Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23994/Paul – heavyweight puzzle

Posted by ilancaron on February 7th, 2007


Solving time: 45’

I found this enjoyable though slow going because Paul’s wordplay is often subtle and surprising and he certainly likes subtraction clues. I got the boxer theme first and then the heavyweight sub-theme a bit later. Kept looking for Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston (the match of my childhood). Paul is slightly heretical but in a good way!


1 F[re]IGHTER – Subtraction (“lifting” in the theft sense) of RE (“soldiers”) from a “ship” (freighter) to produce a type of “aircraft”. I think that something indicating that “aircraft” is an example of a FIGHTER would have been in order – especially since 1A was the key to the rest of the puzzle.
10 WIT,HERS – part of a horse (“bit of a nag”!). HERS=”she should be credited” indicates ownership. Brilliant!
11 H(A,BAN)ERAS – Got lucky here because this was in a recent Azed (it’s a Cuban dance). But can A BAN be indicated by “an outlaw” – one’s inanimate and the other’s animate, no? HERA’S our goddesss.
12 LOU(I)S[e] – Joe LOUIS
13 DIG UP – take pugilist (“fighter”), reverse it, and replace “list” by D[ied]!
15 HOLY,FIELD – Evander HOLYFIELD: you’d find a “sacred cow” in a HOLY FIELD. Cute.
17 SAFETY PIN – (p,y, fasten I)* — not really Ximenean because “possibly” looks like it’s both the anagrind and part of the fodder (“edges to PossiblY”), although there’s both a question-mark and an exclamation-point indicating something’s fishy going on.
19 DU(RA)N – Roberto DURAN – only one I hadn’t heard of: with D?R??, the wordplay seemed clear.
23 C(ALI,B)RATE – A slightly strained surface but serves the purpose of containing the most famous of them all: Muhammad ALI.
25 DE[ad],MP,SEY – Jack DEMPSEY: rev(Yes PM=”Yes, Prime Minister”) being the one in which Hacker gets his revenge.
26 ROUNDEL – (one lur[i]d)*
27 PEN(AN)CE – clever clue with “an” being “essential” to PENCE (“change”) in the sense of being “at the core of”.
28 SPOONER – Brilliant clue: a Spoonerism in the clue indicates the “Reverend” who invented them because of his botched words!


2 GRO(WBA)G – WBA is World Boxing Association: this is what got me thinking about the theme.
3 T,YSON=rev(nosy) – Mike TYSON
5 LEWIS – machine-gun and Lennox LEWIS.
16 L,AND,LORDS – The “Oval” and LORDS are cricket grounds but the wordplay is: L (“close to Oval”) “and” LORDS (“similar venue”) – and the guy hosting you at your local pub is your LANDLORD.
17 STAND-UP – double meanings: STAND-UP comic and to STAND-UP and defend your point of view: nice noun/verb mix.
18 FOR,EMAN=rev(name) – George FOREMAN
20 R,WAN,DAN – With ??A?D?N it was going to be RWANDAN or Ugandan. The wordplay seems to be: R[ight] with WAN (“white”) underlining it, followed by (and)* (“wrong”).
21 NEEDLER – (relen[t]ed)*. My last clue. I suppose a NEEDLER is a kind of craftsman (though the normal meaning would be someone who’s annoying).
24 BR(U)NO – Frank BRUNO. BRNO’s our Czech city (not Oslo!).

3 Responses to “Guardian 23994/Paul – heavyweight puzzle”

  1. says:

    Solved this in under 30 mins (a record for me with a Paul puzzle!) thanks to getting the boxing theme very quickly.

    I’m not a great boxing fan but two of the most compelling fights I’ve ever seen were the Roberto Duran v Sugar Ray Leonard bouts in the ’80s for the welterweight(?) title. Leonard was clearly the more skilful boxer but Duran won it over the full distance thanks to his unbelievable fighting spirit, absorbing all the punishment he was taking and still going forward.

    It was therefore a real shock when, in the rematch, having been outclassed by Leonard, he suddenly quit at the end of round 7(?) while still capable of boxing on with the words “No mas” (“No more”). Two great fights for different reasons…

  2. says:

    Hmm… I assumed they were all heavyweights — I guess Duran’s the only exception (?) — being the only one I hadn’t heard of I just assumed.

  3. says:

    Yes, you are right, the rest are all heavyweights as far as I can see. Guess not even Paul could not find a known heavyweight matching D?R?N!

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