Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,714 – Picaroon

Posted by Uncle Yap on August 14th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Today’s puzzle by Picaroon proved to be very challenging and I struggled to understand some of the wordplay. Definitely one for the masochist.

Place cursor over clue number to read the clue

1 DELIBES Ins of LIB (liberty, freedom) in DEES (rev of SEED, offspring) for Clément Philibert Léo Delibes (1836–1891) a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage
5 STREAM ST (cricketing abbreviation for STUMPED) REAM (paper)
9 See 10
10,9 MILTON FRIEDMAN MILTON (of Milton Keynes fame) + *(FAMED IN Republican) for Milton Friedman (1912–2006) an influential American economist, statistician and author.
12 CAPITAL GAINS Quite a clever self-evident clue
17 AMI Kingsley AMIS (1922–1995) an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher minus S (lacking close) for the French word for friend
19 EFT E (electronic, applied to internet usage as on-line e.g. e-mail) FT (Financial Times newspaper)
20 PARLIAMENT Ins of LIAM (rev of MAIL, letters) in PARENT (one raising issue or offspring or children)
22 FRONTIERSMAN FRONT (impudence) + *(REMAINS) Neat def
26 LOLITA Cha of LOL (laughing out loud, hilarious) I (one) & TA (thanks) for Lolita, a novel by Russian author, Vladimir Nabokov  published in the mid-1950’s.
27 POLITICO Ins of TIC (jerk) in POLIO (complaint)
28 STYLED STY (filthy place) LED (was first)
29 PREVENT PR (Public Relations, media manipulation) EVENT (happening)
1 DOFF DO (party) FF (fortissimo, maximum volume, very loud)
2 LOIN Loin is French for distant and also part of a bovine carcass. Thank you NeilW@1 for spotting the omission
3 BEDDABLE Rev of EL (Spanish definite article) BAD (poor) DEB (debutante, young socialite)
4 SWAMI Ins of AM (morning) in SWI (London post code for Belgravia)
6 TWIGGY Tichy way to describe a plant with twigs for
Lesley Lawson (née Hornby; born September 19, 1949), widely known by the
nickname Twiggy, an English model, actress, and singer in the early 1960’s.
7 EXTRICATED EX (old) + ins of CAT (pet) in TRIED (heard)
8 MINISKIRTS MINI (car) SKIRTS (goes around) The definition, gear just over bottom made me laugh … my COD
11 PATROL *(TRAP) OL (middle letters of GOLD)
13 ANGEL FALLS PARADISE (answer to 18) LOST (answer to 25) is an epic poem by the 17th-century English poet  John MILTON (1608–1674) (answer to 10). The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It is often considered one of the greatest literary works in the English language
14 TEA TROLLEY TEAT (whence one gets milk) ROLL (sandwich) EY (vErY regularly) for an exquisite &lit
16 WHALER W (with) HALER (healthier). Starbuck, the first mate of the ship Pequod in Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick
18 PARADISE Ins of IS in PARADE (march) and the Garden of Eden was paradise according to Genesis
21 STATUE Ins of TAT (cheap products) in SUE (Susan, woman)
23 SCOOP S (Sun) COOP (shut up)
24 See 25
25,24 LOST TIME LOST (depraved) TIME (sentence) and of course we hurry to make up for lost time.

Key to abbreviations

dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

48 Responses to “Guardian 25,714 – Picaroon”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. You seem to have left out the explanation for 2. Just in case you’re struggling, LOIN is French for “distant.”

    I’ve been Googling and, apparently that WHALER’s name was the inspiration for the name of the coffee house chain.

    I agree, this was quite hard work and, apart from a couple like MINISKIRTS a bit short on fun but… early days.

  2. ToniL says:

    Lovely puzzle and blog, thank-you Picaroon and Uncle Yap.

    I liked 14 but several others vying for COD

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Getting the economist (one of very I know) instantly helped make great inroads into this – although I didn’t work out the geography of 13d until the very end. Never heard of 1a but it was gettable. BEDDABLE was nice for very hot. Thanks Picaroon.

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks P and UY. I thought the fun-factor was medium to good and there were some nifty clues. eg 29a 14d. Very nice puzzle overall. I like the double use of 25d.

    Blazed in initially but finished at a slow crawl.

