Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,923 – Qaos

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 16th, 2013

Uncle Yap.

What a delightful solve. Qaos has taken great pain to make each clue so smooth and fluid on the surface, just like Rufus. I like the way the definition is disguised in each clue, so innocuously blended in. Thank you for the lovely start to my Tuesday.

9 IN-YER-FACE Aggressive, fiery smash takes point with winner (2-3-4)
Ins of N (north, point on the compass) in *(FIERY) + ACE (winner in say, tennis as it is an unreturnable serve) for a not-so-common slang meaning  aggressive; direct and provocative.
10 ALIBI A coalition party’s current excuse for failure (5)
Cha of A + LIB (Liberal Party, a coalition member of the British Government) + I (symbol in physics for electric current)
11 THISTLE Henry is entering bike race? The French might be prickly (7)
Ins of H IS (Henry is) in TT (Tourist Trophy, a motorcycle racing event on the Isle of Man) + LE (French definite article)
12 ARCADES Bill enters rambling races and walks (7)
Ins of AD (advertisement, bill) in *(RACES) for a walk with an arch over it (in the singular)
13 MONEY Romney’s upset to squander Republican capital (5)
*(ROMNEY minus R, Republican)
14 MILLIONTH A tiny bit sweet, hard to swallow: alternately a lollipop? (9)
Ins of LOLLIPOP (alternate letters) in MINT (sweet) & H (hard) for a really really tiny bit
16 SICKNESS BENEFIT It pays to be ill (8,7)
cd for this unhealthy reward
19 SNOW GEESE Birds, we sense, get excited about love and little weight (4,5)
Ins of O (love) & G (gram, little weight) in *(WE SENSE)
21 WORTH Seaside town not fashionable, nor good value (5)
WORTHING (seaside town in Sussex, England) minus IN (fashionable) minus G (good)
22 WHISTLE Make a noise with this awfully long note (7)
Cha of W (with) *(THIS) L (long) E (note)
23 PINCHER Might he use claw to grab wench’s bottom? (7)
Ins of H (last letter of wench) in PINCER (claw as on a crab, say) Lovely imagery.
24 BLACK Sullen from a vitamin deficiency? (5)
You will see this when I paraphrase to A lack of Vitamin B
25 REDOLENCE Smell of deer and cologne? Go away to freshen up! (9)
1 VICTIMISES ITV screens “101 Turning Twisting Messi Tricks” (10)
Ins of IC (rev of CI, 101) in VTI (rev of ITV) + *(MESSI) Thanks Muffyword@2
2 HYGIENIC Armstrong’s conclusion after cyclist loses halo: “I cycle nice and clean” (8)
Sir Chris HOY (British cycling hero at last Olympic Games) minus O (for halo) = HY + G (last letter of Armstrong) + I + *(NICE) For this very intricate but accurate presentation, my COD
3 PRETTY Fairly fair? (6)
4 LANE Computer network: electronic pathway (4)
LAN (local area network) + E (electronic)
5 RECALLABLE Clear foul: Luxembourg tripped Bale! That one could remember (10)
*(CLEAR) + Luxembourg + *(BALE)
6 SANCTION Maybe Boycott is in, so can’t bowl over (8)
*(IN SO CAN’T) Geoffrey Boycott, English cricketer
7 HIDDEN Ambassador carries identification with duke’s name concealed (6)
Ins of ID (identification) + D (duke) in HE (His Excellency, honorific for an ambassador) + N (name)
8 MISS Long for fabulous story to be narrated without a lisp? (4)
MYTH is a fabulous story and is how a person with a lisp would pronounce MISS
14 MUSKETEERS Soldiers must seek order without hesitation (10)
Ins of ER (hesitation) in *(MUST SEEK)
15 HATCHERIES Early birds found here at Cheshire mill (10)
*(AT CHESHIRE) with MILL as indicator
17 NIGHT SKY What’s up after the Sun’s daily circulation dips? (5,3)
18 FARTHING Old 13’s distant object (8)
FAR (distant) THING (object) being the fourth of a pre-1971 penny
20 OUIJAS Scots say low gravities, they might raise the spirits (6)
It needed a native with a very fertile & crooked mind to point out that this sounds like WEE JARS. Thank you, NeilW, my neighbour in Jakarta. Muffyword@2 offered WEE GEE’S (g being symbol for gravity) I will let the natives sort this out.
21 WINKLE Gastropod with half a shoe? (6)
WINKLE-PICKERS are shoes with long pointed toes, esp popular in the early 1960s. So a shoe would be WINKLE-PICKER and half of that would be WINKLE, a small edible snail-shaped shellfish, a gastropod
22 WEBS Flies beware being caught up in these (4)
23 PODS Policeman gives up port and finally solves cases (4)
PLOD (Policeman, from PC Plod, a character in children’s stories by Enid Blyton whose books formed a large part of the foundation of my primary education. Wonder when Big Ear and Noddy are going to feature :-) minus L (left or port in maritime language) plus S (last letter of solves)

