Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,752 – Boatman

Posted by manehi on September 27th, 2012


Found this quite tricky to start with, but fairly enjoyable. Favourite clue 11ac.

7 NATALIE =”Girl” (Taline a)*
8 GALLEON =”ship” GAL=girl + LEON=boy
10 GLORIA =”girl” (original)*, minus IN=”home”
11 ALASTAIR =”Boy” A LAST AIR = “swansong”
12 INGE =”Girl from Norway” “lad” should go IN G_E to make GLADE, or a forest clearing
13 YIELD POINT =”things get out of shape from here” ([bo]y oiled pint)*
14 CARRIED AWAY =”deprived of control” CARRIE=girl + DAY=”24 hours” around A=one and W[hiskey] (Nato alphabet)
19 REAL INCOME =”a measure of our worth” (ceremonial)*
22 NEIL =”Boy” even letters of “iN dEnIaL”
23 BROADWAY “Home of top theatre” (award boy)*
24 RHUMBA =”dance” sounds like “rum bar”, a place to drink spirits
25 BRIDGET =”girl” B[oy] + RID=”free” + GET=”win”
26 ELECTRA [wiki] =”Girl in legend” ELECT=”return” + RA=”a god”
1 DARLING =”partner” (girl and)*
2 GABRIELA =”girl” GALA=festival around BRIE=cheese
3 BIGAMY =”Forbidden love” BIG AMY = “overweight girl”
4 CASANDRA [wiki] =”Girl in legend said to warn” C[irca]=”about” + A + SANDRA=”girl”
5 CLOTHO [wiki] =”Fateful girl” CLOTH=”holy orders” + O=”love”
6 CORINNE =”girl” INN=”a place to drink” inside CORE=”essence”
9 SAW EYE TO EYE =”agreed” (easy)* around WE=”Guardian” + TOE = “small leg end” + YE=”solvers”
15 RENOWNED =”Famous” (owner de[faulted])*, with “faulted” as the anagrind, around N[ational]
16 ANNOUNCE =”report” ANN=girl over OUNCE i.e. “over weight”
17 DEIRDRE =”Girl” DEIRD=rev(DRIED)=”dried up”=”ran out of things to say” + RE=”about
18 FINBARR =”boy” or “Been far”, i.e. well-travelled, according to Spooner
20 LUANDA Angolan capital [Gir]L + U[niform] + AND A[rmy]
21 ERROLL =”Boy” ER=”royal” + ROLL=”staff list”

41 Responses to “Guardian 25,752 – Boatman”

  1. rhotician says:

    Thanks manehi. Re 4dn, before anyone complains that the legendary girl has two S’s, note that the clue has ‘said’.

  2. Rorschach says:

    The girl in the legend had two S’s. Terrible!

    Just kidding rhotician.

    Probably a few too many liberties taken in this one even for me. An impressive grid to fit so many names in but some of them were pretty obscure – FINBARR?

    “Boy’s swansong?” is, however, a total belter!

    Thanks both!

  3. postrophe says:

    Wiki, she say “Saint Finbarr or Finnbarr, in Irish Fionnbarra, very often abbreviated to Barra, (c. 550–25 September 623) was Bishop of Cork”

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, manehi – good to see you back!

    I did note the ‘said’ in 4dn but I’m afraid I was so irritated by this eccentric spelling, which I’d never seen before, that I rather lost interest, because it seemed to open up the field for just about anyhing that people might use as a name for their children.

    However, like Rorschach, I really liked ALASTAIR [I know at least four spellings for that!]

    And Paul will like 7ac [or not!] if he sees it!

    Thanks, Boatman – but I’m afraid i didn’t enjoy it quite so much as usual – which is a backhanded compliment, really. ;-)

  5. yvains says:

    Some nice clues, but I agree with Rorschach, both about ALASTAIR and generally. Thanks, manehi – 2 only has one ‘l’, btw.

  6. yvains says:

    … and I know homophones aren’t always universally agreed on, but imo, RHUMBA only = RUM BAR if you’re ex-Indian Army.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. I’m surprised that some people thought this was less enjoyable than other Boatmans. I thought it was particularly witty and fun.

