Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,917 – Boatman

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 9th, 2013

Uncle Yap.

After an A1 superb start, the puzzle sort of fizzled out, with starts and splutters, apparently with a mini-theme of the author moving home soon. Cannot say this is Boatman’s best; but we can’t have pâté de foie gras every day, can we?

Across
1 PHARAONIC As old leaders of poverty hit and repressively armed oil nation in crisis (9)
What a super start to a puzzle … an acrostic and if I were to say it is also &lit, would you say I am politically biased?
6 MOPE Pine cleanser with immaculate finish (4)
MOP (cleanser) + E (last letter of immaculate)
8 SWARMING Getting together for party in new home, not saying by what means? (8)
HOUSE WARMING (party for new home) with HOUSE rendered as HOWS (by sound) and HOW (by what means) deleted. Unconventional construction “excused” by the ? ?
9 NO DICE Denial set in code (2,4)
*(IN CODE)
10,23 ESTATE AGENT Eats cooked meal with man contracted to help in moving home? (6,5)
*(EATS) + TEA (meal) + GENT (man)
11 TERRIFIC Huge mistake in the event of being in spasm (8)
Ins of ERR (mistake) + IF (in the event of) in TIC (spasm). Clueing ERR = MISTAKE is so very common but allow me to challenge anyone to make a sentence where the two words are interchangeable without any difference in the meaning.
12 VILLAS Decent homes for homeless wretches (6)
WRETCHES = VILLAINS … minus IN (home)
15,5 EXCHANGE CONTRACTS Commit to buying a home, if trade picks up? (8,9)
EXCHANGE = trade & CONTRACTS = picks up (as in catching an ailment like the flu)
16 ESOTERIC I set core cryptic! (8)
*(I SET CORE) with cryptic doing double duty
19 SIT-UPS Don’t turn in before end of Pilates exercise (3-3)
SIT UP (don’t turn in) + S (last letter of Pilates)
21 DINOSAUR Is around, evolved, or is gone (8)
Lovely &littish *(IS AROUND)
22 REX CAT React badly about kiss for Cornish Tom (3,3)
Ins of X (kiss) in *(REACT) for a type of cat of either of two varieties, Devon Rex or Cornish Rex, with a curly but thin coat
24 DIGITS Numbers of computers in temporary home (6)
Ins of IT (Information Technology, computers) in DIGS (temporary home, especially for students away from parents)
25 VAGARIES Changes one gradually at first within and, by chance, changes (8)
Ins of A (one) + G (first letter of gradually) in VARIES (changes)
26 AGOG Eager to see Camilla go glam (4)
ha in every sense of the word
27 MINCEMEAT How to supply team with fruity mix of tarts for winter season? (9)
A “reversed” anagram clue for TEAM i.e. *(MEAT) with mince as indicator for a chopped, spiced mixture of dried fruit, peel, suet and other ingredients, usu steeped in brandy.
Down
1 PAWNS Sets up loan to exchange (set up around completion of transaction) (5)
Rev of SNWAP being ins of N, last letter of transaction, in SWAP (exchange)
2 AIRMAIL Two things Charles is but Camilla isn’t, in speech to deliver abroad? (7)
AIR (sounds like HEIR) & MAIL (sounds like MALE)
3 ABIDE Contract for removal: right and good to make a home (5)
ABRIDGE (contract) minus R (right) & G (good)
4 NIGHTIE Overnight shift after close match (7)
Cha of NIGH (close) TIE (match)
5 See 15
See 15
6 MADEIRA Wine and cheese: uplifting with a little Gershwin (7)
MADE (rev of EDAM cheese) + IRA Gershwin (1896–1983), brother of George Gershwin, American lyricist, author of famous works like I Got Rhythm and They Can’t Take That Away from Me
7 PACKING UP Getting together in positive mood, preparing for move (7,2)
PACKING (getting together) UP (in positive mood)
13 INSPIRING Moving home? Boatman is, in April or May (9)
IN (home again) + ins of I (Boatman, the author here) in SPRING (April or May)
14 SARGASSUM Floating algae fumes interrupt search and rescue: an additional problem (9)
Ins of GAS (fumes) in SAR (search and rescue) & SUM (problem) for a formulaic clue
17 TOOTING Having a blast in South London (7)
dd Tooting is a district in South London, England, located in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
18 CARAVAN Without much travail, not prevented from moving home (7)
Ins of RAVA (much of the letters in travail) in CAN (not prevented from)
20 TAX-FREE No stamp duty to pay after exchanging? (3-4)
*(AFTER EX) with changing as indicator. Thank you NeilW@1
22 ROGUE “One bad at heart without the head” — from speech in Ireland (5)
BROGUE (a lilting Irish accent or speech in Ireland) minus B. I once clued this as Rascal, heartless as well (5)
23 See 10
See 10

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
yfyap88 at gmail.com = in case anyone wants to contact me in private about some typo

22 Responses to “Guardian 25,917 – Boatman”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. As you say, some great stuff but other clues that are maybe a bit “experimental”.

    Finally seen TAX FREE – its an anagram (changing) of AFTER EX.

  2. NeilW says:

    Sorry about the missing apostrophe, by the way! :(

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I thought there were enough novelties in this of the CARAVAN type to make it an interesting solve. Thanks Boatman and good luck with the move (remember reading somewhere that such relocation is high in the stress department, a little below losing a loved one).

  4. coltrane says:

    Thank you Uncle Yap and Boatman. I thought this was a cracker!! 1a; brilliant, 20d similarly good, although I needed you Uncle and NeilW before the doh moment arrived. 2d not at all bad either. I’m not sure what you meant Uncle, when you said it petered out; I thought it very consistent fare throughout. Some novel constructions yes, but fair definitions which helped the solving process along. And a mini-theme which did not require endless visits to Wiki to explore the oeuvre of some tawdry pop group Fine start to a Tuesday in sunny southern Spain.

