Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,594 – Puck

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 27th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

This morning, as luck would have it, the area where my home is, suffered a power failure which was only restored at my 9am, two hours after the appearance of the puzzles. Apologies to the early birds … better late than never.

As for the puzzle from my favourite Irish setter, this one became obviously themed when the boob got bared. A quick look around my completed grid soon reveal so many linked words from that infamous incident in 2004. (clued words highlighted in the following account from Wikipedia )

Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004 from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson‘s breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a “wardrobe malfunction“.

Didn’t she looked a right tit? :-)

Thank you, Puck for this most entertaining puzzle.

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

1 See 23
5 ARCHAIC Ins of CHA (half of cha-cha dance) + I (one) in *(CAR)
9 SAMBA SAM (could be short for Samuel or Samantha) BA (Bachelor of Arts degree)
10 SUPER BOWL SUPERB (magnificent) OWL (bird)
11 IDEALISTIC Ins of ALI (boxer) S (last letter of shorts) in rev of CITE (quote) + DI (girl)
12 LAKE dd a reddish pigment & excessive quantity of wine
14 See 17
18 CHANTICLEER Acrostic for the name of the cock in the old fable of Reynard the Fox
21 AIDE IDEA (thought) with last letter moved to front
25 BROAD BEAN Ins of O (hole) + A + *(BED) in BRAN (health food)
26 CABLE CAB (Citizens’ Advice Bureau) LE (French for THE, definite article)
27 EYELETS EY (rev of YE, archaic (answer to 5) form of the) + *(STEEL)
28 TUTORED TU (French for you) TO + READ minus A (article)
1 JUSTIN The baby is just in
2 CAMBER Camberwell in the Borough of Southwark minus WELL (not well, not healthy)
3 STABLEMATE Ins of TABLE (set of data) in S (second) *(TEAM)
4 NOSES ROSES (flowers) with N substituted for R
6 CERT ha
7 AROMATIC INS of wOMAn in ARTIC (articulated lorry)
8 COLLEENS Ins of LLEE (rev of EEL, fish + Left) in CON (against) S (Saturday, Sabbath)
13 SCAREDY-CAT *(York C, caught in cricket tADCASTER)
15 LUCKINESS PLUCKINESS (courage) minus P (power)
16 SCRABBLE SC (special constable) RABBLE (unruly crowd)
17,14 WARDROBE MALFUNCTION This superb clue is a kind of reversal whereby the answer is the cryptic element where WARDROBE is the anagram fodder and MALFUNCTION, the anagrind to yield BARED & ROW. It’s also an &lit, as pointed out by NeilW. My COD
19 TIMBER Ins of MB (Bachelor of Medicine, doctor) in TIER (row)
20 AGREED A Good REED (clarinet part)
23,1A JANET JACKSON Ins of NET (catch) JACK (sailor) in JASON (mythical Greek as in leader of the Argonauts)
24 IDLE Alternate letters from fInD cLuEs

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


31 Responses to “Guardian 25,594 – Puck”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. The penny of the theme only dropped late on for me but made what was already a great puzzle even better.

    22 – you have an S too many in the fodder: IS has to be “cut.”

    4 – I think you’re right about this but it doesn’t seem very satisfactory. Another possibility, equally unsatisfactory: N for new, thus “newly opened” plus plural of the river OSE (in Scotland.)

    17,14 – I think this is an &lit as well since you need the whole clue to get the definition.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for an excellent elucidation. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this setter’s style sometimes (here NOSES, CABLE, 7d, 8d etc) leaves me uneasy. This wasn’t hard to complete – and I did like the Jackson link, which I got from the J-T via the easy 22a anagram, and the superb owl.

  3. andy smith says:

    TY UY for the blog. Re 4d I had thought river for flower and there is a river ose – in Japan (there is usually a river somewhere of any plausible set of 3 letters), but roses is probably what he meant …

  4. Blaise says:

    I can’t help wondering whether 4d is an affectionate allusion to the clue in the Two Ronnies sketch about crosswords: “It’s red, it smells, and it’s often picked in the garden. Four letters: something O S E…”

  5. andy smith says:

    Blaise@4 – bingo – I am sure you are right!