    I don’t think there are many liberties here, and Boatman seems to observe the loose rule that if the solution is a bit obscure the wordplay should be crystal clear. I didn’t know you could spell “Casandra” like that but he didn’t leave any doubt about it. I’m not sure what people think are “liberties” so it’s hard to comment. Re Finbarr (18) I liked the tease (probably deliberate) that Gilbert fitted too – it was my last in. Finbarr’s a pretty common Irish name (a lot of Barrys are Finbarr) and there’s also a very fine actor called Finbarr Lynch. And is there anyone who hasn’t encountered Finbarr Saunders and his Double Entendres? Shame!

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Sorry. That was my first attempt to do a link here and it failed. This should work:
    Finbarr Saunders and his Double Entendres

  9. Boatman says:

    Thank you, T99. I think the problem has been well diagnosed in the grauniad’s comments page, that there may have been a temptation to see all those references to “boy” and “girl” and to assume that the solutions will all be names – which, they’re right, would be rather dull and which is, once you see it, not at all the point.

    And you’re absolutely right about that rule: if you can’t be expected to guess the solution, then there can’t be any guesswork in the wordplay. If you follow that, you can be as devious as you like in other ways … well, I think so, anyway!

  10. David W says:

    Thank you manehi. Usually I can finish the Guardian’s crosswords but the wordplay here was far too obscure for me and I managed only eight answers before giving up.


  11. John Appleton says:

    3 was probably my COD. 19’s anagrind seems a bit obscure; Chambers tells me that as a transitive verb, “occasion” can mean “to give rise to”, but that’s the best I can find that might indicate an anagram (and a fine one at that). Otherwise, no quibbles.

  12. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks manehi

    In common with David W @10, I could make little sense of this puzzle. Not enjoyable having nearly half the grid empty.

    Dave L

  13. Robi says:

    Quite difficult, I thought, but precise cluing. Thanks Boatman for popping in; I didn’t particularly like the three ‘girls in legends,’ although mercifully I had heard of two of them before.

    Thanks manehi; I loved A LAST AIR and also enjoyed DEIRDRE and INGE once you had shown me the parsings. I missed the lovely leg end=toe and spent ages trying to find/think of a legend associated with toes! :(

  14. rowland says:

    Nor me I’m afraid. Hard for the sake of it, and no real nuggets. That’s a personal view, no disrespect to others.


  15. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Boatman

    An enjoyable but very tricky puzzle which took rather long than I would have liked to complete. It started very easily with Natalie, Gloria and Neil but got rather harder as I went along. I was convinced for quite a time that 18d must be Gilbert or Wilbert but of course could not make any sense of them, and Finbarr was the last to go in.

    I also became convinced quite early on that Casandra must be correct for 4d but was equally convinced that this was a wrong spelling (I found only the more conventional Cassandra in Chambers). However the &lit element (did she not warn about Helen) plus ca+sandra as a charade eventually persuaded me and I found both spellings on Google.

    8a held me up for some time. I first expected an envelope for ‘on board’, possibly in ss.

    It also took some tme to see why Electra was correct in 26a and I wondered at first if 16d might be Anniston but was naturally not happy with it.

    There were several cases of broken words (too many?) – in 9d, 15d, 16d.

    I don’t think I have encountered ‘occasions’ before as an anagram indicator as in 19a – the ‘gives rise to’ idea as noted earlier seems OK.

    9d was probably my favourite clue.

  16. tupu says:

    sc ‘longer’ for ‘long’.

  17. Trailman says:

    A real struggle and in the end I was reduced to using the Guardian’s online ‘check’ function to help with 17d, 18d and 21d – something I’m reduced to maybe once a month. Deriving ‘dried up’ from ‘ran out of things to say’ is one thing, then having the wit to enter ‘deird’ is another – far too much for my brain. And yesterday, the Spoonerism was inadvertently helped by the guy fixing kitchen drawers; no such luck with the dishwasher repair man today.
    At least I was motivated enough by the clueing to keep on trying; given my slow start – only INGE / BROADWAY on the first across run – I might have given up much earlier.

