Guardian 29076 – Vulcan – Square Fifteen (2023)


This was a little harder than usual for Vulcan, I thought, and I can't fully parse 6d. Undoubtedly, help will come soon. Thanks to Vulcan.

1THAMESA lot of wealth can be lost: a message forbanker distributing capital(6)
Hidden in wealth A MESSAGE
5INNBarRound village that will be renovated soon (8)
[village]What about COMING SOON*
9DISTURBThe path to promotionNickel? (8)
ST (road) + DRIVE; Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party until recently
10CUTA shirt part is imminentto divorce(3,3)
11EXPERIMENTALtentativelyold fairy, so to speak? (12)
13TRAMPProwlerthere's nothing to put on the stove (4)
14BE DIFFERENTmistakenly agreedbelittle(8)
(AGREED)* - not a common word, but more familiar in its "pejorative" adjectival form
17BETWEEN DECKThe cheapest accommodationalways in the theater business (8)
E'ER no [the] STAGE
18AIRYUnrealType of penguin that acts first (4)
FAIRY (a kind of penguin) minus the initial
20DO SOLOred card player Just getting started(3,3,6)
double definition
23SCRATCHFinally notice after the fightto load(6)
SCRAP + [notable]E
24WORK LOADall i have to doshould replace dark wool (8)
25LIGHTERsecond game maybeless important(8)
26COMPARISONComparisonI have fun (6)
me in SMILE
2TO HATEhusband swallowedstrong feelings(4)
3MORSE CODEA venerable communication system, that's the summary (5:4)
Expanded definition, where "long and short" refers to Morse code bars and dots
4SHERPAhigh level guideThe phrase needs to be translated (6)
5CENTENARY WARSfight of the century? (7,5,3)
enigmatic definition
6BERGAHORNmacabre keep talkingbang(8)
I'm not sure - it could be a homophone of "sick" (grim) + MORE (more), but then where does the A come from? Or is it "sick"? Or should the hint be " another tree"?
7ELTONJohnwho is exempt from works (5)
LET* + ON (works)
8BREATHTAKINGpersistentOfficer queues players (10)
REF[eree] + ACTOR (player) in RY (railway, line)
12PROPOSALlast problem to solvefor the pope(10)
(last thread)*
15GRAND-SLAMwin all gamesit could bea very difficult question(5,4)
Double Definition - Win every game in various sporting events or every trick in bridge
16ASASir Roger nameis on the list (8)
Double definition – Sir Roger Casement was an Irish diplomat and nationalist who was executed by the United Kingdom for treason in World War I; and a casement window is a window frame
19ARROGANCEarrogance: delete (6)
(Rub it)*
21TWANGsatisfiedof women in the dynasty (5)
W in TANG (Chinese dynasty)
22SEGELcheap offeradvertised for boat trip (4)
homophone of "sale"

83 thoughts on “Guardian 29076 – Vulkan”

  1. Enjoy, thank you Vulcan. I've never heard of DEROGATE, but I assume the adjective comes from somewhere. Had heard of one of the two British. I did not analyze CUT OFF.

    Thanks for the blog Andre.

  2. I had the same problem as you with the homophone in 6d - I don't know where the A came from.

    Thanks for the blog (and for confirming that a fairy penguin exists)

  3. About SYCAMORE, I read as our blogger,oven end + more. Though he wasn't quite convinced.

    Otherwise a pleasant start to the week.

    I had to see Sir Roger.

  4. Thanks Vulcan and Andrew
    Tried sickest first + more. It didn't feel right.
    Not in the mood anymore? Even that doesn't work.
    As Andrew says, there may be an "a" missing from the clue.


    I call it worth it. Someone on the Guardian website thinks the A is the French word à for "to".
    I am not convinced that there are no signs of being French.

  6. In SYCAMORE maybe a = to

  7. Sorry Andrew, I thought it would be easier than usual, which was perfect for me. Thanks Vulcano and A.

  8. I liked this puzzle. Favorites: LIGHTER, SHERPA, FIREPROOF.

    New to me: Sir Roger Casement.

    thank you both

    I realize now that I didn't realize I forgot the A in 6d SYCAMORE after parsing it as =sick + more.

