Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,700 by Crucible

Posted by PeeDee on August 4th, 2012


I started off excited when I saw the puzzle had special instructions, then deflated when I guessed both the special down clues from the letter counts without even reading the clues, then gradually bouyed up again as the rest of the crossword turned out to be rather good after all.  Thanks Crucible.

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

1 SOMALIA O (old) MALI (republic) in SA (south America)
5 LEBANON B (British) in (invades) LEAN ON (to threaten)
9 ACROPOLIS A CROP (grain) SILO (store) is reversed (taken over)
10 AXIOM AM (in the morning) going round (about) X (ten) next to IO (ten)
11 EDIT Emend Delete and Insert Text (primarily=first letters of)
12 SCUTCHEONS TUC (Trade Union Congress, unionists) reversed (HON SEC)* sacked=anagram following S (south) – definition is ‘shields’
14 NEPHEW PEN (writer) reversed (recalled) HE (His Excellency, ambassador) W (wife)
15 NEATENS NEw (new, cut short) AS (when) going outside (running out of) TEN (10)
16 SCUTTER S (society) CUTTER (tailor) – a hasty run
18 ORLOPS POOLS* anagram=swimming covering (swamping) R (restricted) – the lowest decks in a ship
20 OCEAN GOING GONG (medal) containing (having won) I following CANOE* – one of the Cunard Queens for example, ocean going liners.
21 CROP CRAP (awful) with O (a ring) in place of A (one) – definition is ‘hairstyle’
24 THEIR (THEIR ALYS)* could make HAIRSTYLE (reset=anagram ) … denotes the previous solution – definition is ‘of them’
25 AGAMEMNON GAME (willing) next to (meeting) Merkel (initial letter) contained by (hedged by) ANON – greek leader in the Trojan War
26 NEST EGG reversed (about) in ClegG GETS ENthused
27 IRRUPTS I (one, Roman numeral) RR (Rolls Royce, a limousine) PUT* (off=anagram) State (head of) – definition is ‘brakes in’, reportedly (sounds like) ‘breaks in’.
1 SHAVE HAS* (unusual=anagram) ViEw (odd letters of) – definition is ‘plane’
2 MORAINE MINE (pit) cut by OR A – definition is ‘deposit’
3 LOPS GALLOPS (the runs) conceding (giving up) GAL (girl)
4 A CLOCKWORK ORANG (CAROL COOK)* anagram=nervously RANG going around (about) KW (kilo Watt, power unit) – A clockwork Orange is a Stanley Kubric film, which according to the special instructions was cut by the BBFC. Reading a little background on Wikipedia and the IMDb there is no mention of the film having been censored so I can’t say how or when (though the original movie poster was censored as it featured a naked woman). Kubric himself removed the film from public release following alleged copy-cat atttacks, murder and rape two years after its release ‘until my death’. The film became available for distribution again in 1999 following Kubrics’s death.
5 LAST TANGO IN PARI LAST (endure) TAN (brown) (I RING OAP)* – Last Tango In Paris is a film by Bernado Bertolucci which caused outrage in many countries: banned in some, prosecuted for obscenity in others, cut by the BBFC in the UK and well liked in France.
6 BEACH BALLS beach balls are tossed about on holiday, a strand is a beach, so they are balls on a strand, ie ‘stranded’. I’m not sure how ‘separated’ fits in here, what is being separated from what?  STRAND (beach) ED Balls, Labour politician – thanks to Sil for this.
7 NOISOME MO (doctor) reversed (picked up) in NOISE (sound)
8 NEMESIS (Euro IN MESS)* anagram=unstable – in Greek mythology the spirit of divne retribution
13 WHAT A NERVE definition and cryptic definition
16 SHORTEN (NORTH SEa)* nearly=nnot finished, rebuilt=anagram – definition is ‘dock’, e.g. to dock someone’s pay for lateness
17 USELESS caroUSEL ESSentially (missing the edges) – why a carousel is useless without the edges I don’t know, not an expression I have ever heard, nor one likely to catch on.
19 PARSNIP PAR (average) SNIP (bargain)
22 PINKS SNIP (cut) reversed (up) about Kew (earliest=first letter) – definition is ‘blooms’
23 TEAR ThE pAiR (at intervals=every other letter)


17 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,700 by Crucible”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, one of the best Saturday puzzles of late.
    And it’s not just 4d and 5d that show ‘cuts’.
    The crossword is full of ‘em (or the like):
    crop (9ac), ax (US,10ac), edit (11ac), cut (12ac), hew (14ac), cut (16ac), lop (18ac), crop (21ac), shave (1d), lop (3d), shorten (16d), snip (19d), tear (23d) …..

