Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,589 by Pasquale

Posted by PeterO on March 21st, 2012


This was not as difficult as I thought at first glance that it would be.

10 and 10, 24 were scattered all over the clues,  and the clue for 10, 24 itself looked as if it called for a sports programme, probably television; having been out of England for over 40 years, it seemed unlikely that I would know it. But it turned out that the answer, Test Match Special, is a radio programme which has been on the air even longer, and the anagram in the clue gave me the first answer that I entered. Many of the references to contributors to TMS were too recent for me to know, so I had to rely heavily on the Wikipedia entry. Apart from that, the puzzle yielded readily.

I am sure that many of you are avid followers of cricket in general and TMS in particular; my apologies if this blog puts you to sleep. Just ignore the links, except the one in 13A.

7. He’s spoken on 10 24 in vehicle, stifling an expression of disgust (7)
VAUGHAN An envelope (‘stifling’) of A UGH (‘an expression of disgust'; the indefinite article is a little dubious here) in VAN (‘vehicle’). Michael Vaughan is a TMS summariser and former Yorkshire and England cricketer.
8. One on 10 24 sends lad to bed before time (7)
BOYCOTT A charade of BOY (‘lad’) + COT (‘bed’) + T (‘time’). Geoffry Boycott‘s CV follows Michael Vaughan’s above in outline.
9. Appeal to the stars spread on the table? (4)
OLEO A charade of O LEO (‘appeal to the stars'; Leo the constellation). Oleo is a contraction of oleomargarine, better known by its other half.
10,24. Athletics camp set out in sports programme (4,5,7)
TEST MATCH SPECIAL An anagram (‘out’) of ‘athletics camp set’.
12. A mum at home using every effort (5)
AMAIN A charade of ‘a’ + MA (‘mum’) + IN (‘at home’).
13. Astronomical scale of opening novel (8)
ANALEMMA A charade of ANAL (‘of opening’) + EMMA (‘novel’, by Jane Austen). I know of an analemma as the figure-of-eight produced by tracing the position of the sun at the same time of day throughout the year; the dictionaries refer to it as a ‘scale’, at least when traced on a globe, but I am not quite sure why. A spectacular analemma is to be found here.
15. England’s former 10 participant reportedly in a tangle (4)
KNOT A homophone (‘reportedly’) of (Alan) Knott, batsman and wicket-keeper for Kent and England.
16. Port shared out (5)
SPLIT Double definition. The port is in Croatia.
17. Character that may show the score in 10 (4)
CARD Double definition.
18. Good Christian stifling desires to be the most stylish (8)
SWISHEST An envelope (‘stifling’, again) of WISHES (‘desires’) in ST (Saint, ‘good Christian’).
20. Leaders may be called ahead of the 10 (5)
HEADS Double definition. The Test Match reference is to the coin toss-up to determine who bats first.
21. Tormenting animal with goad (9)
MOLESTING A charade of MOLE (‘animal’) with STING (‘goad’).
22. Injury coming from what 12 down may have offered without hesitation (4)
BUMP BUMP[er] , removing the ER (‘without hesitation’). As a fast bowler, Johnathan Agnew (12D) probably bowled his share of bumpers.
24. See 10
- See 10
25. See 3
- See 3
1. One of four in 10 to provide surety (4)
BAIL Double definition. A cricket pitch has two wickets, each with two bails.
2. I allow number to be admitted, unknowing (8)
IGNORANT An envelope (‘to be admitted’) of NO (‘number’) in I GRANT (‘I allow’).
3,25. Man on 10 24 given Kent inn’s jar, I’m drunk (6-7)
MARTIN-JENKINS An anagram (‘drunk’) of ‘Kent inns jar im’. Christopher Martin-Jenkins is a commentator for TMS.
4. Messy mac that’s best put outside in muddy pile (8)
WORMCAST An envelope (‘put outside’) of MCA, an anagram (messy’) of ‘mac’ in WORST (‘best'; as verbs, they are more or less synonymous).
5. Go away with explosive to create harm (6)
SCATHE A charade of SCAT (‘go away’ as an interjection) + HE (high ‘explosive’).
6. Longing to throw president out (4)
ITCH [p]ITCH (‘throw’) with the P (‘president’) removed.
11. Second room mostly for accommodating Orff and another composer (9)
SCARLATTI An envelope (‘accommodating’) of CARL (‘Orff‘) in S (‘second’) ATTI[c] (‘room mostly’). For definition we have two for the price of one – Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti, father and son.
12. Composer not right first to last as contributor to 10 24 (5)
AGNEW WAGNE[r] (‘composer’) with the R removed (‘not right’), and the first letter W moved to the end. Jonathan Agnew is a commentator for TMS.
14. Revolutionary said to be stalwart of 10 24 (5)
MARKS A homophone (‘said’) of (Karl) MARX. Vic Marks is a summariser for TMS.
16. Salesperson carrying products with the potential for growth (8)
SEEDSMAN Cryptic definition.
17. Party with old 10 participant tucking into what they eat on 10 24? (8)
CLAMBAKE An envelope (‘tucking into’) of LAMB (‘old 10 [test match] participant’, Allan Lamb) in CAKE (‘what they eat on 10 24 [Test Match Special]. There is a tradition of cakes being sent to TMS commentators).
19. A bit of what 7 used with excitement, collecting 50 (6)
SPLICE An envelope (‘collecting’) of L (Roman numeral, ’50’) in SPICE (‘excitement’). The definition is the joint between the blade and grip of a cricket bat, used by Michael Vaughan (7A), for example.
20. After embrace the man’s someone speaking on 10 24 (6)
HUGHES A charade of HUG (‘embrace’) + HE’S (‘the mans’). Simon Hughes is a commentator for TMS.
21. Languish as this person without work (4)
MOPE An envelope (‘without’) of OP (opus, ‘work’) in ME (‘this person’).
23. Name given to fellow who’s heard on 10 24 (4)
MANN A homophone (‘whos heard’) of MAN (‘name given to fellow’). Simon Mann is a commentator for TMS.

