Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,660 – Picaroon

Posted by Uncle Yap on June 12th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

 Today is my turn to set a hash run and host the ensuing festivities; so I was out most morning, hence the unusually late blog. Very fine puzzle that shouldn’t trouble most regular solvers. A couple of unfamiliar words but fairly clued. Entertaining.

I like to think that even in the crossword puzzles, we are recording changes in our lives. We used to call Sun and the Mirror tabloids but when even the Times shrunk in size, we revert to red top to differentiate from the erstwhile broadsheets. The last definition, electronic accounts can only be a recent innovation. Hurray for a living language.

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

4 RED TOP Ins of ED (editor, newspaper’s leader) in R (right) & TOP (rev of POT, dope)  Red Top is the term given to what used to be called the “tabloids” such as Daily Mirror and The Sun
6 MONARCHY Substitution of ARCH (chief) for E (English) in MONEY (wealth)
9 VIAGRA Ins of AG (argentum, silver) & R (first letter of rocket) in VIA (through). My COD for the audacious def
10 STRIPPER S (sun) TRIPPER (holiday maker)
11 SCREWDRIVER Cha of SCREW (to hell with) DRIVER (personal motivation) for a drink of vodka and orange juice
15 ROBESON Ins of E (fifth note) in ROB (wrongly take) & SON (issue)
22 MALTREAT Ins of R (first letter of restraint) in MALT (alcohol) & EAT (consume)
23 BLITHE Allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem To a Skylark (“Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! / Bird thou never wert”) Babble is to blither or blether or talk garrulous nonsense
24 TOGETHER TOG (rev of GOT, obtained) ETHER (number or anaesthetic)
25 ANORAK Ins of NO (refusal) in ARAK (spirit, alcohol in Asia)
1 SORROW S (first letter of solution) OR (if not) ROW (one goes across in grid)
2 MONTEVERDI Ins of V (five in Roman numeral) & ER (Elizabeth Regina, Queen) in MONTE (card game) and DI (first two letters of diamonds)
3 VARIORUM Ins of A (American) & RIO (city) in V (very) & RUM (funny) (of an edition of a text) including the notes of earlier commentators or editors, or variant readings.
4 REVISORY Ins of VISOR (part of helmet) in REY (Spanish king)
5 DIATRIBE DI (Princess) A TRIBE (people)
7 CAPE C (carbon) APE (copy)
8 YARN YEARN (to long for) minus E (energy)
12 RINGLEADER RING (Der Ring des Nibelungen, the cycle of four epic operas by Richard Wagner) LEADER (sounds like lieder, German songs)
13 INVESTOR IN (home) + ins of ST (street) in *(OVER)
14 NEWSPEAK My eyes are dim, I cannot see; I haven’t got my specs with me … let’s see who’s the first with a plausible explanation
19 HOLING HOLDING (property) minus D
20 EMIT Rev of TIME (sentence, imprisonment))
21 BLOG Rev of GO (leave) LB (abbreviation for 16 ounces or 1 pound)

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
*(fodder) = anagram

64 Responses to “Guardian 25,660 – Picaroon”

  1. steve tennant says:

    On On!

  2. AndrewC says:

    Thanks UY (hope the festivities didn’t spoil a good run!).

    14D had me scratching about a bit as well – and here for public delectation is my version…the silly season is typical ‘man bites dog’ time for the news…so, maybe ‘news peak’ is the opposite, a time of real news. If that’s right, I’m not sure it’s a good clue, particularly not in the company of some great clues like 1D and 9Ac.

    Thanks Picaroon. A good tussle was had by all, and in the end I think honours were evenly split.

  3. dreadnought says:


    Thanks for the blog. I found this quite tough especially after yesterday’s relatively easy ride. But thanks Picaroon.

    14d my analysis is simply that NEWSPEAK is the peak time for news; and Newspeak from the mouths of politicians and media in Orwell 1984. Still got it in the real world e.g. Ministry of Defence (rather than ‘War’).

