Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,757 by Philistine

Posted by PeterO on October 3rd, 2012


Philistine has been in the Guardian stable for a little over a year now, but I still made a slow start to this puzzle, trying to get on his wavelength. The effort was well worth it; I found it a fine crossword with plenty of well-camouflaged ingenuity.

1 FOREIGN OFFICE Ministry reversal of rule on not skating (7,6)
A charade of OF (‘reversal of’) plus REIGN (‘rule’) plus OFF ICE (‘not skating’).
9 CHORIZO Sausage is beginning to cook, as far as one can see? Not quite (7)
A charade of C (‘beginning to Cook’) plus HORIZO[n] (‘as far as one can see’) cut short (‘not quite’).
10 MATADOR Kind of memory that returns to engulf a little fighter (7)
An envelope (‘to engulf’) of A TAD (‘a little’) in MOR, a reversal (‘that returns’) of ROM (‘kind of memory’).
11 IMITATION Copy topless constraint (9)
[l]IMITATION (‘constraint’) without its first letter (‘topless’).
12 LACES Spikes on shoes (5)
Double definition. Think Mickey Finn (it seems there was a real person behind the name).
13,19 LETS WAIT Be patient and join me in serving diners (4,4)
Definition and literal interpretation.
14 REPENTANCE Writer involved in a recent riot shows remorse (10)
An envelope (‘involved in’) of PEN (‘writer’) in RETANCE, an anagram (‘riot’) of ‘a recent’.
16 SWEET TOOTH In reality time after time follows small preference for the last course (5,5)
An envelope (‘in’) of WEE (‘small’) plus T T (‘time after time’) in SOOTH (truth, ‘reality’). Did you think that a soothsayer just went around saying “sooth”?
19 See 13
See 13
20 ETHIC Elizabeth I certainly demonstrates this principle (5)
A hidden answer (‘demonstrates’) in ‘ElizabETH I Certainly’. I spent a little while wondering how THIC meant ‘certainly’.
21 BEAT MUSIC Fancy bathing costume with broken thong missing came out of Merseyside (4,5)
An anagram (‘fancy’) of ‘bathing costume’, less an anagram (‘broken’) of ‘thong’.
23 DROPLET Abandon lease, having found a small tear, perhaps (7)
A charade of DROP (‘abandon’) plus LET (‘lease’).
24 HOLD-UPS Acts of robbery cause delays (4-3)
Double definition.
25 NATURAL TALENT A tall nut — aren’t nuts a gift? (7,6)
An anagram (‘nuts’) of ‘a tall nut arent’.
1 FROG IN THE THROAT Husky voice of lover, when swallowed by Miss Piggy? (4,2,3,6)
I’m sure that Miss Piggy never actually swallowed Kermit.
2 RAITA Yoghurt from Austria leaving us confused (5)
An anagram (‘confused’) of ‘A[us]tria’ without ‘us'; ‘leaving’ in the sense that if you move the anagram to the grid, you are left with ‘us’. A raita is a condiment from the Indian subcontinent, of yoghurt seasoned, and often with the addition of grated cucumber
3 IDOLISE Love vow lies shattered (7)
A charade of I DO (‘vow’) plus an anagram (‘shattered’) of ‘lies’.
4 NOMINEE I’m on an upwards course, born to be a candidate (7)
A charade of NOMI, a reversal (‘an upward course’ in a down clue; allowing ‘on’ to do double duty would make it clearer) of ‘Im on’ plus NEE (‘born’).
5 FUTILITY Pointlessness of fuse? (8)
A charade of ‘f’ plus UTILITY (‘use’).
6 INDECENT ASSAULT Dine out on little money, since sailor reported crime (8,7)
A charade of INDE, an anagram (out’) of ‘dine’ plus CENT (‘little money’) plus AS (‘since’) plus SAULT, a homophone (‘reported’) of SALT (‘sailor’).
7 EUROSCEPTICISM This perhaps occupies fully Mr Little Eng­lander? (14)
An anagram (‘perhaps’) of ‘occupies’ plus MISTER (‘fully Mr’). An excellent semi-&lit.
8 ACHILLES TENDON Sick in pain with East Enders, finish on weak spot (8,6)
An envelope (‘in’) of ILL (‘sick’) in ACHE (‘pain’) plus ST (‘EaST Enders’) plus END (‘finish’) plus ‘on’.
15 STICKLER Pedant has left in the price tag (8)
An envelope (‘in’) of L (‘left’) in STICKER (‘the price tag’).
17 ORBITAL Going round in circles, Tony Blair ignores the base of UN resolution (7)
An anagram (‘resolution’) of ‘Tony Blair’ without (‘ignores’) NY (New York, ‘the base of UN’). Very ingenious.
18 TRACHEA Put up paintings, accepting pain in the neck (7)
An envelope (‘accepting’) of ACHE (‘pain’, again) in TRA, a reversal (‘put up’) of ART (‘paintings’).
22 MELEE Give me shelter from the riot (5)
A charade of ‘me’ plus LEE (‘shelter’)


35 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,757 by Philistine”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I really enjoyed this, not finding it too tough but lots of fun. What a pity about the double use of pain = ACHE but that’s being churlish. I wasn’t 100% sure about the construction of 7dn, although it was clear what was intended.

