Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,569 – Paul

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on December 11th, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

A very enjoyable puzzle today, with two interlinking themes that I would say are reasonably unobscure.

c.d. = cryptic definition
d.d. = double definition
< = reversed
* = anagram
“” = homophone
(X) = insertion
(x) = removal


1. NO TRUMP. TON< + RUMP.  A bid in Bridge.
5. RAREBIT. RARE + BIT.  ‘Blue’ is very rare meat, ‘bit’=period is a slight stretch but amusing.
10. RECLOTHED. RE(C + LOTH)D.  ‘Reclothed’ as ‘offered an alternative’ is new to me.
12. AMMO. williAM MOrris.
21. PAWN. ‘Uncle’ is slang for a pawnbroker.
25. ONE VISION. ON(E(l)VIS)ION.  ‘L’ as ‘knight’s move’ is interesting.
26. QUEEN. c.d.


2. TATTOO. d.d.
4. PARER. PAR(E)R. A parr is a young fish.
6. ROOK. d.d.
13. STATUESQUE. ST (A TUES) QUE?  Was hoping ‘que’ meant ‘mission’ but can’t find a reference.
19. GATEAU. GA(TEA)U(l).
20. CYGNET. “Signet”.
23. TENET. ‘can rise and fall’ on a down clue indicates a palindrome.
24. RIGA. RIG + A.

43 Responses to “Guardian 24,569 – Paul”

  1. Tom Hutton says:

    What an enjoyable crossword this turned out to be. I couldn’t make anything of it at the start but as often with Paul it was very fair and plugging away got there in the end. I couldn’t find the word play in statuesque either. The interlinking themes were very confusing until 11ac gave the game away. I have some reservations about very long anagrams. Are they really useful except as an aftercheck when the clue has been solved by other means?

    I agree that L as a knight’s move is to say the least interesting.

  2. Chunter says:

    13dn: ‘mission’ gives QUEST, then ‘highest promotion’ moves ST to the top.

    25: as a chess player I think of knights moving as the crow flies, so, yes, interesting.

  3. Chris says:

    I didn’t think ‘Reclothed’ was being solely defined as ‘offered an alternative’ – I assumed the cryptic bit was doing a bit of definitional work too, with its reference to being unwilling to wear crimson. Certainly pushing the boundaries a bit, though.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ciaran.

    I thought this was much more like a Paul prize puzzle than his last Saturday’s one – very entertaining and ingenious. I loved the interlinking themes.

    10ac: I don’t think Paul’s suggesting that ‘reclothed’ means ‘offered an alternative’ as such but if the city is unwilling to wear red, being reclothed is an alternative in this case.

    Chunter : thanks for the explanation of 13dn.

    I’d love to know how many times Paul says ‘Egad’ out loud!

  5. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Chris – pipped again!

  6. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Chunter – thanks for the explanation, I’d thought of QUEST but somehow hadn’t made that last step!

    Chris and Eileen – I still don’t buy ‘reclothed’ even as some sort of &lit; definition. The surface doesn’t make enough sense for that to be satisfactory.

  7. Ian says:

    Loved this one!!

    Especially 1a which has a delightful contra indication in the Aberdeen area.

  8. Tom Hutton says:

    Chunter, what a brilliant explanation for 13dn. I still don’t like this sort of clue where the solution has to be found before the word play can be worked out.

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Ian, about 1ac.

  9. Geoff says:

    Marvellous example of Paul’s setting, with linked double theme, and the clever use of chess related words in the clues as well as chessmen amongst the solutions.

    10ac is a typical, slightly libertarian, Paul clue, in which “wear” in the clue relates both to the definition and the charade. As does “a drug man” in 22ac. Great clues, as far as I’m concerned.

    “Behind” was RUMP in this puzzle (1ac), rather than ARSE, as it was in another of Paul’s most recent ones!

    “Cuisine” as the def for RAREBIT (5ac) seemed unusually off centre – the word is used for a style of cooking, or a collection of typical dishes from a region, rather than a single one. Liked the charade, though – clever to use “blue” in its culinary sense.

  10. Chunter says:

    Tom Hutton: you have made my day!

    1ac: non-Aberdonians are waiting for an explanation of yours and Ian’s comments.

  11. Geoff says:

    Tom – don’t you often find that the solution comes to you from the definition first, and you then see the wordplay to clinch it? Usually this happens quickly, but sometimes it can take a while to work out the charade. However, I often find this type of clue the most satisfying, particularly if the surface reading is good and smooth.

    It is certainly frustrating if you can’t understand the word play, but I enjoy trying to pit my wits against setters who are finding new and ingenious ways of clueing.