    4 of first 5 across clues all fairly naughty – thought Cyclops had masqueraded as Picaroon. Love def in 9a!

    Where is on on today?

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for haring back to the laptop to post the blog for us today.

    I too found this tough. VIAGRA and SCREWDRIVER were outrageous, so I liked them; and I also liked NEWSPEAK, which like dreadnought I took to be a reference to Mr Blair.

    Good puzzle from Mr Pirate today, thank you.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY, for the blog – lucky you!

    Picaroon’s eagerly-awaited [by me, certainly] third puzzle, which did not disappoint. I happened to be up after midnight and took a peek online to see whose puzzle it was today. When I saw the name, I couldn’t not solve it there and then, so I’m up rather later than usual!

    The cluing throughout is exquisitely precise. For instance, I could see exactly where 9ac was going and so spent some minutes trying to make sense of ‘pagrer’ and wondering if I should go downstairs for Chambers – which made the light that suddenly dawned that much more dazzling!

    I wasn’t familiar with the Asian spirit but was guided to the geek by the final K, provided by the wonderful NEWSPEAK, which, although it’s invidious to pick out favourites, would have to be near the top of the list.

    Speaking of Mr Blair, it’s perhaps worth pointing out, for the benefit of overseas readers, who may just possibly have missed it, at the time of Princess Diana’s death, the other Mr Blair [Anthony Charles Lynton] bestowed on her the title of ‘the people’s princess’, making 5dn another great clue.

    And how satisfying to see ellipses used so wittily and topically as in 17 / 18ac.

    I could go on [and on] but I’ll leave space for others.

    [I’ll just confess that 1dn was my last in – I was looking for some obscure duck! :-( Another great penny-dropping moment.]

    Huge thanks, Picaroon – roll on No. 4!

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY and Picaroon. This “regular solver” was “troubled” by this but in the best possible way! What a great puzzle. I really like the way that Picaroon disguises her/his definitions.

    I wonder, though, is it a new requirement of setters in the Guardian to include at least one product placement per puzzle? :)

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Picaroon

    A delightful puzzle with just the right degree of challenge. I got my ‘I’s and ‘E’s mixed up a bit this morning. Having parsed 2d correctly, I somehow managed to write in Montiverdi as one part of my brain failed to catch up with the other, and I wondered if Orbison could be spelled Orbeson before seeinjg the right answer (once ‘revisory’ became clear.

    Some lovely cluing as others have said with the old, new, impish and stately nicely mixed togetehr.

  8. Paul B says:

    On on: don’t understand.

  9. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I agree with NeilW @6 that this setter is excellent at misdirection — some of the defs were very well concealed! VARIORUM was new to me but (eventually) gettable from the wordplay. My two last ones were 4dn and the outrageous 9ac.

    NEWSPEAK made me smile!

    Lots of lovely stuff. Thanks, Picaroon.

  10. Robi says:

    Lively puzzle with plenty of food to chew.

    Thanks UY; I was going to object to HOLING=successfully until I spotted the additional ‘putting.’

    I liked the short CAPE and BLOG [wondered at first what ‘bog’ or ‘gob’ had to do with soaring :( ] and the clever SORROW.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever needed a VARIORUM and, of course, I didn’t know the Shelley reference although I was fimiliar with the Coward play. VIAGRA was straight out of the Paul manual [so to speak ;) .] Any significance to Paul ROBESON?

  11. Robi says:

    Paul B @8; in the absence of anything better, maybe it’s related to [Wiki]: ‘When the Hash officially ends, many members may continue socialising at an “On-After”, “On-Down”, “On-On-On”, “Apres”, or “Hash Bash”, an event held at a nearby house, pub, or restaurant.’

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Brain addled with a slight cold today, the first in three years, so missed getting 1d, 21d, 12d and 3d, so thanks UY for answers and explanations.

    9a, of course, the favourite; I took “Silver rocket’s tip” as a euphemism, but perhaps that’s just my imagination.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    “an euphemism”, perhaps?

