Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25722 Audreus

Posted by scchua on August 23rd, 2012


This is a new setter for me.  A check on the Guardian website shows her last crossword there was in July 2010. Initially I had nothing in the upper half, and had to start from the bottom, but in the end, it wasn’t too difficult; in fact it was an enjoyable solve.  Welcome back Audreus, and thank you for today’s puzzle. Definitions are underlined in the clues. I’ve also dropped the used of parenthesis to denote equivalences. Please comment if this is not better.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.  As usual, please double-bracket any comments on them.  Thank you.]]

4 Besotted with acting, claims a bit of talent (6)
DOTING : DOING,taking action,acting containing(claims) T,first letter,a bit oftalent“.

6 Inwardly unfeeling, succumbs to those that won’t be moved (8)
DIEHARDS : HARD as nails perhaps,unfeeling contained in(Inwardly) DIES,succumbs.

9 For such short-sightedness I pay more outrageously — not again! (6)
MYOPIA : Anagram of(outrageously) I PAY MO,”I pay moreminus(not) “re-“,prefix denoting “again“.

10 Pretty big: when carrying drug can be taken by force (8)
SEIZABLE : SIZABLE,of considerable size,Pretty big containing(when carrying) E,abbrev. for the drug Ecstasy.

11 Distinguished detective being sweet (7,4)
SPOTTED DICK : SPOTTED,has been noted/seen,Distinguished from the rest + DICK,slang for a detective
Answer: A British dessert,sweet. The “spotted” comes the speckled appearance from the raisins, currants or other dried fruit in it. I won’t try to explain where the “dick” comes from.  It’s not what you think, though some eateries had changed it to Spotted Richard on their menus, but not for long though (true story it seems).

15 Welsh go dancing the cancan? (3-4)
LEG-SHOW : Anagram of(dancing) WELSH GO.
Answer: Also, a bloomers show? (And I don’t mean flowers either.) :-)


17 Myself with mate following wordy book concerning loving mother (7)
OEDIPAL : [I,Myself plus(with) PAL,mate,] placed after(following) OED,abbrev. for the Oxford English Dictionary,a wordy book
Answer: Descriptive of,concerning Oedipus, Ancient Greek who unknowingly killed his father and loved and married his mother, and later punished himself when he discovered what he’d done. A real Greek tragedy, somewhat different from the current one.  :-)

18 View racket one way in part of northern Europe (11)
SCANDINAVIA : SCAN,to View,examine, eg. a document + DIN,a racket + A,the indefinite article for one + VIA,by way of, from Latin for “way “.

22 Constable imbibing 21 down: what did you say about being a mixture? (8)
PASTICHE : PC,abbrev. for police Constable, containing(imbibing) ASTI,answer to 21 down + reversal of(about) EH,an interrogative utterance,” what did you say ?”. 
Answer: An incongruous combination,a mixture of materials, styles, forms, motifs, etc. taken from various sources.  The term is sometimes used derogatorily.

23 Some poetry most Anzacs could deliver (6)
STANZA : Hidden in(could deliver) moST ANZAcs.

24 Complaint of individuals getting out of hospital (8)
SHINGLES : SINGLES,individuals eg. as opposed to team events containing(getting out of) H,abbrev. for hospital.

 25 Believe in tick? (6)
CREDIT : Double defn: 1st: Believe in,to accept as true; and 2nd: Especially in the phrase “to buy on tick“,the seller deferring payment because he believes in the solvency of the buyer.

1 Oil-producing nation (6)
ANOINT : Anagram of(producing) NATION
Defn: and Answer: As verbs. To rub or sprinkle Oil, sometimes ceremoniously.

2 Safe bet, said plausible gangster (10)
LIKELIHOOD : LIKELI,Homophone of(said) “likely”,plausible + HOOD,short for “hoodlum”,a gangster
Answer: A good chance,Safe bet that something eg. will come about or is true “The likelihood is that I’ve made an error in this blog”.

