Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,353 Paul – Torture : 1970’s Style

Posted by neildubya on April 3rd, 2008


Satisfyingly diverse bunch of words here and some great wordplay. Paul’s clues are short and without a wasted word – like Bach to Araucaria’s Mozart . A few straight anagrams made it easier than the average Paul puzzle.


9 THUMBS-CREW : Part of the torture theme. It’s “way” in the sense of “road” and we’re hitch-hiking

10 TA(RAN)TA-RA : “Vale” is goodbye or “ta ta”, RA is the centre of bRAe. The whole thing is a hunting call


12 Omitted on purpose

13 STRETTI : Plural of stretto, which is a musical notation asking for a burst of speed

15 Omitted on purpose

17 R(HE)UM

18 Omitted on purpose

20 ELENA : reversed in africAN ELEphant

22 WOMBLES(s) : clue of the year; assuming you’ve ever encountered the cult children’s programme.

25 ART DECO : (red coat)*

26 I-LIAD : the Irish parliament is the DAIL

30 OVERWHE-LM : (however)* with LaMe


1 ET AL : Latin for “and the rest”, and cryptically “LATE RISING”. What’s the technical term for a “reverse cryptic” ?

2 SUBSERVE – (use verbs)*



5 ?R?N?S – Didn’t get it – is it “brands”?

6 INSTRUMENT OF TORTURE : Les Dawson used to play famous tunes very badly on purpose. Can’t get his take on “Side by Side” out of my head now.



16 P(IAN)O

19 ME-ANTI-ME : such a “Paul” clue, would recognise his style anywhere


24 SHOWER : wonderful double-meaning

26 IRON MAIDEN : Reference to Maggie Thatcher (‘The Iron Lady’)


29 (s)EWER

9 Responses to “Guardian 24,353 Paul – Torture : 1970’s Style”

  1. diagacht says:

    5dn is BRANKS, I think. It’s a torture helmet. B (secondary) + RANKS.

    Thanks for explanation of 1dn. It had to have been ET AL but I thought that the ‘still’ referred to dead, as in late. Clearly not.

  2. Geoff says:

    Agree with Diagacht that 5dn is BRANKS. My last entry – not a word I knew, but guessed from the word play and confirmed by Chambers (Scots word for a scold’s bridle: iron mask with tongue depressor).

    Quite easy for one of Paul’s (I thought) but great fun as always.

  3. PaulW says:

    Where doea the DA come from in DAmask?

  4. stan says:

    A D.A is a 1950s haircut – I believe it stands for “Duck’s Arse”

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    Trivially I read 1d as “LATE UP”.

    And, ridiculously I had 4d as ST(ASH)ING despite the answer staring me in the face and thinking (bone) ASH was a bit weak and STING was a bit of a jump for a man’s name.

    Overall a very British crossword requiring knowledge of the Wombles and Les Dawson’s piano playing skills.

  6. stan says:

    Agree it was very British – and the under 30s probably had to ask their parents too I suspect. Margaret Thatcher, The Wombles, Iron Maiden, Les Dawson … flashback to the 1970s.

  7. Chris says:

    Iron Maiden were very much of the 80s rather than 70s, as was Thatcher. I think all the people/acts referenced are famous enough for younger solvers to know them.

  8. Geoff says:

    Pace Stan and Chris, Paul makes no reference whatever to Iron Maiden the hard rock band – the word play is around the primary meaning of IRON MAIDEN as an instrument of torture (from which the band presumably took their name), and the nubile state of a youthful Iron Lady. At least, this was so in the paper version, where the clue for 26, 23 reads: “6 27 for the unmarried Maggie, possibly?” Haven’t checked the online clue – was this different?

  9. bogeyman says:

    The DA was a hairstyle used by Teddy Boys, so called because the hair at the back of the head was greased to a point, resembling a duck’s backside

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