Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,555 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 25th, 2008

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

What a superb day! I was solving this puzzle with a good friend, Dr Gurmukh in his house, sipping a glass of Glen Morangie, arguably the best 10 year-old single malt in the world when he said out loud “Cool without a splash” and I immediately replied “Neat, as this glass of excellent Scotch”

From then on, the day just continued to improve and Paul gave us much to laugh about, as well as challenging us to the limit. Another well-crafted set of clues for a most entertaining day.

1,18,14,10 GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION *(affected acceleration tyres due on I go car in) Being familiar with the British system of education (having gone through the British Ordinary Levels aka Senior Cambridge, Advanced Levels and varsity) this one did not take long to unravel. I think Paul encountered more difficulty composing the fodder than solvers untangling. Anyway, it is a truism that diners take a shorter time eating than the chef in preparing a dish. Yummy, yum yum
5 CONFORM Cha of CON (against as in pro’s and con’s) Form (paper)
9 FICHU ha for a three-cornered cape worn over the shoulders in the 18c and 19c, the ends crossed on the chest; a triangular piece of muslin, etc for the neck.
11 AMENDMENTS Ins of MEN (people) in Admen (commercial types) TS (rev of ST, street or way)
12 KISS Cha of K (last letter of neck) I’S (one’s) S (son)
21 INCH “at the altar” is “in church” or IN CH
22 ATMOSPHERE Cha of ATM (automated or automatic teller machine) OS (out-size or huge) P (power) HERE (available)
25 LLANDUDNO Ins of AND in LLUD (rev of Dull or tedious) NO (certainly not), a town in North Wales
26 NADER Rev of RED (Socialist) AN (article) Yes, Ralph Nader (he should have stopped at “Unsafe at any speed”) the spoiler in the 2000 American Presidential Elections where Al Gore lost narrowly to George W Bush in the pivotal state of Florida.
27 SCRUMMY S (first letter of shocking) CRUMMY (inferior) scrumptious.
28 ESSENCE Essen (German city) CE (first and last letters of conservative)

1 GUFFAW Guff (nonsense) A W (bearing)
2 NICKER dd a pound sterling
3 ROUND ROBIN (10) Simple cha of a paper with signatures in a circle, so that no one may seem to be a ringleader; any letter, petition, etc signed by many people
4 LIEGE dd, a province in Belgium
5 CRUSTACEA Ins of RUST ACE (decline one) in CA (state of California)
6 NEAT I’ll drink to this cd :-)
7 ORIGINAL Ins of I  Gin (one catcher or snare) in ORAL (test)
8 MINDS EYE Ins of D SEY (rev of YES Diamonds) in MINE (where diamonds are found)
13 UNDERPANTS Punny clue where under-pants is breathes too little
15 SAINTS DAY Ins of Aint (isn’t) & SD (sad or sombre, without the middle) in SAY (voice)
16,19 ACHILLES TENDON Delightful *(in Scotland heel) where heel played double duty as part of the def
17 ARMCHAIR Cha of ARM (supply) CHA (tea) IR (Irish)
20 HEARSE Cha of HE (man) ARSE (behind) This is what I call a reversed Cyclops clue
23 OZONE Cha of Oz (Aussie) ONE (individual) part of the atmosphere (22Across)
24 EDAM “Kissed and made up” My favourite clue of the lot; most ingenious use of a chestnut device for this word.

24 Responses to “Guardian 24,555 – Paul”

  1. Eileen says:

    Good Morning, Uncle Yap

    As you say, what a treat!

    I particularly loved 20 and 24ac – both well-worn answers but delightfully original clues.

    I was grateful for your explanation of 16,19 – so obvious when you see it – very clever use of ‘resort’. I’d got the answer from the second part of the clue and checking letters but completely misled myself by finding a place in Scotland called A’Chill!!

  2. Peter Owen says:

    6d I think that this is a double definition. Neat and cool are both slang/informal words for excellent.

  3. Rob says:

    I agree with Peter, but beg to differ on the scotch. Each to their own, of course.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    I thought an easier Paul today.

    24d I was looking for a cheese called TOLD for a while! Didn’t help in finishing the bottom L corner.

  5. Tom Hutton says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked 24 dn but I wonder if any solver used the cryptic part of the clues to find the answer in 1ac and 22ac rather than putting in the answer from crossing letters and working backwards. I know some of you like this, as the fun is in working out the question. I prefer to work out the answer.

  6. Testy says:

    1A etc. When I had a couple of letters in 18A I guessed it was going to be CERTIFICATE (as I suspected that “Test” was the definition) and then filled the rest in based on enumeration. As with all these extremely long anagrams, I completely ignore the anagram fodder, as it would be far too difficult for me to work out whilst trying to solve and far too tedious afterwards!

  7. NealH says:

    I started slowly on this but then got the GCSE answer, which pretty much filled in half the grid on its own. Although I guessed Llandudno early on, I struggled for a while to work out the logic. The wording – “reject tedious housing” – had me convinced it was “dud” inside something.

  8. Ian Hinds says:

    Well I found it pretty hard.

    But enjoyable!

    Solving time 97 minutes!!!

  9. mhl says:

    Excellent fun, as usual.

    What do people think about “sombre disheartened” being S(A)D rather than S(OMBR)E? I thought this class of device was mostly used directly rather than indirectly, although I know you see both types…

  10. Qaos says:

    Another excellent crossword and post from Uncle Yap. 20d, 21a and 24d were all gems. Paul’s puzzles certainly don’t lose anything when they’re easier than normal. If anything, they tend to be more witty – maybe a lesson for all budding setters ;-).

    For Paul fans, he has a new website that is worth looking at: Cryptica. It has some interesting background material – such as how he chose his pseudonyms. His reason for “Punk” made me laugh.