  18. flashling says:

    Must admit I gave up early doors on this, too tired after spending the night partying (I wish)

  19. Gervase says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    I found this much trickier than usual (and failed on DEIRDRE and FINBARR – I’d have been looking out for Irish names if it had been a Brendan or a Bannsider..).

    Nevertheless I enjoyed it: 9dn (excellent clue) says it all for me. Other favourites: 11ac and 12ac; I always enjoy unusual anagrinds, so ‘occasions’ in 19ac got a star, as did the ‘lift-and-separate’ in 15ac.

  20. SeanDimly says:

    Only just got over half way with this, but still enjoyed it. Thanks Manehi, and others, for enlightening me. And thanks Boatman, for Alastair, Inge and Deirdre in particular, for some lovely surfaces, and for comment 9.

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Not my cup of tea either today; others have said it all, really. The problem with so many proper names is that if you don’t see the wordplay, then you’re reduced as a solver to picking out one girl or boy out of lots of possibilities.

    Thanks anyway to setter and blogger.

  22. Mitz says:

    Thanks Boatman and manehi.

    Boatman is nearly always a hard task master. Several times the solutions occurred to me and I was reluctant to put them in because I just couldn’t see why they were right, and with others I barked up several wrong trees altogether. But a hard puzzle is all the more satisfying to complete, n’est-ce pas?

    Unlike John (#11) I found both anagram and anagrind of 19 very clever (when I finally saw them). 9’s ‘leg-end’ made me groan but like yesterday’s ‘urchin’ it was a nice penny-drop and the clue as a whole had a beautiful surface. Was pleased to get ‘Cas(s)andra’, ‘Clotho’ and ‘Electra’ despite my pitifully non-classical education. Hadn’t seen that spelling of ‘rhumba’ before and I agree with yvains (#6) regarding the tenuous homophone, but it still made me smile. 12 was brilliant – my COD, for avoiding the obvious ‘Anne’ as well as being an exceptional construction.

  23. Ilippu says:

    2dn should be ‘gabriela’ and i am not sure if that is correct spelling for a name

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    As the NW corner collapsed with 4 girls already safely tucked in I feared Boatman had (unusually) let me down.
    I was so wrong. It was a slow grind to get further and absolute frustration in the SE corner. Last in (as many others) was ‘Finbarr’.
    I took 4d to be ca (circa)+ Sandra (not c+a+Sandra) but did not know what to make of the ‘missspelling’ (still don’t).
    This was one of the hardest dailies for a long time, so thankyou B & G.
    I agree with yvains @6 re: ‘rhumba’.
    In 17 d is it OK that there is only one ‘about’?

  25. Paul B says:

    ‘Give(s) rise to’ in the right circumstances can be a damned fine reversal indicator, but ‘occasion(s)’ as an anag-ind some would probably find too weak. Not a whole lotta shakin’, stirrin’ or other violence going on. ‘Tis in old Ruth’s list though, which I use as a basic anag-inds text, so get her.

  26. yvains says:

    @RCWhiting 24 – I had assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the ‘about’ was the final ‘re’, and that ‘ran out of things to say’ = DRIED [up anagrind]. One of my favourite devices, the implied anagrind, but probably not everyone’s cuppa.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    That does seem a rather big step there, yvains.
    I know some people are sensitive on the matter but I was happier to accept ‘about’ doing double duty. Ah well, who knows.

  28. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Boatman and manehi: parsing needed today!

    This puzzle took a bit of getting in to once the first few names had fallen. I liked Big Amy but not Casandra, although it was clearly clued. It looks all wrong without the missing s.
    Gabriela and Gabriella are both acceptable spellings of the female form of Gabriel.

    Finnbar brought a smile once it was solved. Spoonerisms always remind me of the French teacher who one grumpy day informed the class that we were foonsped! She had the presence of mind to go on to explain about Spooner.

