Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24024 / Paul A Ripping Yarn!

Posted by tilsit on March 14th, 2007


Solving time: 21 minutes 

As one of the stars in the Guardian firmament, Paul can always be relied upon to provide an enjoyable challenge that will produce a smile or two en route.  Today’s was no exception, although I suppose the theme tumbles out fairly quickly.  Within that we have the usual clutch of brilliant clues, plus several laugh-out loud moments. 

On Saturday last, I had a very pleasant evening at the Listener Crossword Dinner in York and during a discussion with a couple of other setters over who produces the most  memorable clues and puzzles, it was Paul who accompanied Araucaria at the top of the list.  18 across today certainly joins that list!

Anyway, to today’s challenge and there are eight thematic clues which are fairly distinguishable by carrying the prefix or suffix 14 and a year in brackets.
I suspect most setters will quickly tumble that it refers to Best Picture Oscars.  However, just to enhance the experience there are a couple of nice cinematically referenced clues and even 24 down with the typically cheeky and outrageous OSCAR? clue.

All in all, a lovely romp and probably my favourite Guardian puzzle for a while.  Bravo, Paul! A standing ovation!

1   GEORDIE   Definition is obvious, but perhaps the indications a little less so.  EG (say, rev) + ORDIE  from the expression “Do or die”
5   PIGMENT   One to make you think.  A “Vicar, you might say” is a PI(OUS) GENT with 28  (Million) inside.  I suspect most solvers will guess this from the letter indications rather than the clue.
9   ORIEL   Have toi admit defeat on this one.  I thought it might be   LEIR (rev) + O (LOVE).  However, my dictionaries only give LEIR as a lesson or lore.  Again, probably to be guessed from letters or definition.
10  CLING FILM  C (Cold) + LING (Fish)+ “my theme”  FILM.
11  PREVALENCE  “Racketeer Rod” = LAVER (rev) inside PENCE
12  POLO    Double definition
14  BEST PICTURE   “Feel confident”  BE SURE about T (Braveheart finally) + PICT (old Scotsman).  Nice self-referential clue.
18  ALL ABOUT EVE   Absolutely brilliant!  The 1950 BP Oscar winner.  This would have gone down well at last Saturday’s Listener Table Quiz where everyone had to answer some clever Dingbat style clues.  “A Level” is literally  ALL about EVE!!
21  IBIS   IS following half of another (bird) BI reversed.
22  ARCTIC HARE  “Bow tie” =  ARC TIE about CHAR –  The Arctic Hare is one of the endangered species and of course it’s fur changes from dark to white.  Another nice clue.
25  GLADIATOR  Another themed clue.  Mr Crowe’s 2000 epic. Bit baffled about this. LAD I (boy, single) –  I would have thought GATOR would be a swamp attacker, rather than a victim of swamp attack.
26  ORDER   Double definition
27  PLATOON  Another nicely misleading clue.  PLATO (founder of the Academy – no, not that one! Try Ancient Greece!) +  ON
28,3  MILLION DOLLAR BABY  Another clever clue with a nicely misleading anagram.  BILLY IDOL ABNORMAL* and a nice indicator “CAST” to work with theme

1   GLOOPY  The close to the word “cracking” is G and LOOPY =  “nuts”
2   OLIVER  Apart from the definition, this defeats me.  Anyone help?
4   EMCEE   ‘EM =  Them +  CEE (Regular parts of  sChEmE)
5   PRINCIPLE   Homophone of PRINCIPAL
6   GIGI    One’s undercarriage GIG (Carriage) + I –  a tooth-sucking clue that will infuiate some.
7   EPILOGUE   Anagram of EGO IE PAUL less A  (The heart of Brave)
8   TOM JONES  Little bit =  JOT (rev) about M + ONES
13  SCREECH OWL   S = small CHOW inside CREEL
15  SQUARE TIN  “re” in SQUAT + IN
16  MAKING UP  Double definition
17  ULTIMATA  Compiund anagram   ATTILA MUST* minus st
19  GANDHI   Another clever clue.  I = 9th letter on top of its predecessors  G  AND H
20  NEURON   EURO inside N & N (“news”)
23  THRUM   THUM(P) about R
24  LIMO   To finish, an outrageous clue!  Some will love it, some will hate it!  I’m with the formers.  A limo is an O S (outsize) CAR!  [Pause for groan]

And as a certain Doctor used to say…..  And so to bed, with a broad beam on my face.  Bravo, Paul!

5 Responses to “Guardian 24024 / Paul A Ripping Yarn!”

  1. says:

    9ac – The spirit is Ariel, with the initial turning to O.

    18ac – A great clue, but then I would say that as I have used it myslef in the past!!

    25ac – I think Paul is uindicating in his Araucarian way that LAD I is the victim of the GATOR (ie has been swallowed by GATOR).

    2dn – Just bacon (ie no liver) – another clever, but some may say obscure piece od wordplay.

    I agree that this was an enjoyable puzzle, but not one for the purists!

  2. says:

    Some brilliant clues in this enjoyable puzzle but I am still not sure about 5a’s wordplay. Where in the clue is the indication that the ‘OUS’ of PIOUS GENT has to be dropped or am I missing something?

    Curious timing too – I wonder why this wasn’t printed the day after the Oscars or would that have made the theme too obvious?

  3. says:

    I enjoyed this a lot, and took somewhat more than 21 minutes -which was just as well as the Northern Line was up to its old tricks. I didn’t see the working at 5 across, but I think ‘pi’ is accepted enough on its own for the clue to be fair. The one I didn’t get was LIMO, and I’m not convinced by it. What’s the justification for capitalising the word, apart from the fact that OS wouldn’t work otherwise? Having said that, there were some very nice clues – GLADIATOR, EPILOGUE, ARCTIC HARE, GANDHI and of course, ALL ABOUT EVE, though I had a feeling that had been used before!

  4. says:

    A-Level was also used, for the same reason, as the title of the first Enigmatic Variations puzzle by Kea, whenever that was.

  5. says:

    Great blog, good job getting it all together :)

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