Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,685 by Pasquale

Posted by PeterO on July 11th, 2012


I would put this at the easier end of the Guardian spectrum; the clue constructions are generally straightforward, with finely crafted surfaces. All in all, just the kind of puzzle that I an happy to see when it is my turn to blog. Thank you, Pasquale.

5. Europeans about to besiege a parliamentary house (6)
SEANAD An envelope (‘to besiege’) of ‘a’ in SENAD, a reversal (‘about’) of DANES (‘Europeans’). The Irish lower house, the Dail, comes up in crosswords every now and then, but this is the first appearance that I can recall of the upper house.
6. Home supporter on front of terrace, one expected to be childish (6)
INFANT A charade of IN (‘home’) + FAN (‘supporter’) + T (‘front of Terrace’).
9. A fellow overtakes third in marathon to get silver (6)
ARGENT An envelope (‘overtakes’) of R (‘third in maRathon’) in A GENT (‘a fellow’).
10. Crook named Ron held until trial (2,6)
ON REMAND An anagram (‘crook’) of ‘named Ron’.
11. Hit band in hurry (4)
BELT Triple definition.
12. Fish put on with no wine (10)
CHARDONNAY A charade of CHAR (‘fish’) + DON (‘put on’) + NAY (‘no’).
13. Checking people of fashion in English resort (11)
BRIDLINGTON A charade of BRIDLING (‘checking’) + TON (‘people of fashion’).
18. Gold place in which land is mined for mineral (10)
ANDALUSITE An envelope (‘in which’) of NDAL, an anagram (‘mined’) of ‘land’ in AU (‘gold’) + SITE (‘place’). Andalusite is aluminium silicate, first found somewhere or other.
21. OT prophet brings me out as king (4)
SAUL SA[m]U[e]L (‘OT prophet’) with ME removed (‘brings me out’).
22. Foremost crossword compiler, almost sweet (8)
NOISETTE A charade of N° 1 (‘foremost’) + SETTE[r] (‘crossword compiler, almost’).
23. Clever stratagem in operation? It may mean you pay less (6)
COUPON A charade of COUP (‘clever strategem’) + ON (‘in operation’).
24. Maiden in love after party is likely to be dotty (6)
DOMINO A charade of DO (‘party’) + M (‘maiden’) + ‘in’ + O (‘love’).
25. Ecstatic after a second blessing (6)
ASSENT A charade of ‘a’ + S (‘second’) + SENT (‘ecstatic’).
1. Dead soldiers being buried — then it’s right for me to appear? (8)
LAMENTER An envelope (‘buried’) of MEN (‘soldiers’) in LATE (‘dead’) + R (‘right’), with a semi-&lit definition.
2. Indian food cold? It can be extremely cold (6)
BALTIC A charade of BALTI (‘Indian food’, even though originating in the UK) + C (‘cold’).
3. If darling gets left out in dance that’s unbecoming (5,3)
INFRA DIG An anagram (‘dance’) of ‘if dar[l]ing’ with the L removed (‘gets left out’).
4. People in pubs do this for a hen night (6)
BARMEN BAR MEN – definition and literal interpretation. There was a very similar clue in Arachne’s Quiptic this last Monday.
5. One waiting for a computer (6)
SERVER Double definition.
7. Secret society wants a new language in the kingdom (6)
TONGAN A charade of TONG (‘secret society’) + ‘a’ + N (‘new’).
8. Primitive life form supporting an underground worker, if trapped (11)
FORAMINIFER An envelope (‘trapped’) of ‘if’ in FOR (‘supporting’) + A MINER (‘an underground worker’). Primitive they may be, but foraminifer skeletons are of considerable importance – in oil exploration, for example.
14. Relation bitten by wild dog — almost frightening! (8)
DAUNTING An envelope (‘bitten by’) of AUNT (‘relation’) in DING[o] (‘wild dog – almost’).
15. Old boy’s now out of bed, maybe, in darkness? (8)
OBSCURED A charde of OB’S (‘old boy’s’) + CURED (‘now out of bed, maybe’).
16. Endless event with ’orses getting worn out (6)
UNTOLD A charade of [h]UNT (‘event with ‘orses’ with the aspirate likewise dropped) + OLD (‘worn out’). ‘endless’ as in “endless numbers of foraminifera contribute to the ooze covering much of the seabed”.
17. An archaeological artefact may have been in shelter (6)
DUGOUT Definition and literal interpretation.
19. Don Pasquale? Prim­arily fool taking title of respect (6)
ASSUME A charde of ASS (‘fool’) + U (Burmese ‘title of respect’) + ME (‘Pasquale’).
20. Tax cut (6)
EXCISE Double definition.

