Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Everyman 3431/8 July

Posted by Pierre on July 15th, 2012

Pierre.

Another fine puzzle in the Everyman style, with plenty of good surfaces and elegant cluing.  But I found this trickier than normal, with one phrase I had never come across before.

 

 

 

Abbreviations
cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed

Across

1 Programme information collected by a US prosecutor
AGENDA
An insertion of GEN for ‘information’ in A DA (District Attorney).

4 British editor criticises hospital utensils
BEDPANS
A charade of B, ED and PANS.

8 Abandoned ship then devoured by monster
THE SPHINX
Took me a good while to see this one.  It’s an insertion (‘devoured’) of (SHIP)* in THEN, followed by X for ‘by’, as in ‘a piece of four by two’, or 4×2.  THE SPHINX is a mythical monster: if you couldn’t answer her riddle, she’d eat you.  Which is bad manners, really.

10 Silly diver close to quay
LOONY
A charade of our feathered friend (who can dive to a depth of 60 metres) and Y for the last letter of ‘quay’ gives you your answer.  Here’s the obligatory Pierre bird link.  (Take a  look; it’s seriously cute.)

11 Salesman receiving a cut
REAP
An insertion of A in REP.

12 Saw, on reflection, nothing untoward in capital
WASHINGTON
Nice surface reading.  A reversal of SAW followed by (NOTHING)*  ‘Untoward’ is the anagrind.

14 Understand what bidder at art auction wants to do?
GET THE PICTURE
A cd.

16 Hold a medal intricately inscribed with name of statesman
NELSON MANDELA
A charade of NELSON, for the wrestling hold, and an insertion of N in (A MEDAL)* with ‘intricately’ as the anagrind.  He’s looking increasingly frail these days.

19 A person travelling on foot is commonplace
PEDESTRIAN
A dd.

20 In the thick of a flipping cloud
AMID
A plus a reversal (‘flipping’) of DIM in its verbal sense.

22 Typical university in America, close to full
USUAL
An insertion of U in USA followed by L for the last letter of ‘full’.

23 Band of Hope member ordered teas in bar
ABSTAINER
It didn’t help that I was ignorant of what a ‘Band of Hope’ was, but it’s a clearly signposted anagram (‘ordered’) of (TEAS IN BAR)*.  It’s a temperance organisation founded in Leeds in 1847, which makes the surface clever.  One to tuck away for future use.

24 Goddess, apparently sexless, heading off to gym
EUTERPE
I was pleased to get this from the wordplay and check afterwards, although I had vaguely heard of it.  It’s [N]EUTER followed by PE.  Some people don’t like PE for ‘gym’, but it works for me.  EUTERPE is one of the Greek muses, less popular with setters than ERATO.

25 Flat, retreat for English poet
DRYDEN
A charade of DRY for ‘flat’ in its ‘boring’ sense and DEN gives you the seventeenth century English poet and dramatist.

Down

1 Very close friend to make changes to, say, opening of operetta
ALTER EGO
The Latin phrase for your ‘other self’ – which by definition is a close friend, I suppose – is a charade of ALTER, EG for ‘say’ and O for the first letter of ‘operetta’

2 Refined English stage worker
ELEGANT
A charade of E, LEG and ANT.

3 Information for fool with illegal drugs
DOPE
A triple definition.

4 In exams, both cops failed to name every point in order
BOX THE COMPASS
Everyman has a quirky habit of cluing some really obscure phrases.  I’d never heard of this.  To be fair to him, it’s clearly an anagram: (EXAMS BOTH COPS)* with ‘failed’ as the anagrind, and if you had the X from THE SPHINX and guessed THE for the second word, it couldn’t be much else.  ‘To name all 32 points of the compass in order’, although why you’d want to do that seems a reasonable question.

5 Extremely disreputable, Quinn let off, guilty of a minor offence
DELINQUENT
A charade of DE for the first and last letters of DisreputablE and (QUINN LET)*  ‘Off’ is the anagrind.

6 Advocate having job holding beer? Just the opposite!
APOSTLE
An insertion (‘holding’) of POST in ALE.

7 Delivering a saw
SAYING
A dd, with ‘saw’ in its proverb/adage/saying sense.

9 Unsuitable home to take
INAPPROPRIATE
A charade of IN and APPROPRIATE.

13 Vessel netting sole at sea for firm that supplies in bulk
WHOLESALER
An insertion of (SOLE)* in WHALER with ‘at sea’ as the anagrind.

15 Chap’s boldness briefly defines bureaucrat
MANDARIN
A charade of MAN and DARIN[G].  Most often used of British civil servants like Sir Humphrey.  Several memorable quotes in Yes, Minister, including: ‘It is sometimes difficult to explain to Ministers that open government can sometimes mean informing their Cabinet colleagues as well as their friends in Fleet Street.’

16 Almost certainly agree bout must be fixed
NO DOUBT
A charade of NOD and (BOUT)* with ‘must be fixed’ as the anagrind.

17 The Queen brought over fabric trimmed with fur
ERMINED
ER for Her Maj and a reversal of  DENIM for ‘fabric’.

18 Trim tree
SPRUCE
A dd.

21 Favourite tune, not bad
FAIR
A charade of F for ‘favourite’ and AIR for ‘tune’.  Not sure I’ve come across this abbreviation for F before, and it’s not in my dictionaries; but I’m guessing
it’s something to do with the horse racing sense of ‘favourite’.  If Derek  L drops in, he can tell us, unless someone’s enlightened us before.

