Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,573 (Paul)

Posted by diagacht on December 16th, 2008

9,8 OSCAR PETERSON: anagram of SOON around CARPETERS (layers)
10 JAZZ: JA + ZZ (sound of snoring)
11 COUNT BASIE: COUNT (consider) + I in BASE (essence)
12,17 BILLIE HOLIDAY: LIB (reversed) + LIE (politician’s promise) + HOLIDAY (recess); Paul is taking a tough line on politicians this morning!
14 INTEGRAL: anagram of ALTERING
15,21 CHARLIE PARKER: CHARLIE (wally) + PARKER (kind of coat)
20 OPEN FIRE: double definition
22 WIGWAM: WIG (rug) + WA (Washington) + M (man)
23 ARTIFICIAL: IF in ARTIC (lorry) + I (one) + A (heading for auction, first letter) + L (left, behind indicating at the end)
24,22 FATS WALLER: S WALL (small screen) in anagram (broadcast) of AFTER
25 EXIST: EX (old) + IS (one’s) + T (time)
26 RIESLING: R (right) + IE (that is) + SLING (to chuck)
1 MEGALITH: (H (hard) + TIL (up to) + A GEM (a stone)) all reversed
2 BENZ: BEN(d) (short curve) + Z (angled chicane)
3 PSYCHE: hidden in tiPSY CHEeky
4 INSULIN: INSUL(t) (slight cut) + IN (hip, as in trendy)
5 FORTY-TWO: FORT (strong position) + W (wife) in anagram of TOY; this is Douglas Adams’ answer to everything in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
6 OCEAN-GOING: anagram of CArGO NONE I (without ‘r’, runs out of) + G (good)
7 TROIKA: OIK (unpleasant person) in ART reversed (craft)
18 AWAITING: A WING (a fly) around AIT (an island on the Thames)
19 DEVILRY: double definition (devilry as in black magic and also as in an expression of impatience)
24 FELT: double definition

48 Responses to “Guardian 24,573 (Paul)”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Diagacht: it took me a few minutes to get the theme but after that it was fairly smooth going.

    15,21: I won’t go on any more about ‘non-rhotic homophones’ but the coat is a parka.

    19dn: I read this as D[EVIL]RY but it seems to be the wrong way round [Devilry is evil]

  2. conradcork says:

    At last a puzzle on my home turf! Makes up for all those other ones with Elvis et al. Good ‘un, Paul.

  3. Hector says:

    this was a fun one. 25ac and 24dn were pleasing, very elegant. i read 19dn as D[EVIL]RY, too — held me up; the last one i wrote in.

    first time for everything — & this was the first time a Paul grid’s taken me under ten minutes. nice start to the morning!

  4. Tom Hutton says:

    I agree with Hector about 19dn. This was a most enjoyable crossword with one serious defect.

    I very much object to the easy Paxmanesque characterisation of politicians as liars. It cheapens public life. Why not characterise advertisers or supermarket owners, newspaper publishers or clergymen and doctors as liars? This is shabby cluing.

  5. Geoff says:

    I worked steadily through this one, but I didn’t find it that easy! Great clues from Paul, as ever, but fewer LOL moments than usual!

    14ac is a mathematically clever clue: ‘differential’ and INTEGRAL being the result of opposite operations on a function in calculus.

    I agree with Eileen and Hector: 19dn (one of my last, too) is D[EVIL]RY. DRY is clearly ‘boring’, and ‘black’ = EVIL. I read it as one of those Paul clues where part of the wording has double duty in the charade (‘Boring claiming black’) and the definition (‘black magic’) – hence the ‘is what it is’ and the question mark.

    Good point about non-rhotic homophones, Eileen. My own accent (slightly Northern English RP) is non-rhotic, so I had no problem with 21dn, but it might have proved slightly more difficult for Scots, Devonians or USAnians (apart from New Englanders – ‘Park the car in Harvard Yard’ and all that…)

  6. Phaedrus says:

    Nice puzzle, lots of fun to be had (and I didnt mind politicians being characterised as liars one bit!)

    14ac was mathematically interesting, since (as Geoff points out) differentiation and integration are opposite functions in calculus. Only slight quibble is that the opposite of an INTEGRAL is actually a derivative rather than a differential.

