Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,499 (Sat 20 Sep)/Paul – Hyphen ‘eadache

Posted by rightback on September 27th, 2008

rightback.

Solving time: 28:59

My times this week have been dreadful, and this was no exception – I really don’t think this was particularly harder than normal, but after 5 minutes I’d solved only two clues. I’m going to put it down to tiredness and see how next week goes before I start worrying. Some very good clues, as ever from Paul.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Across
9 ANATOMISE; A + (IS ON TEAM)* – nice clue, with which I was extremely slow.
10 P + ROVE
11 DE(SIR)ED – the superfluous ‘to take’ makes this a little wordy.
12 S.C. + RIBAL[d] – S.C. stands for the Latin scilicet, from scire licet meaning ‘it is permitted to know’.
13 YEAH; E in rev. of HAY
14 FALSE TEETH; (TEE in SET) in (HALF)* – I didn’t see any of this wordplay when solving.
16 DEE JAYS – excellent clue. This took me a while at the end, along with 20dn and 24ac, but at least I had correctly identified the definition (‘Their business tracks’), I just hadn’t thought of the right kind of tracks.
17 HARPOON; rev. of (NO OPRAH) – referring to Oprah Winfrey’s chat show.
19 A(CH)ROMATIC – another very good clue, and perhaps a nod to last week’s black-and-white themed Listener 4000 dinner?
22 A + L.M.S. – L.M.S. was the London, Midland and Scottish railway.
24 A + M(PO)ULE – my last entry, and a clue that typifies my slowness this week: for some reason I assumed ‘river’ would have to give ‘R’, forgetting about the two-letter rivers PO and OB (I don’t think EA would be used in this puzzle). An ampoule is a container for a hypodermic dose, according to Chambers.
25 L + I + F(TO)FF – ‘fff’ in musical notation means ‘very very loud’.
26 D(R)EAR – simple but elegant.
27 IN C(L)EMENT – the Mafia reference means nothing to me, but presumably they are famous for burying their victims in cememt.
Down
1 YADDA YADDA YADDA; (YAD,DAY) + ADD A + Y[ear] + ADD + A – meaningless chatter.
2 RATSBANE; rev. of (‘E NABS TAR) – decent charade for a common plant in crosswordland.
4 WIND + LASS – a hoisting machine.
5 SEPSIS; (S,S,S + PIE)*
6 SPARE TYRE (double defn)
7/3 WOBBLEBOARD; (LE in B-B-BOA) in WORD – a sheet of hardboard used to make sound effects like thunder, something like Rolf Harris used to like this. (I still have no sound, so can’t listen to this, which may be a good thing.) I’m generally not a fan of the ‘double initial’ trick which Araucaria uses a lot, but ‘s-s-snake’ here is a glowing exception…
8 HEALTH AND SAFETY; HEAL, + HAND in ([nann]Y STATE F)* – …whereas ‘F-farcical’ here is to me a bit of a cop-out. Nonetheless, very apt, and a nice complement to 1dn.
17/5 HEIMLICH MANOEUVRE; (HOME I REVEAL IN MUCH)* – a method of dislodging something stuck (hence a ‘lodger’) in a choking person’s throat. I think I knew the phrase and eventually got enough letters to work out the anagram.
18 ON LOO + K + E.R. – great breakdown.
20 HYPHEN; P.H. in HYEN[a] – another very dull moment on my part.
21 ACETIC; rev. of (CITE + CA)
23 OFFER – a pun on ‘off’.

8 Responses to “Guardian 24,499 (Sat 20 Sep)/Paul – Hyphen ‘eadache”

  1. Barnaby says:

    By the way, the link on the Guardian Website for the printable version of the Araucaria prize crossword on Saturday 27 September is wrong.

    The correct link is:

    http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2008/09/23/xwPrize2709_24505.pdf

  2. Mr Beaver says:

    We found this one extremely hard. Normally get on fairly well with Paul, but only managed a total of 6 answers after several hours’ internse frowning !

  3. rightback says:

    That’s quite reassuring – maybe I didn’t have such a shocker as I thought! Would be interested to hear how others found this.

  4. Andrew says:

    I found this one very hard too – I failed to get 17/15dn (even with all the checking letters for HEIMLICH) and as a result had several other gaps in the SW corner.

  5. Qaos says:

    You’re not alone! I normally love Paul’s crosswords – more than Auracaria’s even – for their wit, neatness and normally excellent surface reading (unlike a certain Mr A, IMHO, who tends to sacrifice surface reading for a clever clue), but I found this one very tough and had to resort to on-line help for the last half dozen or so.

    Still, Paul has graced us with some much easier ones of late, so I guess we had this coming!

  6. mhl says:

    I very much enjoyed this one, and didn’t find it too difficult with the exception of WOBBLEBOARD. (It looked to me from the crossing letters as if it would be double-something, and the definition part (“Thunderer”), while excellent, was pretty non-obvious.) HARPOON made me laugh…

    Incidentally, I would definitely recommend the compilation book of Paul’s crosswords in the “Guardian Cyptic Setters” series to any other fans. There are lots of wonderful clues in all the puzzles I’ve tried so far, and the cost of the book is arguably worth it for the introduction by the man himself.

  7. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback. It was a tough puzzle for me, and I didn’t finish it.

    But there were some excellent clues, especially after seeing your explanations.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, it’s curious. I usually find Paul one of the hardest setters, but I didn’t have much of a problem with this one and managed to complete it.

    WOBBLEBOARD was the last I got – I was trying to fit in a SS until I realised it was a BBB.

    Yesterday’s Alphabetic was very enjoyable, but it took me 66 minutes!

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