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 = in case anyone wants to contact me in private about some typo

50 Responses to “Guardian 25,923 – Qaos”

  1. ToniL says:

    Lovely as always from Qaos and thanks UY

    Weight in 19 is ‘g’ and we parsed 20 as “Wee G’s”.

  2. Muffyword says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY. I agree PINCHER was nice.

    Re 1 dn VICTIMISES:

    Isn’t this a ITV reversed around CI also reversed?

    Re 20 dn:

    Why do jars = gravities? I wondered whether it was Wee Gees (the letters, representing gravity 9.81m/s2), but didn’t like my explanation much.

  3. vinyl1 says:

    I hadn’t done a Guardian for a while. I got hung up in a few places through ignorance, such as not knowing ‘Hoy’ and ‘winkle-pickers’, but got through eventually. ‘Ouijas’ was my last in; it’s probably meant to be ‘wee Gs’. Like most such clues, solved from the literal.

    I was a little surprised at ‘in yer face’ – you won’t see such language in The Times!

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Regarding the wee jars/gees, I did say I wasn’t wild about my parsing. Equally, gee seems a bit of a homophonic stretch… but, then again, I’m not a Scot. ;)

  5. rhotician says:

    ‘ouija’ pronounced ‘weegee’ is common in Ireland as well as Scotland. It’s not universal, of course. As with many homophones class and urban/rural differences may apply. A similar thing happens with children who say Santy Claus, and are not discouraged by their parents.
    Perhaps more widely known is the sanity clause in the Marx Brothers’ Night at the Opera.

  6. michelle says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle by Qaos although I could not parse 2d, 21d & 20d (although I did realise that OUI = ‘wee’). I guess I should do some homework on UK Olympic gold medal winners (as well as UK seaside resorts).

    After reading rhotician@5, I agree that 20d should be parsed as ‘wee g’s’. I also parsed 19a in the same way as ToniL@1.

    My favourites were SANCTION & NIGHT SKY and I also liked PINCER, MILLIONTH, MISS, WHISTLE & BLACK.

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap (from another neighbour in SEA).

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks UY. I agree with you, a carefully-constructed puzzle which was a delight to solve. Only one I failed on was MISS – don’t know why, since it’s obvious enough. Plenty of excellent clues to enjoy, but I will also add that IN YER FACE is a bit of argot too far, in my humble, considered, and middle-class opinion.

    I am being dim, but I still don’t see OUIJAS.

  8. george says:

    I have drunk a few jars in my time, but was not familiar with weegees. A bit of research reveals that natives of Glasgow may be referred to as weegees or weegies. Maybe someone with the necessary local knowledge can confirm this and add to the confusion of the parsing of 20d.

    I liked PINCHER, REDOLENCE and WINKLE. It took your explanation Uncle Yap to make me see how the last of these was half a shoe, even though I am old enough to remember people wearing them.

  9. Crumlint says:

    In the North of Ireland we pronounce it “weegee” Board. The Scots dialect is similar so I had no difficulty with this clue.

    Thanks for the blog UY, and to QAOS for an enjoyable crossword.

  10. michelle says:

    K’s Dad@7
    I also was surprised to see IN-YER-FACE but then again I’m a newbie. When I solved it, I remember thinking, “it can’t be” …… but it was.

  11. John Appleton says:

    I’m possibly in a minority here, but I didn’t feel this was one of Qaos’s better efforts. Some definitions I thought were a bit stretched (excuse for failure for ALIBI, for instance) and some wordplays pandered more to surface than precision (“we sense GETTING excited” would make more sense). Even surfaces seemed sometimes a bit long-winded or unnatural.

    However, I was once told in a performance review at work that I’m often more grumpy on Tuesdays than the rest of the week (unbeknownst to me!), so that might explain it!