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UY.

    I initially thought this was going to be hard, but it yielded steadily.

    I failed to spot the theme, partly because I had Judy Finnigan’s debacle in mind, and I didn’t know super bowl, JT etc connection with JJ. Had I known it would have improved the quality of the Xword immensely. Ah, well.

    I am with UY on 4d; the other variations suggested seem to involve arcane knowledge. Despite living in Scotland, I have never heard of a river OSE , and I don’t recall the Two Ronnies sketch.

  7. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Fine puzzle – we’ve started the week well.

    I got 17,14 very quickly, but it was a long while before I realised that quite a few other answers referred to this famous incident. I spent a long time trying to justify CAMDEN for 2d. Couldn’t parse 4d satisfactorily (one reason why the NW was last bit for me) – ROSES/NOSES seems most likely.

    My favourite clues were those with a particularly good surface: 26a, 28a, 5d, 6d, 15d, 16d. 17,14 is a clever &lit, and 23,1a is a very concise clue for a difficult name containing two Js. And of course the superb owl raised a smile.

  8. Robi says:

    Another one where I missed the theme. I can’t believe that was in 2004. I don’t know what all the fuss was about.

    Thanks UY; it took me a long time to get LAKE and I didn’t know CHANTICLEER. WARDROBE MALFUNCTION was a very clever clue.

  9. Giovanna says:

    Thanks,Puck, for the fun and Uncle Yap for adding to the pleasure by filling the gaps.

    Like Dave Ellison @ 6, I thought of Judy Finnegan, too but anyway,17/14 is superb!

    26a leaped out at me as I have been reading The Nun’s Priest’s Tale recently.

    Like Gervase @7, I enjoyed the superb owl.

    Giovanna x

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I found this quite tricky and failed to finish it (‘lake’ 12ac).
    I got the WM quite easily and the lady (JJ) but if I had known the name of the culprit I might have finished it.
    I had problems parsing 11ac so thanks and I agree with your version of 4d.

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. You explained a couple where I had failed to parse.

    I was unhappy with 4d: I could see putting N[ew] at the start but nothing in the clue said this should be done.

    On 16d I spent some time trying an anamgram of CROWD – with no joy. :( Eventually I got the right answer.

  12. David Travis says:

    Many thanks for the blog. But can someone explain 17,14 again to me — but a bit more slowly?

  13. Tramp says:

    I loved this!!

  14. NeilW says:

    David, I see your problem. The truth is that this clue doesn’t quite work as intended but it’s not unusual for setters to “mix” their anagram fodder.

    As I see it: Boob getting bared, with row ensuing?

    “Boob getting” = anagrind; “bared” = fodder; “row” = fodder; “ensuing” = anagrind. Ideally this would give two anagrams in sequence but there you go. The whole clue defines the JJ debacle so it’s &lit but also: as UY points out, the solution is also a “reverse definition” of WARDROBE.

    The alternative, which I don’t think works is: “Boob” = definition (ridiculously vague); “bared” with “row” = fodder; “ensuing” = anagrind.

    I’m sure some will disagree but that’s my best shot! :)

  15. andy smith says:

    DT@12 & NeilW@14. I agree, I don’t think it quite works – if it’s a clue to a reverse anagram IMO it doesn’t need and shouldn’t have any anagrinds – “Bare word debacle (8,11)” (a lousy surface) would be more accurate.

    I imagine this clue was attempting a sporting (and amusing, whatever) effort at an &lit.

  16. Gervase says:

    Re 17,14 – I parsed this slightly differently, and I think it just about works as a ‘reverse’ clue:
    Boob (MALFUNCTION i.e. anagrind)) [of the rest of the answer, i.e. WARDROBE] getting ‘bared’ with ‘row’ ensuing [ie this is the resulting anagram].
    I’m not sure that ‘getting’ and ‘ensuing’ are both necessary – it would work (by this parsing) with just: Boob bared – row ensuing?

  17. Gervase says:

    But who cares anyway? It’s clever, it’s funny, and most of us solved it without any difficulty. What is this – the Spanish Inquisition?

  18. David Travis says:

    @Gervase I didn’t intend to invoke the Spanish Inquisition. Just a comfy chair.