51 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,685 by Pasquale”

  1. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I did not find this to be at the easier end of the spectrum. I think I might have spent as long puzzling over 8d as I did on the whole of Rufus’s puzzle the other day. An unfamiliar (to me) word, and not much help from the crossing letters – vowels all.

    But a fine puzzle. I liked “crook” as anagrind, and the well-hidden definition in 19d.

  2. Fat Al says:

    Thanks PeterO and Pasquale,

    The learning process continues. I still had six unsolved when my available time was up, so came here to continue my education. Seanad, foraminifer and Bridlington were all new to me. I didn’t help myself by confidently entering eroded at 16d…(r)ODE(o) in (h)ERD. Doesn’t really work I know, and it made 18a and 22a a bit difficult. All good fun though.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. I’m glad you found this easy. I put in 8d having most of the crossletters, checked in the dictionary and was amazed to find the word existed. Some of the rest was daunting, like 14d, notably 18a and so 16d. For 1d I got into my head JKR’s ‘dementor’, and I had to use TEA evaluation for DUGOUT. Thanks Pasquale for a real challenge.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I’m afraid I’m another who’s voting for this not being at the easy end of the spectrum. As is often the case with the Don, reviewing the clues, obscurities aside, you do wonder why it was so hard but that’s a compliment to the setter’s art.

  5. Brian H says:

    Andalusite – you say “found somewhere or other” – presumably somewhere or other in Andalusia?

  6. ToniL says:

    BrianH@5. Thank-you for pointing that out, I thought PeterO was just joshing with us, I didn’t realise he really couldn’t work out which region it was from.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO, though I, too, found this a lot tougher than you seem to have done.

    Curiously, after a first run through with just two crossing words in the NE, my next solution was 8d, working it out from the wordplay, and obviously with the help of the check button :)

    This opened up the SE, and I continued clockwise.

  8. John Appleton says:

    Not an easy one for me, but Pasquale often isn’t. Too many words that were new to me.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    I’m in the ‘this was pretty tough’ camp, too, and I couldn’t in fact finish it. I couldn’t see COUPON and that didn’t help matters with DUGOUT. For me, COUP is more the outcome of a plan or stratagem rather than the stratagem itself. I did like NOISETTE, though, and knew FORAMINIFER once I’d worked out the IF and MINER bits of the clue.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    I am glad I wasn’t the only one to find this hard. I am always daunted when I see it is a Pasquale, as I never really enjoy them or even finish them; today was no exception. It started out with some very easy clues – 6, 9, 10 ac – but thereafter a struggle to complete about 1/3. Whilst most of the clues are well constructed, I never seem to be on his wavelength.

    This is another grid I do not like – only 11 initial letters supplied by other solutions (25 in yesterday’s grid).

    Thanks Peter for your much needed explanations.

  11. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Dave @ 10: wow! that is almost exactly what I was planning to write when I came on here, even down to me not being on his wavelength. I don’t know what it is but, back in the days of Bunthorne, it might take hours to finish, digging it out clue by clue. They were puzzles to savour and, at the end, I had a real sense of satisfaction. I don’t know why but I’m afraid I just find Pasaquale something of a slog. I only completed about 2/3 before giving up without any desire to keep going.

    But thanks for the blog which has helped me understand the rest.

  12. Thomas99 says:

    I certainly agree with those who say this isn’t at the easier end of the Guardian’s range. It’s a tough one, perhaps mainly because of the unfamiliar words. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended to be easy and I expect Pasquale is fairly happy that so far nobody has agreed with PeterO. Once I realised I was in for a challenge I enjoyed it. My last in was 11a – after trying to make “pelt” work for some reason. I may have been a bit punch-drunk by then. My favourite was probably 19d (one of the easier ones, I think).

  13. Pasquale says:

    My aim as Pasquale is to set maybe slightly stiffer than average puzzles with clues in a Ximenean framework. It is my hope that solvers will use their decoding skills to find the trickier answers and to be glad to find that the odd new word they have found does exist. Over the range of newspapers for which I set I try to offer something for all tastes and abilities. One simply cannot satisfy everyone with one puzzle, so if you want my easier work try Quixote in the Indy or the Telegraph on a Friday. and if you want an easier Guardian puzzle feel free to avoid my monthly appearances!

