Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23988 / Paul – difficult

Posted by petebiddlecombe on January 31st, 2007

petebiddlecombe.

Solving time 14:42

Not much to do here, so let’s have a go. This was pretty tough, and there are three clues I don’t understand or can’t quite swallow. For me, these slightly spoil an otherwise entertaining puzzle.

Across
1 LI(T)E,RACY. Romance = lie, “like a Jackie Collins novel” = RACY.
5 ESCHEW – letter swap in Escher.
9 GERONIMO – rev. of minor in Geo- = “earth”.
12 T(HATCHER)IT,E – “old blue” is the def, from the traditional Tory colour.
17 STEE(L)D,RUM
18 SAN(H)E,Dr.,IN
19 DHOTI – TO in half of GanDHI
24 HOT DOG – the first baffler, as I don’t see how you get the DOG part. “Such pants” provides HOT, for those who can remember the fashion of c. 1970. But “taken down” just seems to link up to the mustard and ketchup bit for surface reading purposes. I wondered about a reference to “sausage dog” but it doesn’t seem strong enough. Or am I missing something?
25 DI,STRICT – Princess Diana campaigned against mines, but I can’t make “put her foot down” into “strict” without a “was” in front. OAIMS? again …
27 RE(T.A.)IN,E.R.
Down
1 LEG IT,IM=M1,IS = one’s,E=point
2 TAR,PAUL,IN,S – “me” = (the setter’s pseudonym) is standard Guardian fare.
3 RUN=ladder as in stockings,IC(e)=rocks.
4 COMMENSURATE – “A RUS(k)”<= in COMMENT, then E=point
6 S(HOVEL)LED – time wasted here looking for SNOW????? words, which I suspect was intended.
11 RISE AND SHINE = “get up”. “rhin-” = nose-related, there’s an anagram of hair in there, and ne is an archaism for not=”never”, but if these are relevant, the rest is a closed book to me. Any offers?
14 AMBIDEXTER – cryptic def.
16 STERN,POST
21 U,L.T.(R)A. – LTA = Lawn Tennis Assoc. = “racketeers”
22 SHE,M

7 Responses to “Guardian 23988 / Paul – difficult”

  1. says:

    20, 24 are two well-constructed run-on clues:
    20 is NOT A SAUSAGE clued by “nothing dissimilar to…” so it’s “nothing” and it’s “dissimilar” to 24 which is HOT DOG. I think that “such pants” is what happens when a DOG is HOT.

    11D is a rather cleverly indicated anagram ([o]ne’s n[o]se? I d[o], hair)* where O removal is indicated by “never old”. Ximenean?

  2. says:

    Good work, Ilan. 24A is my fault entirely – spot the cat owner… 11D: Strict Ximeneans might quibble with the punctuation in “old-fashioned”, but for daily paper purposes I’m not too fussed. That said, the combination of O-deletions and “split fodder” (separated by ‘with’) makes this a very complex bit of construction, so I wonder how many solvers understood this clue.

  3. says:

    Have to agree re. 25, the surface was clearly irresistable.

  4. says:

    I was defeated by RISE AND SHINE, but it finally makes sense (thanks to Ilan). I rather like the fact that ‘never old’ means you take out ALL of the Os – too often you see ‘pointless’ inaccurately used to mean ‘delete an N while leaving an S and two Es’ or some such. But while I read ‘Such pants’ first as meaning ‘hot pants’, then as meaning ‘what a hot dog does’, neither justifies ‘taken down’ as far as I can see. And quite right about DISTRICT. Stricter editing required?

  5. says:

    I guess “taken down smothered in ketchup and mustard” = “something taken down …”, with “taken down” interpreted as “being eaten”. Still a bit of a stretch, so I’ll change to “mostly my fault”.

  6. says:

    I think this was a bit quicker than the average Paul for me (12’06″), with some agonising over the spelling of AMBIDEXT(E/O)R. I didn’t get any of the clues mentioned above until reading this blog, but I love ‘such pants’ for ‘hot dog’. The hyphenated ‘old-fashioned’ is a bit stretched even for the Guardian, but I completely agree with Mick’s comment about ‘never’ and ‘pointless’.

  7. says:

    Is the ‘taken down’ not referring to the fact that when you buy a hot-dog you usually ‘take it down’ as the guy in the hot dog van is usually above you and hands it down to you (suggested to me by Nimrod last night)?

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