    Got 13d from the def but is there some sort of wordplay or other implication re “abrupt current” which I still don’t get or is it just a long-winded CD?

  5. JollySwagman says:

    Re 13d

    Clicking on “Submit comment” sends a rush of blood to the brain. The “Preview” button doesn’t have the same effect at all.

    FALLS (as in waterfalls) could be either “current decline” or “abrupt current decline”.

    Oh – just saw UY’s link – it’s a specific one – OK case closed. Nice puzzle – full marks to both.

  6. JollySwagman says:

    And m’s comment at #3 which prompted me to look – thanks all – sorry to dribble on.

  7. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Picaroon and Uncle Yap for the blog.

    Took me a long time to finish this one. Entered LOIN but didn’t fully understand why.

    Quite difficult in my opinion.

  8. muffin says:

    17 ac could also refer to Martin Amis (son of Kingsley) – I wonder which most solvers will think of? Do you think there should have been some indication that the “friend” was French?

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY for the blog.

    Lovely puzzle! And I certainly found lots of fun in it, eg 15ac [what a superb surface!] 25ac and 2, 3, 8 and 14dn.

    The reference to the other economist, John Maynard Keynes, in 10,9 was clever.

    Many thanks, Picaroon, for another highly entertaining puzzle!

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Reasonably tough, yielding steadily, but I enjoyed it.

    10, 9: didn’t MF reject Keynsian economics, hence the “foregoing”, or is that to which you were referring, Eileen?

    Liked 12a

  11. NeilW says:

    Eileen @9, on reflection, you’re right. It is lots of fun.

    Sorry, Picaroon, I was just feeling grumpy as an early meeting meant I’d had to rush through this rather than have time to savour the puzzle and do it full justice.

  12. Robi says:

    Solved with lots of help from the computer. I wonder whether Picaroon could be an alter ego of Enigmatist as he used it in one of his crosswords, and we don’t seem to see much of Enigmatist these days.

    Like UY, I enjoyed MINISKIRTS.

  13. medici says:

    13d ‘abrupt current decline’ surely refers to Angel Falls Venezuela – the highest in the world.

  14. MikeC says:

    Thanks UY and Picaroon. A good, challenging puzzle. I got lost with two, entering TWINGE (shoot of pain) instead of TWIGGY, and MINISHIFTS instead of MINISKIRTS. The second is just about defensible; the first was more in hope than expectation!

  15. rowland says:

    Found this one somewhat ‘bitty’, while the more experienced compilers somehow, and I’m not quite sure exactly how, manage to offer a more wholesome product. But Picaroon offers a nice challenge, TEA TROLLET perhaps being my favourite.

  16. Pandean says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap and Picaroon for blog and puzzle.

    Bit of an error in the clue for 1dn, though: fortissimo (ff) means ‘very loud’ not ‘maximum volume’ which is denoted by fortississimo (fff). Fortississimo is sometimes defined (as in Chambers) to mean ‘as loud as possible’.

  17. Col says:

    Phew – quite sticky, but got there in the end. Had to assume 2d, as I never did any French and had no idea about anything except the cow bit.

  18. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. We were stumped by 2d. Thought about Lois or loin but couldn’t quite work out why ‘Frenchwoman’!

    Thanks Picaroon – an enjoyable lunchtime solve!!

  19. KeithW says:

    To be pedantic shouldn’t 12a be the plural PROFITS?

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I guess I must be a masochist (UY) because I really enjoyed this stiff test (cf yesterday).
    I especially liked the misdirection in 6d (T=model) and I thought 11d and 14d were good. The definition in 3d was superbly obscure.
    I got Milton early and my scant knowledge of poetry gave me PL quickly but it was right at the end before I got the ‘angel’.
    Last in was ‘loin’, I do have a reasonable French vocabulary (little grammar) but it was a struggle to recall far = loin.
    Keith, I think a profit (singular) can be made from an accumulation of various gains.
    I was at no point amused by this excellent puzzle.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    I should add that ‘heart of gold’ (11d) was a refreshing change from the over-used ‘or’ and ‘au’.

  22. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Picaroon

    Enjoyed this but failed on 13d – I knew it must be ‘falls’ but missed ‘angel’. I liked the unlikely anagram in 15a and also 3d and 9d.

