Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,819 by Audreus

Posted by PeterO on December 14th, 2012


Apologies for the late posting, and the brevity – I am about to have minor surgery.

1. Very cold parrot starting a course of action (6)
POLICY A charade of POL[ly] (‘parrot starting’) plus ICY (‘very cold’).
5. Prehistoric flint head of the Spanish distant conflict (3-5)
ELF-ARROW A charde of EL (‘the Spanish’) plus FAR (‘distant’) plus ROW (‘conflict’). I had not come across the definition, but it is a reasonable guess.
9. Use ropes flexibly on the surface, raised in relief (8)
REPOUSSE An anagram (‘flexibly’) of ‘use ropes’.
10. How did little devil behave? With shock! (6)
IMPACT A charade of IMP (‘little devil’) plus ACT (‘behave’).
11. Sheriff yodelling is a bit dubious (4)
IFFY A hidden answer in ‘sherIFF Yodelling’.
12. So a hug upset outstanding girl? 15 needed! (6,4)
ENOUGH SAID An envelope (‘outstanding’) of OUGHSA, a\n anagram (‘upset’) of ‘so a hug’ in ENID (‘girl’). The definition calls up the answer to 15D, NO COMMENT.
13. Regenerates us? Does getting pickled? (6)
SOUSED An anagram (‘regenerated’) of ‘us does’.
14. Charlie gets back around mid-morning, overdue — turning a dull grey colour (8)
GUNMETAL A charade of GUNM, an envelope (‘around’) of N (‘midmorNing’) in GUM, a reversal (‘gets back’) of MUG (‘Charlie’); plus ETAL, a reversal (‘turning’) of LATE (‘overdue’).
16. Stone me! Belonged to you a long time ago, in a way (8)
AMETHYST An envelope (‘in’) of ‘me’ plus THY (‘belonging to you a long time ago’) in A ST (‘a way’).
19. Fetching a number of Romans by order to see (6)
COMELY A charade of C (hundred, ‘a number of Romans’)plus OM (‘Order’ of Merit) plus ELY (‘see’, bishopric).
20. Home counties copper, god of the house, is beginning to move to a worldly way of thinking (10)
SECULARISM A charade of SE (south-east, ‘home counties’) plus CU (‘copper’, chemical symbol) plus LAR (Roman ‘god of the house’) plus ‘is plus M (‘beginning to Move’).
22. Quits flat (4)
EVEN Double definition.
23. Crooked cashier withdrawing a lot of material possessions (6)
RICHES An anagram (‘crooked’) of ‘c[a]shier’ without the A (‘withdrawing a’).
24. Overcome journey, say, from the kitchen garden? (8)
BEETROOT A homophone (‘say’) of BEAT ROUTE (‘overcome journey’).
25. Distress with endless problems one day before (8)
AGGRIEVE A charade of AGGR[o] (‘endless problems’) plus I (‘one’) plus EVE (‘day before’).
26. Cast, say, from Windsor chair? (6)
THRONE A homophone (‘say’) of THROWN (‘cast’), with a cryptic definition referencing Windsor Castle.
2. Nothing against a bit of work — to keep busy I left women for an overbooked gathering (8,7)
OVERFLOW MEETING A charade of O (‘nothing’) plus V (versus, ‘against’) plus an envelope (‘to keep’) of FLOWMEETIN, an anagram (‘busy’) of ‘I left women’ in ERG (physical unit, ‘a bit of work’).
3. Sarcastic talk brings club to untimely end (5)
IRONY A charade of IRON (golf ‘club’) plus Y (‘untimelY end’).
4. In the past dry, yet sea rough … (9)
YESTERDAY An anagram (‘rough’) of ‘dry yet sea’.
5. soon, for example, about half London may be engulfed (7)
ERELONG An envelope (‘may be engulfed’) of RE (‘about’) plus LON (‘half LONdon’) in EG (‘for example’).
6. Chuck, for starters, fish left in neighbour’s garage (5)
FLING First letters (‘starters’) of ‘Fish Left In Neighbour’s Garage’.
7. Quick answer in practice is incentive to get up (7)
RIPOSTE An envelope (‘in’) of POS, a reversal (‘to get up’) of SOP (‘incentive’) in RITE (‘practice’).
8. Almost never related to astronomy! (4,2,1,4,4)
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON Cryptic definition.
15. On about messieurs (in French) getting into bed — my lips are sealed (2,7)
NO COMMENT A charade of NO, a reversal (‘about’) of ‘on’ plus an envelope (‘getting into’) of MM (‘messieurs’) plus EN (‘in French’) in COT (‘bed’).
17. Harder time getting old? How repugnant for the Queen (7)
TOUGHER A charade of T (‘time’) plus O (‘old’) plus UGH (‘how repugnant’!) plus ER (‘Queen’).
18. Protective cover, enough for a very little tot (7)
THIMBLE Double definition.
21. A key that leads to a hitch? (5)
AISLE A charade of ‘a’ plus ISLE (‘key’).
22. English bishop takes gold? Whoops! (5)
ERROR A charade of E (‘English’) plus RR (Right Reverend, ‘bishop’) plus OR (‘gold’).