    My only other quibble was 22ac – not sure that a WIGWAM is a house? (Home, yes; but house?)

    Minor points both, and by no means spoiled a very good puzzle. Back to the radio now, to listen to more of the blatant lies being spouted by politicians…..

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the further explanation, Geoff: I hadn’t separated ‘black’ and ‘magic’ – it isn’t the wrong way round!

  8. smutchin says:

    Tom H, I have no complaint with Paul having a dig at politicians – politicians and bankers are fair game in my book, albeit soft targets. My objection would be that jokey definitions like this are too esoteric to count as “fair play” – 10a even more so (the “sound in the House of Lords” bit).

    Also 5d seems to have an utterly nonsensical surface – and some other clues strike me as inelegant, to put it charitably.

    Lots of very good bits, though, so on balance… all is forgiven.

  9. Ciaran McNulty says:

    I agree about D[EVIL]RY, and thought IN IT I ATE to be excellent.

  10. dialrib says:

    I saw 19d as black magic = EVIL, boring = DRY, what black magic is = DEVILRY

  11. beermagnet says:

    Someone called Hutton sticking up for politicians!
    Never been known before surely … Err …

  12. John says:

    Smutchin: 5 dn is fine with me. FORT is “strong position” W is “wife” in “flexible toy” = YTWO = Douglas Adams’ answer to everything. Brilliant!

  13. Phaedrus says:

    John, I think Smutchin’s criticism of 5dn was not that the answer didnt make sense, but that the surface reading of the clue didnt, and he has a point – if you simply read the clue as a sentence, you would think it was gobbledygook (unlike, for example 24dn). Although not prohibited, such clues are not very elegant (even though another certain setter routinely writes clues with rubbish surface readings, and is almost universally adored!).

  14. JimboNWUK says:


    Yet another NOGDOB (NO Google DOn’t Bother) from Paul… once I got the link and realised the linked clues were all personages that enact so-called music where the frequency of the notes is obtained from a random number generator I screwed it up, threw it across the carriage, and read the Metro instead.

    If I want to find answers on specialist subjects I’ll apply to go on Mastermind. As it is, the combined might of Chambers, the (unabridged) OED, Websters and Random House from across the pond would not have helped me complete this pile of pants.

    Utter cack!

  15. Phaedrus says:

    …. so – you didn’t like it then?

  16. Geoff says:

    5dn: “Strong position taken over wife accessing flexible toy” might not provide the smoothest of surface readings, but it is not entirely meaningless – it’s a typically ribald Paulian reference to the disapproval a husband might show to his spouse’s purchase at a sex shop.

    16dn is my favourite – I’m surprised I haven’t seen this one before.

  17. Phaedrus says:

    Geoff, I agree that the “Strong position taken over wife accessing flexible toy” part is not completely insensible, but then adding “…as Adams’ comprehensive solution” is!

  18. smutchin says:

    Phaedrus – yep, that’s what I meant. 22a and 23a likewise. It’s disappointing because Paul is capable of some beautifully elegant clueing when he puts his mind to it. That other setter you referred to, who shall remain nameless, was certainly guilty of gobbledygook in his most recent Guardian puzzle but I shall save my comments on that for next Saturday…

    Jimbo – thanks for the chuckle.

  19. Phaedrus says:

    PS yes, 16dn was great.

  20. smutchin says:

    Yep, no complaints about 16d. Lovely.

  21. Testy says:

    For flawles surface the prize must surely go to 25a.

    JimboNWUK, what have you got against GENERAL knowledge. None of the musicians are that obscure. So long as you are reasonably intelligent, are at least 20 years old and haven’t lived your entire life in seclusion then you are likely to have heard of most if not all of them.

    I’m surprised that your fellow commuters don’t get a face-full of newspaper every morning when you discover that “OMG! This crossword expects you to know words and stuff!”.

    Do you only ever want to be tested on things you know? With an attitude like that how will you ever learn anything?

  22. JimboNWUK says:

    Funny, Phaedrus, funny…. :o)

    I am now even more miffed that I was denied the appreciation of 16dn and the Douglas Adams’ one at 5 (which I thought was brilliant)

  23. smutchin says:

    Oh yes, 25a is superb!

  24. Dave Ellison says:

    I enjoyed this and, for me too, the devil was in de tail.