3 Wife greeting snoring youngster, a remarkable person (5-3)
WHIZZ-KID : W,abbrev. for Wife + HI,an informal greeting + ZZ,used by cartoonists as a visualisation of snoring + KID,youngster
Answer: A highly successful,remarkable person for his or her age. Perhaps derived from “wizard”.

4 Maybe some lads like old-fashioned girls (8)
DAMOSELS : Anagram of(Maybe) SOME LADS
Answer: An archaic,old-fashioned term for dames, I mean, girls,young maidens. I guess they could be old-fashioned too.

5 Taking pains done with circulating centre (8)
THOROUGH : THROUGH,done with,accomplished by means of, containing(circulating) O, centre,central letter of”job “.

7 First boys to enter when teacher’s around could be spare (4)
RIBS : B,First letter of “boyscontained in(to enter) reversal of(…‘s around) SIR,teacher
Answer: Another food item, cooked pork or beef spare ribs, the latter being the most inexpensive cuts, being more bone than meat?

8 Cast of beginners to study hard, exercising daily (4)
SHED : Initial letters of,beginners to study hard, exercising daily “. 
Answer: Also the pseudonym of setter’s son, himself a setter in the Guardian. Nice touch.

12 Shabby dog’s two orders? (4,2,4)
DOWN AT HEEL : DOWN and HEEL,two orders to Rover. 
Answer: I can’t quite explan “AT”, except as a joiner.

13 PS And I’ve managed to be afflicted with a swelling in a leg joint (8)
SPAVINED : Anagram of(managed) [PS And I’ve]. 
Answer: Descriptive of a horse afflicted with spavin, a disease causing an enlargement,a swelling in a leg joint.

14 Poor man admits late starter’s affable (8)
PLEASANT : PEASANT,Poor man, usually, containing(admits) L,initial letter,starter of “late “.

16 Historic town, lice infection over, guarded by witches (8)
HASTINGS : Reversal of(over) NITS,lice infection containing(guarded by) HAGS,witches
Answer: The town where the Norman conquest of England began in 1066, William the Conqueror defeating and killing King Harold, the last of the Saxon kings.

19 Quality of a busy tea urn (6)
NATURE : Anagram of(busy) TEA URN.

20 You get ninny turning up with tree from Java (4)
UPAS : U,as used in texting to mean “You plus(get) reversal of(turning up, in a down clue) SAP,ninny,a foolish person.
Answer:   tree found in Java (and other places), with poisonous sap.

21 Good man’s into first-class wine (4)
ASTI : ST,abbrev. for “saint”,Good man’ contained in(into) AI,A-one,first-class, not to be confused with Artificial Intelligence.



37 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25722 Audreus”

  1. ToniL says:

    Thanks Audreus and scchua.

    Think ‘one’ is A, not I in 18.

    12 I took the two Orders to be ‘Down’, and ‘At heel’?

  2. aztobesed says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua.

    Can I be ridiculously pedantic? Whizzkids? Cartoonists almost always use a triple zzz to denote snoring. There is a phrase “pushing up zeds” which covers it (and is even marginally funnier than the cartoon idea?)

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks ToniL, blog corrected.
    I had looked up “at heel”, and it was shown as an adjective, “to be at one’s heel”. But I guess it’s possible one could train a dog to obey “At heel”. Any dog owners out there?

  4. John Appleton says:

    Down at heel did seema bit fo a stretch for two commands, though the solution was obvious enough. Upas and spavined both new words for me, but wordplay and checking letters made them both fair.

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, scchua. I had the same reaction as you to the first few clues but then things got easier and, now on her wavelength, I went back to the start and everything fell smoothly into place.

    Traditionally, Audreus appears the day before her son (as was the case last time, I think you will find) so we can expect Shed to be our host tomorrow.

  6. NeilW says:

    John @4, UPAS was clued by Rufus just a month ago. I remember it well because, living on the island of Java, I was sorry to say I’d never heard of it. Not this time though!

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua.

    What a joy to see the return of Audreus – as witty as ever!

    Nothing too taxing but some lovely clues, particular favourites being 9,15 and 17ac and 3, 4, 7 and [of course] 8dn.

