Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,884 by Pasquale

Posted by PeterO on March 1st, 2013


The puzzle may be found at or
Mostly straightforward, with an unusual variation in 20A, compounded with the red herrings of ‘pruned’ an ‘raggedly’, neither of which functions as the solver might expect.

1. Spooner’s awful misty weather? Hearth’s the place for one to be (7)
5. Reveal peacekeepers wanting sudden improvement across society (7)
UNBOSOM An envelope (‘across’) of S (‘society’) in UN (‘peacekeepers’) plus BOOM (‘sudden improvement’).
9. Officer and ordinary soldiers locked in toilet (9)
COMMODORE An envelope (‘locked in’) of OR (other ranks, ‘ordinary soldiers’) in COMMODE (‘toilet’).
10. Force back partner’s head in dance (5)
REPEL An envelope (‘in’) of P (‘Partners head’) in REEL (‘dance’).
11. Endless sweet cake is wrong (4)
TORT TORT[e] (‘sweet cake’) without its final letter (‘endless’).
12. What may produce bangs that could be supersonic (10)
PERCUSSION An anagram (‘could be’) of ‘supersonic’.
14. Sun has to be demeaning to women? (6)
SEXIST A charade of S (‘sun’) plus EXIST (‘to be’).
15. Film in San Marino not so bad (4,3)
RAIN MAN An anagram (‘bad’) of ‘[s]an marin[o]’ without s and o (‘not so’), for the 1988 film with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
16. Liberal held in derision, making one cross (7)
SALTIRE An envelope (‘held in’) of L (‘liberal’) in SATIRE (‘derision’).
18. Party order — two articles delivered outside (2-4)
AT-HOME An envelope (‘delivered outside’) of OM (‘order’ of merit) in A THE (‘two articles’).
20. Where you may find shrubs pruned raggedly — just some! (4,6)
BACK GARDEN A novel twist – a reverse reverse hidden answer: ‘just some’ of ‘pruNED RAGgedly’ is BACK GARDEN.
21. Weary one falling before end of walk — a long one (4)
TREK A charade of T[i]RE (‘weary’) without the I (‘one falling’) plus K (‘end of walK‘).
24. Compass shows north, needed in storm (5)
RANGE An envelope (‘needed in’) of N (‘north’) in RAGE (‘storm’).
25. Single island in setting that’s not spoilt (9)
UNMARRIED An envelope (‘in setting’) of I (‘island’) in UNMARRED (‘not spoilt’).
26. Best man seen round back of hotel, drunk (7)
PICKLED An envelope (’round’) of L (‘back of hoteL‘) in PICK (‘best’) plus ED (‘man’).
27. Denies entrance into cosy home, when time has passed (7)
NEGATES An envelope (‘into’) of GATE (‘entrance’) in NES[t] (‘cosy home’) without the T (‘when time has passed’).
1. This person did the work and put on a false show, we hear (5)
FECIT A homophone (‘we hear’) of FAKE IT (‘put on a false show’). FECIT is Latin for s/he made, and is sometimes included in the signature of a painting or the like.
2. Some err, wanting new direction — feeling this? (7)
REMORSE An anagram (‘wanting new direction’) of ‘some err’, with an &lit definition.
3. Give up work, when under the doctor (4)
DROP A charade of DR (‘doctor’) plus OP (‘work’).
4. What to do for pre-match security? Look at the issues (2,4,3,6)
GO OVER THE GROUND Definition and literal interpretation.
5. Crusade going wrong with surprising lameness — do they want to put the clock back? (4,3,8)
USED CAR SALESMEN Anagrams , of ‘crusade’ (‘going wrong’) and ‘lameness’ (‘surprising’).
6. Vessels, any number, in bay for time of celebration (5,5)
BURNS NIGHT An envelope (‘in’) of URNS (‘vessels’) plus N (‘any number’) in BIGHT (‘bay’).
7. Thus Greek character’s beginning to make specious argument (7)
SOPHISM A charade of SO (‘thus’) plus PHIS (‘Greek character’s) plus M (‘beginning to Make’).
8. Colouring matter — minute dash goes in (7)
MELANIN An envelope (‘goes in’) of ELAN (‘dash’) in MIN (‘minute’).
13. Bed chamber? (6,4)
DIVING BELL Cryptic definition.
16. Old boy has hesitation during drink — needing to do this? (5,2)
SOBER UP An envelope (‘during’) of OB (‘old boy’) plus ER (‘hesitation’) in SUP (‘drink’).
17. Lecturer, a figure in mathematics, brief and to the point (7)
LACONIC A charade of L (‘lecturer’) plus ‘a’ plus CONIC (‘figure in mathematics’).
19. One could create max. stir, maybe? (7)
MARXIST An anagram (‘could create’) of ‘max stir’. I would regard the ‘maybe?’ as indicating a rather loose &lit definition.
22. Praise message of indifference to nation? The reverse! (5)
KUDOS ‘The reverse’ of SOD UK (‘message of indifference to nation’).
23. Puff? Puff perhaps, when legless (4)
DRAG The definition is the first ‘puff’, as on a cigarette; the wordplay is DRAG[on] (‘Puff’ the magic) without a leg to stand on.