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I agree with others that this is not at the easier end of the Guardian spectrum, although I might concede that it’s perhaps at the slightly easier end of Pasquale’s: after all, we’re used to learning one or two more unusual words from his puzzles. And there’s a bit of humour this time, which never comes amiss. ;-)

    The wordplay for FORAMINIFER is absolutely impeccable, as we’d expect – but that’s not to say I got it! The same can be said, at the other end of the scale, for DOMINO, which made me smile.

    I was going to say that I’m with K’s D re COUP but I now see that Chambers has ‘clever and successful stratagem’ – word perfect!

    Favourite clues: NOISETTE and ASSUME.

    EXCISE is an old favourite but, as we often say, it’s so good that it’s worth another airing for the sake of newer solvers who may not have seen it before.

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Aoxomoxoa @ 11. I agree with your comments about the much missed Bunthorne. I remember what a refreshing joy his first one was, and, having lost my virginity with that one, so to speak, I felt none of his subsequent ones quite measured up to that.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks, PeterO. Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one! Check button needed from about halfway through and 5ac and 2dn eluded me completely, which is unusual for a weekday…

    Thanks to Pasquale for stopping by.

  17. Robi says:

    Thanks Pasquale for dropping by. No complaints if the puzzle is difficult, but I think the consensus is clearly not with PeterO.

    Thanks anyway, PeterO; I can’t see how a crossword with FORAMINIFER, ANDALUSITE and SEANAD can be at the easier end of the spectrum. I missed (again!) no I=foremost in NOISETTE. :(

    I was also a bit hamstrung by my crossword inexperience, not knowing TONG=secret society and U=title of respect. I grovelled through it, though, with help from my various aids.

    I particularly liked DUGOUT, which I thought was a dd, and DOMINO.

  18. crypticsue says:

    How fortunate that the person whose turn it was to blog this one found it easy. I too am a member of the ‘that was tough’ camp.

  19. snigger says:

    My heart sank with the bloggers “easy end of the spectrum”.But then if you can see untold as an endless event, unt for orses then yes, very easy.(as an aside, do unts go unting on orses?)

    Bridlington was entered on the non-Ximenean basis – “the only word i can think of that fits”.

    Not all doom and gloom, satisfied with the answers i could fully explain and maybe next time will do a tad better.

  20. AndyK says:

    A slight quibble re the surface in 9 – if you overtake third, you’re in third, or bronze, yourself. Maybe “second in triathlon” would have been better?

  21. PeterO says:

    Well, I think I detect a slight trend of opinion as to the difficulty of this puzzle. Thanks to Pasquale also for his contribution to the blog; when even he echoes this intent, who am I to argue? Still, solving and blogging this one took me an hour less than average.

    It is astonishing what memories persist. I first came across TONG in Take It from Here: Ron Glum had some scars on his face that Jimmy Edwards said were Tong marks. When someone asked how he had become involved with such a gang, Jimbo explained that no, he had stuck a sugar cube up his nose. I don’t wish to know that, kindly leave the stage.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all(especially PeterO for his excellent assessment (?))
    I thought this was a really tricky solve, partly because Seanad, foraminifer were new.
    It was, however,some pretty devilish clues as well which held me up; particularly in the NW corner.
    Lots of excellent clues and a thorough workout.
    Well done.

    You might prefer (16d) to consider the definition as ‘endless’ and the ‘event with ‘orses’ to be ‘unt’.

  23. Robi says:

    P.S. BARMEN also appeared in Arachne’s Monday Quiptic: ‘Pub employees exclude males.’

  24. Paul B says:

    For future reference the offending grid – for has it not offended? – is Grauniad 31. Not the worst one by any stretch, however, and if the two longer answers 8 & 13 are cracked early on, it helps enormously.

    Good clues from The Don (so charmingly self-effacing at 19D!), and, as is now perhaps characteristic for the Pasquale guise, one or two REALLY tough words. I must admit I’d have been sorely tempted in an SI kind of a way at 12A, so full marks to him for steering clear.

  25. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO

    I found this very tricky. As I was crawling slowly though it, I thought it might be because I was out of practice, having been away for three and a half weeks, but I am relieved to find I am not alone.

    FORAMINIFER was a word I knew, unlike SEANAD and ANDALUSITE (though the latter was more easily gettable from the wordplay), and I am more familiar with NOISETTE as a liqueur rather than a ‘sweet’.

