Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25891 by Shed

Posted by PeeDee on March 16th, 2013


A straightforward puzzle from Shed.

Like the last one of his I  blogged there is nothing wrong with the puzzle, but there is nothing special here either.  Is Shed getting a little tired of the crossword setting business?

1 DEDICATED Set aside for being hopelessly ecstasy-addicted (9)
anagram (hopelessly) of E (ecstacy) and ADDICTED
6 ALPHA Dominant sort of chap attaining high altitude, initially, on mountain (5)
High Altitude (initial letters of) on ALP mountain – an alpha male
9 EMAIL Turned green, receiving a message (5)
LIME (green) reversed containing (receiving) A
10 NO-BRAINER Simple question aristocrat put to top 23, reportedly (2-7)
NOB (aristocrat) and RAINER sounds like (reportedly) reigner, the one who reigns, the top royal – toyed with Prince Rainier of Monaco for a while but I think reigner is better
11 MORGANATIC A rat coming out on an unequal social footing (10)
(A RAT COMING)* – a new word for me
12 MEAN Intend to get tight (4)
double definition
14 PROCEED Carry on with fabulous bird in receding ocean (7)
ROC (fabled bird) in DEEP (ocean) reversed (receding, going backwards)
15 EMBROIL Get into trouble with sibling in heartless 9 (7)
BRO (sibling) in EMaIL (heartless, missing centre)
17 ARAMAIC Backward spooks damage a tongue (7)
CIA (spooks) MAR (damage) A all reversed (backward)
19 PROTEIN Way of learning to crack code for dietary essential (7)
ROTE in (cracking open) PIN (code)
20 ELBE Well able to dump odd characters in river (4)
wElL aBlE (odd charracters missing)
22 ALL ROUNDER Versatile player getting chubbier everywhere? (3-7)
double/cryptic definition
25 ADDRESSEE Recipient of 9 from dead seers, weirdly (9)
(DEAD SEERS)* anagram=weirdly
26 ITALY Land one left in flower (5)
I (one, Roman numeral) then L (left) in the river TAY (something that flows)
27 EVENT What happened in the seventies? (5)
found inside the sEVENTies
28 ANTENATAL An aquatic bird absorbing backbeat before birth (9)
AN then TEAL (aquatic bird) containing (absorbing) TAN (beat) reversed (back)
1 DREAM Vision of 500 sheets (5)
D (500, Roman numeral) REAM (sheet paper measure)
2 DIARRHOEA Medical problem said to make a bird change colour (9)
sounds like “dye a rhea”, make bird change colour
3 COLLATERAL Security subsequently left over amid black stuff (10)
LATER with L (left) on top (over) in COAL (black stuff)
4 TANKARD Vessel finding capital curtailed within borders of Thailand (7)
ANKARa (capital, not finished) in ThailanD (borders=outsides of)
5 DEBRIDE Express contempt about bedhead being clean (7)
B (head of bed) in DERIDE (express contempt) – to clean a wound
6 AWAY A passage out (4)
A WAY (passage) – definition is ‘out’
7 PENNE Almost wrote “Noodles” (5)
PENNEd (wrote, almost) – penne pasta
8 ADRENALIN A racket involving kidneys’ secretion (9)
A DIN (racket) containing (involving) RENAL (kidney’s, of the kidney)
13 ABSOLUTION So into cleaning and clearing! (10)
SO in ABLUTION (cleaning)
14 PLACE NAME Toponym constituting source of “Love and peace, man” (5,4)
anagram of L (source,first letter of love) and PEACE MAN
16 OVERDRAFT Unduly foolish to cover banker’s last debt (9)
OVER (unduly) DAFT (foolish) containing (covering) R (last letter of of banker)
18 CELESTA Instrument for brewing ales etc (7)
(ALES ETC)* anagram=brewing – a keyboard operated xylophone or glockenspeil
19 PORTENT Sign left carrying 10 (7)
PORT (left side) containing (carrying) TEN
21 BODGE Show 19 involving good or bad workmanship (5)
BODE (show portent) including G (good)
23 ROYAL Go to bed with common soldiers; get up with VIP (5)
LAY (go to bed with) OR (other ranks, common soldiers) all reversed (got up)
24 PELT Hide pepper (4)
double definition – skin and throw at

21 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25891 by Shed”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeeDee. I agree, a vanilla puzzle from Shed. Not suffering from a lack of enthusiasm, I’m sure, but perhaps a victim of the Guardian’s brief on making prize puzzles (mostly) more “accessible”?

    I’ve just seen that today is Enigmatist’s turn so it will be interesting to see if he has been equally toned down for the occasion…

  2. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I wrote a lot of these answers straight in and it didn’t take a lot more time to complete it so I was left with a faint sense of disappointment. I learned a couple of new words though, DEBRIDE and BODGE so it was useful enough.

  3. michelle says:

    This was a very enjoyable and clearly clued puzzle by Shed.

    My favourites were 17a ARAMAIC, 14d PLACE NAME, 8d ADRENALIN, 24 PELT,13 ABSOLUTION 23 ROYAL and most favourite was 2d DIARRHOEA.

    I learnt some new words: DEBRIDE, PELT = pepper, TAY river, ELBE river, BODGE (last in).

