Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25746 Crucible

Posted by scchua on September 20th, 2012


This took a bit of time to get into, the key being 10.  After getting some of the others, I finally got it via 2 and 16across.  The pace quickened after that, and it turned out to be quite an enjoyable solve.  Thanks to Crucible.  (Apologies for the slight delay in posting – I had to interrupt the writing of the blog for a doctor’s appointment.)

All the references to 10 in the clues are to transport craft/vehicles of one kind or another, except for 19down and 23down, where the setter seems to have deviated from the theme (I hope I got the definitions for these last 2 correct).  There were also other transport related items, like 7, 8(?), 13, 4, and 5.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom has unspecified links to the puzzle.  The last 2 pictures should be considered together.  Please enclose comments about them within double brackets.]]


7 Virgin, perhaps Irish, wearing flared style (7)

AIRLINE : IR(abbrev. for Irish) contained in(wearing) A-LINE(a cut,style of a dress or skirt which flares from the shoulders or waist down, in the shape of, well, the letter A).

Answer: An example of which,perhaps is Virgin Atlantic, founded by Sir Richard Branson.

8 Bumper edition of “Latin for Everyone“? (7)

OMNIBUS : Double defn: 1st: A collection of works by a single author or several works on a similar topic reprinted in one volume, or even a re-broadcast in one of two or more radio or TV programmes broadcast earlier; and 2nd: Translation into Latin of “for Everyone“.  As this is also a 10across, the setter could have linked this directly to the theme.

9 Asian capital hasn’t managed to progress (2,2)

GO ON : “Rangoon”, former name for Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, formerly Burma, in Asia minus(hasn’t) “ran”(managed).

10,21 Hit by 2 and 16 across, new Pathfinder got lost crossing river (9,2,7)

TRANSPORT OF DELIGHT : Anagram of(new) PATHFINDER GOT LOST containing(crossing) R(abbrev. for river).

Answer: A song Hit by Flanders(answer to 2down) and Swann(answer to 16 across).  A singing British comic duo.

12 10 was boss on board (5)

SLEDS : LED(was boss,managed) contained in SS(abbrev. for steamship eg. the SS Titanic) (on board).

13 Line in religious writing by Hardy that’s deleted another line (8)

PLIMSOLL : L(abbrev. for “Line“) contained in(in) PI(short for pious,religious) + MS(abbrev. for manuscript, a piece of writing) plus(by) OLL[nickname for Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy fame, "Ollie" minus(deleted) "i.e."(abbrev. for that is,that's)].

Answer: The line drawn on a ship’s hull to show how low in the water she is allowed to be, ie. the maximum load she can carry.

15 10s despot’s scratching head (4)

VANS : ["Ivan"(the Terrible, Russian despot) + 'S] minus(scratching) its initial letter(head).

16 Pen name for Proust’s hero (5)

SWANN : SWAN(the female of which is a Pen) + N(abbrev. for name).

Answer: The hero in “Swann’s Way” the first book of French novelist, Marcel Proust’s multi-part work “In Search of Lost Time”, earlier translated as “Remembrance of Things Past”.

17 10‘s about right (4)

CART : CA(abbrev. for circa,Latin for about) + RT(abbrev. for right).

18 Touching a female in Indian dress after game (2,6)

ON SAFARI : ON(Touching, as in “his essay was on another subject”) + A F(abbrev. for female) contained in(in) SARI(an Indian dress for women).

Answer: What you could be on if you’re after game, presumably armed with your camera only.

20 Elizabeth Fry’s nursing 10 (5)

FERRY : ER(Elizabeth Regina, the Queen) contained in(…’s nursing) FRY.  Elizabeth Fry was an English prison reformer, by the way.

21 See 10

22 Non-striker’s first to finish 10s (4)

CABS : “scab”(a Non-striker when others are out) with its initial letter(…’s first) moved to the end,finish of the word.

24 Kit is able to enter “Come Dancing” (7)

MECCANO : CAN(is able to) contained in(to enter) anagram of(Dancing) “COME“.

Answer: Trademark name for the children’s model construction Kit.

25 10 dashes round to collect papers (7)

SIDECAR : Reversal of(round) RACES(dashes,in a hurry) containing(to collect) ID(abbrev. for identification papers).


1 10 put up two million, ignoring banks (4)

LIMO : Reversal of(put up, in a down clue) O MIL["two million" minus(ignoring) its outer letters(banks)]

2 Leader of foreign country regularly rearms in battle zone (8)

FLANDERS : F(initial letter,Leader of foreign“) + LAND(the country) + E,R,S(the second, fourth sixth letters,regularly of “rearms“).

Answer: A battle zone in Belgium in WWI.

3 Joins Victorian 10s touring province (6)

UNITES : UTES[Australian slang for utility transport(answer to 10) vehicles which may be found in Victoria, the Australian state) containing(touring) NI(abbrev. for Northern Ireland, a province of the UK)

4 Avoid one in time for discharge (8)

EMISSION : [MISS(to Avoid) + I(Roman numeral for one)] contained in(in) EON(a very long period of time).

