Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24598 / Paul

Posted by mhl on January 16th, 2009


I’ve very little time for this today, so apologies for any errors – I needed quite a bit of research to get or confirm the song titles, but I don’t mind that. As ever with Paul, there are lots of clues here that made me smile.

8. COSTELLO OS = “outsize” + T = “time” in CELLO; one of Abbot and Costello
9,14. ROUND MIDNIGHT ROUND = 0 / MIDNIGHT = 12; a song by Thelonious Monk
10. TIER TI[g]ER
12. NUDITY Homonym of “new ditty”
17,26. GEORGIA ON MY MIND (MOGGY IRON MAIDEN)*; an excellent anagram
20. WARMED UP WAR + ME + PUD reversed; something that’s “out of the oven” might be “warmed up”
22. SAYING AY = “always” in SING = “grass”
23. MOOD INDIGO MOO = “low” + DINGO around DI; a song by Duke Ellington
25. NITRE NIT = “Fool” + RE = “about”
1. SOLITUDE (DIET SOUL)*; a song by Duke Ellington
2,24. STARDUST START = “beginning” around D = “duke” + US; a song by Hoagy Carmichael
3. SLEAZY S = “second” followed by [offensiv]E in LAZY
4. POM-POMS A pom pom is a cannon, but I’m not sure about the rest. “Pom” is Australian slang for a British person, so perhaps that’s “the opposite [of] Antipodeans”, “one and all” giving POM-POMS. (Is there a reason why the plural in this context isn’t “cannon”, which my inner pedant wants it to be?)
6. SUPERIORLY SURLY about PERI = “fairy” + O[beron]
13. INTIMIDATE ID in INTIMATE; the definition is “cow” in the verb sense
18. IONISING Hidden answer; very well hidden, I think
19. APRICOT [you]R in A PICOT = “loop”
22,15. STORMY WEATHER Another song, by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
24. DAME DAM + E[rode]

26 Responses to “Guardian 24598 / Paul”

  1. don says:

    Abbot and Costello, ‘the most popular comedy team during the 1940s’!?

    If your not a jazz fan … what’s the point?

  2. Mick h says:

    I couldn’t have put name to tune on any of these, but that didn’t seem to matter – all the song names were familiar, and the wordplay was clear enough. I liked 0/12, very concise.

  3. Andrew says:

    Well, I thought it was a very enjoyable puzzle – interesting that it had a similar sort of idea to yesterday’s from Brendan, with 12ac linking the thematic answers. (And I loved the ridiculous pun on “new ditty”.)

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for a very comprehensive blog, Mhl, particularly if you’re busy. Great puzzle! [I thought the ‘jazz’ theme might cause a stir, as it did a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t call myself a fan but the musicians in question are part of my ‘general knowledge’.] I loved INTIMIDATE, especially.

    I’d agree with you about ‘cannons’ but both Chambers and Collins give that as the plural before ‘cannon’, though my Shorter Oxford only gives the latter. Somehow ‘cannons to right of them, cannons to left of them’ doesn’t have the same ring. [Perhaps Paul wanted to make it clear that the answer was plural.]

  5. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks for the post mhl,

    But I’m with Don … how the heck are you supposed to solve something when the theme is not your area. I had to cheat … thanks google.


    CRICKET LOVERS ONLY : For those of you interested in cricket … South Africa just beat Australia in an ODI ( I know it’s not real cricket) at the MCG. This SA team is a ripper … I watched (and listened to) some of the best most strategic cricket I’ve seen in years. I bet the England team can’t wait … if they can get themselves together :-)

  6. Ian Stark says:

    Well I’m not a jazz fan by any stretch (late 70’s punk), but knowing (of) Stormy Weather and Georgia On My Mind I was able to guess the theme quickly, so it didn’t really matter.

    I think this is an outstanding example of a completely fair puzzle. I didn’t need to refer to non-brain sources at all to work out answers (other than to learn exactly what kind of fabric ORGANDIE is, as it’s a new one for me).

    Wonderful finale to an otherwise easy-going week (IMHO). I hope tomorrow’s is as good or better. Thank you Paul (and mhl, of course).

  7. mhl says:

    I’m glad to hear that the rest of the week wasn’t too difficult – for the first time in about two years I’ve been skipping the crossword this week, so I’ll try to catch up this evening…

  8. John says:

    Well I am a jazz fan and have a slight objection to these wonderful songs being referred to as “ditties”, however indirectly.

  9. David says:

    Thanks mhl. I found the bottom half and top left quite straightforward, but ground to a halt in the top right. I particularly loved 9, 14 and 12.

    (12 took me back many years to when I heard a DJ (Radio Luxembourg?) introduce “The latest ditty from Conway Twitty” !

    Happy days

  10. Geoff says:

    I’m glad everyone else enjoyed this one! I found this crossword the most difficult weekday Guardian puzzle for months, not being a jazz aficionado and therefore unfamiliar with most of the numbers. Sadly, I had to resort to Wikipedia to help me out. I don’t like having to cheat, and this completely spoiled my enjoyment. Pity, since Paul is usually one of my favourite setters.

    Some great clues, of course. 13dn is lovely.

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sigh, another one where I’m not wierd enough. It was all quite clear when you see the answers, but I’m left wondering how you see them. Unlike other setters, the word associations are fair enough but ones I never use. For example, one presumes Paul is jazz fan, but no jazz fan would insult the great songs of jazz by refering to them as ditties. So if I, also a jazz fan, wouldn’t, under any circumstances, use the phrase “old ditties” about those songs, how am I supposed to reach “new ditties”???