    I thought LACES was brilliant!

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. 1a’s skating gave off-ice at once, so opening 5,6,7 down and revealing the setter’s style – which I enjoyed (e.g. 1d and Miss Piggy, 3d’s I-do vow and 17d’s base of the UN). Held up only slightly by last in 13,19 which was another good offbeat clue.

  3. yvains says:

    Thanks to Phi, and Peter for an elegant puzzle – my favourites were LACES and FUTILITY.

  4. Paul B says:

    LACES = old Times clue. Sorry!

  5. muffin says:

    Thanks to PeterO and Philistine.
    I too struggled with 13,19 – in fact, I don’t think either of the double meanings is quite satisfactory. However the rest was excellent. I got FUTILITY without realising what a great clue it was – congratulations Philistine and thanks to PeterO for pointing it out.

  6. KeithW says:

    Very enjoyable – thanks to both P’s. I am full of admiration for anyone who can see how taking THONG from BATHING COSTUME leaves BEAT MUSIC. How would one start devising a clue like that? Did Philistine start from beat music and instantly see that it was only a thong short of bathing costume or did a past anagram attempt at bathing costume throw up beat music thong which was squirreled away for future use?

  7. John Appleton says:

    Good work, Philistine (and PeterO). 1, 5, 17 and 21 all very good – 1 was especially sniggersome.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Delightful puzzle, which I managed reasonably quickly after getting some of the long answers around the edges. BEAT MUSIC is indeed clever; and SWEET TOOTH also hit the spot.

    Thanks to Peter and Philistine.

  9. Median says:

    I enjoyed this too. Half an hour with no help – just what I wanted this morning. Thanks, Philistine.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Philistine

    A good puzzle with some clever whimsy and interesting wordplay.

    Like others I wasn’t too pleased with the two aches but many other clues were very good.

    Re the excellent 21a, I took broken to mean a little more than an anagram since the letters of ‘thong’ are also strewn about in the fodder.

    Lots of other ticks – 1a, 12a, 1d, 3d, 4d and 7d.

    I notice that in addition to 21, 2d and 17d also ask us to remove bits before making the anagram.

  11. Robi says:

    Great crossword; I seemed to be on his wavelength today.

    Thanks PeterO; I especially liked BEAT MUSIC (as KeithW @6 says, it was a tour de force from the setter) and FUTILITY. I didn’t see the anagram in EUROSCEPTICISM.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks PeterO and thanks Philistine for a really enjoyable puzzle.

    At first I wasn’t sure I was going to get into this at all, then I got 8dn and proceeded to solve all the long ones, which opened the whole puzzle up for me.

    Didn’t see the full wordplay of 5dn — great clue! Lots to enjoy here.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Quite enjoyable without really extending a solver.
    Last in was ‘let’s wait'; is it OK to use any phrase whether a ‘known’ one or not?
    Favourite was ‘futility’. I suspected an anagram in 7d but the solution was obvious without bothering.
    ‘hold ups’ was in the South Somerset Advertiser in 1959.

  14. regalize says:

    1dn had me choking on my coffee (honest)

  15. Bryan says:

    Very many thanks to The Two Peas.

    I have now moved Philly up to my list of favourite setters.

    Keep it up!

  16. John Appleton says:

    RCW @13, I too wondered if the phrase was notable enough, but I think I got it easily enough from the checking letters. As it covers two lights, I’d have been more tempted to have two separate clues/solutions, were I setting – I can’t think of anaything else that’d suit the checking for a single answer.

  17. JamesC says:

    Thouroughly enjoyed today, good fair clues throughout yet still plenty of variety and entertainment!

    Thanks Philistine and PeterO

  18. flashling says:

    Let’s wait took quite a while to sink in even after getting the rest but otherwise a fine puzzle, ta Peter O and Philistine

  19. rowland says:

    LET’S WAIT bothersome, among others, to me also, as I can’t see how that’s legit, or why Philly would want it in! But it is The Guardian which allows all sorts of things, so not a surprise. Quite a lot of devices, I mean what we cll the indicators, that anooyed me as an habitual Timesman, but again, as these things are not policed in G puzzles, I kind of had to lump it here today. Just seems that with more care this could have been a much better effort? Untidy for me, maybe 5 or 6/10.

    Thanks Peter O for your nice blog – with the clues! Love it.

    Cheers all,

  20. Barry says:

    I saw 1d before I saw the name of the setter, and assumed it was Paul being filthy as usual.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog.

    I am another who found this fairly hard going but I kept on plugging away and eventually got it all.