  9. I found it easier than the typical Vulcan. I only had trouble parsing 7d Elton because the 'off' was distracting. I still can't see where this works in the suggestion. I was also thinking a lot about 16d because I had never heard of the person but was trying to find other words for an anagram with "name". I don't understand the ambiguity.

  10. I found this quicker and easier than Quiptic, but I didn't have to explain SYCAMORE, which I couldn't fully do.

    Thank you André and Vulcano.

  11. "Venerable" seemed like an odd choice of adjective in 3D. Does it have more meaning than just the meaning of "old"?
    Small typo on blog in 22d - it should read "Sale".
    Thanks to Vulcan and Andrew

  12. I'm afraid I agree with JerryG @7 here. Vulcan usually has several clues that I think take as long to solve as the rest of the puzzle, but I found this one the easiest. SYCAMORE, however, was a mystery.

    LOI was CASEMENT - the word "name" in the clue had me looking for N in a box. Why not just "Sir Roger is in the picture"?

    Thanks to V and A

  13. [email protected]That's why

  14. GDU @1 - Roger Casement may have objected to being called 'British'! My parents' house had fairy penguins in the backyard, so I didn't have to look far for penguin species. Very smooth, although I didn't notice the SYCAMORE problem. I especially liked the REFRACTORY. Thanks Vulcan and Andrew.

  15. Good Monday riddle, although I don't understand 6d very well either.

    Has anyone tried SERAPH for 4d?

    Thanks Vulcan and Andrew.

  16. I thought "macabre" had an "a" sound at the end, so "sick a"?

    I'm in fast storage today, a Pb for a Vulcan for me.

    Thank you Andre and Vulcano

  17. Lord Jim @15: That never crossed my mind, but with the tip it doesn't go bad!

  18. Probably because it impressed me, I thought 1 was the best of several well-crafted clues here. Thanks V+A

  19. Lord Jim @15 Me too for Seraph. Sounds like a perfectly fine answer to me, especially for a Monday, although the definition is a little looser than Sherpa's.

    I'm also not a fan of 1a because "you might lose" is superfluous and doesn't even give a smoother surface. While it's perfectly fine for a clue to be intentionally misleading, I don't think it's good style to simply add extra words to the clue for no other reason than to be misleading.

    Otherwise a nice Monday deal.

  20. It seemed that many statements from the entertainment world came to mind. PERI from G&S' funny captions Iolanthe - the Peer and the Peri, HOBO from Canadian TV series "The Littlest Hobo" and STEERAGE from "Titanic".

    A good crossword puzzle to start your Monday.

    [email protected]: "off" is the anagrinde for "let". "ON" is, of course, synonymous with functioning.


    Thank you Vulcan and Andrew - the V&A combo!

  21. Yes Lord Jim @15. I was one of them, I put the first anagram that fit.

    I like it, thank you Vulcan, good Monday lunch. And also many thanks to Andrew.

  22. Lord Jim @15, as usual, I agree with you - trying to reconcile SERAPH with STURGEON pissed me off a lot, which of course was right! I don't see maple - and what the hell does the surface mean?

    As a DuncT @11, I've been wondering what "honorable" is.

    I had a tick for SIMILE.

    Thank you V and A

  23. Thanks Vulcan and Andrew
    SERAPH for me too, and I thought it was a good tip!

  24. One more to scratch SYCAMORE's head. A CUT OFF is also a type of shirt, so an even better tip. Slow start at the top, but everything fell into place quickly. I agree with your comment @14, TassieTim about Casement being run by the 'Brits'.

    Ta Vulcan & Andrew.

  25. On the left you can also see a Nina from SOS, probably MORSECODE's most famous piece.

  26. Good riddle. I never heard of Sir Roger or the fairy PERI. I agree with SICAMORE


    Thanks Vulcan and Andrew

  27. Good start to the week, I particularly liked the structure of EXPERIMENTAL. While I also think the Sycamore was a little dodgy, it reminds me of the time in grade school when the teacher tried to have his class identify ten common trees by their foliage. The slowest/least interested? The 9-year-old boy always had to be cheered by the rest of the class whenever he came across the sycamore leaf, through a collective show in which everyone pretended to be noisily sick...