  19. NeilW says:

    I don’t disagree with any of the above sentiments – I just think it’s a very interesting clue that probably defies parsing – as Gervase says, it’s more a question of intuition and not trying too hard to find a Ximenean explanation. However, it deserves close examination as it is, after all, the cornerstone of the whole crossword.

    I don’t recall Puck putting in an appearance on these pages, unfortunately.

  20. Puck says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog, and to others for your comments.

    Two clues seem to have got some of you guessing:

    4dn: I simply meant ROSES with N for R, as per the blog. ‘Newly’ is kind of doing double duty, with the new opening letter being N=new.

    17,14: Gervase@16 explains my thinking fairly well, with one possible anagram (malfunction) of WARDROBE being BARED/ROW, ie ‘bared, with row ensuing’. I did myself consider using the shortened version suggested by Gervase, but decided against in order to conceal the anagram a little, and for a slightly better surface reading, Maybe a tad unfair, on reflection.

    I do agree with Gervase@17 too, in that I think that sometimes there is a danger of trying to parse a slightly libertarian clue in such depth that the fun intended gets lost in the detail. On the other hand, as a solver myself, I do realise that there can also be a need to understand how and why a clue works before one can rest easily with a solution perhaps arrived at through a certain amount of guesswork, intuition and/or cross-checking letters.

    PS Thanks to NeilW for his comment@19, which I have just read before posting, I do pop in here from time to time, and always read the blog and comments.

  21. NeilW says:

    Woops! Thanks, Puck, and my apologies for saying I didn’t remember you dropping by in the past. I must say… what perfect timing!

  22. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Puck

    Took a while to solve this one and even after getting WARDROBE MALFUNCTION, I hadn’t a clue why.

    Very nice puzzle however.

  23. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Puck

    I only got to look at this enjoyable puzzle this afternoon. It is very good to get Puck’s comments.

    The theme went past me but the clues were all solvable without – the mark of a good themed puzzle for me.

    I missed the parsing of ‘noses’ as I was keen to get on and thought it must be about newly opened wine bottles! This might have been a nice change for ‘flowers’.

    My quick take on wardrobe malfunction was that malfunction was both the anagram indicator and part of the answer.

    I ticked several as I went along 10a, 12a,27a, 8d, 13d!, and 17,14!.

  24. Cosafina says:

    Thanks to both UY and Puck.

    I enjoyed this, but as I didn’t realise Justin Timberlake was the perpetrator of the malfunction I was held up in the NW corner through having put Johnny (-come-lately) for 1d, which didn’t help at all!

    Once I’d twigged what 9a had to be, the rest came easily.

  25. NeilW says:

    Cosafina, I’m curious to know: how did 9ac help you?

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Johnny doesn’t contain an ‘S’.

  27. mrs t says:

    Thanks for the elucidations UY – especially on 11a.

    Great fun, Puck. I just `peeked in` at midnight and was happily intrigued until half one – my personal acid-test of a successful crossword – “just too good to leave.”
    Loved 18 – a favourite word of mine and first in. Good to read you here, too. Thank you.

  28. stiofain says:

    Great cheeky xword thanks Puck and UY probably the best concealed theme ever ( unlike Janets notorious nipple ).

  29. morpheus says:

    Challenging xword. Lake was extremely difficult if you didn’t spot the Justin Timberlake link as I’m afraid to say we didn’t.

  30. Derek Lazenby says:

    Just to give you a clue as to why this one left me cold, am I to presume Ms Jackson is related to Michael? And who on earth is this Justin character? Complete mystery to me!

  31. brucew_aus says:

    Only had a chance to look at this one today – and even though it only took a short time to do, it is a puzzle that had a number of clues that I didn’t parse properly – and got CAMBER wrong with CAMDEN :(. Needed help with 11a, 26a (doh), 2d and 7d.

    Only twigged to the theme whilst I was working on the last clue LAKE … and don’t think that I would have worked it out if I hadn’t seen the JUSTIN TIMBER bit. Brilliantly disguised theme and a good variety of very clever and devious clueing.

    Well done Puck – and thanks UY for setting me straight with some of the “how did I get it, again!”

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