Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,643 – Philistine

Posted by Andrew on May 23rd, 2012


This is Philistine’s eighth appearance since his Guardian debut almost exactly a year ago (26th May 2011). As seems to be the norm for his puzzles, this one was fairly straightforward, but with inventive and witty clueing making it a pleasure to solve. I have a couple of factual quibbles, noted below, but nothing too serious.

8. METAPHOR This seems to be just a cryptic definition suggesting that “face the music” is a mixed metaphor, but I don’t think it is, though its origin seems to be unknwon.
9. TATAMI Hidden in reverse of yachIMATA Traditionally, and it’s an &lit as a tatami is a Japanese mat. The words “under foot” are needed for the definition but are superfluous in the cryptic reading.
10. BAZAAR AZ (“A to Z” map of London, and other cities) in ARAB*, and again &lit
11. EVENTIDE EVEN (regular) + TIDE (flow)
12. BELIEF BELIE + [rasta]F[arian]
16. APOSTATE A POST + ATE. An apostate is an ex-believer, hence “once”
19. CURTSY CURT + S[p]Y. I think “curtsey” is the more usual spelling, but Chambers gives both.
21. DROPOUTS OUT in DROPS. I don’t think hippies are necessarily dropouts, or vice versa, but I guess it’s close enough.
22. ASTUTE AS (since) TUT (Tutankhamun, Pharaoh) + E[gyptian]
24. ANNEXE X (kiss) in ANNEE (French “year”)
25. APHORISM METAPHOR (8ac) less MET (come across) + ISM (doctrine), definition “saw”
26,6d,6a. GONE WITH THE WIND G[ood] ONE (person) + WITH THE WIND (flatulent)
27. TAY BRIDGE Site of the famous railway disaster of 1879, which was the subject of the equally famous poem by William McGonagall, disastrous in its own way.
2. CHAPATI CHAP + [he]ATI[ng].
3. ETHER The definition “number” for “something that numbs” is getting to be so familiar that I hardly ever get fooled by it for long. There are two cryptic indications: hidden in nETHERlands, and an anagram of THREE
4. TORPEDO RP + E[nglish] in TO-DO, though RP isn’t really “correct speech” (except perhaps to some of those that speak it).
5. AUTHENTIC AU (gold) + THEN (following) + TIC[k] (credit)
14. FLATULENT FLAT + [yo]U + LENT (advanced)
17. SUPREME Hidden in popS UP REMEmber
20. RETIRED Double definition
23. TASTE Double definition

21 Responses to “Guardian 25,643 – Philistine”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Chewy stuff from Philistine today – not as much fun as I remember previous puzzles to have been but that’s just personal taste, I guess.

    I agree with you about 8. A simple cd is rather unsatisfactory for Philistine but, if there’s more to it, I can’t see it.

    SUPREME was last in, embarrassingly. :(

  2. AndrewC says:

    Thanks, Andrew (and Philistine). I had a similar reaction to 8, hoping for something more than a cd. My ‘solution’ was to treat ‘Face the music’ as an &lit; leaving ‘perhaps, mixing this’ as a second definition. Given the two cryptic indications in 3, I figured this might have been another one – a metaphor and something that might be mixed. Am I being too charitable… :) The rest was mostly fun, though I was not too keen on A-Z as a map.

  3. JollySwagman says:

    Re 8A – this is a bit of a stretch but:

    Face (A side/B side etc): A
    the : THE
    music perhaps : PROM

    mixing this: anagrind

    (A THE PROM)* = METAPHOR – as a bonus to it already having been adequately clued as DD.

  4. Rick says:

    Thanks Andrew – a very helpful blog (as always!).

    I enjoyed the puzzle but I agree that “dropouts” for “hippies” and “rp” for “correct speech” are a tad flaky. I can’t offer anything better for 8 across.

    Notwithstanding that, thanks to Philistine for an entertaining solve. In particular, 14 down and then 26, 6d, 6a brought a smile; I also liked 25 across.

  5. aztobesed says:

    Maybe not full on PC but RP and ‘correct speech’ are pretty much interchangeable terms for them what teaches it. I don’t think they were being judgmental – just a phrase that went with their training.

  6. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew, a really interesting blog as well as thorough.

    Your amusing comment re the McGonagall’s poem recalls flogging through the wretched thing at school – guaranteed to steer this student away from poetry at an early age.

    Re FACE THE MUSIC, our family has always (perhaps wrongly) associated this with the lot of the conductor. Anyone who has ever wielded a baton before an unfamiliar and potentially hostile orchestra will certainly know the feeling!

