Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,704 – Puck

Posted by manehi on August 2nd, 2012


Was slightly underwhelmed by a straightforward start full of anagrams and hidden clues, then worked out the theme and smiled through the rest of the puzzle. Favourite clues 26ac and 20dn. Not too sure about the definition in 27ac…

Edits thanks to NeilW and Tom_I

1 ENTOMB =”Bury” (note)* + MB=Bachelor of Medicine=”doctor”
4 NIGHTS =”dark times” (Sting h[ad])*
9 APSE =”Part of church” hidden reversed inside “servicES PAstor”
10 BROWBEATEN =”Bullied” BROWN=”ex-PM” around BEAT=”pound” + E[uro]
11 BEHEST =”Request” the first halves of “BE[er] and HE[‘ll] ST[ay]”
12 DEBILITY =”weakness” DEITY=”God” around BIL[l]=de-tailed “account of what’s owed”
13 ISOMORPHS =”similarly shaped objects” (Ships moor)*
15 AMID =”amongst” MI=1001 in Roman numerals=”the number of nights told of”, inside A + D[iary]
16 MARE =”Animal” Hidden in DREA[M A RE]ptile
17 ATAVISTIC “reverting to ancestral traits” rev(SIVA)=”Hindu deity back” inside ATTIC=”loft”
21 SARAJEVO =”City” (Java’s ore)*
22 NUDIST =”One wearing no undies” I=”One”, wearing N[o] U[ndies] D[ivulging] S[uper] T[anning]
24 QUESADILLA =”Mexican food” QUES[t]=”No time to search” + AD=”trailer” + I=”one” + rev(ALL)
25 EDDY =”Reverse current” Hidden in “damag[ED DY]namo”
26 EXEUNT “They leave the stage” EX=”old” + (tune)*. Someone with a better knowledge of the theme will no doubt know whether the surface has additional relevance.
27 SUMMER =”When it’s warm” S[unbathe] + [m]UMMER
1 EMPRESS =”Leading lady” “EM”=phonetic spelling of the letter “m”, + PRESS=”papers”
3 MOBSTER =”US gang member” B[ritish] S[UMMER] T[ime] inside (Rome)*
5 IMBIBE =”Drink” I + ME = “two setters”, around I=”another [setter]” inside B&B
6 HEADLAMPS =”car parts” LA=”The foreign” + MP=”representative”, all inside (a shed)*
7 SCENTED =”Fragrant” S[a]C[h]E[t] N[o]T – “regularly used” meaning keep every second letter, + ED[DY]
8,2,14 LORD, WHAT FOOLS THESE MORTALS BE! Spoken by Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Farm? The whole lot are dolts, boss!)*
16 MEASURE =”dance” E=”Key”, after (A SUM[M]ER)*
18 VANUATU =”island republic” VAN=”Vehicle” + U[sually] + AT + U[niversity]
19 INSIDER “one in the know” IN=”Fashionable” + SIDER=”drink, as reported” i.e. sounds like “cider”
23 DREAM =”NIGHT[s] MARE, maybe” D=500 in Roman numerals=”large amount” + (MARE)*

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,704 – Puck”

  1. Gervase says:

    Thanks, manehi

    I usually find Puck’s puzzles reasonably difficult, but I flew through this one. I had completed half of the across clues before I even noticed that there was a theme. Enjoyable, nevertheless, with some good clues.

    The theme quotation was easy enough to get, though nicely clued, and appropriate for the compiler. I particularly liked the construction and surface of 11ac and 12ac.

    I also thought that the definition for 27ac was somewhat off-centre. Perhaps Puck set the puzzle earlier in the year, more in hope than expectation?

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi. All good fun. To start with, quite hard going but once the “theme” became apparent it was over quite quickly.

    One tiny correction: it’s British Summer Time in MOBSTER.

  3. Gervase says:

    Re 26ac, EXEUNT (Latin: ‘they go out’) is the plural of EXIT (‘he/she goes out’) and is used universally as a stage direction in plays from Shakespeare’s time, thought there is no particular link to the ‘Dream’.

  4. Rick says:

    I agree Manehi. It started off easily and then I warmed to it (as you did) as I progressed. I agree that, whilst the definition in 27a would normally be taken as being reasonable, it doesn’t seem entirely appropriate at the moment! )-:

    Many thanks for the blog Manehi (and to Puck for an entertaining puzzle).