    PS. Was in and out in an afternoon. No more occasional stabbing pains. Healing fracture is much better with loose chip chiseled out. I wish they had just said “removed” beforehand. “Chiseled” is too much information when it is yet to happen.

  12. mhl says:

    I meant to add that I totally agree about with Geoff and Eileen about INTIMIDATE – a brilliant clue, and not in a flashy way :)

    Derek Lazenby: it’s great to hear that your leg is improving.

  13. Tom Hutton says:

    Why the question mark at the end of 13dn? Cow is a perfectly good synonym for intimidate so, as far as I can see, there is no need for the question mark.

    Good fun otherwise (and crosswords with references going back a good few years like this will certainly stop young people thinking that they are for them.)

  14. George Foot says:

    Sorry this is about yesterdays crossword and a response to Eileen whom I feared might not look there again. When I was teaching I perceived it as working! Clearly Eileen had a higher motivation than I did. A labour of love ?

  15. Eileen says:

    Sorry, George, we seem to have misunderstood each other. I said “I’ve always thought [though I’ve not found any actual evidence] that the expression [working] ‘at the chalkface’ was derived from ‘at the coalface’, meaning actually ‘on the job’ rather than theorising about it – as George said in comment 1, ‘teaching in the classroom’”, which surely means I thought of it as ‘working’? I did love it [most of the time] but it was certainly hard work!

  16. peter says:

    I like the use of ditty as when you hear jazz fans on the radio they take themselves far to seriously.

    Enjoyed this one of Paul a lot.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    But Peter, don’t you take your interests seriously?

    Shame Humph died, he was never TOO serious.

  18. Geoff says:

    Tom Hutton asks why the clue for 13dn needs the question mark. Clearly it doesn’t.

    Strict Ximeneans (which Paul is not!) are very careful about punctuation: it has to be relevant and not just for decoration, and definitely not just to mislead. Therefore a question mark at the end of a purist’s clue usually stands as shorthand for ‘perhaps’ or ‘for example’ – often suggesting that the definition part of the clue is somewhat vague, or more generic than the solution.

    There are quite a few question marks in the clues for this crossword. In 16dn, as in 13dn, it serves no real purpose. For 21dn the question mark is needed for the surface reading: ‘how much’ makes the clue read like a question. The clues for 9, 14 and 12ac are rather more allusive, but neither really needs the question mark. Only in the case of 4dn is the question mark fully justified, because ‘opposite for Antipodeans’ is not a strict definition for POM.

    But it’s Paul, and I would forgive him almost anything! (But please – no more jazz for a while, Mr Halpern)

  19. Bogeyman says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – worked on it over a four hour period whilst accompanying my wife to hospital for treatment on a broken knee. In spite of not knowing any of the jazz numbers, we were able to work out most of them through the word play which was very satisfying as we had no internet access. Couldn’t quite finish it though – needed Wikipedia when we got back to help with Round Midnight. Nudity proved too lateral for us as well!

  20. 13eastie says:

    ¡¿Too ‘Wikipedian’ for me, this one; I feel quite justified in having a swipe?!

    ¿Agree whole-heartedly with the comments about the extraneous question-marks? ¿In my book, this should be reserved for clues in which the definition (and hence the solution) are in some way speculative?

    ¿Is it possible that for 12 the punctuation is rather some sort of apology for the dreadful misuse of the word ‘either’?

    ¿Do Paul’s spoken statements always end on a high rising terminal, in the mode, perhaps, of some of Brisbanegirl’s neighbours (¿or should that be Neighbours?)?

    ¡¿At least he didn’t call himself ‘Paulo’?!

  21. aferick says:

    I really enjoyed this puzzle especially since it involved so many of my heroes. Thanks to Paul. Am listening to McCoy Tyner as I write. “Search for Peace” is really “Round Midnight” with some modal adaptations. I wonder – What’s the time in Israel?

  22. aferick says:

    13eastie: Hola! As in not old ditty? I think so.

  23. aferick says:

    Ach! Where are the owls?

  24. James Edwards says:

    For my first post here I was on the verge of asking why ‘new ditty’ when these songs are as old as the hills? Yet, as always, asking the question provides the answer: ‘as opposed to’.

    I always come to this site just before bed and assumed everyone is asleep, I’m just filling in the ones I couldn’t crack. I got nowhere near ‘nudity’ and therefore stood no chance with 13dn, what worries me is that I stared at 21dn most of the day and couldn’t see it. But I thought 23, 9/14 and 4 genius. I solved this while looking after my son and watching Disney/Pixar’s Cars: Sh-Boom “life could be a dream” has to be used in a clue or it will be wasted rolling around in my head.

    I have to say that finding this community has been a huge boost for me. I lost a friend in the summer, who always solved the Times in double quick time but, in the short while we lived together, came to enjoy the quirks of the Guardian setters. He was fiercely intelligent and pedantic and proud of his knowledge, although he lacked any self-confidence. I miss him. It is good to find here a collection of minds drawn to crosswords.

  25. mhl says:

    “Sh-boom” by the Crew Cuts is one of my favourite songs! I didn’t realise it appeared in “Cars” (the only Pixar film I haven’t seen, I think) or that the version by The Chords preceded it. I think I still prefer the Crew Cuts version though. It’s a marvellous song to sing along to (as is “Mr Sandman”, from the same year).

    I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I hope you continue to find the conversations here interesting; I certainly don’t think I would have persisted with the Guardian crossword but for the discussion on

  26. stiofain_x says:


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