  14. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Another great puzzle from the Pirate; I found this quite a bit easier than the first few, but a lot of fun.

    His use of commonly paired consecutive words in his clues, often to hide the caesura, makes for great surface readings and wonderful misdirection – this seems to be a trademark. Examples here are: ‘breaking through’ in 9a, ‘take a drink’ in 11a, ’round number’ in 24a, ‘down solution’ in 1d.

    Look forward to the next one.

  15. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Picaroon, for a jolly good laugh and mental work-out! Thanks, too, to Uncle Yap as ever and hurray, indeed, for a living language!

    9a was a brilliant clue in every respect and 15a reminded me of seeing Paul Robeson playing Othello at Stratford many years ago in a ground-breaking performance.

    Paul B @8 and Robi @11, I read the On On!@1 to as more of the same from Picaroon.

    Giovanna x

  16. Hoogie says:

    As an ex-hasher I can say that ‘On On’ is a regular call when running to let the others know you’re on the trail. Especially useful if your run is utilising false trails – i.e. if you know it’s 3 marks for the true trail you might hear calls of On-one, On-two and On On to keep the slower ones updated!

    This is making me tempted to track down a local hash and start again!

  17. Gervase says:

    Re my comment @14, I parsed 11ac slightly, but significantly differently: SCREW (to hell with) DRIVE (personal motivation) R (‘take’) = ‘a drink’

  18. William says:

    Thanks UY. Excellent puzzle from the Pirate – must have missed one as this is only the 2nd I’ve tackled.

    When, oh when, will I remember to watch for ‘for’ as the replacement indicator such as in MONARCHY? Catches me every time.

    Solved VARORIUM without knowing it which I always think is good clueing.

    Don’t understand the “On, on” thing, I’m afraid.

    SORROW was my last in…to my shame, I was looking for a duck to fit the ‘down’ reference.

    More please Bluebeard.

  19. Robi says:

    Dave @13; please no! You don’t say ‘an year,’ so I don’t think you should say an euphemism. I’m afraid it is a hobby horse of mine. I hate ‘an historical;’ an ‘istorical is OK, but I never seem to hear people say ‘an horse.’ I once wrote a short article called: ‘An horse, an horse, my kingdom for an horse!’ Perhaps I should try to get it published somewhere.

  20. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase @14

    That was my reading, too. I hadn’t noticed tthe slight variation in the blog until you pointed it out.

    Hi William @18

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one on a wild duck chase! ;-) [see my comment @5]

    [If you want to track down the missing puzzle, it’s either this one

    or this ]

  21. Eileen says:

    Sorry – Gervase @17

  22. Tramp says:

    I haven’t done much solving lately. Printed this out and did some before work and then finished it at dinner time. This was a pleasure to solve; excellent clueing with great surfaces. My only niggle (and this probably says more about me than the clue) is that I don’t quite understand NEWSPEAK.

  23. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Picaroon for another entertaining puzzle, and Uncle Yap for the blog.

    Eventually completed the puzzle, but had to look up VARIORUM and SYBARITE.
    Originally thought SCREWDRIVER was going to begin with “SODA” (Sod a …)! Also originally thought 23a was a reference to Shelley’s “Alastor,the spirit of solitude”!

    Re the blog, I thought for the benefit of less experienced solvers there could have been more explanation of the definitions, e.g. 10a where coat = coat of paint,7d where cape = headland and main = sea, 2d where scorer = composer (writer of score), etc.

  24. PeterJohnN says:

    …and in 19d HOLING, where “putting” has a dual purpose as in “to put” and “to putt”.

  25. Robi says:

    Tramp @22; like AndrewC @2 and others, in 14 I took the ‘silly season’ to be when there is a dearth of interesting news. The opposite would then be a NEWS PEAK. Seemed OK to me.