    On 7d I did not parse it at all: when I had sufficient crossing letters I thought a Little Engander must be a euroscepticist i.e. with T at the end :(

    I was also staggered at the mental process that somehow added thong to beat music to get bathing costume.

  22. Trailman says:

    More please Philistine! This was just comfortably within my level, with some great surfaces (applause please for 17d), clever double duty (4d) and a little bit of controversy (13, 19 – last in for me and no doubt others).

  23. Paul B says:

    21 has attracted comment I see, but there’s actually no need for the ‘broken': among others, beatmusicthong* satisfies demand very well. The definition no-one has spoken about.

  24. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I thought this was going to be tough as after my original trawl through the acrosses I had only 2 answers.

    However ACHILLES TENDON was such a gift and so well placed that it became almost a write in after that. Some enjoyable clues and great surfaces.

    Surely “purists” would require the “broken” Paul B? And the definition is spot on! (At least according to Wikipedia and my unreliable memory!!!

  25. rhotician says:

    Paul B @4. Sorry?

    Paul B @23: The other place is, for once, quite interesting on 21. There is a link to a site that discusses, among much else, subtraction anagrams. You must know of it already but, for anyone who doesn’t, Google ‘Boatman cryptics’ and see die hard. For what it’s worth I agree with you that ‘broken’ is unnecessary. I think it even detracts from the surface. (By the way, I’d be interested to know what you think of 7d, and indirect anagrams in general).

    Ditto: I sense that you have something to say about beat music.

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    We’re not going to start another discussion on subtraction anagrams ( :)), but Paul B’s 100% right. Leaving out ‘broken’ would even have been better for the surface, we thought.

    The (very) good thing about Philistine is that he clearly wants every single clue to be a winner. Thoughtfulness in optima forma.
    But there was some sloppiness, in our opinion.
    PeterO (thanks for your blog), I appreciate your explanantion of ‘leaving us’ in 2d, but we called it ‘clumsy’ (perhaps even wrong).
    And ‘reversal of’ for FO is not what I would like to do. After all, it’s a reversal OF OF.
    Where others found “Spikes on shoes” a highlight, we found it rather weak. Apparently, it has been done before (see @4), but that can be a coincidence. What we didn’t like is that LACES are ‘something’ on shoes, not just ‘on shoes’.
    In the same category we have TRACHEA (18d), defined as “in the neck”. Not precise enough to my/our taste.

    Apart from all this (and the, sorry, unforgivable double use of ACHE – oh, and the incomprehensible surface of 15d) quite a good crossword.
    On the easy side, but clearly a product of a setter for whom each clue matters.

  27. Paul B says:

    Well Corinthia(n), I have no idea what BEAT MUSIC is. ‘The Mersey Beat’ was what ‘came out of Merseyside’ IIRC, though as I wasn’t around at the time I can’t confirm that for you.

    Re 7D, I was in the pub tonight where a friend said to me, “I’ve just got one left to do, can you help?”.


  28. tupu says:

    As noted @10 I did not find ‘broken’ redundant. It describes the fact that the letters of thong (rather than thong itself) are strewn (broken up) about the phrase from which they are to be extracted.

    Re the surface of 15d, the scenario of the surface is perhaps not one that springs immediately to mind, but the idea of someone who prides themselves on getting things right mistakenly leaving a price tag or sticker in, say, a book or other (wrapped) present is scarcely incomprehensible.

  29. Paul B says:

    You are allowed to find ‘broken’ not redundant. It’s not illegal to have two anag-inds where one will do.

    Re 15, I think you should have gone with the sticker/ stickler continuum.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi PaulB

    The two relate to different elements in the clue. Broken thong relates to the fact that the word for removal is in broken form. Fancy is the anagram indicator for the rest.

    Thanks for your gratuitous delphic comment re 15d. :) Now that is something incomprehensible.

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Don’t make a fool of me, boys!
    I am just a Bl*&^% Foreigner who likes crosswords, but sometimes doesn’t understand the surface of a clue.
    I was thinking of a pedant who dressed himself in a price tag and then left ….. :)
    Now that’s incomprehensible!!

  32. Paul B says:

    Tupu, you sound like the compiler’s mother. Relax here with some superb funk:

  33. tupu says:

    HI Sil

    Thanks. I had been puzzled. I suppose it depends on how big the tag was and where the pedant stuck it :).

  34. mhl says:

    Thank for the post, PeterO.

    I’d certainly echo everyone’s positive comments about this very enjoyable puzzle, while sharing various reservations about LET’S WAIT – not a notable enough phrase to be a crossword answer, in my opinion.

    In EUROSCEPTIC, I wondered why Philistine went with “fully Mr” instead of just “Mister”. As the clue appears in the puzzle, it’s borderline unfair that the anagram fodder isn’t letter-for-letter present in the clue. (My understanding was that very common indicators that lead to single (or double?) letters are acceptable as anagram fodder, but otherwise the letters really should be present in the clue…)

  35. Paul B says:

    Might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb, though I’m not sure using the direct indication makes an awful lot of difference.

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