Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,768 – Shed

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 16th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Shed is always challenging and many of his clues can only be solved by the backward method of hazarding a likely answer and then working back to justify the wordplay. Even so, I needed the assistance of a good neighbour, the erudite NeilW in Jakarta to put me right in a couple of answers. By the end of nearly an hour of enjoyment, I sat back with great relief. Thank you, Shed, for the pleasure and the entertainment

Place cursor over clue number to read the clue

1 DRIFTER Ins of RIFT (cleft) in DER (German definite article)
5 SIKHISM SHEIKH (potentate) minus HE (His Excellency, honorific for ambassador) + IS + M (first letter of Moslem)
9 BIJOU Ins of JO (Scottish term of endearment like HINNY) in BI (man’s or woman’s) & U (Universal as in film classification for available to all) for small and elegant
10 MASTERFUL Ins of STERF (rev of FRETS, worries) in MAUL (savage, treat roughly)
12 BRAT B (born) + RAT (traitor)
14 MILQUETOAST *(LAST QUOTE I’M) for a very timid, unassertive person from a comic-strip character Caspar Milquetoast created in the 1920s by the American cartoonist HT Webster
18 BASINGSTOKE Cha of BASIN (sink) GS (Grammar School) TOKE (illicit puff on a cigarette with marijuana) for an English town in Hampshire
21 TYPO hidden naswer
25 CHANTEUSE Delightfully smooth *(EACH TUNE’S)
26 IRENE Ins of EN (space, printing term) in IRE (fury) Ironic as IRENIC means peaceful
27 EXTREME EX (former) + Ins of M (men) in TREE (member of vegetable kingdom)
28 TREFOIL Ins of REF (referee, arbitrator) in TOIL (labour) a three-lobed form like a clover
1 DEBASE Ins of BA’S (scholars) in River DEE
2 INJURY Tichy way of saying one from 12 person in a judicial panel aka JURY. My COD
3 TOURNAMENT Ins of NAME (title) in RN (Royal Navy, service) -> RNAMEN inserted in TOUT (solicitor)
4 REMIT Rev of TIMER (clock)
5 SOSTENUTO Ins of *(TUNE + Tchaikovsky) in SO SO (mediocre) for a musical term meaning sustained or drawn out
6 KEEL K (king in chess notation) EELER (fisher) minus ER (Elizabeth Regina)
7 INFERNAL Ins of FERN (growth, plant) in *(NAIL)
8 MILITATE Ins of I (Shed the setter) LIT (drunk) in MATE (partner) and Chambers defines tell as to contend; to have weight, tell (esp with against); to fight for a cause.
15 LOST CAUSE Ins of *(CAST) in LOUSE (parasite)
16 OBSTACLE Ins of STAC (rev of CATS, jazz fans) in OBLE (rev of ELBOW, joint, minus W)
17 ASH-PLANT Ins of HP (rev of PH, public house, pub) in ASLANT (sloping) for a staff or walking-stick made from an ash sapling.
19 GAZEBO GAZE (apply sense of sight) BO (body odour, smell) summerhouse or other small structure giving a commanding view of the landscape, a belvedere.
20 REVEAL Ins of A in REVEL (have a good time)
23 EVENT EVEN (still) T (time)
24 STYE STYLE (fashion) minus L (left) for a small inflamed swelling at the edge of the eyelid, caused by bacterial infection

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

43 Responses to “Guardian 25,768 – Shed”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Great stuff from Shed with a nice mix of easy and tricky – just right for a Tuesday.

    It’s a pangram too.

    One slip: TOURNAMENT is TOUT around RN, itself around NAME.

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    Thanks NeilW, slip corrected. You are really observant. Yes, the grid is indeed pangrammatic (has all the letters of the alphabet)

  3. Fat Al says:

    Thanks UY,

    I would never have passed 9a. Will have to learn the UK film classification system, and just try to remember JO.

    In 3d, I was trying to see why A meant title in RN MEN. Couldn’t see the NAME staring me in the face.

    In trying to parse 6d, google led me to a 1921 movie “The Kingfisher’s Roost”, in which Bull Keeler was one of the Kingfisher gang. I think your parsing is much less obscure!

    I take it that “Let” is the definition in 16d, and that it’s just a tennis thing, or am I missing something much more obvious once again.

    Thanks again.

  4. Fat Al says:

    @3. I would never have “parsed” 9a, either.

  5. NeilW says:

    Fat Al, think of the phrase “without let or hindrance.” I think the tennis term is just one derivation of the more common old usage of the word let, which can be a noun or a verb, meaning an obstacle or to obstruct.

  6. Fat Al says:

    Many thanks NeilW. Yep…should have read through all the dictionary entries before asking I suppose. Learning a few new things with each crossword I do.

  7. KeithW says:

    Thanks Shed and Uncle Y. I enjoyed this. I got to 6d slightly differently by taking ER off kingfisher directly and then from Kingfish it was a simple step.