    Giovanna x

  29. Gervase says:

    Looking back over the puzzle, I realise that I couldn’t get FINBARR because I had NIAL (hidden and not ‘alternate’) instead of NEIL for 22ac. It isn’t usually spelt that way (but then neither is CASANDRA, as many have complained).

  30. Eileen says:

    I’ve been in and out for most of the day, since before Boatman’s contribution, but, if you’re still listening, Boatman, re “if you can’t be expected to guess the solution, then there can’t be any guesswork in the wordplay. If you follow that, you can be as devious as you like in other ways … well, I think so, anyway!”:

    I don’t mean to put ideas in your head but are you giving us warning of the possibility of a grid full of complete gobbledook, so long as it’s clued with impeccable wordplay? ;-)

  31. Paul B says:

    17D just omits a ‘perhaps’ or a ‘maybe’ for the DRIED <, more's the pity. Nice theories above gents, but in my view it's the wrong tree up which you are barking.

  32. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, er, boys and girls, it looks like today some solvers liked Boatman’s journey while others felt a bit seasick.
    In our opinion, his ship had some trouble to rule the waves when it fell victim to heavy weather after some initial plain sailing (7ac (yes, Eileen, well spotted, a nod to Paul), 10ac, 22ac,, 23ac, 25ac, 1d, 3d, 20d – quite a lot when I look at it now).

    Mixed feelings, though.

    Of course, all the ingredients typical to a Boatman crossword are there. That said, all?
    I think this is the first Guardian puzzle in which Boatman didn’t mention his own ‘name’ in one of the clues.

    As Rorschach said, ALASTAIR (11ac) was a belter – agree.
    And yes, INGE(12ac) was very very clever. Another highlight.

    Although I am perhaps more Libertarian than Ximenean, I am still not a big fan of the devices used in 9d (leg/end), 15d (de/faulted) and 16d (over/weight). I know Boatman likes them (and uses them ever so often), so I was alert. That said, three in one puzzle, ah well.

    At first, 19ac’s “occasions” did raise my eyebrows but on second thoughts I think it’s more than OK. The verb “to occasion” can mean “to cause” or “to produce” (something). Quite a good anagram, btw.

    On the other hand, there were a few things that were food for thought here in Cambridge.
    The wording of 8ac (“Girl with boy on board ship”) made our brain cells work because of the use of “on board”, but it’s fine – more than, in fact.
    But the “out of” in 20d still feels rather uncomfortable.
    And what’s the purpose of the ellipsis 17/18d? Is it the unfinished sentence in 17d that needed a follow-up?
    While I know that it’s defendable, I/we still don’t like clues like 2d in which the order of things goes against one’s (ie my/our) intuition. “Girl going round cheese festival” – it’s not the girl that goes round ‘brie’, but the festival.

    While some rave about 17d, I am not sure whether the device used here (well, yvains, is it really a (let alone, much used) device?) is one step too far or not. I personally think, if we accept “ran out of things to say”= “dried up” = a reversal of DEIRD, we should accept indirect anagrams from now on too.

    So, what’s our verdict today?
    Well, while solving we were a bit annoyed by all these unusual spellings and by the fact (not Boatman’s fault) that we got stuck in the SE. I’m afraid that, in the end, we found it a bit of a slog.
    But but (yes, twice, not a typo), I/we appreciated – as ever – the effort that Boatman made to produce a crossword that carried undeniably his signature.

    Many thanks, manehi!

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    … = a reversal of DRIED = DEIRD , of course.

  34. Boatman says:

    Eileen – you shouldn’t give me dangerous ideas! … The trouble with complete nonsense is that the clues would have to be completely transparent, so it would be self-defeating. Once in a while, an obscure word or variant spelling is ok, but it shouldn’t be the norm.

    Everyone who is still struggling with the parsing of 17D – it’s very simple: “ran out of things to say” = synonym for “dried up” = DRIED rev = DEIRD etc, exactly as blogged by manehi. You can see it as a cheeky semi-indirect reversal indicator, if you like – a bit like an indirect anagram, but more acceptable because “dried up” is such a common phrase and so appealing as an indicator. Well, it appealed to me, anyway.

