Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25738 – Shed

Posted by Uncle Yap on September 11th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

This must be a unique blog. I am in Bangkok on a short holiday and without convenient Internet access. So I went to a roadside cafe featuring free WiFi, had a drink and got the access code. Here I am, next to an empty cafe at local time 6am, surrounded by hungry mosquitoes, trying to blog Shed, who is as usual, an entertaining and challenging compiler. If part of the explanation below is not fully complete, please chip in … I can’t hang around here too long as I have to catch the plane home soon and the mosquitoes are not leaving me alone in peace.

Hold cursor over number to read clue

4 ASBESTOS Ins of *(SET) in ASBOS (anti-social behaviour order in the plural)
9 GIANT GI (American soldier) + ANT (6 footer)
10 BALKANISE BALK (stop short) ANISE (plant with aromatic seeds)
11 BONHOMOUS Ins of HOMO (sapien, our genus) in BONUS (supplement)
12 TWINE T (last letter of fruit) WINE (drink) which is a string (answer to 26)
13 TROUBLEMAKER T (first letter of Treasury) ROUBLE-MAKER (someone making the Russian money)
17 IMPREGNATION Ins of REG (registered) in I MP NATION
20 IRAQI Acrostic, first letters
21 DETERMINE DET (rev of TED, scatter straw) ERMINE (fur)
24 BLIND BL (rev of LB, symbol for pound, a measure of weight) IN D (Deutschland, Germany)
25 MINISTER Ins of IST (first) in MINER (labourer)
26 STRING Ins of R (middle letter) in STING (undercover operation)
2 BRAINBOX Ins of RAINBOw in BronX
3 LOTTO Ins of TT (races) in LOO (small room)
5 SELF-SLAUGHTER SELF (writer, novelist) ‘S LAUGHTER (hilarity) His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God, God! (Hamlet)
6 EXANTHEMA Ins of ANTHEM (song) in EXA (rev of AXE)
7 TRIVIA TR (rev of right) I (one) VIA (Roman street)
8 SHEKEL SHE (female) K (king, monarch) EL (Spanish def article)
14 BUMPINESS Ins of PINES (trees) in BUMS (tramps)
15 PIRI-PIRI 2 x Rev of I (one) RIP (tear) for a hot sauce
19 SAMSON Ins of A MS (manuscript, tract) in SON


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

38 Responses to “Guardian 25738 – Shed”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. remarkably easy for Shed.

    Have another look at the anagram at 1dn… the grauniad strikes again.

    Strictly speaking, 17 is ins of MP REG in 1 NATION, I think.

    Have a safe trip home.

  2. Miche says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. Safe travels.

    NeilW: I didn’t even notice the duff anagram. Bet my age…

    Only EXANTHEMA gave a little trouble, being unfamiliar to me. Strange that, of the last three Guardian crosswords I’ve done, the only one I didn’t finish quickly was by Rufus. But, as nobody blogged it, maybe it didn’t happen. ;-)

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, man for all seasons as well as good blogger. The first two thirds might have been easy, Neil, but my vocab didn’t stretch to BONHOMOUS or EXANTHEMA, or even 21a’s ‘ted’ tho that ought to be a compiler’s favourite. Still the clueing was good and the dictionary was only called for post facto.

  4. John Appleton says:

    Missed to duff anagram too. I had the G and B in, and that was enough to work it out. BALKANISE was last in.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Shed

    Pity about the anagram problem which I did not notice though I somehow felt it was an ‘unlikely’ one. Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle, very well clued. I had to check exanthema afterwards. I gave up ticking those that especially amused me – but brainbox was particularly good I thought.

    Easier than yesterday’s Rufus – the old salt let his claw’s show a little with some excellent unobvious dds etc. As we have known for a long time, his easy ones are quite deliberately so, and for good reason.

  6. tupu says:

    :) ‘claws’ even! Sorry.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

    I was too grumpy over the mistake in last week’s Bonxie puzzle to make a comment but today’s did not actually affect any other answer, so, inexplicable and exasperating though it is, I’m not going to let it stop me enthusing over this lovely puzzle from Shed.

    As tupu says, too many great clues to single out any, really, though I, too, particularly liked BRAINBOX – and it was a nice change from the BRA IN BOX device that I have smiled at several times before. ;-) [Other favourites were 1ac and 5dn.]