  26. Robi says:

    P.S. See more about the silly season at:

  27. NeilW says:

    Robi, maybe Tramp’s just being mischievous and trying to tempt Picaroon out of obscurity to comment and so reveal her/himself. ;) (I think we all appreciate it when setters pop in to comment on their puzzles as, reliably, Tramp does.)

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Great challenge which I failed but enjoyed enormously.
    I had ‘toprow’, ‘revision’ and ‘Orbison’ all of which I was doubtful about.
    Great to see so many rough surfaces devised to mislead me (successfully).
    Favourite 17/18 ac.
    Never mind ‘on on’, what is ‘hash’? Presumably not edible.

  29. Picaroon says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog and to everyone for dropping in to comment. The positive and/or constructive ones are always much appreciated.

    Just to clarify:
    The intended parsing of SCREWDRIVER is, as pointed out, SCREW + DRIVE + R (= take)

    NEWSPEAK, as has been noticed, is intended to be broken down into NEWS/PEAK, which (with a little poetic licence) could suggest the peak time for news, so the opposite of the silly season.

    And 9ac should get you warmed up for tomorrow: the inimitable Arachne in a somewhat spicy mood…

  30. Tramp says:

    I didn’t realise what the “silly season” meant — thanks for clearing it up. As I thought, it said more about me than the clue!

  31. morpheus says:

    V impressive. The only clue I’m a bit unsure about is “people’s princess first with a harangue”. Although the ‘s in people’s makes a nice surface I don’t see how it relates to the structure of the clue unless it’s doing a sort of double duty ie eliding people with people’s princess. Can anyone offer a better explanation?

  32. Tramp says:

    People’s = people has

  33. slipstream says:

    “Anorak” for “geek” is new to me. But I like it.

  34. PeterJohnN says:

    Just come back late in the day. Forgot to mention earlier that I didn’t parse 5d DIATRIBES either. Tramp @32 “People’s = people has” Come on! I’ve never come across such a construction. “People have” surely!

  35. Picaroon says:

    Since we seem to be getting into a bit of grammatical nitty-gritty, here goes, although the following will be of interest only to the pedantically minded…

    Tramp is, of course, quite right. People’s = people has in this case.

    The Listener Crossword guidelines give the following example of “ungrammatical wording” (according to Ximenean principles, so look away now if they offend you!):
    “I’m in factory plastic [PLIANT, eg, “I is” required]”

    According to (I think, entirely logical) convention, I is considered as a letter or word that is inserted into another word or string of letters, not as a person. Therefore, it requires a verb in the third person singular. The same here applies to TRIBE, which “has” DI first, then A.

    I hope that at least clarifies convention – needless to say not everyone agrees or needs to!

  36. morpheus says:

    Thank you Tramp and Picaroon. Thought I was missing something there. Perhaps Picaroon’s example (if phrased correctly according to Ximenean principles) would work better in an Ali G themed crossword? ;)

  37. William says:

    RCW @28 I think hashing is the modern equivalent of the paper chase or ‘Hare & Hounds’ if you are of my vintage. You can see more here

    I think our esteemed blogger, Uncle Ya,p is from the part of the world where they originated but he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

  38. Paul B says:

    There’s only one grammar in a crossword clue, and that’s the cryptic grammar.

    What we see on the surface, ie what we’re supposed to think a clue sentence means, is irrelevant (and in fact meaning-less). That doesn’t imply surfaces shouldn’t be polished and shiny, but the best solvers see right through the sheen, even when definitions are at their brilliant, misleading best.

    Thanks Picaroon. I enjoyed your puzzle today.

  39. PeterJohnN says:

    Picaroon @35. Thanks for your comments! However, if I wanted to say “a people or tribe has princess first”, I can’t imagine abreviating it with the apostrophe. More a question of usage than grammar.

  40. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks William.Very familiar with H&H but never heard of hash.
    Like less scientific orienteering, I guess.

  41. rhotician says:

    PJN @39: It is not a question of usage, it IS a question of grammar. People’s = people has is bad grammar here on two counts – a verb is needed and people would usually be plural. So, for example, tribe’s run amok and people’ve gone crazy is grammatically correct.