  5. Antony Williams says:

    I thought villas was right for 12ac by matching a word list, but I didn’t get villains.

    It’s a bit of an offensive stereotype to equate homelessness with villainy, especially in today’s economy.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Equating homelessness with villainy? There’s nothing of the sort there. A villain/wretch can be homeless, but the clue doesn’t say they’re the same thing.

    A decent puzzle that has its moments, but might not appeal to the Ximineans (which don’t include me, thankfully). Pharaonic and Sargassum were good.

  7. Chris says:

    Didn’t do too badly on this, ABIDE my only missing answer.

    UY – I’m afraid I can’t parse your clue for ROUGE. Can you explain it, please?

  8. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Interesting puzzle, with some unusual devices and constructions. I put SARGASSOS in for 14d (SOS being the ‘additional problem’), which made 27a somewhat elusive… A pity, because I always enjoy reverse clues like this one.

    I particularly liked ‘after ex-changing’ (which I parsed immediately, being especially fond of ‘lift-and-separate’) and ‘trade picks up’.

  9. cholecyst says:

    Thanks UY and Boatman,
    “Clueing ERR = MISTAKE is so very common but allow me to challenge anyone to make a sentence where the two words are interchangeable without any difference in the meaning.”

    Cluing ERR = MISTAKE is a mistake; cluing MISTAKE = ERR is a mistake.

    I well remember my English master, over 50 years ago, asserting that there are no true synonyms in English. I think he was right. Try some obvious ones and see how you do. Eg shut and close. CLOSE the window = SHUT the window but CLOSE your mouth is not the same as SHUT your mouth. Context is all.

  10. Boatman says:

    So far so good, then …

    Antony W. would have been even more offended by my first draft of ROGUE, which had “Tinker takes edge off Irish accent” – logically justified, I thought, as rogue = tinker defined as a non-specific scallywag rather than necessarily an Irish one, but the suggestion that I might have been casting aspersions at Irish tinkers was too strong. I might have expected a sharp pinch from me own dear mudher-in-law.

    The move went just fine, thank you, and I’m now settling down into writing the materials for my [advertising alert] excellent-value Crossword Masterclasses – in Brighton on 8 June and a London date in July to be announced very soon.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    From Chambers:
    mistake vi to err in opinion or judgement; to do amiss

    These two sentences have the same meaning:

    You think Boatman got it wrong but you err.
    You think Boatman got it wrong but you mistake.

    It’s still current in this intransitive form, though a little rare (certainly not obs in the dictionary). There are numerous examples in Shakespeare of “mistake” meaning precisely “err” or “make a mistake”, and for that reason the usage is unlikely to disappear. (e.g. Toby Belch in Twelfth Night “You mistake, knight.” Hotspur to Hal in Henry IV: “If I mistake not, thou art Harry Monmouth” etc.)

  12. Thomas99 says:

    (PS. My comment @11 is about 11a/cholecyst @9, not just an impromptu English lesson.)

  13. Robi says:

    Engaging puzzle, difficult in parts for me.

    Thanks UY; I wouldn’t have parsed SWARMING in a month of Sundays.

    I particularly liked NIGHTIE, AIRMAIL and MINCEMEAT.

  14. dunsscotus says:

    Thank you Boatman and UY, though I thought the latter’s judgment rather harsh, and agree more with Coltrane @ 4 among others. Thanks, too, for the interesting debate on err/mistake, especially the Shakespeare quotes at Thomas99.

    Haven’t posted much recently so may I say a big thankyou to all compilers and bloggers for all the education, information and entertainment; I may not always have a thought to share but I read 225 with great interest every day.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Boatman

    Quite hard and overall a bit less interesting for me than some themed puzzles, though the adventurous cluing was amusing. I particularly enjoyed 8a, 12a, 27a and 20d.

  16. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Boatman and UY

    Found this one a steady but enjoyable workout that took most of the day on and off.

    Particularly liked the inventive clueing of 8a (which was a big aha when it finally presented), 12a (my last in after I realized AIRFARE – (fair =grey versus mousey) should be AIRMAIL), 27a (always like reverse anagrams and they are usually tricky to pick) and 3d (where spotting ABRIDGE first and then removing the R and G saved me the pain of going the other way from ABIDE).

    Plenty of other challenges along the ways well along with the unobtrusive homecoming theme!

  17. Ponticello says:

    Re- 6 above, a VILLAIN not IN is homeless.

  18. Antony Williams says:

    I withdraw my comment at 5 above, and I apologise to Boatman. I didn’t read the parsing correctly, and wretch is a synonym of villain.

  19. drofle says:

    I really enjoyed this even though I didn’t finish it – ran out of time or patience. Some lovely clues, including SWARMING and PHARAONIC. I also thought UncleYap was a bit tough on Boatman.

  20. Boatman says:

    Antony W – Apology accepted!

    Drofle and all – Thank you … I always expect a candid review from Uncle Y, even he’s a bit grumpy from time to time. The point is that he always gives honest feedback, and I appreciate that, however mixed it may be. Anyway, I can’t be unhappy with the response overall … Till next time, then …

  21. Uncle Yap says:

    Chris@7, ROGUE = ROUE = rascal

  22. ECBFAN1 says:

    This was my first attempt at a Boatman puzzle: chosen as a challenge to complete with a friend. I really enjoyed it, thanks, didn’t think I’d be able to finish it but did (although needed to look here to understand some of the clues, thanks for the explanations!).

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