Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,582 – Philistine

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 13th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

This has to be one of the most enjoyable puzzles to solve and blog. Philistine’s use of indirect and misleading definitions is just my cup of tea. Stir in the smooth and seamless surfaces and you have a cracking puzzle. Nice one, Philistine.

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

1 AROUSAL CAROUSAL (party) minus C
9 ORLOP OR (on the other hand) LOP (cut) for the lowest deck in a ship
10 GOLD MINER *(OLD MINGER) What a lovely def … one seeking or (gold in French from the Latin aurum)
11 INTERSTATE Ins of R (right) in INTESTATE, dying without having made a valid will … clued so imaginatively as not willing
12 YOGA Rev of A GOY (Jewish word for a non-Jew, a Gentile)
14 INVESTIGATE IN VEST (partly dressed) + ins of A in *(I GET)
21 INNS Alternate letters from wInNiNgS
22 MYSTERIOUS MY (compiler’s) + ins of T (first letter of to) in SERIOUS (earnest)
25 EXECUTRIX EX (old flame) ECU (old money, European Currency Unit: a former unit of currency based on the composite value of several different currencies in the European Union and functioning as both the reserve asset and the accounting unit of the European Monetary System; replaced by the euro in 1999) TRIX (sounds like TRICKS, verbal subterfuge) Brilliant def, will manager
26 PAYEE PA (father, old man) *(EYE)
27 TURNIPS TURN (revolution) + NIPS (rev of SPIN, counter revolution) with NN merged as N (overlapping)
28 SIDEMAN *(MAIDENS) for one of the members of a band or orchestra, other than the leader or featured artist, who performs occasional solo passages demonstrating virtuosity on a particular instrument.
1 ADONIS A DON (academic fellow) IS for that handsome man in Greek mythology, much beloved of Aphrodite
2 OF LATE rha
3 SUPERVISOR SUPER (oustanding) VISOR (face protection)
4 LEGIT LEG IT (scram or get the hell out of here)
5 HALITOSIS *(HOIST SAIL) foul breath clued so creatively
6 NUMB DUMB (stupid) with N substituted for D
7 MAN TO MAN I wonder how one should categorise this clue, a dd? I will speak to him straight (man to man)
8 NARRATED NARRA (rev of Isle of ARRAN, the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland) + Edward “TED” James Hughes OM (1930–1998) an English poet and children’s writer and British Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death.
13 PINSTRIPED It’s one of “those” clues – read as P   IN    STRIPED to make a clue for STRIPPED. Indeed most devious as I needed NeilW’s help to see that.
15 VINEYARDS *(AND IS VERY) The anagram fodder is so innocuous, almost anonymous
16 OCCIDENT ACCIDENT (I came across the evidence by chance/accident) with O substituted for A
17 GRANDEUR G (good) RAND (South African money) EUR (sounds like your)
19 TOM YUM TO MY MUM (maternal dedication) minus M for Tom yum or tom yam, a spicy clear soup typical in Laos and Thailand; also widely served in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Do beware of the small pieces of red stuff floating in the soup … hot stuff!
20 ASTERN  A STERN (cross)
23 TAXES TA (thanks) + *(SEX) “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” – Mark Twain although Benjamin Franklin wrote it earlier “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”

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

48 Responses to “Guardian 25,582 – Philistine”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Philistine and Uncle Yap. Loved this puzzle. Favorite was PINSTRIPED. TOM YUM was new to me.


  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Philistine just gets better every time. I really enjoyed this. TOM YUM at it’s best, spicy but fun!

    Paul clued LEGIT last month as: Escape that’s authorised, in a word? (3,2) I think Philistine’s is better, which says it all.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Some classy clues here, notably 18a and INTERSTATE and PINSTRIPED with their deft insertions. But for me there were too many easy ones, eg 10a and 1d, and it was soon over. I agree with NeilW on LEGIT. Not happy with the homophone in 17d.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I agree with molonglo – there were several easy ones, and I wasn’t convinced 17d was a homophone. On the other hand, some excellent clues.

    I was trying to fit INVAGINATE for a while for 14a; and for 25a, with a U (E—U-R-X) I remembered for once to insert a Q, but to no avail this time!

  5. NeilW says:

    I just came back to see if there were any more comments yet and was horrified to notice the “it’s” in my post @2! Sorry about that.