Answer: Eg. what comes out of the back of petrol-burning 10across vehicles.

5 7 commanders pistol-whipped (6)

PILOTS : Anagram of(whipped) pistol.

Answer: Aircraft captains,commanders in an airline(answer to 7across).

6 10 set to cross Norway (4)

PUNT : PUT(to place,set) containing(to cross) N(abbrev. for Norway).

11 A very quiet part of London’s attractive (9)

APPEALING : A + PP(abbrev. for pianissimo,musical instruction to play very quietly) + EALING(a borough,part of London).

12 Lover was injured at home (5)

SWAIN : Anagram of(injured) WAS + IN(at home,not out).

14 Liberal’s sad leader discarded 10 (5)

LORRY : L(abbrev. for Liberal,a member of said political party) + ORRY["sorry"(sad, as in "she was sorry she didn't get the job") minus(discarded) its initial letter(leader)]

16 10 understand a scheme’s boring (8)

SEAPLANE : SEE(to understand, as in to “see the point of the joke”) containing(…’s boring) [A PLAN](a scheme).

17 County Clare ordered small 10s (8)

CORACLES : CO(abbrev. for County) + anagram of(ordered) CLARE + S(abbrev. for small).

19 Lincoln nearly escaped so-called 10 (6)

ABDUCT : AB[ "Abe"( Lincoln, US President of long ago) minus its last letter(nearly) +homophone of(so-called) "ducked"(escaped,avoided).

Answer: To carry and move off,transport(answer to 10across), illegally.

20 Jazz pianist's ideal climbing shrub (6)

FATSIA : FATS(Waller, Jazz pianist) + reversal of(climbing) AI(looks like A1, the best,the ideal).

21 An up-and-coming Cole Porter entertained 10 (4)

OPEL : Reversal of(up-and-coming, in a down clue) hidden in(… entertained) Cole Porter.

Answer: A German make of transport vehicles, mainly cars, and therefore by extension, one of those vehicles.

23 Old 7 runs 10 (4)

BEAR : BEA[abbrev. for British European Airways, a former,Old airline(answer to 7across)] + R(abbrev. for “runs“, as in cricket). Apt surface.

Answer: To carry and transport.




30 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25746 Crucible”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks for the explanations of several I didn’t understand.

    I got carried away with the theme and tried El Al for 9 ac and Alitalia for 2 dn (yes, I know they don’t even fit with each other, let alne most of the other crossers!)

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks scchua. I couldn’t get ensued with this tho I finished it – the duct/escaped in 19d, the Victorian as ute cue in 3d, the uneven banks in 1d and the genitive 10′s in 17a which suggested ‘cars’ instead of CART etc.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, scchua. Like yesterday’s Orlando, clever but not too difficult and very entertaining. I wonder if Crucible originally set this up without the 10s littered about the place and then had to tame it down. That might explain the slightly random application of 10 in the clues since nearly all the answers relate to the theme. (Normally, I’d expect a few misleads with this style with 10 not directly meaning “transport”.

    By the way, you’ve accidentally missed out A in your explanation of SEAPLANE.

  4. scchua says:

    Hi molonglo, Re 17a, I think another way of looking at 10′s in 17a is as a contraction of “10 is”. In 15a and 17d where the plural is intended, it’s 10s without the apostrophe – though 10 by itself is sometimes used in the plural, as in 12a, ie. “transport” as a collective noun.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks NeilW, typo corrected now.

  6. Miche says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Not too hard once I got the theme. Last in was UNITES, utes being new to me.

    [[I see the author of Kidnapped and the stars of Ransom, both connected with 19d. Other than having used many forms of 10, I don't see the Bond connection.]]

    Hold very tight, please! (ting ting)

  7. flashling says:

    I was wondering if there’s another theme seeing as Flanders and Swann appear in the grid.

  8. Robi says:

    Somewhat stymied by my usual poor knowledge of literature, but I got there in the end. Nice use of the theme.

    Thanks scchua; I didn’t see the scab/CABS pairing and I failed to parse PLIMSOLL.

    [[I think picture 1 is from 'The World Is Not Enough' where James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper i.e. more of the 19 theme]]

  9. scchua says:

    [[Hi Miche and Robi, oops, I thought I had scrupulously avoided any reference to a specific Bond movie/tale. I've replaced it with a neutral picture. And Miche, needless to say, you're right on those 3.]]

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Another decent challenge although not quite up to yesterday’s effort.
    Last in was 6d because I had entered ‘sent’ which is transportED (careless) which had therefore held up -m-i-e- (8ac).
    I remember as a student sitting round the fire at our lecturer’s home listening to F&S. How cool we all were?
    (F junior has a clever new series on BBC2).

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Reference Neil @3
    It would be interesting to hear from the setter why s/he did not use 10 in 8ac or F&S (or even 13ac).

  12. rowland says:

    Nowt to add, really, save that Flanders and Swann seems to have gone begging, as an idea!

    Thanks for great blog.


  13. Robi says:

    [[Could it be that a Fleming is an the inhabitant of Flanders; and, of course, Ian Fleming for Bond stories??]]