    It was interesting to see that the historic town at 16dn was also, like the constable, imbibing 21dn. Although I knew it wasn’t right, I stubbornly persisted in trying to justify COVENTRY for that one.

    [Here’s hoping that the tradition will be followed tomorrow. 😉 ]

  8. Andreas61 says:

    I really liked this one because of the wide range of references: poetry, history, vetinary medicine, cuisine, etc. etc. Something for everybody, really. The only thing that puzzled me for a moment was 4d, because the only “damozel” I know, Rossetti’s blessed one, spells herself with a “z”. Now I’m off to reread the poem. She had three lilies in her hand / And the stars in her crown were seven… Perhaps not seven, but definitely five stars to setter and blogger. Thanks a lot.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Pleasant puzzle, though I found it almost a complete write-in. I particularly enjoyed OEDIPAL.

    SPAVINED and UPAS are words that I know almost exclusively from crossword puzzles. The only other context in which I have seen UPAS is in San Diego. Many cities in the US have streets that are either numbered in sequence (like New York) or given letters in alphabetical order. San Diego has both, but the lettered ones have tree names, in alphabetical order, rather than simply being ‘A Street’, ‘B Street’ etc. The ‘U Street’ is called Upas Street, which I have always thought rather sinister.

  10. AndrewC says:

    Thanks, as ever, scchua for clear blog – and to Audreus for a pleasant first encounter and a hint of a shed.

    [[ I can only get 2 of the images…Louis Jourdan (2) was in Can-Can, and Manhattan Transfer (3) had an album called Pastiche. The pizza might be pleasant, or go well with asti…but I’m sure that’s not the connection. And (4)…Shirley MacLaine? I think I’m stumped for 2.]]

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Audreus

    A good puzzle and quite challenging in places. I got caught up in the NE for a time by thinking 7d (an excellent clue) might be ‘tube’ on the very dubious grounds that teachers are around on Tuesday! :) I also took a long time to see the excellent 17a – seemingly a rather long clue for a not very long answer.

    I also ticked 4a and 17a.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    To misquote “As the NW corner fell before my pen nib I thought “Audreus, what are you doing?”.
    How right I was.”
    As Gervase says, this was just a series of write-ins. Unlike Gervase, I do not consider that to be ‘pleasant’.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks scchua. I enjoyed this very much, with the top left corner taking the most time to solve.

    Apologies for not posting more often — things a bit hectic here!

  14. Ian Payn says:

    [[Pastiche is a Manhattan Transfer album, in this poster’s opinion, their best]]

    [[Shirley Maclaine and Louis Jourdan both starred in the film Can-Can. MacLaine played a character called Simone Pistache, which is probably just a co-incidence]]

    [[God knows what that – presumably – food is]]

    [[Wasn’t “Spotted Dick!” a headline in one of the cheaper newspapers today, alongside a picture of a prince of the realm? Maybe not…]]

  15. scchua says:

    Thanks for all your comments. So far, there seems to be a division as to whether this was easy or hard.

    [[AndrewC and Ian Payn, you’re both right, so that leaves the food picture – no, it’s not a pizza]]

  16. AndrewC says:

    [[Not a pizza, eh? Well, in that case I’ll cast my second and final vote for …. a pasticcio! Though it’s far more elegant than any I’ve ever seen or eaten… Anyhow, it’s a pastiche by any other name. The less said about spotted dick, the better.]]

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I found this on the easy side, but still a pleasing puzzle, which improving solvers would enjoy. I agree with Andreas – a nice range of reference material. Liked the filial reference too.

    Where would pantomimes be without 11ac? I’ve yet to see a version of Dick Whittington where the protagonist has just espied something and the cast haven’t shouted: ‘Well spotted, Dick!’

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  18. crypticsue says:

    Kathryn’s Dad keeps saying what I was going to say. His first paragraph refers.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  19. Robi says:

    Reasonably straightforward but still enjoyable.

    Thanks scchua for your usual splendid effort. SPAVINED and UPAS were new to me.