  6. KayOz says:

    Thanks Philistine for a pleasant outing. And thank you to Uncle Yap for the blog.

    First in was 24d FUJI. I needed help parsing PINSTRIPED, but loved it when it was explained for me. I felt it would usually have a hypen though. I also thought INVESTIGATE was clever.

    TAXES made me smile, OCCIDENT made me groan. I tried to put PRINCELY in 17dn, as in a sum of money, but was soon disabused by crossing words.

    TOM YUM is my favourite soup of all. It is very common in Australian Thai restaurants. It is a hot and spicy, clear soup. Options are usually Tom Yum Goong (with prawns) or Tom Yum Gai (with chicken). A variation is ‘Tom Kha’ soup which has coconut milk added.

    Oops, back to the crossword, this is not a culinary discussion! I don’t understand the relationship (… …) between 2dn and 3dn,although I got both answers fairly easily. (And I can’t remember the name of the dot dot dot device either). Thanks again.

  7. KayOz says:

    * Hyphen

  8. NeilW says:

    Hi, KayOz. Ellipsis. In this case it’s just for the surface reading of the two clues and has no significance in the parsing of either clue (or, I suppose, a bit of additional misdirection.)

  9. NeilW says:

    It’s interesting, regarding molonglo’s comment @3, that on the Guardian’s website they’re mostly grumbling about how hard it was. I think, sometimes, setters like Philistine require you to be on their wavelength or you’re in trouble. For what it’s worth, I agree that there were a few very straightforward clues but the whole puzzle was such fun they were very forgivable.

  10. anio says:

    Certainly true in my case this morning NeilW. Struggled like billyo then went and had a cigarette and something clicked and I finished it in no time.Enjoyable puzzle.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You are right, Uncle Yap, it was a cracking puzzle, but one that took me a while to crack, especially towards the end. But when the setter is entertaining you with clues like INVESTIGATE and EXECUTRIX, you’re encouraged to keep on going till you’ve solved it.

    TOM YUM seems to have been a write-in for some of the commenters so far, but like grandpuzzler, it was new to me. And I’m with KayOz in wanting a hyphen in PIN-STRIPED.

    Well done to Philistine, looking forward to the next one.

  12. Tokyocolin says:

    Loved this puzzle for all the reasons mentioned above. But all over much too soon.

  13. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I enjoyed this a lot, for its variety of clueing devices. Yes, there were a few easy clues (21a in particular), but that didn’t detract too much from the overall effect. I liked 11a, 14a, 22a, 27a, 16d for their good surface and construction; 18a for its nice misdirection; 4d was my LOL favourite.

    Thought it was going to be a pangram (like Dave E, I was trying to insert Qs everywhere!) but was disappointed.

    I had TOM YAM for 19d – ‘to my (m)am’ works just as well, and this is the spelling with which I am more familiar. Either way, a write-in with the crossing Y for lovers of Thai cuisine.

  14. Eileen says:

    Bravo, Philistine – another fine puzzle, with lots of ingenuity to admire and humour to laugh at.

    I hadn’t heard of the soup [sounds delicious – thanks, KayOz] but I loved the clue for TOM YUM: in the run-up to Mothering Sunday [ ever since Valentine’s Day] there are cards blazoning ‘To my Mum’ everywhere. [‘To my Mam’ would work just as well around here – and fit the clue – but I haven’t seen any!]

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

  15. Norman L in France says:

    I count two or three references to a couple of hard clues, and no grumbling. Very enjoyable Xword.

  16. medici says:

    As it hasn’t had a mention, did no one else like 18a?
    I got stuck putting DONEE at 26a which made 13d impossible.
    Very enjoyable.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Philistine

    It took me, as one or two others, a little while to get on to the setter’s wavelength. Some clever cluing e.g. 14a, 25a, 5d, 13d, 19d, 20d and I also liked the surface in 28a. I missed the ‘or’ in 10a.

  18. NeilW says:

    Hi, medici. Yes, I thought 18 was superb as opposed to Qaos’ equally excellent clue for DONE last week which fell a little flat because there was no 1 down in the puzzle!

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. I needed you to explain why I was correct with CARTOONISTS and also to tell me TOM YUM which I had never heard of.

