic so I hesitatted to put them in at first.

    1a had me trying to see if Paislee was an alternative spelling for the material (p[erformanc]e) but the penny did drop.

    I had to check 4d (Just William’s girlfriend’s version of a better known skin problem?).

    I did not like the clue to 9d. I would prefer not to start an argument about PC words, but ‘savages’ in this context is not one of them and is arguably more ‘dehumanising’ than the practice in question. This was technically extremely sophisticated and a part (for better or worse) of Jivaro religion. It certainly lacked the extraordinary disrespect for the enemy dead that some recent events in Afghanistan have displayed.

    I was nicely misled by 23a (looking for slack = loose somewhere, and I thought 22d was clever.

  12. Robi says:

    I enjoyed this, and thanks to Aoxomoxoa for pointing out all the Liverpool players (Barry Venison, indeed!)

    Thanks also to UY for a nice blog. I thought the cluing was quite precise. I don’t really see what the objection is to 1; it was fairly obvious that the containment word was play.

    I thought 11 might have been THE teRRORS at first, although I don’t think it is as recognised as THE HORRORS. JET BLACK took a moment or two to parse, although I got there in the end. Perhaps for BURROWS, Qaos could have used William Burroughs, although homophones tend to get short shrift here.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A good challenge (much superior to yesterday’s).
    Last solved was 1ac, I also (a la tupu) tried ‘paislee’.
    Last written in was ‘rush’ because I couldn’t, and still cannot, reconsile shoot as a definition for rush.
    Interesting how one’s definition of average depends entirely on where you are standing. I am a Swindon Town supporter.

  14. crypticsue says:

    I still have the Times to go but have done the ‘rest’ and for me this is the best cryptic of the day so far. Even though not a football fan, I did see the Liverpool link but didn’t spot the ghosts. Thanks to Uncle Y and especially to Qaos. Kathryn’s Dad – Qaos is a he – I had the pleasure of meeting him at a crossword s&b meeting in January – and I should quickly point out that this didn’t affect my view of today’s puzzle – if I hadn’t enjoyed it I would have said so!

  15. Robi says:

    RCW @13; maybe in the sense that a police car shoots (rushes) past.

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, crypticsue for the gender elucidation.

    RCW at no 13, how about (in an informal register anyway): ‘I’ve got to shoot’, ‘I’ve got to rush’.

  17. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I thought this was generally good, but a few clues were a little rough at the edges, so to speak. William @8 points out most of them, but I still enjoyd the puzzle regardless.

    RCW – rush and shoot can both mean ‘to move quickly’

  18. PeeDee says:

    PS I liked the theme, it was very well done. It added interest but did not reduce the crossword to a ‘hunt the name’ execise like some themes do. The crossword also worked perfectly well on its own, regardless of whether one knew/spotted/cared about the theme.

  19. Berny says:

    Welcome change but not really impressed by implied buildup of some of the clues!

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks @15,16,17
    I am now 50% convinced!

  21. Kayoz says:

    I have seen Qaos before and had no preconceived ideas, probably because I don’t tend to equate a crossword to the setter as much as those of you on this site who are more experienced than me. That being said, I didn’t like it that much. Like Monica @ 4, if you don’t currently live in the UK, some of the football references seemed a bit parochial to me.

    First in was 2d AGONISE. Clue of the day was Jet Black. I think 1ac PAISLEY is a pattern, not a material. A pattern on a material yes, but not what it is made of surely.

  22. Wolfie says:

    As a Liverpool supporter I was pleased by today’s theme!

    I think the cluing of RUSH refers to the fact that in the film industry the initial prints of a day’s film shooting are referred to as the rushes.

    Tupu @11 – I too raised my eyebrows at 9d.

    Thanks UY for the blog.

  23. Le Petomane says:

    My wife says that paisley is a pattern, not a material. You can have paisley patterns in any material. There you are.

  24. Bastion says:

    Further to Aoxomoxoa at #5, other Liverpool players are referenced at 10 (Cyril DONE) and 16 (Mike MARSH). There has been at least one 3, although none of note. 29 may refer to Ray, Alan and even Mark.

  25. Wolfie says:

    Mike MARSH played for Liverpool in the 1990s.

  26. Janey K says:

    Really enjoyed this (without spotting the theme…!) but could someone please explain the dropped g in flippin’ (17a)? Thank you!