    I thought 9ac was rather clever, but as AndyK pointed out @20, if you overtake third, you become third yourself! His suggestion is better – ‘coming after first in race’ would also work.

    21ac requires the subtaction of the elements of ‘me’ from ‘Samuel’, rather than the word itself. I believed that to be strictly Ximenean a clue had to indicate if an anagram of a word was to be subtracted, rather than the word itself. That’s an observation, not a complaint!

  26. Gervase says:

    PS: In the last paragraph, I should have said ‘an anagram of a word, or its elements, rather than the word itself’.

  27. Paul B says:

    The word ‘me’ only exists in the surface, which is entirely illusory. The cryptic reading can therefore be said to ask for elements M and E to be ‘brought out’, which of course they are!

  28. nametab says:

    I’m with the consensus concerning degree of difficulty. Probably a wavelength thing. Always good to have complier’s insight – thank-you Pasquale.
    An explanation of ‘ton’ as ‘people of fashion’ in 13a would be most welcome.

  29. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks PeterO for the blog. Found this puzzle very difficult and that is why I enjoyed completing it. Thank you Pasquale.


  30. ToniL says:


    Try google ‘ton, le bon ton’

  31. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Oh how blind alleys sometimes seem to have to lead somewhere. I thought 11a HAD to be “rush” as in drug-use type hit, the Canadian rock band & to hurry. But no. I’ve got a fair few dds wrong over the years, but never before a triple!

    I thought (above example excepted) it was going to be an easy one after about 4 answers fell in, but there it ground to a halt, & never got out of fisrt gear again. Like all solutions to clues, they are trivially easy if you know the answer but impossible if you do not.

    Seanad, Andalusite & foraminifer all new to me – but as stated by many others all very fairly clued. At the risk of niggling RCW (I think it was he who has the “never comment on individual clues” rule – apologies if I misrepresent you) I thought 7d didn’t need the kingdom reference at the end (though of course it is entirely accurate to call it a kingdom). I just think “Secret society wants a new language” is neater. But what do I know?

    Thanks to Peter O & The Don.

  32. Trailman says:

    Late to the blog because I’ve kept trying to winkle clues out. Given up now with large parts blank, not helped by finding a sort-of mineral called AUSTRALITE for 18a. Yes, I know it doesn’t parse, but then I don’t have the faintest idea why TON at the end of 13a is ‘people of fashion’.
    But the Don is entirely right to be unapologetic about the harder standars he sets. What I like about the Guardian is that there’s a range of standards. I’ve certainly improved as a solver over the years, thanks to the paper’s policy. And when, rarely, I finish a Pasquale, I feel good!

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Paul B @24: “For future reference the offending grid – for has it not offended? – is Grauniad 31. Not the worst one by any stretch, however, and if the two longer answers 8 & 13 are cracked early on, it helps enormously”

    This was exactly the grid I referred to in last Monday’s Rufus blog as being relative hard (in my perception, that is). I also said there that if you can’t get the cross in the middle (indeed, 8 & 13) the puzzle falls apart. Unfortunately, these two solutions weren’t the most obvious, so for me no happy ending today.

    Perhaps, this grid in combination with Pasquale (ie some unfamiliar words) is what I find difficult to tackle.
    I first became aware of this grid in, indeed, a Pasquale puzzle and ever since my mind connects the two.

    That said, although it wasn’t my day today, in hindsight the cluing was absolutely first class.
    So, being true to myself, after saying last Monday that I cannot be bothered too much about the grid and that it’s all about the cluing, well, I shouldn’t complain.

    Many thanks to PeterO and Pasquale.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    … relatively hard … (of course)

  35. RCWhiting says:

    You are roughly right.More precisely, it was during my early days here when several posters objected (sometimes with personal ruderies) when I crticised a whole crossword (usually for being too simple).I responded, politely I hope, that I found it illogical that they could tear a single clue apart over several days (especially definitions)but object to my criticisms. I truly do not get very upset by one or two clues if it is generally a good puzzle.
    Fortunately now people seem to have understood that my comments are about the written product and not the compiler and have accepted my presence here even if in some cases, reluctantly!