  5. manehi says:

    NeilW: thanks, corrected.

    Gervase: I vaguely remember seeing it in my childhood and it ending with a dancing, musical, exit – though that may well have been a quirk of that particular production

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Manehi.

    I loved it! – especially the [&lit?] clue for the [so apt, as Gervase points out] quotation [with a ‘lift and separate’ to boot!].

    I didn’t know the Mexican but the clue was spot on.

    Many thanks, Puck – lovely stuff!

  7. Eileen says:

    Mexican food, I meant, of course.

  8. John Appleton says:

    Nice theme, flew through the whole thing, too. Nicely timed, being more or less mid-summer (albeit not what’s usually regarded as Midsummer’s day!)

  9. Trailman says:

    All good fun, thanks Puck and Manehi.
    I failed to parse 12, thinking the detailed ‘what’s owed’ was DEBI(T) at the front. Had enchillada for 24 at first but as Eileen says it’s a fair clue.
    Enjoyed finding the quote. I didn’t know the quote so, a few letters in, scoured the Puck speeches from my battered old copy of the play. That’s not cheating, is it?

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Trailman

    Far from cheating, I’d call that a Labour of Love. 😉

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog manehi. I thought I wasn’t going to get into this at first, but once I spotted AMID the theme fell out fast along with the quote. Last one in was DEADEN.

  12. Gervase says:

    Trailman: My first thought was also ‘enchilada’ (sic) for 24ac, but realised that it doesn’t have enough letters. As soon as I found the crossing D, I chose the toasted cheese sandwich.

  13. Trailman says:

    Thanks for the spelling correction Gervase. Mexican is not in my top ten cuisines I’m afraid.

  14. Tom_I says:

    My dictionaries have the spelling of 24a as QUESADILLA. The clue still works, but with A=’one’ rather than I.

  15. NeilW says:

    Hi Tom. Actually, you’re right. manehi made a little mistake in the solution but you will see that it is spelt correctly in his parsing.

  16. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Puck for a delightful puzzle. It had to be you setting The Dream! Like Eileen @ 6, I loved it.

    Thanks, to Manehi for the parsing.

    6d held me up as I had HE for the foreign representative for a while – too much lateral thinking!

    Giovanna x

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Unlike most of you I found this quite a struggle although that was almost entirely due to the long quotation which was unfamiliar to me.
    Although I gave up pretending to enjoy WS plays about 40 years ago I spotted the play title quite quickly but not the extract.
    It was the SW corner which held me up longest and ‘deaden’ was last in (very slow of me).
    A decent puzzle.

  18. rowland says:

    Quite nice really, and Shakespeare is big business this year. But it was a fairly bland nod to the play for me when I think sometimes a head-butt could be the way forward! Some clues here, and I liked a lot the long quotation, so in all an okay run out.

    Many thanks Puck and Manehi.


  19. chas says:

    Many thanks to manehi for the blog. There were a couple of cases where I thought the answer must be XXX but why? You explained those.

  20. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog

    I too was looking in the TORTILLA direction. When I filled in QUESADILLA I had to use Google as I had never heard of it before.

  21. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Puck and Manehi; lovely stuff.

    Trailman @ 9: not cheating in my book, but my book was the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, which can be a time saver. Maybe Santa will bring you a copy.

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks manehi for explaining the couple of clues I couldn’t quite parse, as per the specifications for this site :-)

    I, too, went straight for “enchilada”, but immediately saw it wasn’t long enough. It took me a long time to find the correct answer, though – Mexican food is probably less well known here in Spain than in English-speakijng countries.

  23. Trebor says:

    Best daily puzzle for ages.

  24. Mike says:

    Worth recalling the best-ever stage direction: “Exeunt pursued by bear” – though from A Winters Tale rather than AMND, I believe….

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Mike,I think it was one character and one bear!

  26. Paul B says:

    Well seen, RCW: I am impressed.

    Antigonus’ plea for patience? (4,4,2)

  27. Mike says:

    RCW – apols, memory playing tricks on me!

    Great clue Paul B….! ;o)

  28. Eileen says:

    Nice one, Paul B! 😉

  29. Martin P says:


    Far from a one-pint-solve.

    Last orders calls…

  30. Bazza says:

    Did anyone crack the Anigonus’ plea for patience (4,4,2)???

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