    All in all, a good, solid crossword from Phil this morning, with plenty to chew on as NeilW says @1.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Philistine

    Slightly mixed feelings about parts of this largely enjoyable and puzzle. Like others I was left looking for more from ‘metaphor’ but NB that Tay Bridge is also just a CD as far as I can see.

    I also felt that the, albeit clever, ‘remove and grind’ instructions were a bit thick on the ground (1a, 19a, 25a, 18d).

    Nonetheless I ticked 18d, and also 10a, 12a, 22a, 2d, 5d.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew and Philistine. Quite enjoyable – I rushed through half of it and then slowed down. Last in was bazaar.

    I took 8a as a sort of DD (not CD): the “perhaps” indicating “Face the music” was a type of metaphor, and a metaphor could be a mixed one. Not a very satisfactory clue. (Apologies if earlier contributors were saying this)

    27a I thought at first this was rather weak, but I hadn’t realised till I re-read your (Andrew’s) comment that the “lines” referred also to poetry.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with tupu about the remove and grind clues (nice way of phrasing it, by the way)

  10. tupu says:

    Dave E @8,9
    I must confess I missed the ‘lines’ reference, though I am familiar with the clunky ‘poem’. I assumed it was just ‘the track’. This said, I don’t think the clue is one of the setter’s best – the verse is certainly the poet’s best known (and therein lies its own disaster) but I don’t know if it was his worst effort.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Straightforward but enjoyable, I’d say, with the same quibble that others have over METAPHOR. I agree with you, Andrew, about hippies and dropouts, but it gives me the opportunity to big up my favourite hippie, Dylan the rabbit from The Magic Roundabout. Far out, man …

  12. William says:

    JollySwagman@3 – very nice try, but would one really say “there’s a nice track on face A”? Pretty sure I’d say “side A” or more likely “the A-side”.

    Let’s hope Phil drops in to tell us.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer for 25a.

    I also was dubious about using A to Z for a map.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A pretty good workout – no single – clue quibbles here.
    Do any of you allow the cross reference at 25ac to be included when considering the clue at 8ac. I certainly solved the former first and used it to solve the latter.
    Last in was’supreme’ which it seems I was not alone in failing to un-hide; excellent clue.
    20d was rather facile. I liked 18d and 21 ac.

  15. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I’ve spent far too much time today reading Poetic Gems, thanks to 27a.

    Tupu @10: in the hotly-contested “McGonagall’s Worst” stakes, maybe A Tribute to Henry M. Stanley shows his scansion and rhyming at their most approximate. But the clue doesn’t depend on the poem being McG’s worst, just on it being a “disastrous setting [of] lines.” I think it’s a very neat cd.

    I did bridle just a wee bit on seeing that non-rhotic cooing known as RP defined as “correct speech.” ;-)

    Echoing others: SUPREME was well-concealed. I made sluggish progress in SW. I think I just haven’t found this setter’s wavelength yet.

  16. Paul B says:

    Grid with a split personality made things harder, especially from N to S on each side.

    8 & 27 seem both to be DDs. With ‘face the music’ not being a mixed metaphor, 8 uses a musical ruse to disguise the two definitions. 27, as observed above, probably just fails to do enough to draw attention to the poem.

  17. Robi says:

    Nice one Philistine; I thought this was going to be quite easy when I started, but then I ground to a halt for a while.

    Thanks Andrew; I didn’t know, or had long since forgotten, the Tay Bridge disaster. Thanks for the links.

    Like many the SUPREME ha caught me out initially and I had to look up the other TATAMI. I thought the central heating in 2 was ‘CH,’ which allowed me erroneously to solve it and see the parsing later.

    Like RCW, I appreciated ECSTASY and thought RETIRED was uncharacteristically weak. The ETHER=number is also looking a little tired. For ANNEXE I was nicely misled by Provence, racking my brains for an ‘aix’ or somesuch.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks Miche @15. I have not encountered the Stanley effort before. It certainly takes some beating! I had not wanted to suggest that the Tay Bridge had to be his worst poem for the clue to work, but only that it had had the disastrous misfortune to become known to a wide audience.

  19. drago says:

    It’s a stretch, but ‘metaphor’ is a homophone for ‘Mehta for’. He faces the music.

  20. Andrew Barton says:

    27 may be a reference to:

  21. mark says:

    Annoying and you try to hard to justify poor clueing.

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