Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,517 (Sat 11 Oct)/Paul – Brazil nuts

Posted by rightback on October 18th, 2008


Solving time: 9:51, with a whopping three mistakes (12ac, 26ac and 3dn).

Very much 1-0 to the setter – I fell headlong into a beautifully-laid trap at 12ac (and shot myself in the foot at both 26ac and 3dn).

This crossword is themed around Brazil, to where the setter is heading in December (16dn, to be precise) to work voluntarily in a deprived community, and the number of thematic answers here is extremely impressive. The puzzle comes with an invitation to sponsor Paul’s voluntary work: anyone wishing to donate is advised that cheques marked HALP4274W on the back, made out to Cross-Cultural Solutions and sent to Payment Processing Centre, Tower Point 44, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YR would be gratefully received.

Music of the day could only be the timeless classic Rio by Duran Duran.

* = anagram.

7 H[er]O + PELE + S,S – a very sombre clue to start. Of course you know who Pelé is, but can you name the three other players to have scored in two World Cup finals? [Answers below.]
9 AMAZON (2 defs) – ‘runner’ in the sense of something that runs, i.e. a river.
10,6 RA(INFO)REST – very nice.
11 IN + CENT + IVES – lovely definition (‘carrots?’).
12 C + OF + FEE – expert use of innocent-looking words (‘of’ here); for more, see 16dn. Even better is the brilliant use of ‘ton’ to indicate ‘C’ (i.e. a century) and not ‘T’ – I didn’t see this and entered ‘toffee’, wondering as I did so why Brazil should produce so much toffee!
14 NAVIGATE; rev. of IVAN, + GATE
17 A + L(E)MON + D
20 C(A + RILL)ON – ‘bluebells’ has to be split here to give ‘politically blue’ = CON and ‘bells’ as the definition. Naughty or clever depending on your point of view, but I can’t make the surface reading work here.
22 BRAZIL; AZ in BRIL[lo]
23 COP + A + CAB + AN + A[utomatic]
24 NUTS – very clichéd but only because it fits the theme so well.
25 A + RIO + SO
26 SAO PAULO; rev. of SA, + OO around PAUL [but see comments] – if only I’d stopped to check the wordplay: I wrote ‘Sao Paolo’. I have a nasty feeling this is the second time I have made this exact mistake while I’ve been blogging this puzzle, and it gets worse at 3dn.
1 POLAROID; rev. of DIOR + A + LOP
2 LEAN (2 defs) – I believe the director is David Lean.
3 RECIFE; (FIERCE)* – I knew this perfectly well, but typed ‘Cerife’ for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps I was subliminally influenced by ‘cerise’.
4 CARN(IV)AL – IV being a couple of couples (i.e. 4).
8 SECOND (2 defs) – another naughtily concatenated word, but as the clue is only one word long (‘Flashback’) the idea is clear enough, so I liked this.
16 SAL(V)AD + OR – again a very well-disguised piece of wordplay, with ‘or’ looking as though it’s just a link word.
19 ANNA + L[ike]S – referring to the musician Ike Turner.
21 A + B(O)ARD
22 BE A CON – a well-worn breakdown, but I’m not sure this clue quite works: a con is a convict or prisoner, so to ‘be a con’ isn’t quite the same as to ‘take to crime’.
24 NAAN – surprisingly hackneyed for Paul.

Answer to question: Vavà (Brazil), Paul Breitner (Germany) and Zinedine Zidane (France). Well done if you got two of these three!

21 Responses to “Guardian 24,517 (Sat 11 Oct)/Paul – Brazil nuts”

  1. Eileen says:

    Rightback – if you were old enough to remember Frank Sinatra’s song, ‘They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil’, you’d have had an even more fantastic solving time!

    I don’t understand your explanation of 26ac: I arrived [eventually] at SAO PAOLO: SOLO [‘independent’] ‘housing’ OP [work] ‘safeguarded by’ AA [rescue organisation].

  2. rightback says:

    26ac: interesting! I solved this puzzle online, where the clue was:

    City in 22 across, while revolutionary, running rings around this writer (3,5)

    giving ‘rings’ = OO and ‘this writer’ = PAUL. Did you solve the paper version, Eileen? It looks as though there may have been an erroneous clue to ‘Sao Paolo’…

  3. Andrew says:

    I think the clue for SAO PAOLO was changed at some point, and there were two different versions around. I had the same answer and reasoning as Eileen.

    I definitely vote for “naughty” in 20ac. The surface is nonsense (I thought it must have been a misprint) and combining “blue” and “bells” into one word is unfair.

  4. Andrew says:

    I mean SAO PAULO…

    At one point I thought 23ac could have been ARAUCARIA – which is actually a city rather than a district, but would have been nice to include.

  5. Andrew says:

    Oops, except ARAUCARIA doesn’t even have the right number of letters. No wonder I couldn’t make it fit. I’ll shut up now…

  6. Kevin says:

    My first submission for a xword competition (fingers crossed)- and to this blog.

