Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23,976 – Guess the Setter?

Posted by loonapick on January 17th, 2007


For early birds, the online version of today’s puzzle provided the solver with a challenge – “Guess the Setter”. The setter’s name didn’t appear in the crossword heading, however it did appear in one of the clues. Even before I made a quick visit to the newsagent to check, I had worked out who the compiler was from the nature of some of the clues. You can always rely on Paul to provide some adult humour, and it was there again today. 

After completing yesterday’s puzzle very quickly, I got off to a slow start today, eventually solving the bottom half before getting very far in the top half.  In the end it took me about 12-13 minutes.   The down answers were considerably easier to work out than most of the across ones.

ACROSS 1,6dn – FOURTH DIMENSION – (hours find time)* + ON – well-worded, had worked out the answer before I saw the anagram.

4 – BLADDER – B-LADDER – one of the clues that convinced me that Paul was the setter – not entirely sure that the bladder “captures” the wee, but it certainly makes the surface read very well.

11 – ENROL – ENRO(n) + L – Enron being the Texas energy company which went bankrupt in 2001 as a result of systematic and planned accounting fraud.

15 – YESSIR – YE-SS-IR(e) – haven’t come across “asking” as a link word before

17 – HERPES – HER(P)E-S – another “Paul” clue.

19 – DROWNED – D(R)OWNED – the question mark at the end just about makes this clue OK, but I don’t think “sunk” should be used as the definition, and then to define part of the wordplay? Again, the surface reads well, and you can arrive at the answer, so maybe it’s fair enough.

22 – NO-BRAINER – NOB-RA(IN)ER where RAER = (<=rear). I only worked out the wordpaly as I was writing this blog.

24 – DECOR – DE(CO)R(by)

27 – EUCALYPTI – (E city Paul)* – he got his name in anyway, even if the online editor missed it off.

28 – SIDEARM – (admires)* – apparently a sidearm pitch in baseball is one where the arm is parallel to the ground – had never heard of this before checking.


3 – TOODLE-PIP – (to old)* + (<= pipe). One of the best clues in this crossword.

8 – MINCER – double definition, and another “Paul”ish clue.

14 – OVERBOARD – another clue where the surface reads well, but the definition is slightly dodgy. If you are overboard, you might be calling for rescue, but even with the question amrk, I’m not convinced that this consitutes a definition.

16 – SWORDPLAY – S(WORDPLAY) – brilliant, and another typical Paul clue.

18 – SUNBEAM – SUN(BEAM) – unless I am missing something, I don’t like “wood” as a definition for “beam”

20 – DERVISH – double meaning, a dervish being a member of an ascetic Muslim sect which professes poverty, and also something “dervish” would have the characteristics of derv – a variant of diesel.

23 – ARENA – I originally assumed that “ultimately” refers to the tradition of Roman gladiators hailing the Emperor before their fights with the words, “Morituri te salutant” – “Those who are about to die salute you”.  However, see linxit’s comment below for a more sensible explanation.

3 Responses to “Guardian 23,976 – Guess the Setter?”

  1. says:

    23D – I’d say ultimately refers to the last letter of sportsmeN going inside AREA=field, with the whole clue &lit.

    They’ve got the setter’s name up online now, by the way. I also guessed it was Paul from 27ac, but already suspected that anyway.

  2. says:

    Linxit, yes you are right – didn’t think of AREA=”field”. D’oh!

  3. says:

    With Paul, more than any other regular Guardian setter, I find I take time to adjust my thinking to his. Very often I go many minutes getting few, if any, solutions until I get into a ‘Paul’ mode of thinking and the answers finally come. Sometimes the clues are questionable (like 14d and 18d) but this more often than not made up for by excellent clues (like 4a, 3d, 16d).

    One minor quibble, can ‘EC’ mean European nations in these days of the EU?

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