  28. ...and OFF THE PITCH, in my opinion, is more suitable for a player who gets a red card than OFF THE PITCH...

  29. Similar thoughts to SYCAMORE, but I just put it without trying too hard to justify it. OFF THE GROUND kept me going for a while. I doubt that expression has been used throughout football history. It's "off the field" or "off the field". "Ground" means the entire arena, including bleachers and benches.

  30. I think 6D should be more macabre (sounds macabre), so sicker + more.

  31. I agree with the above, FROM THE GROUND is not a common expression.

    Players usually stayin floorwhen sentoff the field.

  32. I fooled myself into thinking that the answer to 4d was "Seraphim", which I think would be a good clue, but 9a should have been "Sturgeon".

  33. Another SERAPH here and also rescued by STURGEON

    THAMES was one of those hidden words that are harder to find in the newspaper than on the internet because line breaks break the word. That's my excuse anyway

    Overall, I had a small meal - perhaps because I expected it to be easy?

    SYCAMORE is possibly pronounced (by some) with minimal emphasis on the A?

    Greetings V&A

  34. I know little about the area, but yes, as other Seraphim have tried and thought, uh... Angels... Seraphim... maybe they guided him to the Pearly Gates... No uncertainty in Sherpa.

  35. I had no trouble switching from the phrase to SHERPA, but the first anagram I found for dark wool was WOODLARK - clearly not what I was looking for.

    Today there are no particular problems, except that I also have no idea how SYCAMORE works. I liked the fight of the century, although I assume it's nothing new.

  36. A delicious (funny) Monday riddle.

    The Thames was so well hidden that I didn't see it! I also liked the REFRACTORY for the surface and the GRAND SLAM dd. I couldn't get the bathroom to 7D and see Seraph instead of SHERPA. Apparently (who knew?),The nine orders of angels are: angel, archangel, cherub, dominion/dominion, power, principality, seraphim, throne, virtue. TILT were the Fairy Penguin and Sir Roger (no room for Moore there). Perhaps BillB@30 has good reason to get sicker?

    Thanks Vulcan and Andrew.

  37. I'm one of those who, like Lord Jim, skipped straight to SERAPH - because THAMES was a subscriber and it seemed like an obvious anagram.
    But a little later, the only Nicola I could think of needed an E as the third letter in the guide.
    Maybe I should switch to a pencil...
    Many thanks to Vulcan and Andrew

  38. Robi @36 reminds us that Seraphim are too high to act as guides. This duty is generally entrusted to the lower classes 🙂

  39. When I was 16, my preoccupation with literary matters immediately reminded me of Sir Roger De Coverley. the character created by Joseph Addison in sketches he wrote for the viewer in the early 18th century. I met him when he was in fourth grade with an English teacher. I'm afraid Sir Roger failed to capture the attention of teenagers in Scotland in 1966. Here, too, literature saved me. However, when I remembered The Ghost of Roger Casement Knocks on the Door by Yeats.

  40. Spooners Catflat @39 – the same Sir Roger immediately came to mind too, whom I met at the same stage of my training. It had an equally disappointing effect on teenagers in England in the 1950s.
    We like to learn your dance, but almost the same age.

  41. Straightforward fun for a Monday morning. PERI was new to me. AIRY held me for a moment, TIL Fairy is another name for small or blue penguins.

  42. I was surprised that this was described as "a little harder than usual" by our esteemed blogger, as I know he tends to solve it much more fluidly than I do and I found it ridiculously easy. (To be fair, I didn't have to complete the SYCAMORE analysis.) This supports my theory that much of the difficulty of a crossword puzzle is in the mind or state of mind of the solver. Fatigue, distraction, depression, worry - all these factors can be harmful; Moderate alcohol consumption can unpredictably help or hinder. (Of course, that doesn't mean you were angry, Andrew. 🙂)

    I'm surprised that so many people here chose SERAPH. I started in the top left corneraboveTips and STURGEON were a simple solution, so when I got to 4d, SHERPA was all that was needed.