  23. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Rather a tricky one, with some very good clues. I had to leave it about 75% completed to do other things – the rest came (slowly) when I returned to it.

    Favourites were 15ac (clever surface misdirects the reading of ‘sewers’), 20ac (‘one raising issue about’), 27ac (lovely surface), 14dn (nice &lit), 16dn (liked the Melville ref).

    And thanks to the Pirate too – but please don’t make them any harder than this!

  24. Ross Taylor says:

    Very good explanations, but haven’t you got the number wrong? It is No 25,714 in my Guardian.

  25. Mikes says:

    Just in case anyone missed it, the,Angel Falls clue also refers to the worlds highest waterfall located in Venezuala.

  26. kenj says:

    Do tea trollies still exist ?
    I remember them in the sixties.
    Our tea trolley dolly was called Aggie, and she sold wonderful lardy cake as well as tea.

  27. grumpo says:

    I have grumbled about Picaroon when I have come up against him so far, but I have to admit finding this one an entertaining, if tough puzzle.

    I went wrong on 2 Down, thinking of La Ic(y) and getting LAIC instead of LOIN and I couldn’t get either WHALER – although it now seems obvious – hindsight, eh? – or BEDDABLE. I’m not entirely sure I get BEDDABLE even now!

    I loved MINISKIRTS, but then I always have 😉 !

    A nice puzzle – thank you for parsing it for us.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi grumpo
    3d’s definition is ‘very hot’.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    I wonder if I might break the rules for a moment with a diversion.
    I place it here because I cannot think of any other group who might have a view on some recent thoughts.
    I have two grandchildren (aged 13 and 16) who are apparently quite intelligent. It is possible (even likely) that in the future they might turn to cryptic puzzles for entertainment etc.
    However, they have nil knowledge of the bible and little more of Latin, and Greek/Roman mythology. As we know these are frequently reference points used by the present best compilers. These same compilers will probably be dead or retired so my thought is whether there will be a new wave of younger compilers with alternative references (internet etc?).
    Or will the field be occupied by a few young/old fogies who cling to the practices of their predecessors.
    Forgive me if my diversion has offended anyone.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi RCW

    Interesting thoughts. ‘General discussion’ may be the best place for them. See my comment there.

  31. Paul B says:

    One thought is that, while crosswordese elements in clues are by definition hackneyed (even though, when handled well, they can still surprise and entertain), compilers who strive to innovate their way around such furniture, using new and thus unfamiliar tropes, can find themselves labelled ‘impossible to solve’.

    Thus I expect we will continue to see the old stuff used almost as frequently as ever, but with new things (e.g. ‘you are texted’ = UR, rather than ‘ancient city’) coming in, perhaps too slowly for some, as compilers and editors become more accepting of, and less freaked out by, new terminology.

    For me the hope is that while any new stuff trickles or even floods in, setters don’t goof up on, ignore, or completely forget about decent cryptic grammar. That would be nice too.

  32. Paul B says:

    Sorry T – we crossed!

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks tupu, I wasn’t aware of such a place.

  34. Alex M says:

    Don’t think I’ve come across a Picaroon puzzle before. Very enjoyable. Once we’d got into the flow of it we didn’t find it too difficult, although we ran out of steam a couple short of completion. Couldn’t remember which book Starbuck was a character in, and we had Falls but not Angel. (And yes to Dave Ellison (#10) Friedman was a prime mover in arguing for the rejection of Keynesianism and an advocate of monetarism as an alternative.)

  35. Innocent Abroad says:

    Of the ones I got – some nice anagrams, esp 15. 20’s neat, as well: got all the bits to 3 but couldn’t solve – where’s the definition? And the defintion to 13’s hexed too – unless we’re going to ignore the difference between singular and plural, in which case we can probably all go home.

  36. Paul B says:

    ‘Very hot’ was mentioned re 3D as early as post three. ‘Abrupt current decline’ (mentioned as early as post five) defines Angel Falls.


  37. snigger says:

    I have read the book, seen the movie – everything bar the b….y t-shirt. So why do i see “starbucks” and wonder what on earth a coffee shop chain has to do with the rest of the clue? Needless to say i had to come here for the answer.

    The rest was completed with the usual mixture of what word fits and amazingly (for me), solving the crypic element malodorous to needlework!!

