Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,131, Taupi: Pun my word

Posted by michod on July 17th, 2007


I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, though it may not have been to everyone’s taste. My enjoyment of crosswords starts from the same kind of wordplay employed in puns, which often, though not always, rely on homophones – used extensively to good effect here. I know there’s always a debate about homophones because of variations in pronunciation, but I think it’s worth stretching a point to let them work. I’ve randomly assigned the ~ sign to mean ‘sounds like’.


1. LONESOME (~LOAN SUM). One quibble – ‘in account’ is the homophone indicator here, but an account can be written or spoken.

9. MEDIOCR E. (DORMICE*). Average as in not that good.

10. R(A V)AGE. A V-sign is normally made in anger, so there’s a little overlap here.

12. (l)ATTIC(e). Very good clue.

13. BEADY EYES. (~BDI’s). The most outrageous of the puns, relying on the knowledge that BDI is the German equivalent of the CBI – Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie – and is probably in Chambers. I guessed it quite quickly, but do have a knowledge of German, which helped.


21. ECCENTRIC. It took me a moment to work out the wordplay here. This type of clue will be familiar to solvers of advanced cryptics as a compound anagram – OF CONFIDENCE TRICK* minus KIND OF*. Azed is big on these, but would insist, I believe, that the letters subtracted are either in the right order, or have their own separate anagram indicator – not the case here.

23. LUNAR. Hidden, with a well hidden indicator (content to).

24. I TAL(I)C. Nice definition: ‘rightly inclined'; could also have referred to politics.

26. KIT TEN. I.e. what you wear after kit nine – bravo!

27. PER SONAL (LANOS(e) REP<). Two obscure words for a reversal like this.


2. NU DITY (~NEW DITTY). Not a precise homonym in my pronunciation – the ‘I’ is an unvoiced ‘schwa’ sound – but good enough. May work better in some other accents, but as I say, I believe in a bit of poetic licence being applied by all of us.

4. MARX BROTH ERS. (~MARKS). Well, they would be pretty old now if they were still alive.

7. DIALY SIS. DAILY with I and A switched – very good.

11. PASSE MACABRE. (SAP<, CAME< in SABRE). Not a word I’m familiar with, but eventually worked it out from the wordplay.

15. SHED LOADS. Boom boom.

16. A(S)T(E)RISK. S and E appear independently within AT RISK.

17. PEN CHANT. I couldn’t spot the definition at first, but it’s ‘bent’.

23. NAIVE. My favourite reversal – I can’t look at a mineral water bottle without thinking it.


11 Responses to “Guardian 24,131, Taupi: Pun my word”

  1. Pasquale says:


  2. Shirley says:

    11 Dn – DANse Macabre because DAN was a dangerous man in the comic the Dandy.
    26ac don’t see why a kitten “produces” a litter surely it is part of one

  3. michod says:

    Thanks for the correction -‘danse macabre’ makes a lot more sense. I believe that kitten, like calve, can be used as a verb, as in ‘my cat kittened last week – he’s not a tom after all!’So the definition is ‘to produce litter’.

  4. Simply_simon says:

    Dan, but not because he was Dangerous – his name was Desperate Dan.

  5. Shirley says:

    Whoops – sorry meant to type Desperate but it came out as Dangerous!

  6. radchenko says:

    Very tough crossword. Congrats to those who did it. I found the bottom half very hard, and gave up completely on the SE corner. Agree its clever, but too much indirection and misdirection for a simple soul like me (although I did get danse macabre), but got nowhere near eccentric. I guessed it but could not work out the reason. Also extra possessive in 24ac and 17dn, inserted for the surface but were misleading.

    In particular I did not get 15dn which a pity because it is a very good and funny clue.

    Any explanation of 19dn?

  7. Shirley says:

    19 Dn is a double meaning. ENSIGN is a flag (jack)and also a low ranked naval officer. According to the OED it was also historically the lowest rank of commissioned infantry in the British army.
    Hope this helps.

  8. Mick Hodgkin says:

    I don’t think there is an extra possessive in 17 down – I read it as: “Bent” = PENCHANT/ “nib’s instrumental to this” = PEN / “song = CHANT. Very neatly worded.
    As for 24ac (Rightly inclined to get one’s powder over one”), I think the problem is that “to get” is a legitimate link phrase, and the possessive ‘one’s’ would also be OK to indicate that one (I) ‘has’ “talc over one” (TALIC), but the two don’t work together grammatically because ‘to get’ doesn’t allow you to read “one’s” as “one has”.
    Q. Apologies to the casual reader if we seem to be taking crossword syntax a bit too seriously – I’ll go and get on with some real work now!

  9. muck says:

    Very tough puzzle, but we need some challenges.

    I didn’t get 4dn (got as far as MARK,S****ERS) but it’s good

  10. radchenko says:

    Thanks, both Shirley and Mick. I did not know that double meaning of ENSIGN (always pleased to learn).

    When broken down correctly I see 17dn. On that basis though 24ac is also OK because to make 17dn work it requires [bent] [nib is instrumental to this] which becomes [bent nib’s], just as the [one’s] needs to be read as [one has].

    Apologies if this is the wrong forum to quibble over abstruse points of syntax. I gues I was just feeling a little bit [Sounds like — Oh for why! — swapped in one of 4dn] because I didn’t finish it.

    Sorry. That is rubbish. Which is why I’m a settee not a setter.

  11. Sally says:

    Really tricky puzzle, this one, but enjoyable. I got useful help from – offered me danse macabre, for example, once I’d got a few letters in. Would have had little chance on my own, although I had thought that the desperate guy was likely to be Dan.

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