  36. Paul B says:

    IIRC, in your ‘early days’, on most occasions your remarks amounted to no more than ‘this puzzle is rubbish’. You gave no specific reason, nor mentioned any clue in particular, so posters very quickly smelt a rat. Now, at least, you seem to be mentioning one or two items, or, as today, a specific area of the puzzle that ‘held (you) up’, and accordingly, one presumes, people find themselves the more able to tolerate your contributions. In Azed threads too, you appear to be making sense from time to time. So bravo.

    Reluctant of Peckham.

  37. RCWhiting says:

    I suspect ‘rubbish’ exists in your imagination. My vocabulary is rather wider.

  38. Taco_Belly says:

    Thanks PeterO for the blog and for providing TON=people of fashion. I googled and was educated.

    Thanks also to Pasquale – enjoyed the challenge and the multi stop-start experience. The cluing led me to three new words and one I’d forgotten I knew. A very fair challenge and further education in one!

  39. nametab says:

    ToniL @30: many thanks – am older and wiser now

  40. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Pasquale

    I failed to finish this and missed out on ‘belt’ (I put pelt which is the name of a band as I suspect all too many words are), Andalusite, untold (a nice clue but the definition, while acceptable, does not feel quite right), Seanad, and lamenter. I would like to feel that being rather under the weather today was an influence, but I would rank this is as very hard in parts in any case. Like others, I did not like the grid.

    All this said, some fine cluing, and a salutary brake on at least my self-confidence as a solver.

  41. tim says:

    cor blimey that was tough! Didn’t help when I rashly went for ‘Rush’ in 11ac. Gave up with about four clues to go- should have got 5ac I suppose. Fair play to Pasquale for a challenging puzzle, I shall be on my guard for the next one

  42. JollySwagman says:

    Wow Grauniad grid #31 eh! Half a mo while I cross that off in my gridspotters almanac. Aren’t ones like that are designed so you can put ninas round the edge, for even greater excitement? Short-changed there maybe.

    Usual lack of entertainment value from this setter taking the puzzle as a whole which is a shame since many of the minor clues were rather good. If you knew the obscurities, especially foraminifer, it was prolly a pushover, if not it spoiled the fun a bit, as they were in key positions. I don’t see the grid itself as a problem otherwise.

    Actually I built that as FORAFIMINER (before consulting the big red one) so in the terminology of T4TT a technical DNF for me.

  43. Davy says:

    Thanks Pasquale,

    Certainly a tough one. I gave up with about a third uncompleted. Sad thing is that I guessed FORAMINIFER but it seemed so unlikely that
    I didn’t even bother to check it. Hey ho.

    I wasn’t going to bother commenting until I saw JollySwagman at 42. I’m just off to check what T4TT and DNF mean.
    Should I know what these terms mean or am I just hopelessly out of touch (hopefully) ?.
    Incidentally, just to be pedantic (what again), your FORAFIMINER does not fit the clue as it contains FI and not IF.

  44. Davy says:

    There are a pageful of different meanings for DNF ie
    so which one JS ?.

  45. RCWhiting says:

    Davy @43
    It’s ‘foraminifer’ not ‘forafiminer’.
    Davy @44
    Athletics fans (me) would recognise DNF as ‘did not finish’.
    Can’t help with T4TT.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    T4TT is probably Times For The Times (the Times crossword blog), am I right?

  47. Jamie says:

    Yes, a toughie. I put “Rush” for 11 ac. It was all downhill from there..

  48. Davy says:

    RCW at 45 : I would suggest that you read these comments properly especially 42.

    I found T4TT as ‘Time for the truth’.

  49. duncan says:

    DNF here too, though I will stash the new knowledge away for the future. I had “bridlington” but didn’t put it in because I didn’t know “ton”. a great many new words, a few forgotten, & the absolute certainty that there was no way the canadian pomp-rock trio would have found their way into a pasquale….
    onwards & upwards.


  50. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry,I misunderstood your last para @43.

  51. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Pasquale and PeterO

    This was not an easy solve and have persisted for more than a week just chipping away at him (finished on 19th) until he finally buckled. I entered both RUSH and ERODED initially which just put one behind the 8-ball straightaway and took a bit of work to get back on track.

    Deceptive really when EXCISE went in immediately and quickly finished off the SE corner – had not heard of my last in, BALTIC, used in that context before and took a while to remember the BALTI roll that I had for lunch a few weeks ago. SEANAD, FORAMINIFER, ANDALUSITE and BRIDLINGTON all new to me as well, so did need a bit of reference help to get over the line.

    Still it is always a pleasure having the wrestle with this setter and always look forward to starting one of them.

    Thanks again

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