43 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,884 by Pasquale”

  1. michelle says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle by Pasquale. My favourite clues were USED CAR SALESMEN, DRAG, KUDOS, SOBER UP, MELANIN, & PICKLED.

    I even enjoyed FIREDOG: I must be (finally) getting the hang of Spoonersims.

    1d FECIT was a new word for me, and I was not sure how to pronounce or parse it. The best I could come up with was a homophone of ‘facade’ but that was with wrong pronunciation of ‘fecit’, obviously.

    Other new words were BURNS NIGHT & SALTIRE, both of which were very clearly clued and thus easily solvable.

    I was not sure how to parse 20 & 21a.

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO. Parsing of 20a brilliant!

  2. michelle says:

    Or rather, I’m beginning to get the hang of SpoonerISMS.

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    I think this must be an easy Pasquale, as I rarely finish him – 35′ today.

    I read “Best man” in 26a as PICKED (cf CHOSEN), but I think your solution is better.

    We had a very similar clue for COMMODORE just two days ago in ORLANDO

  4. coltrane says:

    Thanks to both Setter and Blogger for a fine puzzle well explained. My COD by a long way was BACK GARDEN very neat. I thought the latin pronunciation for FECIT might be “Fechit” or “Fessit” but I can’t hear it as “fake it”.

  5. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks. Re 23, in cricket ‘leg’ = ‘on’.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks PeterO and Pasquale
    Odd – the RHS went in without difficulty, while the LHS caused much more thought. I too liked BACK GARDEN.

    coltrane @ 4
    FAKE IT would be the Latin pronunciation; “fechit” is approximately how it would be pronounced in modern Italian.

  7. muffin says:

    I meant to query 13dn – does the cryptic definition refer to a chamber on the SEA bed?

  8. coltrane says:

    Thanks muffin @ 6. Our choir here in Spain pronounces “Que Fecit” as Kee Fechit, This is also probably the “Church” pronunciation, but I do remember now that the “re-constructionist” pronunciation is “fake it”. Perhaps like some who signed their names to the paintings!! Of course Father Ted had a slightly different pronunciation and a completely different meaning!!

  9. muffin says:

    [Hi coltrane – where is your choir based? My wife’s choir did an exchange with a choir in Benefaio, near Valencia]

  10. michelle says:

    muffin @ 6

    As you mention, I made the mistake of pronouncing ‘FECIT’ as in modern Italian. As that got me nowhere, I then thought I’d try “fessit” and tried to justify my parsing as homophone = facade! I never thought of ‘fake it’. Thanks for pointing out the proper pronunciation.


    Re DIVING BELL, that’s how I understood it – a chamber on the sea bed.

  11. John Appleton says:

    Rats….thought I’d managed a rare completion of a Pasquale, but I failed on FECIT. New word for me; I’d put FACET in the hope that I was missing something somewhere (which of course I was…the correct answer). Nonetheless, the puzzle as a whole made for a pleasant commute.

  12. coltrane says:

    {Hi muffin we live and sing in Galera an archetypal Spanish white village set in hills in the “Altiplano de Granada Norte”, Andalucia. We sing for the Church and do at least two concerts of Spanish popular songs a year. I would be happy to elaborate in General Discussions if you let me know}

  13. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Pasquale and PeterO. Very much enjoyed this.

    When young, I got used to ‘ch’ when being an altar boy but ‘k’ in the Latin class at school. I seem to remember being told that different universities used somewhat different pronunciations? For example, ‘ecce homo’ could be ‘ekse’, ‘ekky’, or ‘e-chay’. Such indecision was not, however, the reason I gave up dead languages – I just wanted to do Maths and Physics!

  14. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Peter

    Typical Pasquale, with a lot of well-constructed clues. I especially liked the simplicity of 14a, the double anagram and cryptic definition of 5d and, as a fan of ‘reverse’ clues, the interesting ‘reverse reversal’ of 20a.