  11. smutchin says:

    Thanks for the link Qaos – Paul is my favourite setter and today’s puzzle is a good example of why (Araucaria fans will probably consider that a sacrilege but I’m of a younger generation and often find his reference points arcane and old-fashioned).

    24dn reminded me of the first cryptic crossword I ever did – a giant wall-hanging puzzle I was given one Christmas when I was about 13-14. One of the clues was “Cheese that’s made backwards. (4)” Yes, it’s an old chestnut but Paul’s take on it was most enjoyable.

  12. JMo says:

    I have to admit that I really struggled today. My first ‘Paul’ and, if that was an easy one, I’ll have to really brace myself for a difficult one.

    GCSE came easily (although, it must be said, without any help from the clue) after 2,3,4 and 5d. Then came 5ac, 25ac, 27ac, 24d and (from there) 12ac. After that, things went very cold. My lunch hour came and went with only a couple more clues solved and I returned to my work in a grump.

    A reminder that I have a way to go before I can rightly say that I ‘do’ the cryptic crossword – but then, this is only my fourth week and things are coming together surely (if slowly).

    One thing: isn’t 3d best described as a ‘double definition’? (Perhaps only) in my mind, charade clues rely on the division of words in two or more different ways to create various ways of reading the clue. ‘Round robin’ and ’round-robin’ doesn’t quite seem to do justice to that mandate to me.

  13. mhl says:

    Qaos: I mentioned the site in the comments on a previous Paul puzzle, but at that time there was much less content there.

    I hadn’t heard the tragic story behind the pseudonym “Paul” before…

  14. Qaos says:

    Sorry Mhl – I must have missed that. They’re expanding the content nicely, so hopefully it’s good enough site to mention twice :-).

  15. smutchin says:

    Jmo – there’s “easy” and there’s “easy for Paul”…

  16. Tom Hutton says:

    In answer to Mhl, I thought the whole clue was somewhat tenuous. It was another one you had to work backwards from the answer with both sad and ain’t being at a remove without qualification.

  17. Eileen says:

    JMo: you’re doing great – stick at it! Paul is classified as ‘hard’ on this site, so even an easier one from him is a challenge – but so rewarding.

    2dn isn’t really a double definition. Admittedly, a charade clue is usually a word made up of different parts, rather than a phrase made up of two or more words, but, in this case, ’round robin’, as a phrase, only really exists as the defined petition.

    Smutchin: we Araucaria fans are, for the most part, Paul fans, too, according to the comments I’ve seen on this site. And Araucaria is Paul’s own favourite, as you’ll see from his website – and, as Mhl says, there’s a lot more on there now.

    [I think I had that crossword hanging in my bathroom, too!]

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Smutchin: the cheese that is made backwards was a clue in a Guardian Xword in the 60s; my memory isn’t too good, but I think it was either Altair or Janus. I was very impressed with it at the time.

    Incidentally, one of these setters furnished me with my best time for a Xword, about 8-9 minutes. Actually I did do a Paul, I think it was, about 3/4 years ago in 7 minutes something; but this was a bit unusual in that after a few seconds of deja vu I recognised it as one that had been published about two weeks before, and I remembered most of the answers. Strangely, I did not see any comment on this duplication in the letter pages or elsewhere.

    So you don’t get the wrong idea, Paul is my 6th hardest setter, and I usually take 30 – 40 minutes to not quite complete it!

  19. muck says:

    I had kissed & TOLD as well, even though it had to be EDAM.

  20. Geoff says:

    Took me a little while to get started with this one, but FICHU led me to GUFFAW and I surmised the GCSE solutions and the rest fell out surprisingly easily. Skillful though it is to fit such a long anagram into a puzzle, this isn’t a particularly good example – the best ones have a strong &lit flavour, which this doesn’t. And like most solvers, I suspect, I didn’t even bother to check the anagram.

    Nevertheless, Paul had become my favourite setter. I didn’t think anyone would ever supplant Araucaria in my affections, but he has – by a very short head, admittedly.

    Long anagram apart, there are some splendid clues here, with typical Paul ribaldry (UNDERPANTS, HEARSE) and wonderful charades (I liked 22ac and 23dn especially).

    As for ease of solving, it’s largely a matter of practice. Encyclopedic general knowledge is useful, of course – but doing cryptic crosswords does help this itself. Those of us who have been doing cryptic crosswords for four decades or more find them easier than when we first started! And practice at the offerings of particular setters gradually lets the solver become accustomed to their individual mindset. But I still find Brummie, and especially Taupi, trickier than most of the other Guardian compilers!

  21. stiofain_x says:

    I agree with Geoff that although the anagram has a nice surface reading it suffers from the fact it is unrelated to the answer.
    Otherwise I thought this was an excellent puzzle with a few laugh out loud clues (hearse, edam).
    Single malt at 6.19 am Uncle Yap? tut tut.

  22. Uncle Yap says:

    Stiofain Old Boy, I am in Malaysia, 8 hours ahead of GMT. Your 6am is my 2 pm

  23. KG says:

    Although I’m in Manchester, England, I’m a day later than everyone else – don’t ask.

    1d & 2d more or less gave me GCSE which opened up a difficult one. Loved 20d and the 16d-19d and 25ac use of resort was very suspicious, quite rightly so.

    Nice to see ‘cheese made backwards (4)’again, the example I’ve always given to people who want to know what goes on in these puzzles.

  24. Rich says:

    Very enjoyable crossword, though a couple of clues had me stumped for a while, especially working out that comfortable was a clue for armchair.

    Laughed out loud on solving a couple of these solutions

    Solving time 2 hrs! But I am a beginner still :)

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