    [[I think the food is focaccia; not sure of the link, perhaps anointed with oil? And maybe good with ASTI]]

  20. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Audreus. Very enjoyable!

    [According to Shirley Maclaine, the Parisian ‘ladies’ who used to perform the Can-Can did not always wear undies. Or did they?]

    Oh la la!

  21. scchua says:

    [[Sorry, Robi, AndrewC has got it right – a pasticcio, the word from which pastiche is derived. Well done AndrewC and Ian Payn. Try this one: what’s the connection between blogger and Manhattan Transfer?]]

  22. rowland says:

    Yes, this is very good. A good solve, the clues well-wrought as far as I can see. Just one tiny quibble with MYOPIA – again for RE, and, according to what I’ve seen other talk about here, a problem with the ‘sequence of operations’ or whatever it’s called?

    Lovely blog, lovely puzzle.


  23. Wolfie says:

    I enjoyed this very much, despite it being on the straightforward side. As has often been remarked here it is good that the Guardian continues to provide daily crosswords to suit a range of solvers from novices to experts. I particularly liked OEDIPAL and HASTINGS. I hope we won’t have so long to wait until the next crossword from Audreus. (I suspect it must be a long time since the Guardian featured puzzles from female setters on consecutive days. Is this a portent of a better gender balance?)

    Thanks scchua for the excellent blog.

  24. Alan Connor says:

    Very happy to see another puzzle from Shed’s (DOTING?) mum & not the most common of grids – though I can’t see a nina as the reason…

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Dog owner here. Yes “at heel” is a term used by obedience buffs as in “working at heel”, though you also hear “heel work”.

    Nothing else to add, all done above.

  26. Paul B says:

    Re MYOPIA, ‘I pay more outrageously’ could lead to many anagrams that satisfy the ‘not again’ addendum. For example MYOPIARE or REMYOPIA. So no problems for the Ximpedants there, eh Swagman.

    I am in the Audreus fan club. There are a number of unsung-ish Grauniad compilers who know their allium cepas and she’s among ’em. Not difficult but an excellent solve, and I look forward to dancing with the boy Shed, also brilliant, tomorrow.

  27. ToniL says:


    what’s the connection between blogger and Manhattan Transfer?

  28. Haleybop says:

    As an enthusiast of Asian flora I was
    Particularly pleased to see the inclusion of UPAS and would
    Encourage other setters to follow suit and include more flora from the Indonesian archipelago.

  29. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I agree with RCW. A disappointing puzzle. Only the NE corner presented a vague challenge.

    I also failed to spot the aforementioned wit!

    Perhaps Audreus could alternate with Rufus in the Monday slot!

  30. scchua says:

    [[ToniL@27, one of the tracks on the “Pastiche” album was ‘On a Lttle Street in Singapore’, not a million miles from where I am.]]

  31. Paul B says:

    I like people who complain about crosswords being too easy. Because sooner or later they’ll complain about one that’s ‘too difficult’. Maybe they’ve already contradicted themselves in that respect. I don’t know, and can’t be bothered to look.

  32. ToniL says:


    Thank-you, I think I may have been quite some time…

  33. JollySwagman says:

    @12 – I agree – easy is OK as per Everyman say but this lacked any redeeming qualities – sadly – as normally (a while back now) Audreus was easy overall but with a quite bit more going on. There were rather too many clues here where the wordplay consisted of deciphering one word and adding a single letter – that got to be a bit repetitive if, as for me, they all come together.

    Of course this is Shed’s mum – he redeems the family honour today.

  34. scchua says:

    [[ToniL@32, sorry about that – I know, it wasn’t quite fair]]

  35. Bryan says:

    Scchua @ 30

    So, you live in or near Singapore, do you?

    Well I’ve been there but I never saw you or I would have said ‘Hello’.

  36. scchua says:

    Bryan@35, if you see someone in the MRT with a bunch of crosswords, that will be me. :-)

  37. RCWhiting says:

    I have never complained that a crossword is too difficult.
    It would be totally illogical to do so.
    If I fail to complete the puzzle it is because I was not observant or smart enough. My lack entirely, so how could I complain?

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