    1d didn’t cause me any problems, though I would not pronounce FECIT in the reconstructed Classical Latin way (‘fake it’), but as the more Italianate ‘fay-chit’. The definition part of the clue is a little awry: FECIT means ‘made (it)’. ‘He did the work’ would have been just about OK, as Latin usually drops subject pronouns, although this tag was never slapped on a work of art without the name of the artist. But ‘This person did the work..’ points very strongly to a noun rather than a verb.

  15. Gervase says:

    Subtle Doctor @13: Your namesake wrote exclusively in Latin, I believe! Anyway, Latin is not dead – it’s alive and well in the form of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Italian, Romanian etc etc. It’s just changed a bit over the years.

  16. dunsscotus says:

    Hi Gervase. I was hoping you’d post, knowing that then I’d learn some interenting stuff.

    I like your way of looking at the use of ‘dead’, though ‘changed a bit’ is certainly true. I’m reminded of a theologian friend of mine (with an excellent knowledge of New Testament Greek) who once got into a dreadful muddle in a Greek restaurant by asking for sacrificial lamb.

  17. george says:

    I don’t think I could have solved some of this with just pen and paper, unless I had a lot more time and cups of tea and coffee or maybe glasses of beer and/or wine. Online I was able to take some wild guesses and use the check button.

    I loved DIVING BELL, which I thought was very clever and USED CAR SALESMEN when the penny finally dropped. Now that I can see, thanks to Peter, how BACK GARDEN is parsed I am particularly impressed by that clue. The wording had taken me down a very long and winding path in that place.

    I should maybe have remembered FECIT from Latin lessons, but didn’t. Like Coltrane @8 I thought of Father Ted’s version first and then I assumed that for the clue to work it must be pronounced ‘fake it’.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Pasquale

    A good puzzle. I got ‘drag’ but failed to parse drag(on) properly – so thanks too to Aoxokoxoa @5. I also overhastily misunderstood 26a as ‘picked’ round ‘l’. I should know better with Pasquale whose clues are rarely if ever ‘iffy’.

    I ticked 18a, 20a, 1d, 5d and 16d and would have included 23d if I’d unravelled it.

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks rather to aoxomoxoa @5)

  20. Ian SW3 says:

    In the States, I was taught to say “fake it” in Latin class (but not church or other singing). I would love to know if there’s any consensus or consistent practice in the UK today, as I’m teaching my daughter Latin using the book Minimus, which so far is silent on pronunciation. My vague understanding is that the traditional English method was to pronounce the words as spelt just as if in English (which is still done with most foreign words, it seems — e.g. “pasta”), and in old films one hears schoolchildren rattling off “amo, amas, amat” as “AM o, AM ass, AM at” rather than “ah MO, ah MAHSS, ah MAHT.” At some point, I expect my daughter will encounter other children pronouncing Latin and would like to know which pronunciation she is most likely to encounter, or if it is a free-for-all.

    As for the comment that different systems are in use at different universities, it is impossible to predict which at university she will end up, and at this stage we would be happy for her to attend either one.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I had BACK GARDEN as it was the only thing I could fit into the crossing letters – but I need you to explain why I was correct.

    I needed this website to understand in 13d that it was ‘sea bed’ :(

  22. sitywit says:

    Ian SW3 @ 20: there’s a useful article in Wikipedia – “Traditional English pronunciation of Latin”, which fits pretty well with what I remember from learning Latin in the late 1940s/early 50’s. We had the interesting situation of having a headmaster, and some teachers, pronouncing one way, and us being taught another. Transitional, I suppose… My understanding was that it was through studying the rules of Latin verse that a kind of “received pronunciation” was eventually established – though Church Latin has not usually been “modernised”. Hope this helpful?

  23. sitywit says:

    Should have added that we were encouraged to pronounce words like “fecit” as if with a Northern English accent – I.e., with a long, “pure” ‘e’ – thus fitting exactly with Yorkshire “fake it”. (I remember the ‘a’ in “amo” etc. as being “short” – ‘a’ rather than ‘ah’, incidentally.

  24. Robi says:

    Very good, precise cluing with few obscurities, although I didn’t know FECIT – the online dic. pronunciation seems to concur with the clue.

    Thanks PeterO; I had to come here to find Puff the Magic Dragon. I tried rose GARDEN at the beginning and then saw the reverse but still took a little while to parse it properly.

    I thought DIVING BELL was a superb cd. I suppose the supersonic/percussion anagram must have been used before but it looked neat anyway. I thought a more usual expression was ‘GO OVER old GROUND,’ which could have been used by changing 14 to ‘mexico’ and 16a to sallied/sullied. Maybe Pasquale didn’t fancy cluing these. The USED CAR SALESMEN were good, too! [and several others]

  25. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks, sitywit. That article and a linked one suggests that the traditional pronunciation died out after the war and was replaced by the same reconstructed system I learned (i.e., “fake it”). I wasn’t sure, though, whether the old system survived in certain schools.