    I liked PINSTRIPED (which I think ought to have a hyphen) as it is an example of a type of clue I enjoy i.e. ‘back to front’ where the answer here looks like a clue to something else. Another example that sticks in my mind is Nommag – a one-word clue to BACKGAMMON :)

  20. Robi says:

    Super, very enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks UY for the good blog; as usual, I failed to see the P-IN-STRIPED. It seems to be spelled without a hyphen quite frequently, notably in Chambers. I, too, loved CARTOONISTS and LEGIT, among(st) others. The clue for GOLD MINER conjured some very interesting images (and thanks, UY for the seeking ‘or’ bit,) as did 14.

    SIDEMAN, ORLOP and TOM YUM new to me (where have I been all my life?)

  21. Philistine says:

    Many thanks to all for your kind comments.

    Some bloggers at the Guardian and at Fifteensquared have said that my puzzles are often “over all too soon”. For something which may take a tad longer, try this link:

  22. Mitz says:

    Thanks Philistine and UY.

    Yep, enjoyed this one hugely. Brilliant anagram for ‘vineyards’ stood out, because it didn’t stand out, if you see what I mean. ‘Turnips’ was clever – not a device I’ve seen before, so very welcome. Always love reverse clues like ‘pinstriped’ and the abundant mis-directions, such as ‘not willing’ to mean ‘intestate’, made this a fun challenge.

    Very, very slightly let down by ‘gold miner’. An anagram that only moves one letter is hardly worthy of the name. A real nit-pick, though, and hardly worth mentioning.

    In a really spoddy way I sometimes wonder if there is a list somewhere of words-most-frequently-used-as-solutions-in-crosswords. If so, I bet ‘Adonis’ is on there.

  23. Mitz says:

    Thanks for the link Philistine (and for dropping by!) I have the theme already – looking forward to tackling the rest…

  24. KayOz says:

    NeilW@8. Thanks for ‘ellipsis’. Is that a variant of ellipses, which are the dots (stops)? As far as saying the ellipsis is another misdirection, I don’t like it much. I love a misdirection within a clue, but I’m not sure that it should be expanded between clues. Considering the experience of people on this site, you have probably discussed this before? Does anyone else have a better explanation for this ellipsis?

    Gervase@13 Spelling of the soup varies immensely of course, as they are usually translated phonetically. Naturally that will be different from place to place. I have seen a lot of spellings but the pronounciation is much the same.

    Chas@19 Love nommag.

    Mitz@22 What is ‘spoddy’ please.

  25. Mitz says:


    Anoraky, trainspotterish, weak-lemon-squash-drinking.

  26. KayOz says:

    Mitz, would I have used the nerd word?

  27. Mitz says:

    Quite possibly. And remember: the geek will inherit…

  28. KayOz says:

    I agree that the geeks will inherit, and they deserve to, but what?

    The earth, money?

    My partner is one so if you could give us some guidance that would be great :)

  29. NeilW says:


    Chambers: ellipsis (pl ellipses)
    1. A figure of syntax by which a word or words are left out and merely implied (grammar)
    2. The mark (…) indicating ellipsis (printing)

    I wasn’t implying that I thought it was any more than for the surface reading – I was just saying that, at a stretch, you might suppose it was for a further level of misdirection.

    It also has a nice symmetry with the twinned 5 and 9 across clues – now there’s a more open debate: do you HANG the MAN OR LOP his head off? 😉

  30. KayOz says:

    That was meant as a joke. Goodnight.

  31. KayOz says:

    Crossed with you Neil. Night.

  32. kate's Dad says:

    Many thanks for a wonderful crossword. It happens to be my birthday and can almost believe it was for me!

    Some wondeful anagrams which wer so subtly clued.

    For 17 dn i had actually parsed it as GRAND (northern way of saying good) plus Eur for Euro. Got the same answer.

  33. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Philistine, for a very entertaining puzzle. Glad I was on your wavelength today!Also thanks to Uncle Yap for the parsing.

    I thought we might be in for a naval theme when I saw orlop @9a. This went straight in, thanks to the wonderful Patrick O’Brian novels, which are a source of much naval terminology as well as being a great read.

    Giovanna x

  34. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Loved this crossword and thanks for the blog. Re the ‘reverse clues’ already mentioned, one of my all time favourites was an Araucaria from years ago. It was ‘Cox at me (6,3,6)’. There didn’t seem to be enough letters to do anything with it.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Quite enjoyable but as many have said rather too straightforward.
    Nice to see that setters are taking your advice – it was quite recently that several of you were disappointed when a clever anangram clue involved a non-existent 1 down. Of course today’s 1 ac was therefore more obvious.
    I parsed 19d easily as ‘tom yam’ but did not know the soup, thought tomato/yam might explain it! It was my last in.
    Favourites were 27 ac and 11 ac.