38 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,589 by Pasquale”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hmm, I take it that since I’m the first to comment here this morning that our overseas solvers found this a piece of cake overnight …

    I think we might as well just start two blogs for this one: one for those who love cricket and loved the puzzle; and one for those who don’t and didn’t. I’m in the first category, and once I’d got the gateway clue, the themed clues were readily apparent and it was a pleasant reminder that our great summer game is due to start soon (our groundsman is already oiling the mower).

    It wasn’t that easy, though, beyond the cricket clues: I had vaguely heard of ANALEMMA before, but AMAIN was new; and I must remember CLAMBAKE, since it keeps cropping up. I liked WORMCAST – there’ll be a few of those for our groundsman to sort out as well.

    Thanks to Peter for the blog and Pasquale for the puzzle. Let battle commence …

  2. Frank says:

    Thanks, PeterO. As a TMS fan, I enjoyed this (and learned a couple of new words). In 5d isn’t HE short for helium?

  3. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, PeterO, and most particularly for the ANALEMMA link – an amazing photograph and a wonderful place for it to have happened.

    I’m certainly not here to start a row. I’m just thankful that this puzzle fell to a blogger who appreciated it [i.e. not me.] If I’d come across it online as an Indy or FT crossword, I’d have given up as soon as I saw the theme but, such is my devotion to ‘my’ paper’s puzzle, I soldiered on, with help, deriving very little enjoyment, I’m afraid.

    I know this is how many solvers feel about puzzles with themes that I enthuse about, so I’m not complaining.

    AMAIN was first in for me, as it uses two crossword clichés in five letters – some feat! – and I knew it from the Christmas carol, ‘I saw three ships come sailing in’. One of the versions that came up when I googled it had changed the words of the last verse to ‘Then let us all rejoice again’ and I realised that Pasquale could have used AGAIN as the answer – but it’s fairly typical of him to have gone for the obscure option. ;-)

  4. PeterO says:

    K’s D – I see your point, but I can assure you that for this crossword, one blog was quite enough for me.

    Frank – you do not seem to be a chemistry fan – helium is an inert gas.

    Eileen – Thanks for pointing out the Christmas carol; the word amain was familiar to me , but I could not have placed it.

    Definitions in the clues are now underlined.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO

    This turned out easier than I feared. The key anagram didn’t spring to mind immediately. KNOT was the entry point for me to the theme; I then saw TMS in a flash – and with a groan.