  8. rrc says:

    the anagrams came at the right times and prevented me getting bored on words I did not know

  9. muffin says:

    Thanks Shed and Uncle Yap
    Well I completed it correctly, but had no idea of the explanations for BIJOU, MASTERFUL, KEEL and MILITATE until I came here. I concur with UY’s preamble – for instance, would EELER have spung to mind as “fisher” before “solving” the clue?

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

    We were pretty sure of waking up to a Shed puzzle this morning and I certainly wasn’t disappointed – great stuff, as ever.

    Some lovely surfaces [‘sink’ grammar school on drugs] and constructions [5, 9, 11, 22,ac, etc, etc]. Other nice touches were the hidden TYPO and the definitions in 8dn and 16dn.

    I could go on – but I have to go out.

    Hi muffin @9 – I hadn’t heard of ‘eeler’, either, but I read 6dn as KeithW @7 did.

    Many thanks, Shed, for the fun – and the education: I look forward to calling someone a MIQUETOAST!

  11. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Good mid-weeker from Shed, which I found fairly straightforward . Luckily, I knew the word MILQUETOAST, so this was a write-in. Thence I spotted the pangram, which helped to speed things up a lot.

    I also read 6d as ‘kingfish(ER)’ = K EEL, which seems a less obscure parsing. Last in was MILITATE, because the meaning ‘tell’ didn’t leap out at me (I spent a while reading the clue as ‘Tell partner’… and was looking for a Swiss patriot).

    Favourites were 18a (why is this town so funny?), 22d and the simple but perfect 2d and 20d.

  12. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Shed and Uncle – really liked this one and was delighted to get the wimp on internal evidence alone.

    Gervase finds ‘Basingstoke’ funny, and is not alone. I once heard a comic ‘explain’ that hard consonants just do get more laughs than soft sounds: ‘Cossacks invade Kettering’ works better than ‘Hussars invade Havering’. So it’s something to do with the ‘k’ but I don’t suppose anyone has a Darwinian explanation!

  13. yvains says:

    Thanks to Shed for a really great puzzle, chock-full of superb clues – my favourites were KEEL (where I agree with Keith and Gervase), SIKHISM and BASINGSTOKE – but not wanting to take anything away from so many other lovely ones. Thank you, Uncle Yap, for the blog!

  14. liz says:

    Thank you for the blog, Uncle Yap. Really enjoyable puzzle from Shed, though I didn’t manage to see the wordplay in a few cases. It also crossed my mind when I got GAZEBO that this might be a pangram, but I didn’t remember to check once I’d finished!

    Gervase @11. I was thinking exactly the same about BASINGSTOKE when I solved the clue. It is funny, isn’t it?

  15. Jeff says:

    Thanks Shed. Thanks Uncle Yap. Unlike NeilW @#1, I thought that MEN for “people” had a role to play in 3d. But then, of course, there would have to be an explanation for the “A”.

  16. Miche says:

    Thanks, UY.

    A fine puzzle. BIJOU and OBSTACLE favourites of mine.

    I wonder whether 2d could have used a question mark – a juror is not necessarily one of 12.

  17. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Shed and UY

    This one felt easier than normal Shed, but on reflection it did have its challenges.

    Started off down the bottom with IRENE and finished over the other side with OBSTACLE in what was probably by cod – was looking for a cat in there somewhere and eventually had to get the word before I got the cat !! Also liked 5, 6 and 13 amongst others.

    Was trying to make DERRIER fit in at 1 for far too long.

  18. tupu says:

    Many thanks UY and Shed

    A fine puzzle. I missed the pangram and I also had to hunt out Milquetoast, I’m afraid. This was my last in.

    Some very clever cluing. I kept thinking that Basingstoke (the obvious answer) must be an anagram of gs and sink and ?? But I got there in the end. I had to check ‘toke’ though.

    I did not see jo as an insert in 9a but simply saw it as Bi jo (a male’s or female’s sweetheart + u(niversal).

    I also read keel as kingfish (K + eel).

    I ticked many as I went along – 1a, 5a, 9a, 10a, 18a, 2d, 5d.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    As I am clearly in a minority of one today I will keep my thoughts to myself.
    However, they definitely do not include ‘pangram’.

  20. NeilW says:

    RCW – you may find Tramp aka Jambazi in today’s Indy more your level today. It’s not a pangram either.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks for the thought, Neil.
    Unfortunately I just cannot cope with online puzzles nor afford both The G. and The Indy.
    Which might explain my regular concern that I should get my puzzle-worth from the daily G. and, of course, the not “impenetrable” (but very enjoyable) Azed once a week.

  22. Gervase says:

    RCW: You can get a (recycled) Indy puzzle in the i for the more modest outlay of 20p, though in my experience the range of setters is more limited (lots of Dac, Phi and Quixote) and puzzles which had a topical theme are obviously avoided.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thaks Gervase, you are all being kind to me today.
    I might give that a try sometime when I am next in a shop.

