Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,680 – Enigmatist

Posted by manehi on July 5th, 2012


Enjoyed this, with some easier solutions providing much-needed crossers to help with several tricky clues at the end. Favourites today were 12ac and 18ac.

1, 5 EXCUSE MY FRENCH =”pardonnez-moi” (r[evitalise] c[rêperie] chef sexy menu)* – “nouveau” is french for “new” and indicates the anagram
9 FLAMINGO =”long-legged bird” FLAMING=”Breaking out in passion” + O[ver] (cricket abbreviation)
10 SPOT-ON =”It’s the ticket” SON=”boy” around “POT”=”in pocket” (snooker)
12 NIGHT =”dark” NIGH=”near” + T[he]
13 CANNONEER =”Artillery chap” ONE inside CANNER[Y]=”food factory taking year off”
14 SLOANE RANGER =”Chelsea aficianado” (ARSENAL G[o]ONER)* – “Nonetheless” implying the removal of an “O”
18 EXTRACTOR FAN =”cooler” an EX-TRACTOR FAN would have been “ardent about farm machinery”
21 ROADWORKS =”Slower [as a noun] to progress” R[eading] + (word)* inside OAKS=[horse racing] “classic”
23 HEAVE =”Strain to lift” rev(EH=”what”) + AVE[nue]=”road”
24 BICKER “Argue” B[ishop] and R[ector] around David ICKE [wiki], “Son of the Godhead” and exposer of our reptilian overlords
25 RENT-A-CAR =”Budget”, the rent-a-car firm (can’t)* inside REAR=”back”. “Divers” is used in the sense of “various” as an anagrind.
26,27 EUREKA STOCKADE =”Victorian battle” [wiki] (duke so take care)*
1, 16 ENFANT TERRIBLE =”Unconventional type” (far better linen)*
2 CHARGE double definition “Completely fill” or “military order”
3 SCINTILLA =”Bright spark” SC[ilicet]=”that is” [Latin] + IN + TILL=”work” + A[fternoon]
4 MAGIC LANTERN =”Projector” CLAN=”house”, between [the group of three] MAGI and TERN, a gambling term for a group of three
6 REPRO =”facsimile” RE=”On”=concerning + PRO=”for”
7 NUTMEGGY =”Well-spiced” N[ational] U[nion] of T[eachers] + EGG=”bomb” inside MY [interjection]=”I’m surprised”
8, 20 HONORARY DEGREE =”Letters may be appended with it” HONORARY=”unpaid” + DEGREE=”amaount”
11 IN RETROSPECT =”Looking back” (Torres)* + PEC=”muscle”, all inside INT[ernational]
15 APATHETIC “Unemotional” PATH=”way”, inside A + rev(CITE=”quote”)
17 STEAM CAR “vehicle” (scream at)*
19 FASCIA =”front up for business” I think this is (f[ollowing] c[ollege] asia)* – where Asia=”outside Europe”
22 WREAK =”Cause” sounds [to an audience] like “reek”, meaning to smoke or fume

39 Responses to “Guardian 25,680 – Enigmatist”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi. Enjoyable but not easy. I agree with you about 19 but I wasn’t wild about this clue. Also, apart from the surface, why the double anagrinds “awful” and “twisted” in 11?

  2. John Appleton says:

    Some great new words here. Regarding 11, I think “twisted” is a reversal indicator (For “cep”, as in bicep/tricep) rather than an anagrind.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks manehi, and Enigmatist. I did like the anagrams and fine surfaces of 26-27 and 1-16, and 4d too. But too many single-letter abbreviations; 10a for me doesn’t work properly;and 19 is altogether ungainly.

  4. NeilW says:

    John @2, cep is a mushroom. There is no muscle called a cep. In both biceps and triceps the cep bit refers the the insertion of the muscle being by either two or three heads. Sorry! :)

  5. NeilW says:

    Of course, one could argue that there’s no muscle called a PEC either but it is an accepted abbreviation for the pectoral, albeit normally appearing in the plural.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Thanks NeilW. I checked Chambers after posting my last comment, and it certainly doesn’t know of any cep muscles. That’s how I’d parsed the clue anyway, in my infinite wisdom.