    Thanks PeeDee.
    And Crucible for the fun.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As to 6d: “stranded if separated?” = “strand/Ed”, leading to Beach/Balls. Bit sneaky, but it is clearly indicated and there’s a question mark at the end.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Good work with your guessing: after all the last words were shortened. Took under an hour for this with most time spent on the littlies like 21 and 24a. Last in was 23d: good clue, but the pair threw me. The pair of lops (18a and 3d) and scuts (12 and 16a) and the pair of countries in the top line made me wonder, too.

  4. molonglo says:

    Further to that, and Sil’s point: there was prunes and dock – but not pare/.pair

  5. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I’m still not happy about 15, I’m unconvinced that ‘running out of’ = ‘going outside’. Similarly with ‘containing’ and ‘having won’ in 20. And I don’t think carousels need have edges either.

  6. PeeDee says:

    Biggles @5, I agree with you on your quibbles, but I didn’t comment on them as I don’t think they are mistakes on the part of the compiler, just a different view what is acceptable in a crossword.

  7. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeeDee

    I did quite enjoy this crossword, but I don’t think it’s one of Crucible’s best. The special down clues leapt out at me immediately, and the standard of the clues is rather variable – 17dn is particularly weak, IMHO, and having two ‘snips’ near to each other is a bit unfortunate.

    I did like the ‘strand-Ed’, and A CLOCKWORK ORANG created an image of a remake of ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ with a script by Anthony Burgess.

  8. Biggles A says:

    Thanks again PeeDee. Quibble is the right word and I understand. I just think there should be some limit to how far the imagination has to stretch.

  9. duncan says:

    I put the movie titles in, though I remain as unconvinced now as then that the “endings” of either were cut. is it accepted crossword-shorthand for “cut” always to mean the end of a word is truncated? I should have thought that in this instance, we might equally have presumed some letters were to be missed from “during” the solution, not just the ending.

    in fact, ACO did have an alternate ending…

    I think ACO was also subjected to a number of censorial edits prior to its release, though the fuss about it than came afterwards has probably eclipsed this.

    I cannot speak for LTIP; not a fan.


  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Another failure caused by enumeratio.

  11. r_c_a_d says:

    Disappointing, mostly.

    BTW the power unit in 4d is kW, I think.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    RCW: “Another failure caused by enumeratio.”
    I like that – very witty.

    But who’s failure?
    Yours? Crucible’s?

    Nowadays, there is not much variety when it comes to who is setting the prize crossword. It is usually either Araucaria or Paul. Both really great setters, of course, but having (more often, please) a Shed or – like this time – a Crucible is very refreshing.

    I am very disappointed by the lukewarm reception of this puzzle.
    But then again: we are all different, aren’t we?

    So, RCW, who’s failure?

  13. Paul B says:

    RCW is presumably being ‘allusive’ Sil. He himself I suspect is an allusion. Or even an illusion.

    But perhaps he means that the cut films should have been enumerated in full, since solvers are very clearly directed in the preamble as to what to do. To my way of thinking, the game was rather given away in that respect – no deduction required.

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    BTW, er, …. my failure :(
    Did I say “who’s”? Shame on me, unforgivable – “whose”, of course.
    One can always blame it on me being a B&^%$y Foreigner :).

    As to the enumeration, yes, you’re probably right.

  15. PeeDee says:

    I suspect that Crucible had to use the shortened word count to match the grid entry so that the Guardian’s online crossword application would still work. The full word count would have been better as it would not have signalled so clearly where the letters were omitted, but editorially it might not have been an option.

  16. Biggles A says:

    If anybody is still out there it belatedly occurs to me that the reference in 17 could be to a baggage carousel which, without edges, could indeed make rather a mess.

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    PeeDee @15, you’re probably right as Crossword Compiler doesn’t allow one to shorten the word count.
    But 4d and 5d could easily been clued as (15) with some kind of remark in the preamble doing the trick.

    That said, I stick to my point of view that this was a nice puzzle and very refreshing compared to some recent Prizes.

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