    I must take strong exception to 14 ac, however. It is nonsensical, mathematically and otherwise. I don’t know if Paul has been reading Chambers, but he would not find enlightenment there.

    The Mathematics Dictionary’s (Van Nostrand, 1968) definition of an (indefinite) integral of a function is: “Any function whose derivative is the given function”. Paul’s clue omits the “is the given function” bit and replaces it with “integral” (the “integral” is the “Any function” bit in the definition); and as some one else points out, differential is different from derivative.

    Chambers (10th Edition) gives: “integral…the value of the function of a variable whose differential coefficient is known”. This is awful. To a non-mathematician, it surely signifies nothing; to a mathematician, he has to think hard to see it is saying nothing useful. (The “known” should be replaced by “the given function”)

    Perhaps we need to know what a differential coefficient is. Again, Chambers gives: “differential coefficient…the ratio of the rate of change of a function to that of its independent variable”. This is just plain wrong. The Mathematics Dictionary gives: “ [differential coefficient] The instantaneous rate of change of a function with respect to the variable”. The “ratio” is incorrect.

  25. Brian Harris says:

    I hate jazz, and yet I really enjoyed this crossword. The only musician I’d never heard of in it was Oscar Peterson (lovely construction of the clue, but the name meant nothing to me) and my colleague refused to believe I didn’t know who he was, so I’m guessing he must be famous.

    Other than that, some very nice constructions – FORTY TWO in particular was ingenious.

    Spent a good fifteen minutes staring blankly at this today, but once we’d figured out 10ac (not sure about this – ZZ seems rather weak) the rest fell in about 10 mins.

  26. Geoff says:

    Dave: Like G&S’s modern Major-General, I’m sure you’re ‘very good at integral and differential calculus’

  27. Eileen says:

    10ac reminded me of the very old joke about the old boy who dreamed he was making a speech in the House of Lords, woke up and found that he was…

  28. Tom Hutton says:

    I’m not defending politicians, Beermagnet. I’m attacking lazy unfocussed abuse which tars all politicians with the same brush and prevents constructive thought about our political system and how it might be improved. (Much better interviewing of politicians, for example). Calling all politicians liars and saying peers are lazy is not clever or useful. It certainly shouldn’t happen in a paper like the Guardian even in the crossword. I realise it makes one sound pompous and stupid to raise objections like this, and indeed I probably am pompous and stupid, but it doesn’t make the objection less valid. (ps: no relation to any other Hutton you have ever heard of)

  29. owenjonesuk says:

    I enjoyed 14. I’m doing a maths PhD and have had to learn some differential geometry, so I know the mathematical definition of a differential, but that didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the clue. It’s a bit sloppy but if you take the definition to just be “function” then it works well enough for me.

  30. Chris says:

    I’m not sure I could agree with Jimbo’s complaint less.

    For a start, I’m not in the slightest bit a fan of jazz music but I’ve certainly heard of the likes of Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and the rest – they’re hardly obscure names. I’d expect most people with a reasonable general knowledge to at least heard of them.

    And in any case, if a crossword compiler can’t clue things that don’t stretch our general knowledge every so often we may as well all give up and go home.

  31. C & J says:

    Regarding jazz, one does not expect everyone to share one’s interests, but surely it is not reasonable write intolerantly of those interests?

    One of us is an engineer and a mathemetician, and is perfectly happy with the calculus clue giving a broad hint at the solution, if not an entirely accurate one.

  32. aferick says:

    I got everything except 15 & 20. Who the hell is Gherkin Barber? I hang my head in shame.

  33. Mr Beaver says:

    Didn’t Gherkin Barber play sax on the Muppet Show ?

  34. rich says:

    My initial delight at spotting the maths clue (im a mathematitcian) i was slightly disappointed at the dodgy solution, but it was better than no maths clue….

    Regarding the Jazz theme, I am certain not an avid fan of “the jazz” but I took it as a fun challenge and not an affront as other(s) seem to have done. Maybe it was just a product of the general overcrowding on trains these days.

    And with a bit of headscratching i did recall all of the jaz names, they are very familiar :)

    It’s more of a Jazz for dummies to be honest :)

  35. rightback says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle, and I thought 25ac was brilliant.

  36. Ian says:

    I very much in awe of those who finished this in under 30 minutes. This took me over two hours!!!

