Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,360 – Paul : “Excuses, excuses”

Posted by neildubya on April 11th, 2008


Paul’s salute to the ever-inventive British train companies and their feeble excuses for shoddy service.

Not as difficult as some Paul crosswords can be, especially once you’ve cracked the theme, but very satisfying.


8 LO-NICER-A = had to look it up, I only know plants if they are in road names or recipes. This is the technical term for the Honeysuckle.

11 VOL-UP-TUO-US : “UP” meaning “on drugs” is a bit of a stretch. Could you really be said to be “up” on “downers” ?

12 (ALI G)NS – Respek ! Paul keeping it real and being down with da kids. The reference to the game of Bridge (partners = NS) loses some street credibility though.

14 Omitted on purpose


17 ARTICLE – trad. clue similar to “for example, the sure thing = DEFINITE ARTICLE”


22 SIGNAL FAILURE – reverse cryptic, referring to the fact that SIGNAL is an anagran of ALIGNS

23 PSY-C-HOL(OG)Y – a compound solution more usually seen in Araucaria.






6 GA(LUMP-HI)NG – awesome word which I will over-use today.

7 ANNUAL – I don’t understand this one

13 GARDEN CITY – (CREATING D(erb)Y)* e.g Welwyn Garden City

16 STOP-OVER – a chinaman is a cricket term for a tricky spin ball, and six of these make an over. First you have POTS in reverse


19 RETORTS – a type of stand used in chemistry (I think)

22 ST-YLER – to “rely” on something is to bank on it

24 KIR-K

11 Responses to “Guardian 24,360 – Paul : “Excuses, excuses””

  1. Will Mc says:

    7d. Name for another book is MANUAL, so skim this – take the top off – and then add N into it

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    7d I think this must be MANUAL with M removed, + N

    Didn’t get 16d; shouldn’t it be (4-4) and not (8)?

    Great puzzle otherwise.

  3. Eileen says:

    7dn: manual – one kind of book -‘skimmed'[top taken off] + name gives mAN[N]UAL – another kind of book.

    Another lovely puzzle!

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Oh, I see now – the hyphen in STOP-OVER is just indicating the origin of the two parts.

  5. Andrew says:

    A retort is actually a particular type of glass container, not a stand – see

  6. stan says:

    Wow – were you lot hitting “refresh” waiting for the post to arrive ? Incredible speed of response – thanks for the help on (m)A(N)NUAL.

  7. stan says:

    THanks Andrew – just proves I’m solving the puzzle without online aids (except where admitted). Am I thinking of a “retort stand” as being the stand on which you place retorts ?

  8. Andrew says:

    (re: “Retort stand”) Yes, I believe so (but IANAChemist).

  9. Geoff says:

    Well, I AM a chemist – so RETORT leapt out at me as almost the first clue I solved (even though the retort – a primitive one-piece apparatus for distillation – went out of regular use in the 19th century. But retort stands are still alive and well!). From then I got THE WRONG KIND OF SNOW, and the rest fell out easily.

    Not one of Paul’s more difficult puzzles, but great fun and some terrific clues. ‘On drugs’ for UP was the only liberty that I spotted in this one; Chambers gives ‘in an excited state’ as one def, which is the nearest I could find, but the stretch isn’t great and it made for a good surface reading. I loved 8a!

  10. manehi says:

    Managed RETORTS easily enough thanks to a vague memory of (I think) a Terry Pratchett pun.
    The rest of the puzzle didn’t go so well after I put LEFT for 10ac, which seemed to make sense even after getting 9.. and LEARNERS for 18dn which seems a little stupid in retrospect. Eventually did see the light, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle on the whole.

  11. owenjonesuk says:

    Ditto with putting LEFT for 10ac. It didn’t hold me up for too long though.

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