  12. Ian SW3 says:

    I grew up in the States and have never heard “Ouija” pronounced there or here (not that it comes up often) as anything other than “wee gee.”

  13. Jeff Cumberbatch says:

    , Like ToniL @1, I thought the “g”=gram was the little weight in snow geese. Thus “WE SENSE” + O + G. And what is the connection between “jars” and “gravities”?

    Thanks, Uncle Yap and Qaos.

  14. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Qaos and UY. Lovey puzzle which actually took me less time than yesterday! I can confirm that Dundonians come into the ‘wee-gee’ class with regard to pronouncing ‘ouija’.

  15. Robi says:

    Thanks Qaos; good enjoyable crossword with some very nice clues.

    Thanks UY; OUIJAS had me fooled, as I would pronounce it ‘wee jars’ in my neck of the woods. WINKLE-pickers was no problem for me since my brother and I got into trouble at school by wearing them!

    Last in was HYGIENIC, which I failed to parse, even given the publicity about Hoy’s imminent retirement. I didn’t spot ‘mill’ as the anagrind for HATCHERIES. As ToniL @1, the small weight has to be ‘g’ to make the word.

  16. SeanDimly says:

    Thanks Qaos and UY.
    This Gourockian would say ‘wee-gee’, but his mum might have disapproved. As rhotician @5 suggests, the pronunciation isn’t universal. Even in the same hoose. House! (Sorry, Mum.)
    CODs REDOLENCE and HYGIENIC. Enjoyed the puzzle.

  17. Rowland says:

    Welll for a brief mo I tought something had gone horribly wrong here, and clues were surprisingly sound!! But everntually it unravelled as usual in The Gee. Ultimately have to agree with John Appleton and oythers who see a toiling in the writing, again a lot of anagas and subtractions to SQUEEEZE menaing where none otherwise residess. Shame, because some good isdeas here,


  18. Qaos says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap for the blog and to everyone else for their comments. I’m glad you enjoyed!

    For OUIJAS, Chambers does have both pronouciations and I fancied writing something different to the “usual” French and German OUI/JA construction. So apologies to any Scots among you, but the clue was intended to work as “wee gees”, rather than “wee jars”.

    Also, as no-one’s commented yet, there’s not so much of a ghost theme today as a ghost joke. So I hope you enjoy the “penny drop moment” when it arrives :-).

    Best wishes,


  19. Trailman says:

    Don’t worry, Kathryn’s Dad @7, I too failed on MISS. I feel much better having you for company.

    Some great surfaces, 2d and 21a being pick of the crop for me.

  20. michelle says:

    what is the ghost joke? penny has not dropped

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. On 12 I had bill=account=AC so was left scratching my head. You cleared that up.

    I totally failed to parse 2d apart from spotting that “armstrong’s conclusion” must be G :(

  22. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Qaos and UY

    Thought that this was an enjoyable puzzle today with characteristic originality in a lot of clues.

    Didn’t know Hoy so couldn’t parse the first bit of HYGIENIC but there was enough there to be confident that it was right. Also failed parsing the Winkle-pickers – tried to make ‘twinkletoes’ work for a while, but was unconvinced.

    As I recall, this setter usually has a well crafted theme woven into his work and wondered when seeing THATCHER hidden in there and a lot of answers to do with money, pincher, victimise, benefits, etc that there wasn’t something going on with Maggie – or maybe just too much time on my hands after finishing!

  23. brucew_aus says:

    Oops obviously took too long writing it up!!!

  24. brucew_aus says:

    Aha … and the PENNY dropped in front of 4d, 21a, 24a, 28d and after 8d-13a for a start ….

  25. Paul says:

    I’m Cornish and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a suggestion that ouija *isn’t* pronounced weegee. It’s a universal pronunciation in my universe. Also as an ex science teacher, I’m immediately thinking g for gravity, also universal in my experience. Agree with the comment above about the little weight in 19a being gram, for the g in snow geese. Thanks for the blog and thanks qaos for the first one I’ve done totally unaided for a couple of weeks. Maybe I’m getting better.

  26. Paul says:

    Blimey Brucew_aus now you mention it – how about 22a? And like you, I type slowly! (Slightly faster than I think).

  27. Eileen says:

    Pennies dropping all over the place! – 12ac, 23ac, 3dn…

    Thanks, UY, for the blog – and many thanks to Qaos for the puzzle and for setting the ball rolling!

