Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24128, Paul — spot the author

Posted by jetdoc on July 13th, 2007


To my relief, on a day with multiple unexpected work deadlines to meet, this was one of Paul’s easier puzzles, and I polished it off reasonably quickly. Solving it depended on getting Truman Capote, and knowing the titles of his works. It could have been tricky for anyone not familiar with Capote and with no reference to hand; but the titles are pretty well known (or, at least, two of them are; I had to check 7,22). On a non-blog day, I probably wouldn’t have bothered too much with the wordplay for the titles.

1 DECAGON — ‘December agony’ curtailed.
2 BOHEMIA — HEMI ‘crushed’ by BOA.
9 LEPER — ‘repel’ reversed. I’m not too sure about the soundness of this clue, but it was solvable.
10 BALTIC SEA — nice clue, with deceptive surface reading. *(case) on BALTI (‘what’s hot’). The Baltic Sea is not hot.
12 ECHO — hidden letters.
14 IN COLD BLOOD — described by Capote as ‘a non-fiction novel’. INC = incorporated; OLD BLOOD = ancestors.
16 EATING APPLE — not an article I’d immediately think of as being ‘polished’, though I suppose one could polish an apple before eating it. E = English; A = article; TIN = can; GAP = split; P = page; LE = French definite article.
21 TIER — ‘tiger’ minus g
25,11 BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS — BREAK = destroy; FAST = sound (as in secure); TIFF = argument, in *(in a nasty).
26 INNER — ‘winner’ minus w
27 DULLARD — ‘duel’ minus e; LARD = fat. I’m not sure about the ‘In’ at the beginning of the clue.
28 HYDRANT — *(dry) in ‘Hants’ minus s. Given that ‘Hants’ is already an abbreviation, is it valid to abbreviate it further?
1 DOLLAR — “dolour”. This has been done before.
2 CAPOTE — the theme of the puzzle. OT (Old Testament) in CAPE.
3 GIRLFRIEND — ‘rig’ reversed; FRI in LEND.
4 NUBIA — ‘A1 bun’ reversed.
5 BELLYFLOP — *(fly) following BELL (= alarm); O = zero; P = pressure. Definition refers to 15 down.
7,22 MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS — this is the one I needed to look up. I got the CHAMELEONS from the clue and the checking letters quite early on. It is quite an impressive anagram — *(if man’s colour scheme).
8 ANACONDA — “Anna conned a”.
13 ABBEY LAIRD — *(Lady Barbie). Not a term I was familiar with, but, sans Chambers, probably solvable anyway once You’d got some checking letters.
15 CRASH LAND — ‘ditch‘ is the definition. RASH = precipitate in CL (centilitre); AND.
17 ETHEREAL — E = ecstasy; THE REAL.
19 CORNEA — part of the eye. COR plus ‘neat’ minus t.
20 ESPRIT — not sure I understand this one.
23 MATCH — two meanings.
24 SKUA — ‘auks’ reversed. Having sat through far too many (to me) almost incomprehensible lectures on the population genetics of arctic skuas, I will say no more.

14 Responses to “Guardian 24128, Paul — spot the author”

  1. Shirley says:

    20 Dn ESPRIT. ESP is Extra Sensory Perception (Mysterious power) and RIT (Ritardando)is a musical term for slowing down. The whole thing means vivacity

  2. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Shirley — I frequently miss what to me are the more esoteric musical references!

  3. Mike M. says:

    1d should have been “Money *that* talks….”
    My old grammar teacher would be spinning in his grave, if he were dead.

  4. Adrian says:

    “money which talks” is perfectly grammatically correct. It’s only some silly American books which claim otherwise.

  5. Mike M. says:

    Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, actually….

  6. mark says:

    Don’t know much about grammar so I’ll leave that dispute to you guys (enjoyed the riposte though).

    Am I the only one who found 1A very hard?

    I’m not sure I’ve come across this type of clue before; where the curtailing then applies to two succesive words AND they aren’t even straightforward i.e Dec for Christmas. Never would have got it!

  7. Mike M. says:

    BTW: isn’t “perfectly grammatically correct” a split infinitive…? ;o)
    (Just teasing….!)

    Yes, I thought 1ac was hard… only got it after getting a lot of letters in. Enjoyed the puzzle a lot overall though – Paul is one of my favourite setters.

    (Thinking about it, if Paul is a setter, does that make us settees?!)

  8. jetdoc says:

    1ac was a typical Paul clue (Paul is free to dispute this).

    I think it makes the crossword a settee.

  9. eimi says:

    So was 1 Across couched in unfamiliar terms?


    What was the clue?

  10. muck says:

    Abbey Laird isn’t in Chambers, or my Scottish encylopedia, but probably relates to the fact that Holyrood being outwith the Edinburgh city boundaries was a haven for debtors.

  11. muck says:

    Google ‘Abbey Laird’

    High on a mound above St Margaret’s Loch sit the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel, which is one of the most visible historic sites in Holyrood Park. It dates from some time prior to 1426, when its first repairs were recorded and it was a popular place of pilgrimage in the 15th century. The last record of a chaplain is in 1581, some 50 years after the first recorded debtor escaped his creditors in the land around Holyrood Abbey, which was a debtor’s sanctuary. Fugitives could escape justice there and Charles X of France was amongst those said to have sought refuge as an “Abbey Laird” before he became king.

  12. Fletch says:

    Eimi asked what was the clue?

    1a Figure curtailing the misery of Christmas? (7)

  13. eimi says:

    Thanks, Fletch. In which case I’d suggest that the implication is that Dec is more an abbreviation than a curtailment – to me, a tail has to be at least less than half the word, so that it’s DEC AGONY that’s curtailed rather than DECEMBER AGONY. I think 😉

  14. jetdoc says:

    ‘Abbey-laird’ is in Chambers, but without the helpful explanation provided by Muck.

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