Many thanks to Everyman.

15 Responses to “Everyman 3431/8 July”

  1. Paul B says:

    ‘Devoured’ at 8ac is in the past tense (in the cryptic reading): why?

  2. Bamberger says:

    I couldn’t get
    6d-even with a?o?t?e just wouldn’t come.
    17d Only had e?m?n?? which didn’t help me.
    24a I had e?t?r?e but neither that nor the wordplay helped.
    25a I guessed it must a poet but couldn’t get flat=dry and even if I had, I’ve never heard of him. I may be in a minority of one but I don’t think there is any place for obscure poets in an Everyman crossword.

  3. Pierre says:

    Morning Paul. I must admit I didn’t give THE SPHINX a second glance once I’d parsed it: I just took it to be (SHIP)* [which] THEN ‘devoured’ plus the X.

    Morning Bamberger. With APOSTLE, it was the beer = ale connection that helped; I agree that ERMINED was a bit of a tricky one; EUTERPE, like ERATO, is a bit of a crossword staple, so those kind of clues just come once you’ve seen them a few times.

    Dryden an obscure poet? Hmmm …

    Anyway, your contributions from the perspective of someone who doesn’t always finish (yet) puzzles like these are always welcome.

  4. Paul B says:

    Thanks Pierre. I’d been on my travels yesterday, hence early show. Thanks indeed for your blog.

  5. Donna says:

    Thank you, both Everyman and Pierre for the fine puzzle and blog. As usual, I loved reading everyone’s comments and seeing how Pierre parsed the clues that I may have been a little uncertain about. I managed to finish the entire puzzle but I’d never heard of “box the compass” either. Once again, Chambers to the rescue! Now that I know what the phrase means I’m still not sure that I know what it means! Do you know what I mean? I got “The Sphinx” at 8 Across but could not account for the “x.” When I read Pierre’s explanation I really could’ve kicked myself since my Dad was a carpenter and was always talking about 2 X 4s and such things! I could use some help, please, with 15 Down. How do you account for the “‘s” in “chap’s” when it yields “man” not “man’s”? Am I just being thick or maybe I’m just used to the very rigid rules of American cryptics? Maybe both?! I thought the cryptic definition at 14 Across was fun! Well, wishing you all a lovely week ahead and “see” you next Sunday! Now I’m going to download this week’s Everyman and try my luck.

  6. Pierre says:

    Hi Donna, nice to hear from you again this week.

    In 15dn, you need to read ‘man’s’ as ‘man has’ rather than ‘man is’ – in a sentence like ‘the man’s been thinking about buying a book on cryptic crosswords’. Then you have MAN has DARIN[g] which gives you MANDARIN.

    Hope that helps. A la semaine prochaine!

  7. Robi says:

    Thanks Everyman and Pierre; I hadn’t heard of BOX THE COMPASS before.

    Donna; the surface of 15 would not make much sense without the ‘s. If you think, however, of the possessive ‘boldness of a chap’ maybe that would make the parsing OK.

  8. Donna says:

    Thank you, Pierre and Robi, for your most helpful answers to my inquiry about 15 Down. The penny dropped, I yelled “Eureka!” but did NOT run around town in a bath towel repeating the news of my triumph! ‘Til next week…

  9. Paul B says:

    At 15 both ‘chap is’ and ‘chap has’ readings lead to problems with parts of speech later on in the clue – as the excitable ‘Donna’ seems to me to have been suggesting.

  10. Donna says:

    Hi, Paul B! After Pierre and Robi explained the clue I was OK with it and understood the parsing this way: Chap’s (Chap has, or clings to) boldness briefly – so it’s a charade and a deletion, and that takes care of the cryptic part of the clue. Then this entire entity, i.e. man + darin(g), defines the straight clue, which is bureaucrat. At least, that’s the way I understood it to work.

  11. Paul B says:

    It sounds to me as if you’re developing your very own terminology right from the off Donna, so good luck with that. I always enjoy a tussle with Everyman, and a good chat about a clue or two too.

  12. star-system says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle. To be honest 15 does look like a mistake, but in the grand scheme of things I’m sure it doesn’t matter!

  13. JollySwagman says:

    @Donna #10 – your analysis of 15a is entirely sound, as is the clue itself.

    It would certainly satisfy the concept of “fair-play” as understood in American cryptics.

  14. JollySwagman says:

    Oops – not “fair-play” – “square-dealing” – the other’s for cricket etc.

  15. Donna says:

    Thank you for your comments, JollySwagman. I understood what you meant by “fair-play” in your first remark. And I would’ve had no idea that it was a cricket term! My knowledge of all sports is absolutely nil and my heart always sinks when I see a sports-related clue in a crossword. It was only 2 years ago that my husband finally got me to realize that in American baseball the guy throwing the ball doesn’t want the guy with the bat to hit it but would prefer that the guy wearing the mask catch it! So I’m sure cricket would be far beyond me! But thanks again for your comments and have a super week!

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