Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,565 (Sat 6 Dec)/Paul – Icky end

Posted by rightback on December 13th, 2008

rightback.

Solving time: 6:50, with a self-induced hold-up on 13ac (ICKY) at the end.

How difficult you found this probably depended on how quickly you spotted one of the long multi-word phrases; the central column held me up but I managed a lucky early solve of 10/1/23ac which helped a lot. The rest of the puzzle was easier than usual for Paul, I thought, with virtually no obscurities, evidenced by the lack of hyperlinks in the blog. My favourite clue was 20ac: Lifting one’s habit? (12).

Music of the day (10/1/23ac): Eternal Flame by The Bangles.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Across
5 SIDESHOW; SIDES (= ‘faces’) + HOW (= ‘question’)
9 OCCURRED; (C + CURR[y]) in O.E.D. (= ‘dictionary’)
10/1/23 NO REST FOR THE WICKED – lovely wordplay (‘As candle’s eternal flame suggests’), using the classic pun on wick/wicked.
11 HIT + THE BOTTLE
13 [p]ICKY – I wasted 1:20 on this at the end through carelessly writing ‘ile’ instead of ‘ice’ at 12dn. Don’t think I’ve seen this word in a crossword before, but it’s in Chambers!
14 SETTLE IN; (TEST LINE)* – a simple but very well-worded anagram.
17 ALTER EGO; rev. of [Richard] GERE in ALTO
18 VERY (2 defs) – I wrote in ‘fair’ here, crossed it out, then wrote in ‘just’ and crossed that out as well before finally seeing the correct answer.
20 KLEPTOMANIAC (cryptic definition) – brilliant.
24 AGGRIEVE; rev. of (IR + (GAG)*), + EVE (= ‘girl’)
25 ESTRANGE; (SERGEANT)*
26 END (= ‘last’) + URE (= ‘flower’)
Down
2/22 ONCE (= ‘then’) + OVER (= ‘finished’)
3 TOUCH (= ‘affect’) + TYPE (= ‘type’)
4 ER(RAT)A
5/8 SOD THIS FOR A GAME OF SOLDIERS – a sort of half-cryptic definition which doesn’t quite work for me.
6 DINGBATS; D + IN + G.B. + AT + S (= ‘conclusion of operations’)
7 STRUT (2 defs)
12 ICE LOLLIES; [m]I[t]C[h]E[l]L + OLLIE’S – refers to Oliver Hardy, one half of Laurel and Hardy.
15 LOVE CHILD – another excellent cryptic definition.
16 BEHOLDEN; EH in (BLONDE)* – I liked this a lot.
19 JINGLE – as in Jingle Bells.
21 POKER (2 defs, split at ‘…Ashes / game’) – excellent clue to finish.

7 Responses to “Guardian 24,565 (Sat 6 Dec)/Paul – Icky end”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    13ac was my last too. I thought the cloying was sticky, and was looking for Particular as a definition. Then I decided sticky was particular, and removing st gave icky. Picky fits better.

    Solving time? DK, but about 40 mins. Today’s Killer 38 mins, first attempt; last week’s, 4 attempts, ~5 hours!

  2. mhl says:

    Goodness, another amazing solving time! Thanks for explaining the “wicked” / “wick” pun – that completely passed me by.

    I thought 5,8 was rather good – it certainly made me laugh when I got it, anyway. (This may be partly because I’ve been exchanging similarly themed clues with a friend who’s similarly frustrated with his work situation.)

    Strangely, I found this much easier than the midweek Paul, which everyone else apparently breezed through…

  3. Phaedrus says:

    This may be a first – my solving time was quicker than rightback’s. Probably because I was lucky enough to get “icky” quite early on…

  4. KG says:

    I do Saturday’s over a mug, or two, of tea in bed on Sunday morning. I think this was a one-mugger, and I recall that it was a very pleasant experience. My favourite end to ‘sod this …’ is ‘a game of conkers’, which obviously didn’t fit. ‘Icky’ came easily, although I cross-checked in Chambers too – well, doesn’t everyone have a copy on the bedside table? Kleptomaniac was one of my last, and I think I gave the clue a round of applause.

    Music of the day – totally agree with the Bangles selection. Others include Diana Ross and the Supremes ‘Love Child’ and Gill Scott Heron’s ‘The Bottle’.

  5. Ralph G says:

    5d/8d rightback : you said “… didn’t quite work for me”. Mhl and KG don’t comment directly on ypuir misgivings, so : given ‘Cry of exasperation’ as the definition, and the solution as a phrase that applies to _any_ situation, the remainder of the clue with the question mark is
    a) an ironic comment that the phrase _can_ apply to a military situation, specifically, reported delays in the transport home of troops whose leave was deemed to have started already, and
    b) confirmation for solvers that their solution is correct.
    I don’t know whether that meets your concerns.I had different misgivings about the clue because in East Anglia the Afghanistan situation is not a subject for trivial reference.

  6. rightback says:

    5/8dn: Yes, you’re right – I think I was just being over-puristic. There’s no doubt that the answer is correct, once you have it, which is one of the most important things about a clue. (Afghanistan is viewed similarly round here, by the way, although I have no objection to this particular clue.)

    Thanks for the additional music selection, KG!

  7. Rob says:

    Solved in under 7 minutes? Good grief! I thought i’d done well in under 20. Kleptomaniac was an absolute beaut.

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