  36. nametab says:

    Well-balanced and entertaining; Good mix of really straightforward & make-you-think-it-out. 5a & 25a v good surfaces; missed the ‘or’ implication in 10ac. Perhaps 16ac doesn’t quite scan with ‘in’ after ‘chance’? Could see that ‘turnips’ fitted in 27ac, but got locked into ‘toroids’.
    A question: is the clueing via alternate letters becoming more common (eg via ‘regular’ or ‘odd’ or ‘even’ etc)? I seem to encounter it more often these days (but it’s not as frequent as Paul’s last-letter, first-letter usage).
    Lovely blog too, and good to see Philistine there. Thanks to all contributors.

  37. Mr A Writinghawk says:

    A beautiful crossword! Thanks to Philistine, and UY for the blog, particularly for pointing out the elegant subtlety of the def. in 10a, which I had previously taken to be a little careless.

    Philistine was having fun with wills today (intestate, executrix). By the way, speaking of the latter, écu is a name for a French coin going back several centuries further than the short-lived ECU.

  38. RCWhiting says:

    Answer: I would agree that ‘odds’ etc are becoming much more common. Certainly, when I started they were unknown.
    Perhaps someone knows who invented them; I would guess about 20/30 years ago.

  39. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I’m a little late to comment today, but wanted to register my thanks to Philistine for a great puzzle — v enjoyable!

    I knew ORLOP from crosswords and TOM YUM from Thai menus, but failed to spot the wordplay in PINSTRIPED and TURNIPS. So another puzzle where the blog has retrospectively increased the fun!

  40. David Travis says:

    As a relative newcomer (I started on the Guardian crosswords in January), I found this extremely hard. I got just 5 answers. So this may sound an odd thing to say but I loved it. The surfaces were fun to read and the answers and constructions (thanks Uncle Yap) we’re often laugh-out-loud funny. My favourite of the year so far!

  41. retired pleb says:

    A regular lurker here, today’s excellent offering deserved praise. Nice relaxation after morning’s campanology.

    Didn’t know the soup or sideman, but well clued.

  42. Bertandjoyce says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle! Supervisor made us smile, we didn’t know the soup either but guessed it from the cryptic part. Last one in was pinstriped which also made us smile when we worked out why!

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Philistine!

  43. FranTom Menace says:

    A really enjoyable puzzle for us – nothing infuriatingly contrived but some really good fun wordplay. We completed it with only the reason for ‘pinstriped’ to work out… should have known after two years of crosswording together that when we can’t get one like that, nine times out of ten it’s one of THOSE types of clues!

    Only one niggle and I know it’s a problem I have with clues – 6d. Leader changed for what? It’s akin to the ‘some vegetables’ meaning ‘b’ or ‘g’ or ‘bl’. No way of properly working it out.

    A lovely crossword though, we had good fun solving it. Thanks P and UY!

  44. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Philistine for the good work-out! We followed the link you posted and enjoyed the tribute to DA. In the recent Indy puzzle dedicated to him we were very sad that some of the characters we liked weren’t included but they were in your’s!
    We’ve tried to find a link to the answer to check on two clues, 47d and 50a which we are unsure about but cannot find any link. If you log on again, we’d love to know!
    Thanks Uncle Yap as well for the blog!

  45. Paul B says:

    10ac not convinced that ‘a gold colour’ or ‘of the metal gold’ can really represent the metal itself, but there were some nice clues in this one. Not going to say which, of course.

  46. Tramp says:

    I thought this was a lovely puzzle with some excellent clues. I particularly liked PINSTRIPED, TURNIPS and CARTOONISTS.

  47. Mitz says:


    I too enjoyed Philistine’s bumper DA tribute. I think I can help with the two you were unsure of:

    47d: the answer is what happens to turn (ahem) ‘stressed’ into ‘desserts’.
    50a: double definition, the second part as in ‘Death Becomes Her’.

  48. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Mitz@47. We remembered the fjord designer wrongly so hadn’t got the checking ‘l’ for 47d. We realised it was reversed and tried ‘somerset’ for a somersault! yes…… you can see we were somewhat off beam!

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