Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,229 – Paul (as late as a ScotRail train!)

Posted by loonapick on November 9th, 2007


Sorry for the delay in getting this to you, but at the time I had planned to write this blog, I was sitting in a cold train in snowy Aviemore because the windscreen wiper had broken!  Two hours later, we were eventually bussed to our final destination.

And people ask me why I insist on using my car when I could take public transport??????

Anyway – to the puzzle.  Once you had worked out what Paul wanted you to do with the “unclued” lights, it became quite easy.  I saw the artifice quite early, so rattled off the puzzle in less than ten minutes, impressing the young man opposite me on the train up to Inverness.

I’ll give you the special “reverse cryptic” clues first, then a couple of the others worth a mention.

12 PLUM DUFF – DUFF being the anagrind and PLUM = (lump)*

16,4 CAST ADRIFT – ADRIFT and (acts)*

24,13 DOWN TO THE GROUND – GROUND and (withstood tune)*

1,23 STOMACH UPSET – UPSET and (satchmo)*

2,15 FALSE DAWN – FALSE and (wand)*

19,20 SEASIDE RESORT – RESORT and (disease)*

Other clues to note:


11 RA(V-EU)P


21 DO(ORB-E(ngagement))LL

26 ERSATZ – (tears)*+Z – can you define Z as “the 26th”?

27,25 B-ATTLE(e)’S-HIP – didn’t like non-English because that would indicate ATTL rather than ATTLE, which still has an E=English in it.


3 SCOR(e)-P-10 – “10” = IO is not one of my favourite devices.

6 IRRADIATE – hidden backwards in “secrET AID ARRIving”

7 (<=FL(1)AT)-IN



16 C(<=SOL)URE

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,229 – Paul (as late as a ScotRail train!)”

  1. jetdoc says:

    Sorry to pre-empt, from our southern-softie timezone. I hope you have fully thawed out now, loonapick.

  2. Barbara says:

    Please explain the wordplay for #10:

  3. Geoff says:

    Less than ten minutes? Blimey! I found this the hardest Guardian puzzle for ages. I’m a reasonably competent, but not a lightning solver – I can do most of them within about half an hour, but this one took me quite a bit longer.
    I really enjoy Paul’s crosswords for his humour and imaginative use of unusual signalling words and tricks, which add much to the pleasure which his surface readings give (PLUM DUFF was particularly tasty).
    I am getting sick of pedantic quibbles about details of clueing technique. This is Paul’s style, and some of us love him for it. What’s the problem loonapick? Does it stop you from solving the puzzle in under four minutes? Why do you do these crosswords, since they obviously don’t provide much intellectual challenge and they seem to irritate you so much? Why not do something more challenging, like producing a palindromic translation of ‘War and Peace’ without using the letter ‘e’?

  4. jetdoc says:

    ’overt’ = clear; with ‘s’ = sun, hidden; ‘rain’ = usual British summer.

  5. Loonapick says:


    Where in my post did I indicate that Paul’s style irritated me?

    There were three clues where I had minor quibbles – 10 = IO, Z clued as the 26th and the Attlee thing.

    All of these are, in my opinion, valid points to highlight, and I would have done the same if it had appeared in any compiler’s crossword.

    I love the challenge of a crossword compiled by the likes of Paul and Araucaria, who don’t follow the “rules”, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t point out where devices are not to my liking – that is surely my right as a blogger. As a compiler, I would be happy to see what the solving public are thinking.

    I don’t really care about solving time – but I do note it as it is a good indication of level of difficulty and as a measure of my own improvement or otherwise. Most of the other bloggers also put in their solving times. I haven’t the time or the will to look back over the puzzles I have blogged, but I am pretty sure you’ll find a few where it has taken me much more time than Paul’s took me yesterday. Perhaps we should stop including our solving times?

  6. jetdoc says:

    I certainly didn’t detect any excess of ‘pedantic quibbles’ in loonapick’s blog; nor any indication of a ‘problem’ with Paul.

    Personally, I don’t solve puzzles with a stopwatch, and seldom get through a whole one without interruptions, so I don’t give solving times. But I am interested to see them if others chosse to include them.

  7. Michod says:

    I think that discussion of what we consider fair or unfair devices is part of the point of the blog – always with the understanding that we won’t all agree on any of it. Personally I’m fine with 10 for IO, but I agree with Loonapick about Non-English. Logically, that suggests to me that ATTLEE loses (both of) its Es. Geoff, you may have your own personal bugbears, or you may just take the line that anything goes as long as it’s solvable, but neither you, I or Loonapick can speak for every solver on that.