    It took me over twenty minutes to solve 10a. The artists were relatively straighforward (9/8a was an elegant piece of clueing)but I spent a fair time Googling THGTTG before solving 5d.

    Like many, 19d was last to be entered.

    Finally, I’d agree with TH re 12/17a and the casual reference to politicians as liars. Not cricket!

  37. Harley26 says:

    Fairly new to the site but moved to post, just to agree with mr hutton re the clueing of politicians as liars. I’m not old (which must make me young and pompous) but I think it’s lazy and unhelpful. politicians = liars is as valid as saying people = liars. wholly unsatisfactory.
    other than that, i liked this one – not a jazz fan but got them, failed on devilry.

  38. SimonHarris says:

    I think “politician” for “liar” – as a euphemism, rather than a generalisation – has been knocking around for some time. I remember discussing it in English lessons at school (and that’s some years ago). No idea if dictionaries reflect it though, to be honest.

  39. Ingrid says:

    I’m sure Paul wasn’t intending to be savagely satirical, more impishly mischievous with his references to snoozing peers and Westminster whoppers.

    Thank you Aferick for allowing Gherkin B. to emerge from the shadows. Maybe not as illustrious as the others of Paul’s selection but decidedly noteworthy.

    Luckily, ignorance allowed me to escape the agonizing over 14A. I merely trusted that Integral was a function and assumed differential was just the anagram indicator.

  40. Brendan says:


    I do not know if the blogger or site administrator will read this but would it be possible to put some text at the beginning of each blog [it mostly happens anyway] so that when accessing this site through an rss reader, as I do, the first answer is not immediately staring one in the face, as happened to me yesterday. I used my reader to check an earlier puzzle, only to see Oscar Peterson writ large which somewhat detracted from my enjoyment of an otherwise excellent Paul.

  41. Garry says:

    I thought all the clues were great. It’s a game!! Favourites 9/8 and 10ac and 5dn. I also agree with Brendan’s suggestion. Sometimes I’m looking for earlier blogs and the current day’s has a title that gives the theme away. I don’t usually get to start until well after the current day has been blogged.

  42. davey b says:

    What is a CARPETER?

  43. rich says:

    A carpeter is a person who puts down carpets, or a “layer of carpets”

  44. Kamintone says:

    Being a jazz musician I had something of an advantage with this puzzle, which enabled me and my partner to complete it in our shortest “Paul” time ever, in spite of my being convinced that “layers” must indicat “hens” and that “F—” must be “Fred” …

    However, I think the musicians involved could, as Chris suggests, almost be described as “household names” – surely most people have heard of Charlie Parker even if they’ve never heard a note of his music. If Paul had used, say, Freddie Keppard at one end of the spectrum or Cecil Taylor at the other the jazz-haters would have had something to complain about.

    And while I’m on my soap-box, to say “I hate jazz” is rather like saying “I hate 20th-century novels”. The term “jazz” covers an enormously wide range of music, at least some of which should be accessible and agreeable to anyone with half an ear and an open mind.

    Incidentally, Gherkin Barber was of course Chris Barber’s younger brother, who spurned the commercial success enjoyed by his sibling, turned to free jazz-funk-rock fusion, and died in well-deserved obscurity.

  45. davey b says:

    The word CARPETER is not in “chambers” or in the “online dictionary.”

  46. Ian says:

    A friend of mine , Walter Wall, lays flooring for a living. Carpeter is used in the profession apparently.

  47. KG says:

    I support Brendan’s point about inadvertently being given solutions. When I open the site I use a highly technological piece of paper to mask the screen until I have navigated to the part I want.

    Its not really surprising that ‘carpeter’ (spell checker just kicked in) isn’t in Chambers. Carpet fitter might be the usual term for the trade, but I couldn’t find that in there either.

    Gherkin Barber must have had a very colourful career. In a town on the Rhone a few years ago we saw that protesters had stenciled the phrase ‘Nous ne sommes pas des cornichons’(we are not gherkins ) all over the place. I have never understood – until now.

  48. aferick says:

    You people are wonderful. Mr Beaver, Ingrid, Kamintone & KG. Obviously, this Gherkin was a great unsung artist. On his mother’s side, the ancestor of Wilfred Pickles and on his father’s side,the brother of the great Chris – the Sweeney Todd of the Rhone Trombone.

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