    An interesting coincidence that I noticed on looking up the Eureka Stockade in Wikipedia: The painting they’ve used is by one J. Henderson. I wonder if Enigmatist was aware of it.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Manehi.

    I really enjoyed this, after getting over the shock of seeing an Enigmatist puzzle after such a long time! I fared better than I expected but it was not a particularly easy ride.

    Favourite clues: 18, 21 and 24 ac, i think.

    I read 19dn as F [following] + C in ASIA [ie outside Europe, perhaps]

  8. rhotician says:

    Thanks manehi.

    I think in 19 ‘college outside Europe, perhaps’ parses as ‘c inside asia for example’.

  9. Eileen says:


  10. NeilW says:

    rhotician, I think you are right but I prefer Eileen’s exact wording, with “in” rather than “inside” – otherwise you need “outside” to do double duty. You wouldn’t say, “He attended a college inside Asia.”

  11. rhotician says:

    NeilW, fair enough. I think you can rely on Eileen to be more accurate than me. Quicker as well.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Enigmatist

    When I saw ‘Enigmatist’ I assumed I was in for a struggle, but all became clear in due course even though it was hard in places.

    Re 11d I read muscle as ‘pec’ which leaves NeilW’s worry unsorted.

    Ticked 14a, 18a, 25a, 7d.

    I had to check ‘egg’ = ‘bomb’.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks manehi. I found this quite difficult in places and needed the check button to complete it. However, the unfamiliar answers, such as Eureka Stockade, were fairly clued, which helped.

    18ac was my favourite — I loved the ex-tractor fan! 21ac also made me smile.

    Thanks Enigmatist.

  14. Robi says:

    Super puzzle that was more tractable than some Enigmatist offerings.

    Thanks manehi; I loved EXCUSE MY FRENCH. 😉

    Not very good on Victorian battles, but as liz @13 said, EUREKA STOCKADE was fairly clued. Despite NeilW @1’s comment, I did like the surface of IN RETROSPECT, although I agree that it would probably have been improved by omitting the ‘awful.’ However, perhaps Enigmatist is just commenting on Torres’s recent performances!

    Horses for courses, but SPOT-ON did what it says on the tin for me. I also liked EXTRACTOR FAN, which I parsed slightly differently as EX-FAN about TRACTOR, but it’s probably the same difference. :)

  15. crypticsue says:

    I was beginning to wonder where Enigmatist had gone and so was delighted to see his name at the top of the crossword. Didn’t take that long to solve but was one of those lovely crosswords that leaves you smiling for the rest of the morning. 1,5 was particularly brilliant. Thanks to Enigmatist and Manehi too.

  16. Robi says:

    P.S. I’m never sure about the cluing of homophones (such as WREAK) – there is no definition of WREAK here – is that normally permissible, or is the definition of the homophone to which it refers sufficient?

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    The definition is ’cause’.

  18. Robi says:

    Eileen @17; muchas gracias!

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was an enjoyable tussle.Last in was ‘degree’ (20d) although I had 8d quite early. I was too obsessed with ‘the right honourable ???’ on a letter heading.
    I liked the audacity of 24ac.
    Although there were several tricky clues, I did wonder if there was another reason which slowed me down. I do not usually notice such things but of the checked letters 34% were vowels. Can one of you buffs tell me whether that is high or low.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    I wonder how long it will be before John Motson refers to a ‘nutmeggy’ shot on goal?

  21. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Enigmatist and manihi

    It must be the tribute puzzle to Rufus back in February since I’ve seen this setter … and after staring at an empty grid for quite a while it was good to get a start with NIGHT, closely followed by EUREKA STOCKADE with the local knowledge of the famous rising in the goldfields near where I grew up.