    Re yesterday’s Rufus – which was indeed a bit trickier than usual – but that was not the reason that no one blogged it [!]: Gaufrid has been back in hospital for several weeks, so we’re having to manage without him sending reminders or arranging substitutes. We hope yesterday was only a blip and that things will soon be back to normal when Gaufrid’s back to keep us in order!

    Many thanks for another great puzzle, Shed.

  8. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Very entertaining puzzle from Shed. Pity about the ‘anagrem’, which I missed too. EXANTHEMA took a while to dredge out of the memory, and BONHOMOUS was entirely new to me, but ‘our genus’ was a big help. BALKANISE I spelt at first with a Z, but it wouldn’t parse like that (the Z was because I thought the crossword was going to be a pangram, as I already had a K, Q and X).

    Some lovely word splits here: T/ROUBLEMAKER, SELFS/LAUGHTER, UNDERDO/G. Other favourites were 17ac (I agree with NeilW about the parsing) and 23ac.

  9. Gervase says:

    While I appreciated the unusual construction of 2dn, it wasn’t one of my favourites, unlike for tupu and Eileen, because the surface is pretty meaningless. For me, a good surface transforms a clever construction into an excellent clue. I know not everyone agrees with me on this. ‘Colourless green dreams sleep furiously’, anyone?

    (Yesterday’s Rufus was a bit of a struggle; difficult grid with lots of unchecked initial letters didn’t help).

  10. Eileen says:

    Point taken, Gervase @9, particularly since I’m also one for smooth surfaces! I think I was probably beguiled by the novel construction, as I mentioned before.

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap – sorry about the mosquitoes!

    An enjoyable puzzle from Shed, made a bit easier for me by the two long down clues going in fairly quickly.

    I vaguely registered that there was something not quite right about the anagram at 1dn but didn’t stop to see what it was.

    6dn was new to me and I needed help with that, even with all the checking letters.

    Thanks to Eileen for letting us know why there was no Rufus blog yesterday — I found that puzzle really quite difficult!

    The absence of y’day’s blog made me appreciate all the hard work that goes on to ensure that this site runs smoothly! Best wishes to Gaufrid.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    It is odd that, unlike many of you, I regularly miss a theme and even more often, a Nina; and yet I cannot imagine how I would ever miss the misanagram in 1d.
    Like Molonglo, I found most of this to be a fairly easy solve but eventually I had to word search for (last in) ‘Balkanise’. I think I failed to spot it because I have always spelled ‘baulk’ but Chambers gives ‘balk’ first.
    I liked 13ac and 20ac.
    I see that Monday’s regular non-event has become a real non-event this week!

  13. Robi says:

    Entertaining puzzle; I’m another anagram duffer.

    Thanks UY; hope the mossies/mozzies didn’t eat all of you.

    I didn’t know the TED=scatter straw. Seemed fairly straightforward in retrospect although I got stuck on one or two. I quite liked the simple GIANT and the Russian coinsmith.

  14. Robi says:

    P.S. ‘Maybe get false memory’ would have been better for accuracy and for the surface.

  15. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I did spot the duff anagram :D but I totally forgot TED meaning scatter straw :( I do now remember seeing the strange word tedded.

  16. rowland says:

    Shame about the error. Must be really annoying to see it after all the checking that must be done on these things before they’re published. But it was for me as all say above, a really ggod solve. My CoDs are the same as Gervase’s by reason of those juicy word-splits!

    Many thanks all.

  17. Uncle Yap says:

    Just checked into the cool comfort of my mosquito-free air-con room in KL. Thanks for all the kind wishes and ever so pleased for Britain that Andy Murray won that fifth set and his first Grand Slam title.

  18. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Shed and UY. An enjoyable puzzle. Only one thought:

  19. William says:

    Thanks, Uncle, jolly good blog particularly given the adverse conditions.

    Gervase @9 hear-hear. I’ve been nagging about this for some time – what’s the point of costructing a clue like this if there’s no surface. Oue dearly beloved Reverend does it increasingly but we’re not allowed to say that.

    If Gaufrid is checking the blog from his hospital bed I wish you the very best for a speedy return – to us, and to health.

    Had to word search EXANTHEMA, BONHOMOUS and also BALKANISE as I’ve never come across balk spelled that way.

    RCW @12 how about a quick fix (not heart & lung surgery as I did last time) for this broken anagram?