    Thanks for the blog, PeeDee.

  4. Samui Pete says:

    I think this was the quickest I’ve ever finished a prize crossword. Morgantic also a new word for me. Thanks.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Not hard enough to be a prize puzzle, though at the very end 5d, 18d and 21d all gave me pause.

  6. vinyl1 says:

    Easy, for the sort of people who do the Guardian. ‘Morganatic’, ‘penne’, and ‘debride’ don’t pass the spell-check in my browser, showing they are not ordinary vocabulary for the masses.

    I was a bit amused by ‘dye a rhea’ – not sure how easy that would be. The bird would probably give a good bit of trouble.

  7. Paul B says:

    Ah thank the lord. Or The Lord.

    At least Michelle’s 15^2 template is not dead, even if someone else’s (apparently) is. Good show!

  8. NeilW says:

    Footnote to my comment @1: Enigmatist has just shown my theory to be wrong – not watered down at all!

  9. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Shed and PeeDee

    As I alluded through the week, I found this to be one of the easiest puzzles that I’ve seen from this setter – with most of the rhs nearly straight write-ins. Last two in were DIARRHOEA (a bit of a smile) then MORGANATIC (which was interesting and new – a medieval pre-nup!).

    Sounds like this week will have a bit more spice!

  10. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I seem to recall someone recently posting that it appeared that the policy regarding Prize Puzzles seemed to have changed. They posited that someone had decided to make them easier so that more people had a chance to win the prize! (Apparently some people would actually like to win it! 😉 )

    Well this seems to confirm it. 30 leisurely minutes and the job’s done. Not much of a challenge for a prize puzzle! Some nice surfaces but far too easy in my opinion for a Saturday.

    Come on Mr Editor. “Something for the weekend!” :-)

    As the Reverend Spike often scripted!

    “What are we going to do now? What are we going to do now? What are we going to do now?”

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Shed

    A pleasant enough and well-crafted puzzle not, in my view, deserving of the possibly unintended harsh sound of Peedee’s comment and question.

    I particularly liked 17a, 16d and 21d.

  12. Andrew says:

    I agree with tupu that this puzzle, while quite gentle for a Saturday, doesn’t deserve some of the criticism it’s had above. It’s true that some of the Saturday puzzles haven’t been very prize-y lately, but there have been some harder ones, e.g. Bonxie’s Scottish Islands puzzle, and indeed today’s Enigmatist. And there’s an Aracuaria special coming up in a couple of weeks..

    (I remember hearing once that the Guardian tends to get more entries for the harder puzzles, as people who finish them tend to think they’re in with more chance of a prize, and vice versa for the easier ones.)

    I’m surprised so many people were unfamiliar with MORGANATIC – the idea of a morganatic marriage was raised as a possibility during the Edward VIII abdication crisis, and more recently in relation to Prince Charles’s second marriage.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Peedee for the blog. You explained a couple of cases where I had the right answer without being able to parse them.

    I know that ‘flower’ in a clue can be a bloomer or a river and TAY is a river that often appears in crosswords. On seeing this blog I wondered how I could have failed to parse ITALY :(

    I join in with others who have commented that this puzzle did not stretch my mind as I expect a prize puzzle to do.

    I also note Andrew’s comment that Easter will soon be here and that means an Araucaria special!

  14. Dave Ellison says:

    I also found it much easier than recent Sheds. However, today’s is very difficult for me – three clues solved after an hour! Will have to come back to it later, and hope for inspiration.

  15. NeilW says:

    Dave @14, press on! Once you get in your stride, the only really tricky one is 16ac – you may need the crossers!

  16. PeeDee says:

    Hi tupu @11, I was not intending to be cuting here, comments just mean to be taken at face value. As a full-time crossword setter it must be difficult to be maintain inspiration day after day, year after year. I just wondered if some days the setting work gets done out of necessity rather than inspiration, much the same as any other occupation really.

  17. Paul B says:

    Well PeeDee, Shed doesn’t set day after day. At least I don’t think he does. Nor is he a professional compiler (he does something else as a full-time job, AIUI). And here we have many delightful clues, in a delightful puzzle, that sits well with his many other delightful puzzles.

    As to having more people given the chance to win the prize, well, I sincerely hope you were being wry on that one, Brendan.

  18. PeeDee says:

    PaulB – you are correct, Shed does not set crosswords full time, I have mis-remembered this from somewhere.

  19. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Shed and PeeDee,

    Like Andrew @ 12, I was surprised that MORGANATIC was unfamiliar. it was an important part of the Abdication crisis.

    DEBRIDE was new, however.

    DIARRHOEA was amusing, as was ALL-ROUNDER.

    Great news that Araucaria is doing an Easter special. This will make up for not being in Italy for the first time in many years at this time. I may save it for the long train journey.

    Giovanna x

  20. NormanLinFrance says:

    Thanks for the blog. An easy one indeed, although, until the crossers invalidated it (and proper parsing kicked in) I had Exile instead of Italy. Almost works, but not quite.

  21. Keeper says:

    Like other commenters, I found this straightforward, with DEBRIDE and BODGE being new words to me (but solvable from the wordplay).

    Also, I had parsed 1d as D’ (of) + REAM (500 sheets). PeeDee, I find your parsing more satisfying.

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