    Clues are very fair and much easier than many of Pasquale’s usual ones, perhaps to compensate for the potential difficulty of the puzzle for those (myself included) who are not aficionados.

    Cricketing terms used to be a commonplace in cryptic puzzles, but are much rarer these days. I have always assumed that this was because solving crosswords was a popular way for spectators to while away the inevitable longeurs during cricket matches. Remember the comment by Lord Mancroft?: “Cricket – a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have invented in order to give themselves some concept of eternity”.

  6. Rich says:

    Thanks PeterO

    Ditto Eileen, not being a cricket fan I had to use the BBC website for TMS to check/find the answers, which felt like cheating. I quite enjoy looking up a word I don’t know that I have worked out from wordplay, but this didn’t apply today as I didn’t learn any new words just names of sports commentators. Oddly enough though I got vaughan, boycott & knot without looking them up, so I suppose I must know more about cricket than I thought.

    On the plus side some nice cluing as usual from Pasquale.

  7. molonglo says:

    As a down under person, I groaned when I got the theme at once, but soon enough managed all the related clues without looking anything up. In fact it was 4 and 16d did for me,and ANALEMMA, before I had to go out. All in all a good challenge.

  8. Pasquale says:

    I’ve followed the comments here and on the GU website with great interest. I accept all the pros and cons of themes, which is why in my overall setting career I tend to use them sparingly. However, I thought the world of cruciverbalism deserved something better than the B-sides of Manic Preachers hits and wanted to pay tribute to an old English tradition and nail my colours to the mast. I chose AMAIN for variety rather than cussedness( not AGAIN AGAIN!). Themes and slightly unusual words (as I’ve said before) extend a setter’s range of vocabulary, minimising (if not entirely obliterating) the need for the recycling of clues. Thanks to all for both bouquets and brickbats (the latter mainly from our baseball-oriented buddies on the other site which I choose not to enagage with).

  9. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for enjoyable crossword and blog. Whilst only a casual listener to TMS, I got 10,24 early on and then spent ages trying to justify ‘Blofeld’ in all the 7 letter solutions. Blowers’ll be gutted that he didn’t get a mention.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Pasquale

    My own feelings come closest to those of Gervase and Eileen, I think. The cluing was as usual for Pasquale immaculate and I felt pleased to solve it all despite my lack of detailed knowledge of, or much interest in, the cast and the plot, though I must confess I do enjoy listening to 8a if I happen to be trapped in my car with him.

    I ticked 16a, 13a, 21a, 5d.

  11. Robi says:

    Nice of Pasquale to drop by. It is impressive to weave all these answers into the grid; this does not necessarily, though, lead to a good solving experience. As I am not really interested in cricket (despite being English!) I had to rely on Wiki to look up the answers, which I found fairly boring and frustrating.

    Thanks PeterO; AMAIN and ANALEMMA new to me, and thanks for the link concerning the latter – wonderful photograph.

    It might be nice to have an Olympic theme, especially athletics as I might then know the answers. At my school you did either cricket or athletics in the summer, which is why I don’t like the former but love the latter.

  12. Robi says:

    …… OK, I’ll compile an athletics cryptic myself…. if Don gives me his e-mail address, I’ll send it to him.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This provided a reasonable challenge even though I am a fan of TMS.
    My entry was rather strange. I solved the anagram in 3,25 quite quickly and then tried to think of a Martin Jenkins who was a Welsh rugby player involved with a sports programme. I think the problem was that I have never heard that name: it’s either Christopher Martin Jenkins or CMJ!
    When it dawned I rushed through most of it (also looking for Blowers) but was still held up by one or two including ‘analemma’ and ‘split’.

  14. rrc says:

    First anagram to solve was Martin Jenkins which meant nothing to me, second anagram to solve was Test Match Special, so these two clues provided access to the crossword (cricket) and for that I was grateful although I hadnt realised it was commentators!

  15. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I got 10, 24 straight away, but knew I was in a bit of trouble. Some aspects of TMS lore have entered my consciousness by osmosis — Aggers, Martin-Jenkins, cake — but cricket isn’t among my enthusiasms.