  20. William says:

    How about…For storage unit question get ‘maybe’. (8)

  21. RCWhiting says:

    I couldn’t beat that, William. I would even baulk at trying.

  22. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, 1d fails on a second count: MEGABYTE is not memory, but a unit of size (of memory).

    I did wonder when I spotted the mis-anagram if “false” was hinting it wasn’t quite right!

  23. rhotician says:

    A perfect fix for MEGABYTE is provided by Robi @14.

  24. tupu says:

    HI Gervase

    Like Eileen, I take your point re brainbox. What I particularly liked was the use of ‘rainbo(w)’ which caught me by surprise.

    Incidentally it was ‘colourless green ideas’ that slept furiously, and in that case there is more logic than in this clue, since it is based on a self-contradictory juxtaposition of two adjectives (oolourless/green) and other clearly inappropriate conjunctions (at least outside of poetry) i.e. sleep/furiously, coloured ideas, and ideas sleeping. The clue, though grammatical of course, makes no pretence of semantic structure whatsoever.

  25. rhotician says:

    Dave @22 – “not quite right”?. “memory?” is all right for me. “false” is simply the anagrind and particulary good with “memory”.

  26. rhotician says:

    Dave @22 – Sorry I got your separate points mixed up.

    The ? after memory makes it an acceptable definition, by the conventions of a cryptic crossword, for megabyte.

    I quite like the idea of “false” indicating a ‘misanagram’. We could do with something to indicate a near- homophone.

  27. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Shed and Uncle Yap (well done in difficult conditions!)

    Nice to see Shed setting instead of being featured in other setters’ clues!

    I’m with the baulk brigade, although even my ancient Chambers’s (sic) gives balk first.

    Good luck, Gaufrid.

    Giovanna x

  28. William says:

    rhotician @23 – apologies, I missed the perfect fix by Robi @14

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    On second thoughts I suppose a BYTE is memory; still not convinced MEGABYTE is, though.

  30. Shed says:

    Humble egg-faced apologies to all for 1dn and thanks for being so kind about it. I am in fact just about to contact the editor suggesting precisely Robi @14’s rewrite (which I’d thought of independently) for the archive. I take the point about a megabyte being a unit of memory rather than memory itself, but ‘distance’ for ‘mile’ is pretty standard and I think this falls into the same grey area.

  31. rhotician says:

    Chambers gives balk first because it precedes baulk alphabetically. In fact by combining and cross-referencing the two it seems to me to imply that baulk is more common. Had I ever needed to write the word I would have used baulk, having seen it more often. But I must have seen balk somewhere.

    Nevertheless BALKANISE was also my last. And for what it’s worth I also missed the misanagram.

  32. Robi says:

    Shed @30; thanks for dropping by; great minds think alike……..

  33. Gervase says:

    Hi tupu: Thanks for correcting my mangling of Chomsky!

    Shed: Thanks for dropping by – and for showing that setters are human after all. As are solvers, of course – many of us failed to notice the infelicity. Great puzzle, nevertheless!

  34. RCWhiting says:

    rho @31
    “Chambers gives balk first because it precedes baulk alphabetically”.
    Are you sure? See: pg 1296 ravin, raven, ravine and passim.

  35. Paul B says:

    Re 26 such indication is freely available and has been for megayonks. Some compilers even use it!

  36. rhotician says:

    RCW @34
    I was afraid someone would make such an observation.
    Not long after making my post I found on pg xxii the example of “alternative forms” – boult or bolt. Opening at random and flicking around I soon found lots more. I assume you found ravin etc the same way.

    I’m still keen to understand how Chambers treats alternative forms but I’ll keep the investigation private. Thanks for not subjecting my second sentence – “In fact … ” – to close scrutiny.

    My curiosity was aroused by
    yourself @12 – “I have always spelled ‘baulk’ but Chambers gives ‘balk’ first.” and
    Giovanna @27 – “although [Chambers] gives balk first.”

    Without wishing to be rude – so what?

  37. RCWhiting says:

    Not rude at all – a little slow perhaps?
    When examining B-L-A-I-E for my last to solve the correct word did not come to me because ‘baulk’ does not fit.

  38. RCWhiting says:

    From your page ref. xxii I assume you are using the 11th ed.
    Interestingly on pg xvi section 7 of the latest it actually spells out the point. “….strict alphabetical order may be waived in order to list the most commonly used form first.”

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