34 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,819 by Audreus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO and all the best for the surgery: I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get some pretty nurses.

    Also many thanks Audreas this was very enjoyable.

  2. muffin says:

    Best wishes PeterO and thanks to you and Audreus.
    Very enjoyable puzzle. One weakness – I took a long time to get 2dn as I didn’t think “over” would be in the clue and the solution as well.
    I looked up elf-arrows here:
    Favourite was BEETROOT

  3. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO – hope all goes well.

    Pleasant puzzle from Audreus, which didn’t detain me very long. Favourite clue: 14a (I kept wanting to put in CHARCOAL).

    Does this mean we’re in for a prize from Shed (Audreus’s son) tomorrow? There’s often a family link in the sequence.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Audreus

    Hope the surgery goes well!

    A relatively mild but enjoyable puzzle. I liked ‘aisle’ and the word elf-arrow, which I’ve come across before always amuses me.

  5. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I suppose it was inevitable after two (Wed/Thur) really testing puzzles that we should have to pay today.
    Nothing terrible about this, just too easy.
    I did not know ‘elf-arrow’ but otherwise it was very straightforward.

  6. galeraman says:

    Thanks both. Agree entirely with RCW @5. Thought 21 and 18 good.
    Would like to question the three un-clued lights at 13 and 19? Is this allowed? Silly question obviously it is, but I do not think it would happen in The Times

  7. crosser says:

    galeraman @ 6
    They are not unclued. As PeterO points out, the def in 13 is “pickled” and in 19 is “fetching”.
    Thanks and all the best, PeterO.

  8. Trailman says:

    Yes, I saw the lack of many checked letters for 13 and 19 and feared this could be a stumbling block. Don’t know about the Times, but can’t recall this in a Guardian grid either.

    ELF-ARROW was new and OVERFLOW MEETING a bit forced. I suppose I’ve heard it, but not often, and I was once an event manager. Still, some good clues here, eg AMETHYST.

  9. galeraman says:

    Sorry crosser @7 what I meant was that for three lights in a row there are no intervening down clues to assist. I thought that normally only two lights in a row were allowed to be unassisted.

  10. muck says:

    Thanks PeterO – my best wishes too – and Audreus
    Enjoyable without being overtaxing
    ELF-ARROW new to me but clearly clued and in Chambers

  11. DunsScotus says:

    Thanks Audreus; thanks and good luck PeterO. Do we need the castle in 26? (Elizabeth) Windsor(‘s) chair is a throne! Enjoyed this one, and as usual found it harder than RCW did!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter, bon courage with the op.

    Nothing too tricky, but a pleasing puzzle nonetheless. I liked AISLE, although it was my last one in, and I too was not keen on the less than 50% checking in a couple of the acrosses.

    Thanks to Audreus and hope the Prize Puzzlers enjoy Shed tomorrow.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. You explained why I was right with RIPOSTE.
    Hope all goes well with your surgery.

    On the matter of three unchecked squares: I remember some years ago the crossword editor published a note saying something like “We are never again going to have three unchecked squares in a row”. It looks as though Audreus picked an illegal grid and the editor failed to spot it.

  14. galeraman says:

    Thank you chas @13 I thought I had read something like that!!

  15. RCWhiting says:

    It’s cast (not castle) sounds like ‘thrown’.

    An illegal grid? Illegal gay marriages – what a law circumscribed world we live in!

  16. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Audreus and PeterO. Good luck with the op.

