Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24393/Paul

Posted by Colin Blackburn on May 20th, 2008

Colin Blackburn.

This is my last regular blog of daily puzzle here at Fifteensquared. I have enjoyed the last 18 months very much and it was great to be in on things at the beginning and to see the blog blossom into the success it now is. Despite feeling that I spent most of my time railing against poor and excessive cryptic definitions I have enjoyed solving almost all of almost every puzzle! The blog gave me reason to sample puzzles from every setter in both the Guardian and Independent stables where in the past I might have set the paper aside for some setters. I will continue to read and comment on the blog avidly, contribute the occasional blog from the subs bench if the occasion arises and to post occasional blogs for Azed and Inquisitor puzzles.

Anyway, what a puzzle to end on. This was a fantastic example Paul’s inventiveness and, barring a couple of complications on my part, it was on the easy side for this setter. There were some wonderfully playful definitions, some excellent word play and great misleading surface readings.

* = anagram
dd = double definition

Across
9 LIVERPOOL LIVER+POOL simple word play but you need to know that Liverpool is famous for its two cathedrals, one Anglican and one Roman Catholic. A line from the chorus of In My Liverpool Home goes “And if you want a Cathedral, we’ve got one to spare”
12 VIOLA DA GAMBA VIOLA + B in DA GAMA This one has thrown me. I can see that the explorer is probably Vasco DA GAMA but I’m not sure how Shakespearean gives VIOLA. I may have misread the clue. Incidentally, viol-de-gamboys is what Will called the instrument in question.
16 ANTI-EUROPE AN + U in TIE+ROPE Thatcher was widely regarded as being ANTI-EUROPE.
18 SCOTCH EGGS SCOTCH + EGGS excellent concise word play. For those not familiar with the SCOTCH EGG, it’s a hard-boiled egg covered in sausage meat and breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. It’s an English dish rather than a Scottish one.
21 IT’S HARD TO SAY dd the cryptic definition is perhaps a little unfair but with the checking letters, letter distribution and a precise literal definition it was fairly easy to get.
24 IDEAL I DEAL this one…
25 DISARMING dd …and this one are both nicely observed.
26 GO-KART (bu)G(attis)+OK+ART when I was a kid a GO-KART was built out of old pallets and pram wheels (soapbox kart to our US cousins). These days it seems to be the first step on the ladder to Formula One.
27 PSALMODY SALMO(n)+D in P(la)Y a disturbing image.
Down
3 BIRDIE dd eagle and albatross are examples of birdies but in golf they are not birdies!
4 SWOLLEN-HEADED (WELL DONE SHED A)* excellent anagram and surface referring to Paul’s stable-mate Shed.
6 RICE GLUE RI + EG in CLUE ‘this construction” here refers to CLUE.
7 DISEMBOWEL (MOB SEE WILD)* the definition here is ‘draw’ as in hang, draw and quarter. What was good about this clue was that ‘wild’ also worked as an anagrind and even with all checking letters in place I was looking for (DRAW MOB SEE)* meaning mayhem.
8 THE MALE EGO (GLEE AT HOME)* THE MALE EGO is often described as fragile.
10 LODGING HOUSES DG IN G(reenwic)H in LOO + USES excellent word play here. DG = Director General, the boss of the BBC.
13 PERSPIRING I in PER SPRING SPRING = warmish season is reasonable and the definition requires a re-reading of the clue though it’s not fully &lit.
14 WIDOW’S PEAK WI(n)DOW SPEAK a distinctive hair line.
17 SCRAWLER S+CRAWLER doctors’ prescriptions are typically said to be scrawled though these days computers have made things a little more readable if no more understandable.
20 LAUREL dd ref. Stan LAUREL who would often get Hardy into “another fine mess”, or rather he’d get the blame.
22 WINO WIN 0 ie WIN nothing. I originally wrote in the answer to 23 here, UGLY, which caused me no end of confusion.

Ciao.

7 Responses to “Guardian 24393/Paul”

  1. Eileen says:

    Viola is the heroine of ‘Twelfth Night’ and thus a Shakespearean.

    So sorry to see you go, Colin, and thanks for all the excellent blogs. As you say, a great puzzle for your swan song!

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    Eileen, thanks on both counts. You can tell that my academic studies have followed a maths, physics and computing strand rather than English literature.

  3. Rufus says:

    Thanks for all your good work on this site, despite my being the main supplier of the dreaded cryptic definitions you dislike! However, no hard feelings from me, it would be a sad day when everyone liked the same things – variety is still the spice of life (a literary gem from Cowper) Good luck!

  4. Comfy Settee says:

    So long Colin, and thanks for all the blogs.

    Re today’s…. 8d confused me for a while because I solved the anagram as “THE LEGO MAN”. I must say, I think I preferred my answer better…

    Norwich also has 2 cathedrals, but try as I might it simply wouldn’t fit.

    Is 19ac BERG?

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    19a Yes Alban BERG is a composer.

  6. Michod says:

    I got 21ac, but didn’t get it at all. Should have tried reading the clue aloud, clearly!
    It’s nice to see lots of new talent coming on stream, but I hope like me you’ll keep chipping in the odd reserve blog, Colin.

  7. muck says:

    I enjoyed 8dn ‘the male ego’ and 4dn ‘swollen headed’ as Paul’s reverse non-PC answers.

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