    Glad to see that even a seasoned solver like Rightback took nearly 10 hours cracking these nuts(unless 9:51 is mins and secs, like the Provost of Eton solving The Times xword while his egg boiled?).

    The clue that gave me the most trouble and amusement was 13d. I particularly liked the OOs in “Naughty” x 2 – juxtaposed wth “lover” (not another O?)- and FORNICATOR.

    That said, it was a relief to return to the comfort zone of Monday’s puzzle by Rufus.

  7. Geoff Moss says:

    26a Just in case anyone is confused by the preceding comments, the paper and the initial on-line version had this clue as:

    “City in 22 across where independent houses work, safeguarded by rescue organisation” which gives Sao Paolo.

    The on-line version was subsequently changed to:

    “City in 22 across, while revolutionary, running rings round this writer” which gives Sao Paulo.

  8. Kevin says:

    PS – Apologies to Rightback for a tyro’s blunder – having skimmed the solving times of the Bloggerati here, his are obviously more suited to boiling eggs (whereas mine are a triumph of patience over ability).

  9. Eileen says:

    Rightback: Sorry for the late response re 26ac {Geoff has cleared it up by now anyway] – I’ve been out since before you posted your reply. It was a great relief to see that it was no wonder I couldn’t make sense of your solution!

    Thanks for the great blog – I agree with your reservations about 20ac.

    Hope you get the dictionary, Kevin!

  10. beermagnet says:

    26A again: In Wednesday’s Guardian there was a note in the “Corrections and clarifications” column saying that they gave the wrong clue. It went on to say that either spelling of the answer would be acceptable.
    I had a look and found that the online service already had the “corrected” version by wednesday morning.
    I thought the previous (paper version) clue was OK and led unquestionably to the PAOLO spelling, so it was hardly a “mistake”.
    So to me it all looks a bit odd as they could easily have kept quiet, accepted either spelling, and no-one would’vebeen the wiser.

  11. muck says:

    26ac: SAO PAOLO v SAO PAULO. My atlas has the latter spelling, but I had the paper version of the clue, which leads to the former spelling, and the same explanation as Eileen (comment #1).

  12. rightback says:

    Thanks to everyone for clearing up the confusion over 26ac. All the evidence available to me suggests that ‘Sao Paolo’ is an incorrect, not alternative, spelling of ‘Sao Paulo’, so credit to the Guardian for owning up.

    I like “bloggerati”!

  13. mhl says:

    Congratulations, Kevin, on your first prize crossword submission :)

    I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for the dictionary, however. According to Hugh Stephenson there are between 1500 and 2000 entries a week, and with 5 dictionaries on offer that means that if you enter a correct solution every week you’ll on average win a dictionary every 5½ to 8 years. As a result, I plan to be irritated if I still haven’t won one in the year 2014. The odds for the Guardian Genius are much better.

    As an additional note, I calculate that you will have spent between £100 and £140 on first class stamps by that stage, so I hope they come with a commemorative bookplate or something similar. :)

  14. George Foot says:

    20ac. There seems to be some confusion about this. It seemed fairly straightforward to me but noone has mention that ‘a rill’ is a small stream, i.e. a small flower. Maybe every one knows that anyway so thought it wasn’t worth mentioning but in that case why so troubled?

  15. rightback says:

    George: Agreed that ‘A little flower’ = A RILL, which is fine. The troublement is firstly that ‘bluebells’ has to be split into ‘blue bells’ for the cryptic reading (to give ‘politically blue’ = TORY and ‘bells’ = CARILLON), and secondly that the surface reading of the clue (i.e. what the clue might mean if it wasn’t a cryptic crossword clue) doesn’t make any sense.

    Such things are common in Guardian puzzles, especially those by Araucaria, but Paul (being also a Times setter) usually produces clues with coherent surface readings.

  16. davidoff says:

    Rightback: Great blog, thank you. Two points: Although more of a 9h51′ than a 9’51” I must say I positively enjoyed the “naughty concatenations” of “bluebells” and “flashback”. And forget Duran Duran, I’ll wager Paul’s much more likely to have Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras playing as he composes..

  17. Fletch says:

    I couldn’t make much sense of the surface of 20a either. If anyone’s up to the challenge, the clue was: A little flower among politically bluebells.

  18. Popeye says:


    Just a thought, but could the “bluebells” refer to the sad/bad news heralded by such a set of bells in mediaeval times?

  19. J Dryburgh says:

    Did anybody notice in the clue for 22 across…characters IN PAD Look away that the letters in capitals are an anagram of POLAND it’s no surprise to say that I didn’t complete the puzzle.

  20. J Dryburgh says:

    oops!! sorry I meant characters iN PAD LOok away are an anagram of POLAND

  21. John Dean says:

    ‘pace’ Mhl, no-one needs to spend a fortune in stamps if they have a fax modem or access to a fax machine. I have a fax modem and it costs me nothing to send in my entries off-peak.

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