  27. Bastion says:

    The popular Gary McAllister may not appreciate it, but is also accurately described by 15 during his time at Anfield!

  28. Bastion says:

    Sorry, meant to add this link to illuminate: Gary McAllister.

  29. mike04 says:

    Kayoz @21 & Le Petomane @23

    That’s what I thought too, but I found this later in Chambers:
    paisley, n. a woollen or other fabric with a pattern resembling Paisley pattern: an article made of this.

  30. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. You explained why I had the right answer for 13A. Television personalities tend to mean nothing to me – I got rid of the goggle box years ago! I have heard of Ant&Dec and also Simon Cowel but that is all.

    I did not spot a Liverpool theme – but I suspected a Liberal Party theme [David] STEEL and [Charles] KENNEDY :)

    I have seen ‘osmosis’ as a noun so assume there could be a verb derived from it – but before today I have never seen such a thing.

  31. tupu says:

    I am a little puzzled by 15d.
    I assume that ‘loud’ must be the ‘homophone indicator’ rather than part of the definition of ‘bawled’ as UY seems to imply.

    I must confess that I too missed most of the Anfield references. As one or two others have said, the puzzle was quite accessible without this, but I should seen beyond 29 and 19a.

  32. flashling says:

    Quite fun but I don’t really get the “flippin'” bit, missed some of the LFC references but hey ho.

  33. tupu says:

    Re 17a flippin’
    I took this to be an attempt to mislead by using an informal form which suggests it might simply be a euphemism rather than a reversal indicator.

  34. Qaos says:

    Hi all,

    Many thanks Uncle Yap for the blog and to everyone else for their feedback. It’s always appreciated.

    The comments on 1a both here and on The Guardian site have been interesting. Whilst indirect anagrams are considered a no-no, I considered taking the middle letters from P(la)Y to be on the same level as removing the first or last letters from a word (e.g. tailless cat = TO(m)), since the remaining letters are kept in order.

    #31 tupu – the dropped “g” was intended to emphasise how someone might express their annoyance, as in “flippin’ eck!” without making it quite as obvious that it’s a reversal indicator.

    #30 Chas – never noticed the mini-Liberal theme too! What a missed opportunity :-)

    Best wishes,


  35. Gaufrid says:

    I sent you an email earlier this afternoon but it seems that you might not have received it. Please email me, address below, so that I can reply and explain the situation.

    admin {at} fifteensquared {dot} net

  36. tupu says:

    Hi Qaos

    Many thanks. That was how I understood it and I tried to make the point indirectly by reference to a euphemism – flippin(g) for effing – rather than directly by reference to annoyance which I concede is much clearer.

    BTW, if you have time, am I right @ 31 re ‘loud’?

  37. Qaos says:

    Sure. I intended the homophone indicator to be “out loud” rather than just “loud”. So “cried” out loud, rather than “cried out” loud.

    Hope that helps.


  38. tupu says:

    Hi Qaos
    Once again many thanks! Much appreciated.

  39. Rosmarinus says:

    I have never seen OSMOSED as a verb either. Incidently, osmosis is not the same as diffusion. However, I do not have the time ( or energy!) to explain the difference. Anyone interested can always google it. What did we do without it?
    An enjoyable crossword on the whole though. Thanks Qaos, I look forward to your next one.

  40. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY and Qaos.

    Came to this late today, and had a touch of 11a when I looked at 1a and couldn’t make any sense of it. (It was my last entry; like others, I flirted with PAISLEE but checked in Chambers. to find that the pattern is also a cloth bearing the same). 5a restored my equilibrium.

    Enjoyed the puzzle, with its mixture of clues of different accessibility – some very neat, some pleasantly scruffy. 10a is great, but would have been better reserved for a crossword with a 1d, as William said.

    Missed the theme entirely, despite being a (third generation, though armchair) Liverpool FC supporter. But that’s nothing new – I almost always miss hidden themes and Ninas. Difficult to see the wood when you are staring hard at individual trees.

  41. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks for the self-restraint.

  42. Paul B says:

    Is self-restraint a CD for TRUSS?

  43. RCWhiting says:

    Paul B
    Is that Lynne?

  44. Paul B says:

    Poor woman.

  45. Fallowfield says:

    “all savages” in 9d – surprising that Suarez didn’t make an appearance.

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