Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,603 by Philistine

Posted by PeterO on April 6th, 2012


Uncle Yap seems to have been hogging Philistine’s blogs recently, and I am happy to take this one from him. The crossword is marked by some quite unusual wordplays (wordsplay?).

1. Type of roast with European’s meticulous attention to presentation (4,3,6)
SPIT AND POLISH A charade of SPIT (‘type of roast’) + AND (‘with’) + POLISH (‘European’); or you could regard it as a definition and literal interpretation.
10. Monumental shell, however exploded, results in defeat (9)
OVERWHELM An anagram (‘exploded’) of ML (‘MonumentaL shell’) + ‘however’.
11. Girl from Yorkshire needs … (5)
IRENE Hidden answer in ‘YorkshIRE NEeds’. My first choice was Renée.
12. … the Yorkshire bread monster (5)
TROLL A charade of T (‘the Yorkshire’) + ROLL (‘bread’). I have just watched Troll Hunter, a rather nice little monster movie, How can you resist when the credits end with “No trolls were harmed in the making of this film”?
13. TV shows and quizzes about fancy lace (9)
TELECASTS An envelope (‘about’) of LECA, an anagram (‘fancy’) of ‘lace’ in TESTS (‘quizzes’).
14. CO2 ? (7)
COMPANY Devious. CO is the abbreviation for company; and two’s company (see 22D/23A).
16. Sign so corporal is on 50% cut across the board (7)
SCORPIO This appears to be a novel construction: ‘So CORPoral Is On’ with, as the clue says, ‘50% cut across the board’.
18. Awake, went out rejuvenated (7)
UPDATED A charade pf UP (‘awake'; not an exact synonym) + DATED (‘went out’ with).
20. One who’s learned from church type of power circles (7)
SCHOLAR An envelope (‘circles’) of CH (‘church’) in SOLAR (‘type of power’).
21. Careful control in reporting what may be on line in Bangkok (5,4)
TIGHT REIN A homophone (‘in reporting’) of THAI TRAIN (‘may be on line in Bangkok’).
23. See 22
See 22
24. C-word upset many people (5)
CROWD A charade of ‘C’ + an anagram (‘upset’) of ‘word’.
25. Bitterness about extreme characters backing the wayward sovereign (9)
ELIZABETH There is a lot going on here: a charade of ELIZAB, a reversal (‘backing’) of BAZILE, which is an envelope (‘about’) of AZ (‘extreme characters’) in BILE (‘bitterness’); + ETH, an anagram (‘wayward’) of ‘the’. All that and a definition in 8 words!
26. Wardrobe assistants Bronwyn and Ffion open cupboards and drawers (5,8)
WELSH DRESSERS Definition and literal interpretation, Bronwyn and FFion being Welsh names.
2. Did hesitation set back, if made earlier? (9)
PREFORMED PERFORMED (‘did’) with the ER (‘hesitation’) reversed (‘set back’).
3. Drier plaster can be applied with this right away (5)
TOWEL A subtraction of T[r]OWEL (‘plaster can be applied with this’) with the R remover (‘right away’).
4. Go after switching neon sign (2,5)
NO ENTRY A charade of NOEN, an anagram (‘switching’) of ‘neon’ + TRY (‘go’).
5. Spots an indication of strong emotion after 22 (7)
PIMPLES The answer to 22 is GOOSE, and goose pimples are ‘an indication of strong emotion’.
6. Perhaps ageless ethnological weave (9)
LOINCLOTH An anagram (‘weave’) of ‘ethnological’ with AGE removed (‘ageless’); &lit.
7. After 22 marches to fight or flight (5)
STEPS Again, the answer to 22 is GOOSE, and goose-step is a military style of marching.
8. Done the crime? Now do the time! (6,7)
POETIC JUSTICE Well, it rhymes, if that makes for poetry.
9. Fresh thyme’s no use for feeling beat (5,2,6)
SENSE OF RHYTHM An anagram (‘use’?) of ‘fresh thymes no’.
15. Poses for the first time, quietly showing many talents (9)
APTITUDES ATTITUDES (‘poses’) with the first T (‘first time’) replaced (‘for’) by P (‘quietly’). ‘many’ seems superfluous.
17. Predator bombed Pearl Harbor, recognising no limits (5,4)
POLAR BEAR An anagram (‘bombed’) of ‘pearl [h]arbo[r]’, with the first an last letters of the second word removed (‘recognising no limits’).
19. Spitfire finally to fall in bank and dive in here (4,3)
DEEP END An envelope (‘to fall in’) of E (‘spitfirE finally’) in DEPEND (‘bank’), with a sort of &littish definition.
20. Dawn of the student union (7)
SUNRISE NUS (SUN RISE) is the National Union of Students (‘student union’).
22,23across. Bush transforming 14 into a 24 (10)
GOOSEBERRY Two’s company (’14’), three’s a crowd (’24’), with the third being the gooseberry.
23. Top military support secret police (5)
BRASS A charade of BRA (‘support’) + SS (‘secret police’?). It conforms well to the surface here, but isn’t it about time that ‘support’ were burnt?