  26. muffin says:

    I remember a legal story – A.P. Herbert, I think – where a new lawyer just down from University attempted to pronounce the “legal latin” as he had been taught. The judge told him to go away and not reappear until he had learnt how to say the words correctly in court.

  27. Rowland says:

    Nice to see such a well-crafted puzzle. No issues for me with it, and it had a nice modern flavout too. Well done, Paqsuale!!


  28. george says:

    I remember trying to pronounce species names to Dutch students when I was teaching in Amsterdam. So much for them being an international language for Biologists; written down they’re fine, but when I came for example to talk about whirligig beetles of the Gyrinus genus the g turned out not to be like that in great but to be a sound much like the end of ‘loch’ spoken by a Scotsman with a bad chest infection . . . .

  29. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Pasquale for a varied and interesting puzzle and PeterO for his usual superblog.

    Pleased to get FIREDOG from the definition and then smile at the Spoonerism (my least favourite type of clue with anagrams a close second).

    I’m with Gervase @ 14 on FECIT.

    Missing RCW, too.

    Giovanna x

  30. Trailman says:

    Phew, finally got there. Delay owing to unaccountable slip of pen with LACONIN at 17d leading to the unlikely P*N*L*D at 26a. After exhausting all combinations, finally went ‘doh’.

  31. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO.

    Very late to the party today. I enjoyed this more than I often do with this setter. There were more smiles, which makes all the difference for me, and some nice story-telling in the surfaces.

    Favourites as for several others, SEXIST, USED CAR SALESMEN and BACK GARDEN.

    [As for Latin pronunciation, it seems like a case of ‘Quot homines, tot sententiae’.]

    Thanks to Pasquale for the puzzle.

  32. stanXYZ says:

    Thanks to PeterO for explaining BACK GARDEN – Nice clue!

  33. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fine puzzle, a bit easier than the setter often is in this avatar. I too liked USED CAR SALESMAN and BACK GARDEN, and KUDOS was also good. FECIT I stuck in straightaway without worrying about the pronunciation, but I too remember debates in my school Latin lessons about the ‘proper’ way to say things.

    Fine blog too, thank you Peter.

  34. Gervase says:

    Further to the pronunciation of FECIT: It is reasonably certain that ‘c’ in Latin was originally pronounced ‘hard’ in all positions, as it still is in Sardinian, the most conservative of the Romance languages. (This is probably because Sardinia was conquered very early by the Romans but then became a backwater, isolated from the changes in the speech of the rest of the Roman world). But all of the other derived languages show the evidence of palatalisation before front vowels, although this is realised in different ways: ‘s’ in French and Portuguese, ‘ch’ in Italian and Romanian, ‘th’ in Castilian. This does suggest that some form of ‘soft c’ was widespread, at least in colloquial speech, well before the break up of the Roman Empire. So, if I encountered the word in the writings of Julius Caesar, I would pronounce it ‘fake it’, but scrawled on a Renaissance artwork it would assuredly be ‘fay-chit’ for me.

  35. Giovanna says:

    Gervase- perfetto!

    Wondered what Eileen would have to say – very diplomatic, I thought.

    Giovanna x

  36. Martin P says:

    Sue and I usually find Pasquale a braingrinder, but this was a delight to do over a St. David’s day pint of Dark Star.

    Thanks setter and all.

  37. Martin P says:

    Oh fecit. I put “facet”…

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi Giovanna @35

    I’ve never thought of diplomacy as being my thing – more like chickening out, on this occasion, I think!

  39. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Pasquale and PeterO

    Enjoyable puzzle today after the struggle with A yesterday (still 2 to get!). Many neat clues as expected from this setter with the exceptionally clever BACK GARDEN and the only slightly lesser ahas with 4d, 22d and 23d.

    Last in was SEXIST and admired it for its simplicity in construction but non-simplicity in working it out. Liked the surface of UNBOSOM and the coincidence of COMMODORE appearing with similar constructs within days.

    Now back to A !!!

  40. Paul B says:

    BACK GREEN, but not BACK GARDEN, is found in Collins. Chambers has neither, so it is a very modern inclusion for The Don – regardless of the uber-hip clueing technique deployed.

  41. rhotician says:

    My Chambers 11th has back garden or (Scot) back green.

  42. Samui Pete says:

    Martin did I! Thoroughy enjoyed this on the beach. (sorry)

  43. Paul B says:

    Re 41 so does mine actually, so many thanks to Betty. At 0206, after libations have been made, I am wont to forget that the online thingy I use is Chambers 21st, and not the proper one.

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