    However, such s small flaw in an otherwise fine clue in an otherwise faultless (and excellent) puzzle can surely be forgiven.

  42. JollySwagman says:

    Very nice puzzle.

    Picaroon may be getting mixed up with the requirements of some of the other papers he might be setting for. This is The Guardian, not The Listener, and the more bizarre ideas of Ximenes do not (thankfully) hold sway here.

    Two time honoured steps (from well before the publication of Ximenes’s rant) in solving cryptic crosswords are:

    1: Amend punctuation and spacing as required
    2: Transpose synonyms

    Ximenes does not always agree with #1.

    Applying that method here:

    People’s princess first with a harangue

    1: Amend punctuation and spacing as required

    People ‘s princess first with a harangue [space after people]

    2: Transpose synonyms

    TRIBE has DI first with A | DIATRIBE

    ‘s for has, even S for has is commonly accepted.
    The fact that ‘s changes it’s part of speech from the surface to the cryptic reading is perfectly normal.

    So I think I’ve just disagreed with everyone who discussed this clue, but maybe effectively agreed with all those others who, like me, sailed calmly over it.

    But that’s not to say that there’s not an issue worth pondering – especially if Picaroon likes to think of himself as a ximenean setter.

    So I suppose I would make a distinction there from my normal rants about xims picking ximholes in non-xim puzzles.

  43. Andrew T says:

    1D Is there an echo of ‘one for sorrow, two for joy’?

  44. Rorschach says:

    Ironically enough, given all this grammarian discourse, people have overlooked the fact that BLOG is clued “electronic accounts”.

    Much as I love him, (and I very much do!) this is surely not ok by anyone’s account (Xim. or not)?

    A very enjoyable puzzle that had me going for a couple of hours over the football (solving time inversely proportional to the excitement of the particular game in the Euros…)

  45. Thomas99 says:

    Sorry but someone has to point out that you are wrong on three counts. 1. “A verb is needed” is not a problem because “’s” can stand for “has” (e.g. “He’s no right to do that!” – the usage is more common in some parts of the country than others). 2. “People” can be singular. Chambers is very clear on this, at some length. 3. Even if “People” could only be plural the clue could not be faulted because as Picaroon explains, the clue has to tell you about the word, not its referent. In other words the cryptic reading here tells you that a word meaning people, not a bunch of actual humans, has “Di A” ahead of it. “Tribe” has “Di” before it with “a”.

    I don’t actually go along JollySwagman’s prescriptive anti-Ximeneanism either. The cryptic reading just has to tell you how to make the word, following to the rules of English grammar. (There is no special “cryptic grammar”.)

  46. StuM says:

    Re the SCREWDRIVER solution:
    Why does R = take?

    Great crossword, but that bit is niggling me.

  47. JollySwagman says:

    @R #44 – not overlooked – just don’t share your problem.

    “Blog” came in as a portmanteau of “weblog” and although we have come to know them mainly as something where a screed goes up and then lots of people leap in and rant about it (just as here), many of the original ones were frequently more like public diaries (hence log) so “accounts” is quite a good synonym and obviously they are electronic ones.

  48. JollySwagman says:

    @stum #46 It’s short for “recipe” which comes from the latin for “take”.

    I only learned that here myself.

  49. StuM says:


    Thanks very much. There’s always something new to learn in a crossword, eh.

  50. JollySwagman says:

    @#49 Actually – it’s not one I’m wild about. It seems to have become a standard crossword thing but the only everyday use as an abbreviation which I’m aware of is in medical prescriptions and there it’s either Rp or Rx, the latter often written as R with a cross through the tail – which isn’t really R.