    BEETROOT brought back memories of Friday school lunches: fish of dubious provenance, lumpy spuds, hard margarine, mushy peas and beetroot!
    The combination was vile and I couldn’t eat fish for years and still hate beetroot, which is like eating a handful of earth!

    Otherwise ELF-ARROW was new but gettable.

    Giovanna x

  17. muffin says:

    Yes indeed, giovanna – when I said @2 that BEETROOT was my favourite, I definitely meant the clue rather than the vegetable.

  18. Robi says:

    Enjoyable crossword; thanks Audreus.

    PeterO; hope all goes well with you. ELF-ARROW and REPOUSSE were new to me. I particularly liked AISLE and COMELY, despite the three lights.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi Galeraman

    You agree with RCW that the puzzle is too easy and then seem to grumble that some clues are too hard because they don’t have enough crossing letters. Re The Times – I don’t know why that should matter so much? Neither clue was particularly difficult.

  20. galeraman says:

    Hi Tupu @19. No, You are quite correct neither clue was hard and they did not hold me up. I was just trying to ascertain from folk who have more experience of crosswords than I, if there is a convention, and why it was not followed here. Oh, and I was not grumbling, perish the thought!!

  21. tupu says:

    Hi galeraman
    Thanks. Sorry if I got you wrong. RCW seemed to be grumbling in his suual way when he wrote about this puzzle as a price to be paid for harder ones earlier, and I simply thought that when you said you agree ‘entirely’ with him, you might be doing the same.

  22. galeraman says:

    Tupu @ 21 I know what you mean. My view, which I have expressed before is that I am truly grateful for all the crosswords we get to solve. If I finish quickly, I congratulate myself and get on with something else. If it is hard and takes some time I am pleased to have had such a struggle. If I can’t finish it, I give up, come here, and enjoy the explanations. I often get stuck on the “scrambled eggs” type clues but love them nevertheless.
    My own bete noire is puzzles themed on pop music, ‘cos I don’t know much about it.
    Come to think of it perhaps “entirely” was a bit OTT

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Do please explain why you (less than some others) niggle at my comments when they are not aligned exactly with yours.
    Read my comments yesterday and Wednesday and note the complete lack of criticism which they produced.
    Is there really an unwritten rule which says that RCW must say only nice things, whatever he might think?
    Now there is a real grumble for you and it is not about a crossword.

  24. slipstream says:

    Re 14 across: what is the connection between “Charlie” and “mug” ?

  25. PeterO says:

    Slipstream @21

    A Charlie (often a right Charlie), is a credulous person, hence a mug.

    Thanks all for the good wishes – the haemorrhoidectomy seems to have gone very well.

  26. muffin says:

    That’s good news, PeterO. Thanks for producing the blog on what must have been a more tense day than usual.

  27. rhotician says:

    RCW @15: DunsScotus is saying, politely and correctly, that 26 refers not to Windsor Castle, as PeterO suggests, but to the House of Windsor.

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Can someone explain to me why 1ac is: POL[ly] + ICY, I mean how should I know that POL comes first?

  29. PeterO says:


    Good point. Unless someone has a better idea, it looks as if ‘starting’ is doing double duty.

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Peter (and of course for your blog, too).
    I expected to get this answer.
    Unfortunately, I find ‘starting’ doing double duty in this particular case hardly acceptable.

  31. RCWhiting says:

    rho @27
    Thankyou. I thought he was referring to the crossword clue, not the blog. I don’t always read the whole blog, I usually find the postings more interesting (especially yours).

  32. Paul B says:

    Rho is Betty.

  33. Robi says:

    If you’re still there Sil @30: ‘This is first attested by the 1611 play Volpone by Ben Johnson, in which he wrote of a parrot named Pol. And because, at the time, parrots were a new thing in the world to anyone but Incans and Mayans, as was the decision on proper names. And so begins the trend of naming parrots Pol, Poll, Polly, or Polly-O.’

    So, no double duty needed for ‘starting.’

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Robi, I’m still there.
    Thanks for explaining.
    But a bit obscure for me – 1611, it’s so long ago …..
    Wikipedia tells me that it was even 1605/1606. Unfortunately, its article on Volpone does not mention a parrot called Pol.
    Still not sure, Audreus really meant Pol (instead of Polly) – perhaps she did.

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