  14. scchua says:

    [[Right Robi! Well done to you and Miche]]

  15. Robi says:

    ….’an inhabitant’…….

  16. yvains says:

    Thank you, scchua, for a very entertaining blog!

    A comment from Eileen has given me the impression (it’s not all that clear) that I did wrong in posting early today on Mk I of the blog. If that is the case, and I have caused offence to you, please accept my sincere apologies – the offence was entirely unintentional.

    In passing, I particularly liked 18.

  17. scchua says:

    Hi yvains, no offence at all caused. Think nothing of it. In my hurry I did not uncheck the “comments allowed” box, which I should have done, as the “placeholder” blog was intended to be a general, temporary message that the real blog would be delayed.

  18. yvains says:

    @scchua – phew, thanks!

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi yvains @16 and 18

    Apologies for the delay – I’ve been out since lunchtime.

    The point about your first comment was that it gave away the whole theme – before most solvers would have had a chance to start solving. [scchua's blog was not, in fact, going to be late, from the point of view of us in the UK - owing to the time-difference, he has about a seven-hour start!]

    The link you gave is very appropriate and I was hoping you [or someone else] would give it again. Would you do that now, please? I’m sure those who haven’t seen it would enjoy it – and it would explain the last bit of Miche’s comment. ;-)

  20. Eileen says:


    Sorry if that sounded curt – I was in a hurry to respond. I should have added: Not to worry – no harm done on this occasion! ;-)

  21. yvains says:

    Thanks, Eileen – I’m sorry, I didn’t imagine anyone would be going to the blog, unless they were looking for a discussion/explanation of the puzzle – another time, I’ll wait for the blogger :)

    Anywhere, here’s the link (or rather, a slightly clearer one – I thought the other one was a little bit fuzzy in parts, which is just what you don’t want with F & S!)

  22. muffin says:

    Hi eileen,
    Not quite sure I understand your reservations. Surely solvers won’t look at fifteensquared until they are either finished or stuck, so will want to see the answers anyway?

  23. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Crucible

    I got round to this late afternoon after a few days off. A fine puzzle – I particularly liked 10,21 and 13.

  24. duncan says:

    wee-ee-ee-eelll…… I got a lot further with this unaided than I first thought I would, largely because I figured there must be a songwriting duo in there, & guessed the right one. after that, much dredging of the grey-matter returned “transport of delight”, with a few crossers to fix it. I didn’t quite finish, but I’ve been in town all day & not concentrating, but I only missed three or four.

    one of them was “punt”- not at all happy about “n = norway”, though I suppose with the transport theme, we should have expected a few vehicle country-codes.

    I got “opel”, but I think it was inadequately defined. the name isn’t interchangeable with “car” unless you own several cars & an opel is one of them: “I’m going to take the opel”.

    but no other F&S references? odd.


  25. bat020 says:

    This was pure genius. As London omnibus user I was especially pleased to discover this, which I’d not previously heard:

  26. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Crucible and scchua – needed the blog!

    This took a bit of getting in to but enjoyable once solved.

    Duncan @ 24 N for Norway is in the phonetic alphabet as used when spelling words over the phone for example.

    Giovanna x

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As a non-Brit I had never heard of Flanders & Swann (and after seeing a You Tube clip I do understand why). My PinC who is as British as one can be, had no bells ringing either.
    FLANDERS was one of our first entries (and SWANN easy to get, too), but although they weren’t part of Our World, it was clear that 10,21 had to be a song from yesteryears. We wrote all the letters out, and only having an A and a G at the right place and being pretty sure that that little word in the middle was OF, we got to TRANSPORT OF DELIGHT.
    The first part (TRANSPORT) confirming that our CORACLES (17d) was right. Thereafter, life wasn’t that hard anymore.

    Very nice and satisfying crossword, eminently solvable without having any knowledge of 2 & 16ac.

    While I am not so keen on using brand names for a solution (as part of a clue, I don’t mind that much), I had no problem with MECCANO (I had it, the boy next door had it) and OPEL (Duncan, Opel is defined as ‘transport’ and that’s what it is – the thing that Brits call Vauxhall).

    A lively crossword, one perhaps with some clues that would be rejected by the editor of The Times, which is in fact exactly what I meant two or three blogs ago with ‘adventurous clueing’.But please, do not start a discussion on this again.
    Perhaps easier than yesterday’s Orlando (although harder to get into), but just as clever.

    Fine puzzle by a setter who also has two delightful alter egos (Radian in the Indy and the fabulous Redshank in the FT).

  28. Eileen says:

    Thanks, yvains, for the link, which, I think, provides the [missing?] link with 8ac!

  29. Peter says:

    Rather late coming to this (I don’t start doing the crossword until the train journey home from work), but a pernickety point: according to my Flanders and Swann CD, “Transport of Delight” has an indefinite article in front of it.

  30. Huw Powell says:

    I worked this through much as Sil and his PiC did. Interesting puzzle. Got stuck with my inked-in SENT at 6. And not finding PLIMSOLL defined as a “line” anywhere… that was a very hard clue.

    12 should read “10s was boss on board” since the answer is plural.

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