    A slog, but one i enjoyed persevering with

  38. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    When you said you found this very challenging, I thought I would have no chance but it turned out to be quite accessible.
    I thought that the wordplay was spot-on and very precise, apart from maybe 13d which was obscure but still guessable.
    I loved MINISKIRTS (and still do), AMI, PARLIAMENT( brilliant clue), LOLITA and POLITICO.
    Thanks Picaroon for an excellent puzzle. More please.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    From the obvious (12ac, first in) to the less obvious (13d, last in) this was a great crossword.
    Picaroon is a real find and his puzzle today his most challenging thus far.

    The surface of 16d (WHALER) is just so misleadingly brilliant (Think Coffee), while BEDDABLE (3d) is worth the Paulian Award of the Day.

    But, there are a couple of buts.
    Many solvers like feminising clues in the Arachne way, but when indeed Picaroon gives us a Frenchwoman instead of a Frenchman in 2d, it was not really flattering.
    And our last entry (ANGEL FALLS), well, nobody so far has given the ultimate explanation. How ‘Paradise Lost’ starts? Abrupt?

    Apart from that, I think, the setter’s name should be written like the clue at 12ac!!

  40. Picaroon says:

    Hmmm, I must say this didn’t seem really hard when I wrote it. I can see, though, that there are quite a few references (literature, geography, economics etc.) which might take it up a notch. Duly noted, although plenty of comments here and on the Guardian site suggest that some non-masochists may also have participated without undue suffering.

    Dave Ellison and Alex M are quite right that “foregoing” in the surface reading of 10/9 is a reference to MF’s rejection of Keynesianism, whilst in the cryptic reading “foregoing” refers to the position of Milton relative to Keynes in the place name. The “famed in Republican manoeuvring” is also very applicable for the egregious MF.

    I actually intended the wordplay in 12 to be read not as CAPITAL/GAINS but more cryptically as “GAIN in CAPITALS” (perhaps leaving it in that crepuscular hinterland between the high Azeddian seriousness of the & lit. and the tomfoolery of the dingbat…)

    (Sil – thanks for your remarks, as ever. As for your questions, Paradise Lost opens with the fall of the rebel angel Satan, hence “How Milton’s Paradise Lost starts” = Angel falls.
    Agreed that 2dn isn’t flattering, but I can assure you I had no specific Frenchwoman in mind!)

  41. RCWhiting says:

    I have never heard the expression ‘a bit of a cow’ applied to a man (French or otherwise).

  42. rhotician says:

    Is the clue an example of male chauvinism or just bad manners? In either case could ‘a bit of a pig’ be applied to the setter?

  43. Uncle Yap says:

    Why can’t we all just enjoy a lovely puzzle for what it is, instead of trying to find fault, real or imaginary?

  44. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, Uncle Yap.

    What I said about 2d was just what sprang to mind when solving the puzzle. It reminded me of Arachne’s habit to use women where most setters choose men. Nothing more, nothing less.

    “Why can’t we all just enjoy a lovely puzzle for what it is”.
    Well, I can – and a lovely puzzle it was indeed!

    By contrast, one should perhaps take a look at the Indy blog of yesterday’s Nimrod to see something quite different from the peaceful atmosphere over here.

  45. Picaroon says:

    All comments made here have been reasonable and constructive (so thanks to everyone and to UY for the very thorough blog) with one glaring exception.

    Rhotician – Since you’re such a stickler for good manners, why don’t you reread your own post? Then, get yourself a dictionary and look up the word “irony”.

  46. rhotician says:

    Picaroon, I already have a dictionary, The Chambers Dictionary. I don’t understand why you think my grasp of the concept of irony is wanting.

    Having said that I apologise for offending you. It was not my intention.

    For what it’s worth I found your puzzle challenging and enjoyable. I even learned a thing or two. As good as anything I’ve done this year.


  47. Picaroon says:

    Hi Rhotician,

    Thanks for your comments – very decent of you. No harm done, I reckon.

    Happy solving!

  48. Paul B says:

    Where is Rhotician’s home? Where is his home? Waters murmur across the meads: pinewoods rustle upon the cliff-rocks, bloom of spring shines in the orchard, Paradise on Earth to see! And that is the beautiful land.

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