  24. William says:

    KeithW @7 me too, but what sort a boat is a KEEL? I only know it as part of a boat.

    Thanks UY fine blog and a pleasant solve.

    Thank you Shed.

  25. Ellis says:

    William #24.

    Concise Oxford Dictinary:

    Keel – Flat-bottomed vessel esp. of kind used on Tyne etc. for loading colliers.

  26. Matt says:

    Interesting. So KEEL is a word for both part of a boat, and a type of boat that does not have that specific part.

    There’s got to be a Araucarian clue in there somewhere about a boat springing a leek

  27. muffin says:

    There’s the Geordie song about the “keel row” – I think this refers to the boat.

    Eileen@10 – yes that’s a better parsing of “KEEL”; but I think my (and UY’s) argument still applies to some of the others – solve it first, work it out after. Generally Guardian clues don’t work like that – they can be solved in eitehr direction (unlike the Times, which I used to do when I wsas working – much less rigorous)

  28. Shed says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap and all who commented. This was quite a confidence-booster. Re 6dn (KINGFISHER), I had actually intended it to be parsed UY’s way, but KeithW’s suggestion @7 works very nicely and makes it a better clue than I’d realised.

  29. Shed says:

    Sorry, I meant KEEL, of course. Got carried away with the parsing.

  30. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Shed and Uncle Y – needed the parsing today.

    I like to think of the solution and then make it fit to the clueing – more fun that way: although howlers can occur from time to time!

    Like Gervase @ 11, I was thinking of a Tell partner. Milquetoast was new and reminds me of milksop,which we had recently, I think.

    I thought 18ac was a super clue.

    Still smiling from yesterday’s Ancient Mariner.

    Two lovely crosswords in a row.

    Giovanna x

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    RCW, if you don’t like solving online there is always the print option. It’s not directly available on the Indy site, but the companion program to Crossword Compiler, Crossword Solver (it doesn’t, it just allows you to) allows downloading of the daily Indy from whence it can then be printed. It is available from

    Milquetoast, use it every day!

    Um, previuosly comment was made, on several occassions, about the over use of clue types. So no one has mentioned the 16 insertions (2 in one clue) because…?

  32. Peter Mabey says:

    From Ruddigore we know that Basingstoke is a word which teems with hidden meanings, so just a few of them are revealed at 18ac.

  33. Paul B says:

    I am not sure what’s to ‘cope with’ in an online puzzle, if a chap can cope well with posting to a website such as this. Puzzling.

  34. WBE says:

    I outclevered myself on 6d: Kingfisher-ER>Kingfish>Huey Long>longboat>long.

  35. Matt says:

    Hi Derek,

    Perhaps people are heeding your request.

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks for concern but I do not own a printer.

  37. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Phew. 90 minutes slog in my case. But enjoyable.

    Must have spent 10 minutes with the MILQUETOAST anagram even though I had several letters in place! Didn’t think I had met this before but on looking it up became unsure. (That’s the beauty of age. You can’t remember if you’ve forgot!!!)

    Am I missing something here? (Very possible!) How can you spot a PANGRAM? I can see that if the grid MUST contain all letters of the alphabet then this might help towards the end. But surely most grids contain nearly all the 26 when nearly solved?

    Thanks to UY and Shed.

  38. RCWhiting says:

    Brendan, I think they are a self-indulgence for compilers rather than adding to the solver’s challenge.
    Perhaps,sometimes, faffing about with a pangram leads to sloppy clues.

  39. Shed says:

    In my case at least, pangrams are a hoop I sometimes make myself jump through. They aren’t particularly difficult to produce – as Brendan (not that one) says, most puzzles have most of the alphabet in them anyway, but getting X, Z, Q, J and K in can be a bit tricky. I hope the discipline gets me to clue words I might not otherwise have thought of. But it certainly isn’t an excuse for sloppy clueing, and if I’ve been guilty of that I’d be glad to be told where.

  40. Paul B says:

    We ‘are self-indulgent’, ‘faff about’ and produce ‘sloppy clues’ when we deliver our pangrams.

    What’s not to like about good old RCW?

  41. RCWhiting says:

    Tell me one advantage a pangram provides for the solver.

  42. rhotician says:

    The “advantage” is obvious from posts you get here. Solvers who spot the pangram get pleasure, both from spotting it, and pointing it out to those who don’t. The same applies to many Ninas. Personally I couldn’t care less.

    Except on one occasion. In a Times puzzle full of intractable clues I eventually noticed that, from one or two answers like QUIZZED, that there might be a double pangram. Looking for a missing J and K did help. I have to admit that I enjoyed and respected that.

  43. RCWhiting says:

    rho,I get the general tenor of your reply.
    However,I don’t think making the solution easier to find (if it does) is an advantage.

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