  28. ellis says:

    and .. 18d.

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi ellis @28

    I think that’s what brucew_aus meant by ’28dn’. ;-)

  30. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Qaos

    Missed the amusing theme, as often, and could not parse the ‘hy’ in 2d.
    Also had to hunt out ouijas (a nice clue, though).

    Overall I did not much enjoy this, though not at all the setter’s fault. Too many other things on my mind I’m afraid including a computer that is playing up in rather inexplicable ways.

  31. NeilW says:

    Grrrgh! I saw Qaos’ initial tweet so took another look but failed to see it. Now, finally… the best kind of theme, a totally irrelevant bit of fun! Brilliant!

  32. NeilW says:

    (Thanks, equally, to Arachne for nudging me to come back for another look!)

  33. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY. Came here rather late to check some of the wordplay which passed me by and found that the PENNY theme had also escaped me. Makes the puzzle even more enjoyable! Thanks Qaos.

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Thought this was going to be hard. Stopped and read a bit of a book and then it all just fell into place. Strange.

    But surely 6 has nothing to do with the Blessed St. Geoffrey? The capital B is just misdirection, so why bother mentioning him?

  35. Bob O'Mahoney says:

    Hi Derek, surely a boycott is an example of a sanction? Geoffrey not involved. Really enjoyed this one.

  36. Gill Jones says:

    I’m English, but have always known ouija boards as weegee boards. So it’s probably not just a Scottish/Irish thing. I didn’t get the answer though!!

  37. Simon S says:

    I may be spelling out what others have seen, but to my eye all the ‘theme’ references are indicated by 7D/bend right/15D = HIDDEN THATCHERIES

    Maybe it’s me??

    Simon ô¿ô

  38. RCWhiting says:

    I have been told that some of you were concerned about my absence. Thank you all very much for your kind comments, they will be a big encouragement to me as i make what will probably be a long slow recovery.
    I have on many occasions criticised Monday puzzles and now I must confess that yesterdays took me more than a day but gave me great delight.

  39. Derek Lazenby says:

    Woohoo! Wotcha RCW, glad yer back. Let me know when you’re fit enough to be entertained!

    Bob, that’s what I was saying!

  40. cholecyst says:

    Welcome back RCW. I’ve missed your refreshing acerbity.

  41. Paul B says:

    I haven’t. But welcome back anyway.

  42. Eileen says:

    Well said, Paul B! I never expect to agree with you, RCW, but it’s good to see you back. ;-)

  43. nametab says:

    Very pleased to see you back RCW; all forums need some spice :)

  44. wolfie says:

    I enjoyed this very much – even more now that I have belatedly picked up on the hidden theme. Well done again Qaos. You are becoming one of my favourite setters.

    And welcome back RCW! My best wishes for a full recovery.

  45. g larsen says:

    As a lurker and occasional contributor, I’m very pleased to see that the conspicuous RCW-shaped hole is filled again. Very best wishes.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, welcome back RCW.

    That is, if you are really RCW.
    Anyone can use your name at this place, and being challenged by yesterday’s relatively easy Rufus made me wonder.

    As to this puzzle, we liked it.
    Qaos is a thoughtful setter and made less mistakes than Rowland @21 during his apparently more than enjoyable lunch break.

    Thanks UY.
    My look at 25ac is not (DEER COLOGNE minus GO)* but (DEER + COLOGNE with GO removed from it)* which is for some cruciverbalists (including me) quite different, or have I become more and more Ximenean?
    That said, in this this day and age in which we break down whatever we like, GO is for many of us just G&O in any order.

  47. Uncle Yap says:

    John Appleton@11, Chambers defines alibi as
    n the plea in a criminal charge of having been elsewhere at the relevant time; the fact of being elsewhere; an excuse for failure.
    vt to provide an alibi for.

  48. michelle says:

    Welcome back RCWhiting. I hope your recovery is quick rather than slow.

  49. coltrane says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Qaos – a great puzzle well explained!!

    Dear RCW, I for one was getting worried by your absence! I am pleased to have you back. Get fully well really soon!! As to the remark of Sil @46, I’m sure it will not take long for you to prove unequivocally that it is really you!!

  50. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for clear and helpful explanations.

    I thought 16 was a bit near the knuckle, speaking as someone who is struggling on said benefit. It’s paid to the sick (or it should be) but the truth is it pays better to be able to work.

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