Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,676 by Shed

Posted by PeeDee on July 7th, 2012


I liked this very much, some really great clues, so many it would be unfair to pick a favourite.   But I will anyway: 26 across it is.

On the whole I found this a little easier than last week’s prize puzzle, sort of middling level for a prize, but for some reason I found the top left corner very difficult to get into and got stuck there for a long while.  Getting a toe-hold in this corner took as long as the rest of the crossword combined.  Thank you Shed, great stuff!

I will be on holiday when this is published so I will not able to reply to comments immediately.

Hold the mouse pointer over any clue number to read the clue.

1 COPYCAT AC (account) in TYPO (mistake) then C (a number, Roman numerals) all reversed – definition is ‘unoriginal’
9 OUTDO OUT (outside, alfresco) DO (party)
11 PROMULGATE PRATE (bang on) going around (about) GLUM (despondent) O (a circle) reversed (turn) – definition is ‘to declare’
12 TSAR STAR* (anagram=burst) – definition is ‘bigwig’. I take this in the modern idiomatic usage eg “goverment sacks drug tsar” rather than the historical Russian.
14 THOUGHTLESS THOUGH (albeit) then LESS (inferior) following T (time)
18 WONDERWOMAN N (North) A (America) MOW (cut) RED (bloody) NOW (present) all reversed
21 TWEE TWEET (short message) missing the final letter (curtailed)
22 PLEBISCITE PLEA (message, shortened) BIS (once more) CITE (to reference)
25 HAMSTRING MS (manuscript, paper) in HAT then RING (sphincter)
26 INFER to INFER is to ‘work it out’ – hell (inferno) has ‘no’ added. Nice clue!
27 RETRAIN RETAIN (keep) holding (bearing) R (right)
28 SPLOTCH PLOT (scheme) in SCH (school) – definition is ‘distinctive bit of colour’
1 CHOPPY C (cold) and HOPPY (decribing a style of bitter beer)
2 PATRON Dolly PARTON with RT (the heart) reversed (twisted) – definition is ‘backer’
3 CROQUETTES R (rex, king) in COQUETTES (flirts) – fired rolls or sausage shapes of potato, meat etc. I have never thought of these as snacks, but no reason why one could not snack on them, in fact I might start right now…
4 TWANG W (with) in TANG (distinctive flavour) – definition is ‘distinctive sound’ …I can just taste that distinctive breadcrumb flavour in my head…
5 STRATAGEM MEGA TARTS (exceptionally large pasties) reversed (turned over) – …now I am getting seriously hungry…
6 NIKE N (north) IKE (Dwight D. Eisenhower, north American president) – Nike was a Greek godess personifying victory
7 TRANSFER SN (tin) inside (the guts of) RE-FART (break wind again) all reversed (lifting) – definition is ‘shift’. The question mark here indicates ‘refart’ is not likely to be found in the dictionary.
8 MISTRUST MIST (condensation) and RUST (corrosion)
13 STANDSTILL STAND STILL (still be standing, remain upright) – definition is ‘full stop’
15 ORWELLIAN WELL (spring) in (ON AIR)* broadcast=anagram – definition is ‘dystopian’
16 TWITCHER TWIT and CHER (expensive, French) – ‘twitcher’ and ‘anorak’ are both nicknames for birdwatchers (though anorak for birdwatcher is probably dated now)
17 INTERMIT IN TERM (buzzword) IT – definition is ‘pause’
19 MISFIT SF (literary genre) I (one, Roman numeral) inside (devoured by) MIT (US university)
20 DEARTH D (final letter of red) EARTH (planet) – definition is ‘want’
23 BOGUS BOG, US (possible dictionay entry for ‘the John’, US term for toilet)
24 ETNA ViETNAm – volcano in Sicily, periodically active


18 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,676 by Shed”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee, my sentiments and experience exactly. I’m just still not sure about 23, I can’t really see that a dictionary would define one slang term by another. I’m probably too critical though and I can’t see any other explanation, unless there is a dictionary titled U!

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Like Biggles A, I could only make the apostrophe S work if U=dictionary, a real puzzle

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeeDee. I enjoyed this very much. I didn’t have a problem with 23, not in a puzzle where we are using an Anglo-Saxon dictionary that also contains the word re-fart!

    By the way, mixed messages in your explanation of 22. :)

  4. Biggles A says:

    NeilW @ 3,

    Good point. By the same token though, a question mark might have been helpful.

  5. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I just could not parse COPYCAT and left it pencilled in until the end. Always was blind to tpyos :)

  6. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, fairly straightforward for a Prize one.

    Thanks PeeDee; the surface to 7 was hilarious, likewise BOG, US :)

    I, too, liked INFER and the mega-tarts.

  7. Paul B says:

    Infer and the Megatarts? Sure I saw them back in 77.

  8. rrc says:

    26a and 2d were my two favourites

  9. rrc says:

    my two favourities were 26a and 2d.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very little doodling around my print version so I presume it was pretty easy.
    I did like the unsplit word in 4d (with-in).I enjoy these, there are a couple of good ones in today’s. More please.

  11. Taco_Belly says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Shed,

    Really enjoyed this last Saturday – one of those which requires two or three visits and then somehow all comes together – apart from 23d which I struggled to parse (per molonglo@2).

    My only addition is that the term Anorak (16a) can appply to anyone obsessed with statistics or collections, hence the “of sorts” – that’s how I read it anyway.

    Great blog – my favourite (out of many)was also 26a.

  12. Colin says:

    I’m not entirely happy with 18A – in terms of the name of the comic character, as suggested by the clue, “Wonder Woman” has always been two words and should really have been clued as such. “Superman” or “Spiderman” as one word, fine, but not “Wonder Woman”.

    Still, I guess that on the Venn diagram there isn’t that much of a crossover between crosswwrd afficionados and comic anoraks, so I bet I’ll be the only person complaining about it…

  13. Matt says:

    Enjoyed this. INFERNO, STRATAGEM my favourites.

    Thankyou shed, thanks Peedee.

  14. Shed says:

    Thanks all, especially PeeDee, and apologies to Wonder Woman, who should indeed have been two words. I’m ashamed not to have checked that.

    I’ve had quite a bit of stick from friends and family about 23dn BOGUS. As several people have suggested here, the idea was indeed that, just as ‘period’ might be defined in a British English dictionary as ‘full stop (US)’, ‘john’ might be defined as ‘bog (US)’. I’m not suggesting that it really would be, but in the parallel universe of crosswords it could be.

  15. Shed says:

    Oh, and I meant to say, Taco_Belly #11 is spot on re ‘anorak of sorts’ (except it’s 16d, not 16a). Not all anoraks are birdwatchers, but all birdwatchers are anoraks. This is not meant as any derogation to birdwatchers: if there were more anoraks, the world would be a much better place.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    …….and drier…….

  17. drago says:

    Thanks PeeDee, and thanks Shed for standing up for anoraks. I convinced myself that US in 23d was ‘ubi supra’ or ‘ut supra’ which could conceivably be dictionary annotations. Overthinking.

  18. Paul B says:

    I’m for Spider-Man rather than Spiderman, I must confess.

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