33 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,603 by Philistine”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO. Great blog for a great puzzle.

    Some minor comments:

    14. Thanks to the Grauniad for the superfluous space before the question mark! I think this would only qualify as “devious” were it not so clearly sign-posted by 22,23.
    21. Homophones using “Thai” seem to be very much in vogue at present.
    6. Could this have been even better without “perhaps” at the beginning, with just a question mark to acknowledge the “cheeky” ageless?
    19. Isn’t the def “dive in here?”
    23. I agree with your question mark: I don’t think the SS qualify as “secret police” do they? I think, in combination with your feminist comment, this was the only duff clue.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Philistine and PeterO. Enjoyed this puzzle very much although I got off to a rocky start by confidently entering RENEE at 11ac – great minds think wrongly alike PeterO! My COD was 14ac. Welsh Dressers was a new term for me. Agree with NeilW on DEEP END.


  3. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks PeterO for the comprehensive blog.

    Had mixed feelings as I completed this – with the first half going in very quickly after getting 1A straight away. The other outside clues presented a bigger challenge with the clever 26A being the last one in.

    Found some of the clues to be very busy (25, 6, 17) and some uber-simplistic (3, 10, 19, 24).

    But the clever devices in 8, 14, 16 made for an overall satisfying solve … so thanks Philistine.

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. This was splendid entertainment, good and challenging enough for a Prize Puzzle. I especially liked 8d for its originality – after I had toyed with ‘coptic buttock.’ Brilliant, Philistine.

  5. Eileen says:

    How weird! [since IRENE is much more likely] – I had RENÉE, too, so that makes three of us. But I compounded my mistake by confidently entering it initially at 12ac, then transferring it when 3dn didn’t fit, so my grid ended up in rather a mess, as I’m not one of the pencil and rubber set. Fortunately, 7dn soon set me right.

    I agree with all of molonglo’s comment: another super puzzle from Philistine. [Having been lucky enough to blog his début puzzle, I, too, was getting rather alarmed that he seemed to be settling down into a regular Tuesday slot. 😉 ] I love his innovative cluing, as in 14 and 16ac.

    Many thanks, PeterO, for the excellent blog, and Philistine for the highly entertaining puzzle. Come back soon!!

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Philistine

    An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks for parsing 10a (the answer was clear enough and so is the logic – once seen. I lazily decided the L came from ‘shell’.

    I ticked 1a, 21a, 26a, 4d, 8d, 22d.

    I agree with PeterO re ‘bra’ having long since got tired of it.

    I agree with NeilW re 19d.

    I agree too that the other clues were a great help with understanding 14a.

    SS is a bit loose but seems acceptable enough in everyday English.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, I thought this was an OKish puzzle but I couldn’t say it was anywhere approaching brilliant.

    There were too many similar contraptions in one Xword for my taste such as 10a Monumental SHELL, 17d no LIMITS; 3d right AWAY, 6d ageLESS. And some of the definitions were a bit off centre: 9d SENSE OF RHYTHM is not quite FEELING BEAT; 26a WELSH DRESSERS doesn’t quite work for me – is WARDROBE ASSISTANTS the definition and the whole clue too, and/or CUPBOARDS AND DRAWERS? What is OPEN doing?

    Thanks PeterO: I didn’t understand 14a and don’t like it even when explained.