  8. Geoff says:

    I was only teasing, loonapik! But the remark about impressing the man on the train did come over as a bit vainglorious…
    Of course I’m a libertarian when it comes to clueing, as everyone must realise by now. I fully understand the importance of strict rules in the easiest (to help novices) and most difficult (to make solvable) cryptics, but it does leave a lot of ground in the middle. The Guardian attributes (with a pseudonym) each of its compilers, who have distinct styles – the learning of which is part of the fun. Setters like Paul and Araucaria just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t pull the tricks they do.
    Anyway, to nit-pick myself: as ‘English’ in a clue often means ‘insert the (single) letter E’ (standard abbreviation for English), and not an arbitrary number of Es, then it is not entirely illogical for ‘non-English’ to indicate the loss of just one E. ‘Completely non-English’ would be incontrovertably different.

  9. ilancaron says:

    I thought this was a delightful and clever puzzle which kept me entertained well more than Loonapick’s 10 minutes. In my opinion, Paul combines Araucarian inventiveness with sensible and often amusing surfaces readings — no mean trick.

  10. Colin Blackburn says:

    To nitpick further, I don’t consider ‘non-English’ to mean the same thing as ‘not one English’ at all.

  11. Testy says:

    … I would!

  12. Geoff says:

    I wonder how many of the devices regularly used in cryptic crosswords, and considered perfectly acceptable by the purists, were thought dangerously anarchic when first used……

  13. Colin Blackburn says:

    At a guess, none?

    It’s not about an unacceptable device somehow becoming acceptable as, say, a grammatical cosntruction might. It’s about the clue saying what it means. To me ‘X in fest’ says what it means when the intended result is ‘fXest’ while ‘X infest’ doesn’t say this at all.

    This is an unsuitable forum for lengthy discussions on this point but I really would recommend Azed’s, Don Manley’s and Ximenes’ books for deeper discussions of this idea.

  14. Geoff says:

    Yet one of Azed’s most celebrated clues is ‘Bust down reason?’ = BRAINWASH (bra in wash)
    Understanding this clue requires precisely the same disregard for apparent word boundaries that the ‘indeed’, ‘infest’ device employs, and any distinction betwen the two seems a bit Jesuitical to me.
    But I consider myself firmly slapped down by the Spanish Inquisition and shall refrain from any further comment on this blog, on this or any other subject.
    ‘Eppur si muove’ as Galileo said, according to legend…
    Over and out

  15. DFM says:

    Two things to say :1) dividing the answer for a subsidiary part is what we are always doing, but that doesn’t justify joining up the instructions for the subsidiary part, 2) I was never happy with that clue because the definition would strictly speaking require the addition of ‘in’. Being in a generous mood (well it’s Friday and it’s been a long week) I’m sparing you the bastinado anyway.

  16. Paul B says:

    I’m not myself a fan of in-deeds and in-fests, but we are dealing here with The Guardian’s puzzle, whereof exclusively (AFAIK) such device is found. So how surprised, pleased, or irked should we be when we encounter it? One can do things today in an Indy puzzle that won’t ever be acceptable in The Times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a discussion about that on these boards.

    Whether or not such constructions are fair seems to me to be a slightly different discussion, one that does not necessarily equate to whether or not one holds Ximenean views. We might consider Araucaria for example (with his devious tactical array, not short of in-deeds), deemed unfair by the Dreaming Spiral Inquisition, who has by some peculiar quirk managed to become the most famous, most loved compiler on the planet. More loved even than Don, I am told (although personally I find this incredibly difficult to believe).

    Consider too the compiler under scrutiny here, whose puzzles may be found across a range of papers. I am certain he deploys these supposedly unfair devices in The Guardian simply because they are allowed, and not because he thinks them justifiable. In his work elsewhere, I do not think you will see them.

  17. Testy says:

    DFM Should we read bastinado as bast in ado?

    As you say there is a huge world of difference between chopping up words to make up the solution and chopping up the clue to make it solvable.

    First of all I ought to say that I don’t really mind the in-deeds but concede that they are the thin edge of what could be a very fat wedge. Where people draw the line along that is according to taste and I perfectly understand the concerns of people who don’t like it at all (and other than some people expressing a dislike I don’t think anyone here has been quite as hardline about it as Geoff makes out). Even if you think it’s OK you have to agree that there must surely be a limit as to how much pre-processing of a clue we should be expected to do.

    For example would “Mingle as a star does” be OK for M in GLE AS for GLEAMS? Would “Blundered i.e. acquiring consumable” be OK for (BL under ED I)+E for EDIBLE? How far do we allow things to go. This is like having to put the clue through a blender before we solve it!

    Finally, Paul B, I’ve definitely seen in-deeds outside the Guardian and am certain I’ve even seen them in the Indy (I think that the Indy is perhaps more liberal than you seem to think).

  18. Fletch says:

    The infest clue apppeared in Punk’s Indy, not Paul’s Guardian crossword.

  19. Paul B says:

    Well, that’s my argument hit for six. But you shouldn’t infer from the tatters of it that I consider the Indy in any way prescriptive.

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