  51. ChrisJobless says:

    Very good puzzle; Picaroon is certainly a bright addition to the Inquisition. I think it is good that there is a newer setter who is concerned with keeping things accurate in their clue structure; we all love a good libertarian but some rigour from the likes of Azed, Pasquale and now Picaroon is refreshing, and perhaps more satisfying. A couple of the other newer setters, who in following what they think are Araucarian innovations sometimes just irritate…(I’m thinking of a recent reference to toilet bowls which was frankly tasteless). More power to the Picaroon, and hopefully more from you soon. Enjoyed 9ac, risque but ‘in the best possible taste’

  52. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Picaroon and UY

    The fact that the conversation here has continued strongly into the second day is testament to this rising star setter.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this with 9A a clue to be shared with work colleagues !! Last physically in was VARIORUM which I have not previously heard of, but in going over the parsing discovered that my DANIEL BOBROW (one gets down – BOB, ROW across grid) who was an inventor of Artificial Intelligence (AI – or 1 across with liberties) was not as good as the correct answer :).

    Like others, I look forward to more from Picaroon.

  53. JollySwagman says:

    @ChrisJobless #51 – since this is your first post on this site you may be unaware of the site rule:

    “Comments added to posts about a specific puzzle should be relevant to the puzzle under discussion.”

    however since you raise it, the only toilet reference I can find recently is 3d from Tramp’s Guardian 25,650:

    3 Most strong flush wiping edges to toilet — sit oddly (8) for LUSTIEST.

    If that is not the one perhaps you could indicate which one was.

    I am surprised that you or anyone else should find that to be in worse taste than today’s 9a.

    How would you rate (for good taste)

    One is not going all the way, chasing better cock (5)
    for CAPON, by Anax in Sunday’s online Indy.

    BTW it is incorrect to talk about “Araucarian innovations” since A was setting puzzles in his own style (unbylined initially) long before the Ximenes book was published. The implication that “libertarian” setting implicitly lacks rigour is also illogical nonsense. Some may, but most commonly they adhere to a logic which happens to be different from that favoured by Ximenes.

  54. rhotician says:

    JollySwagman @42: “‘s” can stand for “has”. ” ‘s” can’t stand for anything. Would you find “People ‘s princess” acceptable as the original clue or would you see it as a Grauniad misprint? (You have to look closely for the spaces.)

    Nit-picking or quibbling does not make one Ximenean. As you say the Guardian puzzles are not so extreme and I wouldn’t do them if they were, for they would afford little pleasure. However I do enjoy the quibbling and counter-argument that goes on here. The row over “strait and narrow” was enjoyable (and deliciously apt). I think we should leave Ximenes out of our discussions.

    There was some debate about a superfluous “a” in the recent Rufus but, surprisingly, none about money=pound=l.

  55. Picaroon says:

    Hi again all,

    I have just read all the debate here with great interest. Like rhotician, I enjoy the “quibbling and counter-argument” on 15^2, particularly as I suspect most of us cruciverbalists have been faced with that “please shut up” look when talking about puzzles to people we know who fail to share our interest (no? just me?…).

    In response to JollySwagman (@42), I should say that my comments earlier about “People’s princess” weren’t advocacy of any particular type of cluing. I was just trying to answer morpheus’s question by pointing out that even according to the most grammatically rigorous standards the clue is sound. Thomas99 puts the matter very well indeed (@45). As a solver I enjoy puzzles from across the spectrum and as a setter simply try (and the word needs emphasising here!) to find something that seems to work. As agendas go, that’s it for me.

  56. JollySwagman says:

    @R 54 earlier (#41) you wrote “people would usually be plural”.

    Usually never counts – the setter can ask you to assume any possible valid interpretation. Obviously “people” is usually the plural of person (unless you are a policeman) but it can also be singular, meaning a race or tribe etc.

    Additionally, since you accept S for has (a commonplace over in barred-grid-land), take it that way by dropping the apostrophe – punctuation is always arbitrary – that is unles you buy the ximenean approach – and even there people tend to read too much into his rather garbled views on that.

    I am not at all against quibbling over detail – I am not even against ximeneanism per se. What I am against is the ongoing attempt by ximenean enthusiasts to pretend that his approach is the one and only valid and logical one.