    Hadn’t heard of Mann, Hughes, Marks, but the clues were sportingly straightforward. I assumed 15a was a homophone for somebody called Nott (nearly right). I couldn’t tell whether 22 was BP without (outside) UM or BUMPER without (sans) ER.

    COD: WORMCAST. An excellent clue, as well as a relief from all that cricket.

  16. Chris Jobson says:

    Thanks for the blog. With no interest in cricket I can’t say I enjoyed the puzzle.

    One comment – I parsed 23A as N (name) appended to (given to) MAN (fellow), with the definition being “who’s heard on 10 24″.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks PeterO, I got stuck on 21a (I don’t know why, it seems so obvious now; I suspected it began M_L but MOLE would not pop to mind) and 19d; again I don’t know why.

    Straight away I suspected MATCH in 10a, and the full answer followed after I got 3d, an easy anagram. Most of them I knew, so I didn’t mind the theme. Like others I was sorry Bloers (and Johnson or Arlott) wasn’t there.

    I didn’t find it easy on the whole.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with Chris @ 16 about the parsing of 23d (not 23a)

  19. Kayoz says:

    Thanks to Pasquale and PeterO

    I didn’t enjoy this puzzle much, but that may relate to my lack of knowledge. The cricket idea is okay because I have watched it for many years, but I had not heard of the commentators.

    I would like to apologise for what seemed like a bit of a rave yesterday. I was feeling pressured. I had been told not to post the comment that I made in response to another person’s comment. I wrote ‘Hiya Derek I went to the races last Sunday too. It was a great day. Corbould Park, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, Aus.’ The reason I mentioned the place was so you could all look it up and see that it was one of those old-fashioned country race meetings.

    I have now been informed that all discussion on this site should relate to the topic at hand. And I agree, and apologise again.

  20. Kayoz says:

    Please ignore my post. Go forth and comment as you like.

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peter O and Pasquale.

    It’s not that I don’t like cricket but that, like today’s blogger, I’ve been out of the country for too long to be familiar with the central theme. Nevertheless, it was my first answer in, which led me, also, to Wiki, but in the end I put most of the names in from the wordplay, which says something for the setter’s skill :)

    I do remember one episode which I heard – probably on TMS – where a batsman received a bouncer on his box in the fifth of the over. Once he had recovered and was back at the crease, the commentator blithely announced “And he’s got one ball left!” :lol:

    Another curious comment, this time from an American international newscaster commenting on the appearance of a rare orchid on a cricket pitch: “Cricket is a primitive form of baseball.” No comment :)

    Also from wordplay came AMAIN and ANALEMMA – lovely photo, thanks Peter O!

  22. Kathryn's Dad says:

    If we’re diverting slightly into TMS folklore, then the all-time classic must be from more than twenty years ago when Brian Johnson and someone else I can’t remember were on commentary. It was West Indies v England. Michael Holding was at the crease; the England spinner Peter Willey was preparing to come in to bowl.

    Jonners: ‘The batsman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willey.’

    Cue three minutes of helpless laughter.

  23. tupu says:

    I too read 23d as man + n(ame)

  24. William says:

    Thanks PeterO for the excellent blog and delightful analemma link – loved it.

    Thanks also to The Don for dropping in – long may you set, sir.

    K’sD @22 what a super memory. Can you also recall the details of that splendid time when one of them (Jonners, I think) tricked another into taking a large mouthful of cake before handing him the microphone and requesting him to summarise the morning’s play? It was a lovely moment and it’s often requested on Desert Island Discs.

  25. Trebor says:

    Didn’t enjoy this at all, but I notice that several of the themed answers were amongst the easiest clues (Mann, Knot, Hughes), so I suppose its just about fair enough.

  26. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I can’t in fact remember the one you mention, William, but your comment has reminded me that I forgot to thank Peter for the excellent analemma picture – spectacular. And looking a bit further into it, it’s not a perfect figure of eight because the earth’s orbit round the sun is elliptical rather than completely circular. As I’ve said before, you learn stuff from crosswords, doncha?

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi William and K’s D

    You surely haven’t forgotten this one?