    Thanks to Vulcan and Andrew.

  43. Sheffield Hatter at 42: In my case, it's because even though I complete the clues in the order they're written, as soon as I solve one, I immediately try one of the crosses where I now have a letter. If I pass, maybe the lyrics in this answer can help others get down further. (Which is why I turned SERAPH on before I even saw Nicola.) It's worth it, I come across a clipper quite often...

  44. Wellbeck @43. Yes, sometimes I do, but in this case I didn't resolve 1a (an elusive and cleverly hidden answer, I thought) until much later, so I didn't have to trip over my shoelaces.

  45. Finally a volcano I liked. It looked much cleaner and more Rufus-esque than others I've tried (and nearly given up on).

  46. Thank you both,
    Fast but fun I thought. The old fairy sparked my imagination - a sentence I haven't had to write before.

  47. To harvest[email protected]: Sir Roger De Coverley also crossed my mind before deciding on Casement... I'm surprised so many here have never heard of the latter, as he is a key figure in modern Irish history. In addition to his role in Irish independence and the grim circumstances of his death, he should be remembered for his work helping publicize the atrocities committed in the Congo in the name of Leopold, King of the Belgians. I'm not always in favor of tearing down statues, but there are exceptions and he is one of them.

  48. hatter from sheffield @42 - My defense: I'm also getting the clues in order, but when I saw "Nicola" on 9ac I thought of my daughter instead of Mrs. Sturgeon and I left it to go back to her hoping it was a word game I could get this daughter interested in crossword puzzles - I tried all my kids for years to no avail! Going back to the lanes across the way it was clear what 9ac was as obviously all the cruisers were in place - but I couldn't understand why the STURGEON didn't fit!

  49. Anyone who doesn't know "Peri" must have come across the opera "Iolanthe" by G&S? Its subtitle is "A Pêra e o Peri".

  50. Another that came to CASEMENT via Yeats's poem, intended to be sung to the same tune asThe only foundation of the church.

  51. There is! No wonder I had trouble processing "TESLA" in 9a; his name is Nikola, not Nicola.

    I also found 6d somehow "sicker", "more".

  52. The ongoing saga of non-Rufus users trying to make a Rufus and therefore not allOsimply! Also agree that the SYCAMORE line is unreliable. Otherwise, okay.

  53. Thanks for the blog, nice riddle for Tradition Monday, nice selection of fun clues.

  54. I had friends before the Thames and that was all I could do with cruisers. A hidden definition very well hidden.

  55. The first Sir Roger I thought of was Bannister! I had to look for CASEMENT. ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF WAR and REFRACTORY were my favorites. At SYCAMORE, people can complain all they want, but there's no way around it, right?

  56. [ Roz @53: I started working at the Q/KPR youth academy this week - the revolution begins 🙂 ].

  57. I agree with Sheffield Hatter @42: "ridiculously easy"

    Thank you all, Vulcan and Andrew

  58. [AlanC @56 very impressive so it's your fault if they get demoted in 10 years? I refined a tip for you, nothing personal, so no offense, here's how it works.
    Reason for mournful rioters (6:4). ]

  59. [Roz @58: lol - I think you know me pretty well, you just choked on my beer].

  60. Sicko is portrayed as ghoulish in Sick in Chambers. I also had Seraph in 4d

  61. 6d would work if the answer was SYCOMORE (a kind of fig tree). The homophone would then be "sicko", given by Chambers as (adj) "perverse; macabre". Perhaps the most obvious spelling has been replaced?

  62. Tom_I @61: That's convincing. I think "Sycomore" (like the fig tree) occurs in the Old Testament, although upon consultation with Chambers it appears to have been the original spelling of Acer pseudoplatanus as well.

