Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye / Cyclops 497 – Murky custom

Posted by beermagnet on June 24th, 2013


As usual Cyclops sprinkles the Grid and clues with a set of politicians of varying murkiness.

The long 6-word answer had me stumped at the first sitting.

I had started solving the grid at a goodly rate and had well over a dozen answers in place, but that long answer resisted my attention.  But then Real LifeTM interrupted and I didn’t re-start the puzzle till the next day – then I saw that long answer almost immediately.  The rest of the answers fell in after that and I finished on a rush.  I normally note the last clue answered but haven’t this time and now can’t remember.


Maths joke from our favourite prof Jim Al-Khalili from twitter:
What is the integral of (d cabin /cabin ) ?

1 V-NECK Smooch, going after very slightly revealing top (1-4)
V[ery] NECK (smooch) A not very revealing top. A not very tricky opener. First clue read and solved
4/15/17/27 SPENDING MORE TIME WITH ONES FAMILY Being not so much a neglectful parent and spouse, as one who’s politically fired? (8,4,4,4,4,6)
Double Def. A euphemism (underlined) and its literal description.  I often feel that it might indeed mean what it says for a few ex-MPs.
8 EXECUTOR Wills singularly disposed of by one once Brenda receives Nick and circle (8)
EX (once) then CUT (cut) and O (circle) inside ER (Brenda)
9 COFFIN Reacting to a cold, sounded rough – this the next step? (6)
Homophone “Coughing” – not sure how to describe the definition of this clue, semi or full &Lit ?
10/23 TONY BLAIR Pious PM wants award and fanfare sound (4,5)
TONY (award) BLAIR (fanfare sound – homophone “blare”)
11 PUTIN Laid by elected, ‘manly’ leader? (5)
PUT (laid) IN (elected)
13 CUSTOM Sweet talking officer starts to interrupt orgasm casually for practice (6)
S[weet] T[alking] O[fficer] inside CUM (orgasm, casually)
20 CANUTE Would-be repulsive monarch half has the knack? (6)
CAN = has the knack. Seems to be wordplay for only half the answer here – still, there aren’t many monarchs starting CAN. These days historians prefer to call him CNUT, I’m sure Cyclops “has the knack” to create a clue for that
22 IBIS Lives broken by androgynous leggy thing (4)
BI (androgynous) inside IS (lives)
24 LORDS Legislators’ place where spin is quite common (5)
Double Def: House of / Cricketing location
26/12 HARD CASE Tough having erection with sheath? (4,4)
HARD (having erection) CASE (sheath)
28 WELL PAID The Eye’s going to get customised iPad like a top banker? (4-4)E
WE’LL (The Eye (we) going to (will)) IPAD* AInd: customised
29 IRON GRIP Thatcher’s firm hand on the tiller? Press note grave characters (4,4)
IRON (press) G (note) R.I.P. (grave characters)
30 MURKY Dubious Rupert’s leading trio at Sky abandoning chief (5)
MUR[doch] [s]KY
1 VOX POPULI Victory steer by Oscar-receiving dancing pupil, which the Mail likes to think it represents? (3,6)
V[ictory] OX (steer) O[scar] inside (PUPIL)* AInd: dancing.  “The voice of the people”.  If so there must be many more people than I think that want to divide the world into substances that cause cancer, vs. substances that cure cancer.  Unfortunately it seems to be too big a job for anyone to take on
2 ENCRYPT Scream “Pressure!”, in hospital department code (7)
CRY (scream) P[ressure] in ENT (hospital department)
3 KIT UP Pussy on the increase – equip army-style? (3,2)
KIT (pussy) UP (on the increase)
4 SCROTUM Balls’ bag film is full of crap (7)
ROT (crap) inside SCUM (film)
5 ECCENTRIC Enter Conservative, double whammied – impotent Cameron heads for way out! (9)
(ENTER CC)* I[mpotent] C[ameron] The two Cs come from “Conservative double”
6 DEFICIT Channel Islands fed up with sex: “It falls rather short” (7)
(C[hannel] I[slands] FED)< IT (sex).
7 NAILS Sun left editor over member’s tips (5)
S[un] L[eft] IAN (editor – Private Eye) all reversed
14 MINELAYER Cyclops’s shagger’s responsible for explosive put-down (9)
MINE (Cyclops’s) LAYER (shagger)
16 MATERNITY Labour has to be endured during this palsy welcoming of right plonker (9)
R[ight] NIT (plonker) inside (welcoming) MATEY (palsy, as in pal-sy = mate-y)
18 HESSIAN Coarse material from Nazi Protestant leader once? (7)
HESS (nazi leader) IAN (Protestant leader once – Ian Paisley)
19 SCREW UP To engage in sex at uni is to fail badly (5,2)
SCREW (to engage in sex) UP (at uni)
21 NO-HOPER Doomed sort Hoon is crap!” tipped agent (2-5)
HOON* AInd: is crap, REP< (agent, tipped (over))
25 SALEM Deal with McCarthy’s initial witchhunt situation (5)
SALE (deal) M[cCarthy]

