Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,138, Paul: Ich bin ein Berliner

Posted by michod on July 25th, 2007


Yes, as JFK said, I truly am a doughnut – I’ve been waiting for someone else to post, when all along it was me – d’oh! A nice Pauline puzzle anyway, mit einem Deutschen Thema – nine German words, all pretty familiar in English. Ten if you include DIESEL, named after inventor Rudolph Diesel, but I don’t think they call it that in Germany, so it’s really our word.  A couple of indirect indications of the sort customary with this setter, flagged up with a ? in the clue.


1. F(OR)EVER. Gold is in fever, but only diamonds are forrreverr…

5. DIES EL. It’s occupying my petrol tank anyway.

10. SECOND. Good double meaning.

12. D(OP PE(L)G) ANGER. Double containment deployed, with ‘double’ as the def.

15. OXYGENATED. (O EG NEXT DAY). Opinions vary on this kind of indirect anagram – personally I don’t mind ‘for example’ giving e.g. as anagram fodder, but am not keen on ’round’ for O in such a context.

20. RAM SHACKLE. Very nice image.

22. PUMP ER NICKEL. I think of bailing out as by hand with a bucket, rather than pumping, and Chambers seems to agree.  

26. ST(AL(e))AG.

27. DEAD LINE. With which your phone won’t work.

28. (h)ER(SA)TZ. Regular readers will have heard my rant on the archaic ‘it’=SA nonsense, but ‘name of frequency’ for Hertz is nice. By this point I was looking for Germanisms.

29. ST RUDE L. I couldn’t see where ‘short’ came in at first, but it’s in the sense of being short with someone, i.e. rude.


1. FRAU(d). This seems to be the wrong way round. The clue suggests that Dutch (Dutch wife, Cockney slang) is unfinished, when actually fake is.

2. (t)RUMP. Only cut at the top – bottom’s the definition.

6. IPECAC. Hidden. Not German.

7. SPONGE CAKE. I’m having trouble with the surface here – I suppose it might just be sweet if you’re bathing the baby!

8. LEDE(RHO)SEN. Thigh-slappingly good.

11. PLIERS. Double def.

13. TO>< OT H(P)ASTE. Ref Signal brand of toothpaste – do our overseas solvers have that too? I know Bush and Blair both use Colgate. P(oint) is ‘in HASTE’, i.e. quickly – hence the question mark.

14. BY A NY MEANS. Weakest clue for me – through=BY, a state= A NY, and capital=MEANS, but it all feels a bit woolly somehow.

18. CA(LEND A)R. Just as ‘quickly?’ means in HASTE, so ‘being driven?’ means in CAR.

21. PE(DAN)T. I.e. nitpicker.

23. CHE SS. Five word definition, two word subsidiary indication. Neat.

24. LIED. Song in German.

25. HEEL. Oxford as in shoe.  

10 Responses to “Guardian 24,138, Paul: Ich bin ein Berliner”

  1. bracoman says:

    Re 7 Down. Bum is a synonym of sponge as in eg cadge. Cake as in cake of soap. A sponge cake is sweet.

  2. Fletch says:

    I don’t believe the blogger needed the mechanics of the clue explained, it was the surface he said he was having trouble with.

  3. Mick Hodgkin says:

    Quite so, Fletch – bum = sponge and soap = cake was fine. But for the surface meaning, you have to imagine a context for the clue’s sentence, as in:
    ‘Oh, darling, that’s so sweet – I’ve been looking everywhere for the soap, and it was under your bum all the time! Pass it here would you, love’.

  4. mark says:

    don’t see the problem with 7D that you describe but I agree it’s not exactly elegant

    I’m fed up with others though (got nowhere near finishing)

    1D – as you suggest – this is just plain wrong as set!? I wondered if it was FLAM which I thought could mean fake and could be flam – e. That’s old flame = old dutch.
    Clutching at straws but FRAU is just as bad i reckon.

    28D – what is this stuff about it=SA. I’m none the wiser and guessing I’ll also want to rant.

    15A the def then has to be all of “pulmonary vein’s blood is taken” – how is that OXYGENATED. I know it’s the vein bewteen lungs and heart and that that is roughly what happens…but what is “taken” there for?

  5. Shirley says:

    28A – SA is a very old fashioned abbrieviation for Sex Appeal. It was used in Noel Coward type of language to avoid saying that someone was very attractive.
    Typical pre war English euphenism.

  6. Mick Hodgkin says:

    And ‘it’ is an equally dated word for the same – as in “I say, she’s certainly got ‘it’, old boy!”. One could argue that it survives in the popular tabloid term ‘it girl’. I’d argue that once crossword language ceases to have any meaning outside crosswords, it should be gently put out to pasture.
    Re OXYGENATED, I took the definition to be ‘pulmonary vein’s blood is’, leaving ‘taken’ as a weakish link word.

  7. eimi says:

    As an editor, I’m much happier to accept IT than SA. As Mick says, IT survives as a certain appealing quality, but what might more commonly be called the X factor these days.

  8. Paul B says:

    I haven’t seen the whole clue, so just for now the ‘taken’ looks like an error in tense for the cryptic reading.

    As for abbrevs in fodder, I’ve not had all that much of a problem over the years … but then I am a medium libertarian weened on Grauniad puzzles. The round for the O, on the other hand, if indicated at the front end, would not be a part of the anagram (O/ XYGENATED*).

  9. Mick Hodgkin says:

    The clue was: ‘Pulmonary vein’s blood is taken round next day, for example, in circulation’. So despite not seeing the clue, I’d say you’re right on both counts, Paul!

  10. Debbie says:

    I don’t know whether I’m missing the point here but I read 7D as a sponge cake being a sweet (n) like a pudding or dessert rather than sweet (adj).

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