    However I liked the devices of 16a and 8d

  8. Shirley says:

    PeterO thanks for the blog. I think 25A “extreme characters” are A & Z around bile with an anagram of the. Not sure where the bazile comes from but it sounds very exotic!

  9. crypticsue says:

    I too had Renee and I agree that we really have had enough of the ‘support’ lately (it has been in all the cryptics over the last few weeks. I enjoyed this one, thank you to setter and blogger.

    Dave@7 Welsh dressers are ‘open’ cupboards. I liked this clue as I could just see two nice Welsh girls either assisting with wardrobes or opening cupboards.

  10. William says:

    Thanks PeterO and Philistine for an excellent blog and puzzle respectively.

    If you are proposing the burning of the bra, perhaps you ought to suggest some alternatives for this indispensable setter’s tool.

    Full of fun with some nice fresh devices. Loved POETIC JUSTICE WELSH DRESSERS & COMPANY, and SUNRISE was very clever.

    Right up my street, more please.

  11. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle that I found on the easy side – the anagrams helped.

    Thanks PeterO for an exemplary blog. It might help to put T’ in the blog, as I took some time trying to understand the ‘Yorkshire T.’ I did like CO2 [can’t get the subscript to work] and DEEP END.

    Dave Ellison @7; Chambers says: ‘a dresser usually with OPEN shelves ABOVE cupboards and drawers.’ Seems clever to me if I understand it properly.

  12. Robi says:

    William @10; short nipper/rascal.

  13. brucew_aus says:

    Hmmm … how about 23D to become “Booby coverups by squadron leader and other top military”

  14. William says:

    Robi @12 Nice one. Or even ‘crow endlessly’.

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    In a relatively short time, Philistine has become already a household name – which is quite something and fully deserved.

    I am not sure whether he is becoming better and better (which I said two puzzles ago), I even have some mixed feelings every now and then, but where Philistine scores is in the field of Adventure and Originality.
    One of the more exciting setters in the Guardian stable, for sure.

    Just like others I entered RENEE rightaway, making a temporary mess of the NE.
    And, 14ac? Well, my initial thought was that we should read it as COO (a visual gag) – therefore I entered ‘dovecry’ [a word that doesn’t even exist ….. (thinking of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”)]. Next mistake at 2d: ‘preserved’. What a mess!
    8d and 15d showed me the way to COMPANY, and although I see the idea, it doesn’t quite work for me – however, no lack of Adventure.
    Thank you, PeterO, for explaining PREFORMED (2d): I knew there was something going on with RE, but missed the point eventually (taking ‘set back’ as ‘delayed’, therefore trying to put RE at another position).

    All in all, a very entertaining puzzle, for which many thanks.
    Highlights for me: 16ac (SCORPIO) with an inventive device, 19d (DEEP END) for its neat surface annex construction and – my CoD – 15d (APTITUDES): how smoothly can one incorporate the device into the surface? Brilliant.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks PeterO and thanks to Philistine for a lovely puzzle. I really enjoyed the variety of devices and unusual wordplay. WELSH DRESSERS made me smile.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Reasonable level of difficulty but certainly no prize category.
    When I saw 14ac I anticipated something very clever.
    Sadly it wasn’t. CO2 ? can only indicate ‘two’s company’ which fits the link to 22,23 but not the solution ‘company’.
    ‘Sunrise’ was clever but too obvious. I thought 16ac was well constructed. 24 and 26 ac were two of several disappointing write-ins.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    I have just read Sil @15and remembered that I admired 2d.
    ‘Irene’ was my first (correct) entry, perhaps Irene seems more Yorkshire than Reneé.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog – there were several cases where I needed you to explain why I had the right answer.

    When I first looked at 14a I thought ‘carbon dioxide’ but got nowhere with that. My next thought was COCO, as in the clown, but again that led nowhere. Eventually I got the right answer.

    On 11a I checked for included words and stopped as soon as I found IRENE – so I never saw RENEE at all :)

  20. carneddi says:

    Just a little niggle…Bronwyn is technically not a Welsh name although it frequently appears! Bronwen is correct as it is a girl’s name; (g)wen being the feminine form of the Welsh word for White – (g)wyn is masculine and there no are instances of Bronwyn being a boy’s name.