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    We may think it strange that a matter of great political importance that consumed the Scottish media for many weeks, which led to resignations and accusations of political interference in planning decisions did not find its way into your consciousness, Chunter. That has to do with the London/Westminster focus in national (English) newspapers. The matter itself refers to Donald Trump and a golf course/gated housing estate/SSSI. I am not an Aberdonian by the way, although I did go to college there.

    I take your point, Geoff and won’t grumble about this again.

  13. beermagnet says:

    Did anyone else fall into the trap he set:
    As soon as I saw the references to 26 and “She-man (5)” I happily engraved RIDER in the grid.
    Frankly, it didn’t take long to realise my bloomer (there’s a “?” on that there clue), but try solving the bottom right hand corner trying to ignore those wrong letters. I’ll have to start carrying some Tippex on the train.
    It was HADBISHOPANYMORE* that got me going.
    Didn’t get ONE VISION. Is that a well-known Queen song?

  14. Eileen says:

    My momentary first thought, too, Beermagnet. Had ‘Rider’ been his surname, it would have persisted longer but I think I’d already subconsciously picked up the theme by then from 21ac [brilliant clue] and 25ac [like others, I’m bothered about the knight’s supposed lateral move.]

  15. Brian Harris says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle today. Not too difficult, but lots of lovely ingenious constructions. I was grumbling about “she-man” for queen for ages, until it gradually dawned on me that the “man” motif was a second theme…. 22ac was very nicely put together, as was the “knight’s move” in 25ac.

    10ac didn’t bother me too much – it more or less worked, once you considered the whole meaning, albeit slightly awkward because of the “City” reference at the start.

  16. smutchin says:

    Tom – some of us down here did pick up the Trump story!

    Brian – yeah, I also thought 26ac was a fairly weak cryptic definition until I twigged that it’s a multi-layered cryptic definition. Fiendish!

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Eileen and Beermagnet: The “She” man is Rider Haggard, but I dismissed the surname as being too long, and didn’t consider the Rider as being feasible.

    Am I stating the obvious? It’s not just that a female chess piece is a queen: queen has yet another meaning which makes this a brilliant clue.

    10ac was my last – I thought I was looking for a city all along: Rochester (OR back for alternative) and Rotherham (other, here for alternative) would fit at various stages. Despite thinking LOTH early on, I couldn’t do anything with it. For R_C_O_H_D it is hard to find a word to fit. It is on a par with _ENY, which, on looking at it many, people would deny there is a word to fit.

  18. Ralph G says:

    Beermagnet (#13 above): One Vision is in the ‘Complete Vision’ album if that helps. Whether it’s a greatest hit is beyond my ken.

  19. Brian Harris says:

    Dave – yes, of course, although the other connotation of “queen” totally escaped me, until I read your post just now! So it wasn’t obvious to me – I’m clearly just too PC 😉

  20. Geoff Moss says:

    Surely for the other connotation of ‘queen’ the clue would have had to be ‘She-manx’ 😉

  21. jobseeker says:

    After the No Trump answer, I thought there might be a bridge’n’chess theme, the ugly sisters traditionally haunting newspaper crosswords, especially with the ‘dealer pays’ deception. But thank God Queen saved the day!
    I loved this one, and it’s one of those puzzles where you feel, probably totally erroneously, you know the setter a bit better. He’s probably listening to One Vision right now.

  22. smutchin says:

    Dave E – it’s the other meaning that I got first, and what made me think it was an uncharacteristically weak clue. I didn’t get the chess link until later and realised it was actually a typically playful Paul clue.

  23. John says:

    Great challenge, surprisingly easy to solve despite the complex wordplay, esp. for a Queen fan.
    As a chess playing Queen fan, I have no issue with the knight’s move. It’s two forward, one to the side, which is an “l” in my book.
    As a chess playing, Queen loving epicurean, I have one quibble – if I ordered a rare steak and it was served blue, I’d send it back; and vice versa.

  24. John says:

    P.S. As a chess playing, Queen loving, epicurean Manxman, I feel I should be insulted by Geoff Moss’s comment at 20, but I don’t know why.