    It was then slow and steady work through some very clever clues – especially the 18, 1-5 and 21 which all brought a grin ! Needed help with the parsing of 6 which was last in (doh) and 2 (hadn’t heard of the Latin scilicet before, or its abbreviation). Hadn’t seen NUTMEGGY used before either, but a lovely construction to the clue. Liked the unusual use of EH and MY in the clues as well.

  22. Tom Hutton says:

    Too many single letter abbreviations for my taste, especially in 19d which no one has satisfactorily explained. I finished this with great difficulty, enjoying some of the clues, but it was too hard to be any fun on a weekday for me.

  23. NeilW says:

    Tom, I’m a FRCS, which makes C a perfectly good abbreviation for college for for me and I think that Eileen’s parsing @7 makes 19 a very good and cunning clue.

  24. NeilW says:

    Sorry about the 2 fors.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah, all of the above.

    I didn’t know tern as a gambling term, despite being the dissolute member of this site. So I looked it it up, and in passing found an interesting site I hadn’t found before. Which indicates that the sense of relating to three isn’t confined to gambling.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Ternary is quite common in maths. and chemistry. I have never seen ‘tern’ but just assumed it must exist.

  27. Trailman says:

    Just got back from French class. Smiled at 1,5 on the way in and 1,15 on the way back.

  28. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I finished an Enigmatist, which I haven’t been able to say for a while (if at all, in fact). Some reasonably easy long clues to get you going (I thought we might be having a bit of a French theme when my first two answers were EXCUSE MY FRENCH and ENFANT TERRIBLE) but it was a struggle to get it all out.

    EXTRACTOR FAN is outrageous (but actually very funny) and I also liked SLOANE RANGER as a reminder of the heady days of the 1980s. Still got a copy of The Sloane Ranger Handbook somewhere (I was aspirational at the time, but I got over myself). Not so keen on NUTMEGGY – odd word with tough clue to decipher.

    Thanks to manehi and Mr H.

  29. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks manehi

    I had to return to this one about four times before completing it. Entered PARDON MY FRENCH for some reason and it didn’t help one little bit.

    I haven’t checked Chambers but is NUTMEGGY a word? Never heard it used.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    see @20
    Yes,it is in Chambers but not in that sense.

  31. jvh says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    I have always liked the delightful definition of “Sloane Ranger” in my old (1993) Chambers.

  32. RCWhiting says:

    I cannot believe I am making this over-pedantic and pernickety observation but……
    In 10ac it is not ‘pot = in pocket’.
    ‘pot’ and ‘pocket’ are verbs.
    So it is ‘boy has in(side him)’ ‘pocket = pot’ to give s(pot)on.

  33. rhotician says:

    RCW. No need to apologize. I agree with your analysis. I was very tempted to make the same observation. I have no problem with being pernickety. Au contraire. I refrained because I couldn’t express my own thoughts so concisely.

    What interests me is what prompted you to analyze the clue so deeply. And what prompted you to comment, albeit so reluctantly.

  34. RCWhiting says:

    Because when I solved it my first thought was that it contained an error; this made me look more closely until I realised that the above explanation made it totally valid. I then noticed that manehi had used the same parsing as my initial thought.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    Reluctance because I have complained about others’ quibbling for days over one clue (hypocrite).

  36. rhotician says:


    My first thought was that it contained an error. I hoped the blog would enlighten me. Then it was clear that manehi was having trouble as well. Then I looked more closely and came, eventually, to the same conclusion as you.

  37. rhotician says:

    An afterthought. A Strict Ximenean (sorry) would say that all this confusion is proof that the clue is “unfair”. To “correct” the clue ‘boy has in pocket’ should be ‘pocket in boy’. This, of course, wrecks the surface. Aforesaid SX would say that nice surfaces are to be welcomed but the purity of the cryptic parsing is paramount.

    I would disagree. I got to the solution, not too easily. I also got the parsing, eventually. I enjoyed the whole process.

  38. Tramp says:

    I loved this. Some amazing clues here; RENT-A-CAR was my favourite for the very neat definition!

  39. Smoz says:

    Got there at last! Icke – tee-hee!

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