No, the answer is not log cabin.
This is an indefinite integral so it is: Beach hut (log cabin + “sea”)

Another thing I was amazed to find is that i-i is a real number given by


(That’s enough maths stuff ed.)

12 Responses to “Private Eye / Cyclops 497 – Murky custom”

  1. sidey says:

    Well, I’ve thought about it all day but as the last time I did any advanced maths was pre 1970 I’m stuck.

  2. beermagnet says:

    Sorry sidey, I didn’t write the integral out very clearly.
    Let me try again:
    Q. What is the integral of (1/cabin) by (d cabin)?

    More usually you would work with the variable x and use shorthand symbols
    For example as on this page:

    Where we see
    integral of 1/x dx = ln|x| + C

    So in the “cabin” case it is
    ln(cabin) + C
    i.e. “log cabin” plus “sea”
    People often forget to include the constant C

    For the i^(-i) thing this substitutes using Euler’s identity, e^(pi*i) = -1
    I’m amazed that such an apparently purely imaginary value like i^(-i) is actually a real number.
    I’m probably missing something here …
    … Oh, yes I know what it is – this is supposed to be a crossword site.

  3. Monk says:

    (That’s not enough maths stuff, [another] ed.)

    More posts like beermagnet@2! I remember my dad (definitely not a prof, and before the days of Twitter) telling me the Jim Al-Khalili tweet in about 1970, and look where it led me!

    I love the i^i example, new to me, as I used to get students to show that the minimum value of the (real) function y=x^x was (1/e)^(1/e), after I’d taken a straw poll on their guesses of the value of 0^0. In the same vein, convincing them that 0! = 1 took longer than one might expect.

    Well I’d love to go on, but we setters shouldn’t really be seen to be getting too familiar with 15^2 bloggers these days … 😉

  4. sidey says:

    Ah, now I remember, the hours spent vainly trying to stay awake in Basher “I think we need a few more windows open boys” Blake’s classroom weren’t wasted.

  5. Andy says:

    29a – I was completely baffled by Canute as well… did anyone manage to make sense of this?

  6. John King says:

    I’m stumped at 20a CANUTE too. I even went down the KNACK = NUT / HALF MONARCH = CAEsar route with no luck. Luckily I had some covering letters and the first definition was good enough.

  7. Monk says:

    Assuming that the clue for 20ac appeared correctly, the “half has the knack” may simply be a very cryptic way of indicating that only half of the answer is CAN. I can’t think of anything else.

  8. lemming says:

    Monk, I agree. But strange. It niggles.

    I got my entry to #498 in by email at 6pm yesterday, tee hee. A bit silly really, given that they pick out the winner by some human attempt at random choice.

  9. sidey says:

    When I ‘solved’ CANUTE I assumed it was half of ‘can utilise’ without checking the spelling or counting.

  10. Monk says:

    For 20ac, it seems that the wordplay is therefore “half [of which is] has the knack”, which is quite an original (to me) idea. Perhaps “has the knack, but needs rather more” would have given the same letters but told the solvers to look for an implied additional entry component. Still, the novelty of the construction IMHO gives as good a penny drop as a cryptic definition.

  11. beermagnet says:

    I agree with Monk @10

    It is an original idea to construct a clue with wordplay to half the answer, and imply there it is only half – I was going to say as much in the blog but the urge to make a disreputable joke took over.
    Not sure it made for a good PDM – I was more confused than impressed.
    I agree that Monk’s suggested alternative would be a little less confusing, and kinder.

    Hang on, I’d better take back that last sentence – we setters bloggers shouldn’t really be seen to be getting too familiar with 15^2 bloggers setters these days. 😉

  12. Will says:

    Well, it may be an original idea but it’s still a poor clue, IMO.

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