  28. Cosafina says:

    Not a clue about cricket (kept trying to make Test Match Cricket fit, till I wrote the leftover letters out and managed to spot Special), and didn’t have access to the Tinterweb all day, so was quite chuffed to get all except Analemma (on the bus I thought of Ajaremma!) and Seedsman completely defeated me.
    COD is definitely wormcast!

  29. Jam Roll says:

    I enjoyed today’s puzzle, despite having woeful cricket knowledge, and not managing to finish. I think that if you enjoy themed puzzles (and I often do), you just have to accept that some puzzles will be a bit inaccessible. It’s a complement to Pasquale’s very fair clues that I managed to get ‘Agnew’ and ‘Vaughan’ from the wordplay alone.

  30. Johnnydee says:

    “An envelope (‘put outside’) of MCA, an anagram (messy’) of ‘mac’ in WORST (‘best’; as verbs, they are more or less synonymous).”

    Ummm…late to the show but: aren’t BEST & WORST antonyms, rather than synonyms? Even after your explanation this seems – shall we say – a little off?

  31. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Johnnydee

    BEST and WORST are indeed antonyms; but they are also synonyms. ‘Best (v)': ‘to gain advantage over or defeat’. ‘Worst (v)': ‘to get the advantage over; defeat or beat’. I know, I was confused when I first came across it, but there are other verbs in English like ‘cleave’ that have two completely opposite meanings.

    Btw, I don’t recognise your name, so if this is your first comment, welcome!

  32. morpheus says:

    What Jam Roll said +1.

  33. RCWhiting says:

    I have been listening to TMS for over 50 years and knew all the surnames involved.
    I still do not like themes which just consist of a set of members with some common attribute.
    It is possible to cleverly use a theme where in each case the theme is interpreted differently. This sets the solver the preliminary puzzle of how to apply the theme.
    The latter are difficult to set, and hence, rare. There was an excellent example recently by Araucaria (I think) where the theme word was ‘potter’.

  34. PeterO says:

    Johnnydee – Paradoxical, isn’t it? I can only quote Chambers

    best vt: to win against, outdo or outwit

    worst vt: to get the better of in a contest, to defeat

    Stella Trebor Cosafina & Jam Roll- You make the good point that the themed clues are accessible from the wordplay. I cannot say that I got them all that way, in the rush to get the blog out. Indeed that it is so is a tribute to Pasquale (to whom thanks for his visit; I hope he felt more at home here than on the Guardian thread).

    Stella et al – there are a few more of the like in Wikipedia’s article on TMS, in the Light-hearted Style section. Incidentally, K’s D, Wikipedia disagrees as to who was holding …. that is, who was the bowler and who the batsman.

  35. Le Petomane says:

    I got TMS quickly and then groaned when I realised it was a cricket-themed crossword. Cricket is a big yawn for me.

    What’s the difference between baseball and cricket? At the end of a baseball game you know what the score is.

  36. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I’m not really a fan of “The Don” and this puzzle didn’t change my opinion.

    It ranged from the banal, (TMS which I got within 30 seconds followed by 5 minutes to fill in the related clues), to the IMHO outrageous OLEO, ANALEMMA and AMAIN. (Surely vocabulary beyond the scope of a midweek cryptic. However I did arrive at two of them with assistance from the net.)

    As I’ve said before, one doesn’t need to resort to obscure vocabulary to make a crossword challenging!

    Sorry but I found this dull with no “Aha” moments or chuckles.

  37. RCWhiting says:

    As has been said many, many times on this MB, obscurity is entirely in the ear of the listener.
    ‘Oleo’ and ‘analemma’ both come from that mysterious area of vocabulary known as science.

  38. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks to PeterO and Pasquale.

    An interesting week… the Everyman was just what I needed after a hard day’s wall building, and Rufus was just right on Monday. Tuesday came in nicely for my mood and worn intellectual abilities, too.

    Then this, the sort of theme that I have seen others frown upon, as do I. I solved a scattering of the few non-themed clues, then managed the “key” rather by accident. 90 seconds at Wikipedia and I filled in all the commentators with no interest and even less learning. Didn’t really bother to finish it off due to lack of enthusiasm. But to those who enjoyed it one way or another, that’s why there are so many setters and styles and forms, right?

    Then on to 25,590 and 25,591… my comments there follow from this.

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