    Thanks to all …

  35. manehi says:

    Thanks yvains & Ilippu re: Gabriela, and thanks Boatman for the puzzle!

    Coming back to it after a while, I think a lot of my reservations while solving were down to a fear after the first few solutions that every “girl”/”boy” would be a definition. As it is, I liked the different uses not only of girl/boy but also “place to drink”, “legend” & “overweight”. 4dn, however, still looks wrong.

    As for 17d – I saw the parsing for this fairly quickly, and quite like it. It was leg-end that stumped me for a good ten minutes.

  36. rhotician says:

    ‘dried’, unlike ‘dried up’, does not mean “ran out of things to say”. It means “forgot one’s lines”. I think up is the intended reversal indicator. Like ‘urchin’ yesterday and such things as the indirect anagram this kind of two-step is contentious.

    As tupu has already said Google confirms that Casandra is not a misspelling but an alternative spelling, just as Finbarr is an alternative to the more usual Finbar. Wiki even suggests, rather unconvincingly, that Casandra and Cassandra have different meanings.

    I once worked for a short time with a group of Americans, one of whom was called Laymond Pon. When we Brits asked him about his name he explained that his parents migrated from China to California before he was born. They encountered the name Raymond and liked it, especially in the only way they were able to pronounce it. Laymond grew up quite happy with the originality of his name, even though he was able to pronounce Raymond correctly.

  37. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Too many variant spellings for my taste.

    Finbarr, Rhumba, Erroll and Casandra in one puzzle goes against Boatman’s stated “once in a while”.

    But mostly it was just too hard for me and that always makes me a little less tolerant of other weaknesses.

  38. Huw Powell says:

    Worst Grauniad puzzle I seen in a long time. Got a few clues, then got utterly bored of the “boy/girl” theme and just started using OneLook using the checked letters. An utter bore. Every clue I solved in the upper and left sides just left me cold. Left the SE empty because I stopped caring due to an awful grid. To solve the SE all I had was 16d starting with A and 21d starting with E.

    Thanks for stopping by, Boatman, but I can’t thank you for this mess. Random names as definitions are the worst form of clues in this land.

    Thanks for the blog, Manehi. I can’t even care to figure out those SE answers I missed, this puzzle was so unamusing.

  39. KeithS says:

    Rather too late to comment, really. I struggled through this at intervals over the weekend with my copy of the Weekly, and ended up pleased to have got it out, especially as I nearly quit early after too many odd spellings of names I thought I knew. (I got Finbarr with an almost blank grid from the Spoonerism, but with a different spelling, which didn’t help much.) But I’m glad I persisted, even though I found this harder than I’m normally comfortable with, and in the end there weren’t any clues I was annoyed by and a number I appreciated. I didn’t think of Boatman’s ‘dried up’ parsing of 17d – I imagined someone saying ‘Er..’ and then drying, so I parsed this as a reversal (about) of ‘Er..dried’ and felt happy enough to leave it in, but not completely happy. Thanks Boatman and Manehi (who’s probably the only one left still reading this!).

  40. Luce Gilmore says:

    I finally solved this on 21 October. My habit is to photocopy a crossword and worry it, intermittently, till it yields. The lower-right quadrant was the hardest. 7, TALINE* I feel is terribly weak.
    Huw Powell, you are a wet blanket & defeatist! I too hate proper names as clues, but I stuck with it. After all, someone has gone to the effort of compiling the puzzle. I would never use a software utility: what point is there in cheating yourself? For that reason I always use a black ballpoint.

  41. brucew@aus says:

    Thanks Boatman and manehi
    After 461 days, I finally discovered FINBARR as an Irish boy’s name. Tried on and off for ages to justify GILBERT, DILBERT, WILBURY, SIEBERT, etc.
    My photocopied crossword is looking very tattered and much worse for wear, but it is now full of the right answers!!
    Assume that this will be a record for the latest post … Happy New Year … one year on :D

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