    The example clue given at #35 is a clear example of the difference between ximenanism and normal logic.

    The (counter-)example given by Ximenes is actually:

    I am in the plot that’s clear (5) for PLA(I)N

    Most normal solvers would automatically take both clues as an indication to insert “I” into the other word (or the letters thereof) and not be interested in fussing
    over whether the letter I or the word itself was intended at that moment.

    Re the Rufus – I don’t think there was anything controversial there. It seems to be accepted across the board that articles can be disappeared at will, but not spirited out of nowhere.

    Re strait and narrow. To be honest I thought it quite unremarkable, Gordius having been a clergyman, and that being the spelling Bunyan mainly favoured in his many comments on the biblical text in question.

  57. JollySwagman says:

    @Pic #55 – we crossed

    “I should say that my comments earlier about “People’s princess” weren’t advocacy of any particular type of cluing.”

    Oh come on – not much – it was pretty well a party political broadcast on behalf of the ximenean “I am”/”I is” rule or, and more generally, the ximenean notion of cryptic grammar. You start by quoting the rules of The Listener (a ximenean stronghold) and, after saying you agree with them, you describe it as a “convention” as if to imply that it is broadly accepted across the board.

    If you are a ximenean that’s cool. I have lots of fun solving good puzzles by hardline ximeneans – but I don’t give them extra points for their ximeneanism.

    I’ll be offline in a mo so sorry to rant and run but it’s late here.

  58. rhotician says:

    I had no difficulty solving people’s princess, and I did like the surface. There was just a bit of a niggle that I wouldn’t have mentioned had not Morpheus @31 brought it up. My problem is not to do with parsing (which means two different things in the worlds of grammar and crosswords), rather with construing.

    Thomas99 @45 and JS @56: Of course “people” can be singular and “usually” doesn’t count. Still it niggles. “A people’s princess” resolves the problem without, I think, detracting from the surface.

    Picaroon @55: Thomas99 does indeed put the matter very well. A verb is not needed. I was trying to say that a verb can make the thing construe. Tribe’s run amok contrues as tribe has run amok. He’s no right construes as he has no right.

    I just had a problem construing people’s princess as people has princess. However tribe’s princess does construe as tribe has princess (as first in line of succession, for instance).

    I retire (partly) defeated. Apologies for giving up on the quotation marks. My head is starting to hurt.

  59. PeeDee says:

    Well put JollySwagman.

    However, the irony is that by arguing the (seemingly reasonable) position that ‘the crosssword rules’ are personal and not absolute, one is denying the hard-line Ximean perspective in which the rules really are absolute.

    If one takes personal views as being equally valid, one has to accecpt another’s the personal view that the rules are absolute and you really are wrong.

    In the end the relativist position is no sounder than the absolutist one.

  60. Rorschach says:

    JollySwagman #47 – I’m still not getting it – a personal diary is an account not accounts? In your explanation you talk about diaries in the plural which is precisely my problem – a blog is an account not accounts… But this is a minor quibble. Incidentally I don’t mind People’s princess. In fact I think it’s quite exquisite.

  61. Rorschach says:

    Unless you’re simply saying it’s a collection of accounts? I suppose you could argue that…

  62. rompad says:

    Uncle yap,
    10 has extraneous words in the clue. Where does “getting help” come in the parsing of this clue?

  63. Uncle Yap says:

    The clue is “Holidaymaker going after sun getting help to remove coat (8)”

    S (sun) TRIPPER (Holidaymaker) to get STRIPPER which is the “help to remove coat”

    “getting” is like “for” and is not extraneous

  64. ChrisJobless says:


    Thanks for the lecture on protocol, but really it’s not necessary. As Picaroon is a newer setter, I am entitled to comment on their style as I see fit. If my comment were irrelevant then Uncle Yap could remove it. My comment should not excite any reaction such as to prevent free debate, surely what the internet is all about. So crawl back under your bridge, troll! lol

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

one + 8 =