  25. Geoff Moss says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I was not alluding to any of the previously mentioned or inferred definitions of ‘queen’. My attempts at humour must be declining at the same rate as the rest of me :-(

  26. Kate Wild says:

    Hood’s faithless girl adds colour to the army (5,5)

    Please, can anyone solve this clue – it’s from Auracaria’s perimetrical crossword book. I’ve been stuck for days, and I’m determined not to look at answers at the back in case I accidentally see other answers. I can’t fill anything in the grid till I get this one. I’m going mad thinking of Robin Hood, Red riding Hood, Marion etc…

  27. John says:

    Geoff: I don’t feel that way. It was a joke. Perhaps your sense of humour is in decline also. Or maybe it’s mine……

  28. Geoff Moss says:

    I thought it might have been but wasn’t sure as there was no smiley. It is often difficult to tell the intent in the absence of body language or facial expression. I’m sure my sense of humour has declined and I’m turning into a grumpy old man.

  29. Geoff Moss says:

    SALLY (Salvation Army) BROWN (colour) – a reference to Thomas Hood’s poem “Faithless Sally Brown”.

  30. Geoff says:

    Kate: Must be SALLY BROWN – “Sally” (ie Salvation) Army and the colour, brown. “Faithless Sally Brown” is a humorous poem, full of puns, by the poet Thomas Hood.

  31. Geoff says:

    Looks like the two Geoff’s responded almost in unison!

  32. peter says:

    Enjoyed this one it took some time as the first I entered was 26ac she-man which I entered as HE-LEN confused me until I got another bites the dust.

  33. Kate Wild says:

    Thanks both Geoffs. I feel dumb now. You would not believe how I’ve sat and stared at that. Now I can actually fill in the answers. thanks again!

  34. Jim says:

    I’ve never heard of Queen but I still managed a solution withe recourse to references. A tribute to the precision of Paul’s cryptic clues.

  35. don says:

    Kate, have you tried ?

    Don y Gwcw (according to Geoff)

  36. don says:

    Sorry to be late, but can anyone explain 19 down a bit more, please?

    Don y Gwcw

  37. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Don – An old frenchman is a GAUL. Almost finished gives GAU. TEA is a meal (at least where I’m from) so ‘consuming a meal’ means it’s put inside GAU to give GATEAU, a cake.

  38. don says:

    Ok – Its an L not an I. Its GA(TEA)UL not GA(TEA)UI

  39. don says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. ‘Gateau’ was obviously the ‘cake’, but I mistook your l for an I.

  40. stiofain_x says:

    geoff moss said
    Surely for the other connotation of ‘queen’ the clue would have had to be ‘She-manx’ 😉

    sounds too close to my pseudonym for comfort

    jobseeker said
    I loved this one, and it’s one of those puzzles where you feel, probably totally erroneously, you know the setter a bit better. He’s probably listening to One Vision right now.

    I have a mental picture of a statuesque Paul with his rump tattoos covered in red playing flamboyant L shaped chess moves while listening to Queen’s greatest hits and eating cheese on toast and gateau while petting his pet cygnet in his William Morris wallpapered throneroom in Riga.

    This was a brilliant puzzle suitable for all levels of solvers I am not sure about the Aberdonian Question in 1ac and whether too much subtlety is being accorded and will not try to make a case that 22ac is a reference to Cary Grants legendary screen chemistry.

    I loved the man from UNCLE and would have been happy seeing it even without the theme.

    The best puzzle i have seen in ages if not ever.


  41. KG says:

    A fine example of the setter’s art. All the chess pieces get a mention (King Elvis!)and although I’m not a Queen fan, Bo Rap has been around for 33 years, so fair game.

    Attention was quickly drawn to 26, and my first thought was Rider too, but 19 and 20 scotched that (as a birdwatcher I start twitching whenever ‘bird’ is used)and importantly gave the _u_t at the end of 28. This opened the whole thing up, in a very enjoyable way.

    eg – little rods = tadpoles

  42. Shed says:

    I do know Paul, and while I wouldn’t exactly describe him as statuesque, and I certainly have no idea about any posterior decorations he may sport, I’m pretty sure he’ll enjoy Stiofain_X’s mental picture of him. I thought this was a great puzzle, hard work and fun at the same time. And I’d completely forgotten about ‘One Vision’ but now have it stuck in my head – which is quite a relief, as it’s displaced Cliff Richard’s ‘Christmas Time’.

  43. Ian says:

    I found this a typically straightforward Paul puzzle, but for 25ac, which I though a bit unfair. The devious wordplay might have been divined if the answer had not been so obscure, or vice versa. I really don’t think popular music references have any place in a “broadsheet” crossword. I’d at least heard of Bohemian Rhapsody, though I had no idea (or interest in) who recorded it.

    On a more general subject, I’ve more or less resigned myself to crossword clues suggesting that a pawn is a man. Is no one else bothered by the imprecision? There are two kinds of chess pieces — men and pawns.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

four × 6 =