  63. [email protected],[email protected]and others passim. The mentioned spelling change (sycomore->sycamore) shows how an o sound (as in "sicko") becomes a schwar when in the middle of a word and can therefore easily be changed to use an A to start with. are written. Given the obviousness of the answer, is it necessary for the homophone to be as precise as some seem to want?

    Personally, I just shrugged. 🙂

  64. It dissolves easily from top to bottom with the same brow lift everyone has had with SYCAMORE. I was kind of hoping the typesetter or editor would have come and explained it, but I can't see anything here yet. As always, many thanks to the creators and bloggers.

  65. sh @63: The voice of reason! It's not the most successful clue in the puzzle, though, with an interface that is pure nonsense (as Eileen @22 pointed out).

  66. I thought THAMES was pretty well hidden and it was one of the last ones I had there. SHERPA was the first to jump in and I was thinking of Paris as the capital. I really liked it. SYCAMORE didn't bother me so much, imagining a pronunciation where the a was almost silent, as sometimes happens in the south of the United States. Thanks to Vulcan and Andrew.

  67. [email protected]: Slightly more obscure than the G&S, but there is also a Robert Schumann song cycle translated from German as Paradise and the Peri. It is rarely performed, but I have heard a strange snippet on Radio 3 from time to time.

  68. Macabre is pronounced makabra, so = more macabre, so I think the tip is appropriate. Easier than most Vulcans.

  69. [email protected]and another. Sycamore would be an acceptable answer for 6d, but the Guardian's crossword page correctly states the most obvious aa sycamore.

  70. [email protected]:SYCOMORE appears in the King James Version of the Bible in the story ofZacchaeus the taxThe Collector was too small to see Jesus over the heads of the crowd, and he climbed a sycamore tree to get a better view. It was probably the usual spelling at the time.

  71. Thank you Andre and Vulcano! A pretty painless start to the week for me. There were several names and terms I was not familiar with (peri, Mr. Roger, Mr. Sturgeon...), but they could be figured out with crosswords and wordplay - although in the case of 18A I mistakenly assumed the existence of an "assumed "furry penguin" concluded from this. 🙂

    Add me to the list of those who had SERAPH / not sure about Macabre / wondering if there was something behind the inclusion of "Venerable" in the MORSECODE reference.

  72. Pink @58. Funny but real, do it, do it. “Ground” works as anagrind and definition. It took a long look at Paddington.

  73. Spooner's Cat Aba @72
    ...unless the whole tooltip is &lit? AlanC would know.

  74. If 13A were a clue, the instruction not to put anything on the stove would be "ohob" instead of HOBO. Since it's across the street, I'm assuming "up" means "near" in this case, so the "o" might as well follow the stove. Still, I found it a little long.

  75. To harvest[email protected]It's a &Lit , not just any reason, it's a specific reason for yobbos who are unhappy. The whole track is the pun and the whole track is the definition.

  76. ChatGPT suggests a solution for 6d:Based on these clues, "Silent Hill" could be a possible solution. Silent Hill is a popular horror video game series known for its macabre and dark atmosphere.

  77. Thank you both and I was entertained - that's all I ask. (THAMES is very good.)

    I thought it was a matter of going from "Sir Roger" to CASEMENT.He was (it seems) an unfortunate victim of pedantry.. (But I seem to recall that the offending "comma" was both "there" and "not there" in different versions of the story - I don't see what difference it makes in either case, anyway.)

  78. [email protected]. I think a stove is the 'top of a range' and not a range that would contain an oven and possibly also a grill, so 'a' correctly identifies the O as next to the range.

  79. The same goes for Bannister,[email protected]. How did Casement manage to defeat the so terrible Leopold, Nuncio @47?

  80. @73, 75 et passim, and that's why he gagged, I thought...

  81. Gladys @70: The species of maple we call sycamore is not native to the Levant - the tree mentioned in the Bible must be the common fig tree

  82. [It is generally believed that sycamore trees were introduced to Britain in the Tudor period. I can't say I'm happy - our garden literally had over ten thousand seedlings this year and we are far from alone!]

  83. I always imagined CASEMENT as the result of a bestial encounter.

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