  21. PeterO says:

    When writing up the blog, I felt that in 19D ‘dived in here’ lacked something as a definition, and so tried to press in the whole clue for that task; but underlining just ‘here’ as the definition hardly expresses that. On reflection. I think it more likely that, while there might be a whiff of an &lit in Philistine’s mind, ‘dived in here’ is one of his (her?) off-kilter (make that innovative) “defnitions”. Curiously, I was happy to accept something similar in 14A, which I read as a double “definition” (if you want the quotes), with ‘2’, via the phrase “two’s company” i.e. two is company, being the second. RCWhiting @17 perhaps does not like, rather than does not see, this device.
    Dave Ellison @7 – you might note that I did underline ‘open’ as part of the definition. Etymologically at least, cup-board makes no reference to a door, and could well apply to the shelves of a Welsh dresser.
    With only a couple of lukewarm responses, it seems that the general opinion is favourable, so thanks Philistine; keep up the good work.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    I agree. Since ‘here’is often seen as a definition for a place (town etc)then ‘dive in here’ seems overly generous for ‘deep end’.
    On ‘company’,no,I do not like because it doesn’t work (for me). I do like unusual, clever,unorthodox and ingenious clues,even (or especially) when they break all the rules. I thought 14 would be one but it isn’t.

  23. bagbird says:

    I embarked on this puzzle with some trepidation, not having come across Philistine before. Inviting grid though, so attempted 1a, then 8d, then all of their crossing letters, but without success. Doggedly, and more and more despondently, persevered with the rest of the across clues, getting nowhere. Then I got CROWD and WELSHDRESSERS,and was no longer ready to write off Philistine as impossible quite yet. GOOSE and BERRY followed with delight. By the end of the puzzle I had become a VERY HAPPY FAN! Thank you, Philistine.

  24. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Quite diverting, with some unusual constructions, though not (IMHO) up to the standard of his previous puzzles. The clue for COMPANY didn’t work for me; and I was another who found that RENEE didn’t walk away, until her crossing letters showed the mistake…

  25. cholecyst says:

    I was also lead astray by RENEE but found this an amusing puzzle.

    carneddi @26. I was hoping a Welsh speaker might drop in (I’m not one, unfortunately). Thank you! Strange that we are expected to be familiar with simple French, Italian, Spanish, Latin etc but not with our native languages apart from English.

  26. Sylvia says:

    Loved it! Philistine crosswords are so entertaining and thought-provoking.

  27. Robi says:

    Carneddi @20; I’m sure you’re right, although I see that Bronwyn is given as a variant of Bronwen.

  28. nametab says:

    I had Renee too for most of puzzle, and yet, once seen (which was only when I realised that no word fitted at 6d, Irene seems more obvious. Anyone remember Renee Houston? I like parsing of 16ac now that PeterO has explained – thanks. Couldn’t work out why GHOUL could be parsed for 12ac, so TROLL was last entry, after penny dropped for next-to-last 8d.

  29. Paul B says:

    Hmm. Nice grid though. Have you noticed how grids that have as the top left block position 2:2 are usually a good bet? It would, it seems to me, take a fair deal of bludgeoning to wreck one entirely.

  30. PeeDee says:

    RCW @17. Split CO2 in CO and 2 then you get the definition (CO) and the subsidiary part (2).

  31. Rorschach says:

    Does anyone else get a little spooked when you get deja vu in cryptics close together across papers?

    I’m thinking especially here of Nimrod in the Indy yesterday using “Dawn perhaps” as an indicator for SUNup i.e. NUS (for NIDUS with “papers” inside) and Philistine today with SUNRISE as NUS rising. One day after the other and one is a reverse of the other but a little creepy all the same…

  32. ernie says:

    Found this a slog. Got a lot of the answers before understanding the reasons which turned out to be good and accurate. CO2 is a double definition. Thanks for the blog.

  33. Mary says:

    This puzzle was perfect. There were very many clever clues which were enjoyable to work out. AND all the solutions were accessible. For the first time for years I did not have to look up a thing in any dictionary, thesaurus, etc, etc, nor go on line. Thus, all of my time was happily spent enjoying solving the clues.

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