Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,607 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 27th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

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

I am so glad I took time off from my wining and dining during this period of Lunar New Year to solve Paul’s superb puzzle and to attend to this blog.  Solving and parsing were such delights with only one teeny-weeny reservation about enumeration at 8Down.

To readers celebrating, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy Niu (Mandarin for ox) Year

1 FOETUS Cha of FOE (hostile type) TUS (tusk, elephant’s long tooth cut short) and what a well-disguised definition
5 TREE FROG Ins of REEF (rocky line like the Great Barrier Reef) in TROG (move wearily)
9 VEGEMITE Ins of EG (say) EM (me back) in VITE (cunningly shown as one word). In this part of the world, we have something similar marketed as Marmite.
10 PRETTY dd
11 CONVERSATION Ins of at in Conversion (reformation) Is conversation really a lost art?
13 GOYA Ins of Y (notation for unknown in algebra) in GOA (former Portuguese colony in India, now a popular holiday destination)
14 CERBERUS What a cracker of a clue for “the monster that guarded the entrance to Hades, a dog with three heads” C-c-clever clue and coming on top of yesterday’s offering from Dante in FT 12,984 (A guard dog from hell?) what a remarkable co-incidence for the same blogger!
17 POLTROON POL (Rev of lop or cut) Troon, famous for its Royal Troon golf course, one of the hosts to the Open Golf Championship. The course is chosen to host this annual event roughly every seven years.
18 ETCH As I was solving this and having a nice sip of good Scotch with my good friend, Dr G, he threw a ball and then commanded his dog “Spottie, fetch!” No, his dog is not a setter
20 GROUNDHOG DAY Cha of Ground (earth) + ins of OGD *(god) in HAY (grass) Groundhog Day is a 1993 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. In the film, Murray plays Phil Connors, an egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event (February 2) in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over again
23,2D MAIDEN OVER Cha of Maiden (miss) Over (extra) A MO is an over of six balls delivered by the same bowler from which the batting side scored zero run.
24 MOURN FOR Ins of URN (vessel) F (female) in MOOR (open space)
25 STURGEON St (street or way) Urge on (egg on)
26 SPHINX Ins of P (pence or copper) in SHIN (bit of leg) X-rated (sexy) Defining one of the numerous massive stone statues built by the ancient Egyptians as “old poser” is a scream

3 TRENCHANT Trench (front line) ant (soldier)
4 SKINNY Ins of INN (opportunity for a drink) in SKY (heaven)
5 THE DESCENT OF MAN *(Fate condemns the). Perhaps this is Paul’s way of paying tribute to Charles Darwin near the 200th anniversary of his birth on 12 Feb 1809
6 EXPOSURE What a cryptic dd
7 FLEET Cha of Flee (run) T (last letter of wicket)
8 OUT TO LUNCH The enumeration in the puzzle is (10). The crossing letters O?T?O?U?C? produced nothing from One-Look so I figured the answer must be Out to lunch (dining elsewhere) Alas, try as I did, I could not explain the wordplay. Let’s see who is the first ….
12 COLOURFAST *(cut aslo for) “indicating non-runner”, what a lovely misleading definition
15 EVERY INCH Cha of E (English) VERY (extremely) IN (popular) CH (Companion of Honour)
16 CONDENSE Ins of DENS (private rooms) in CONE (solid shape)
19 ODOURS Ins of DOUR (grim) in OS (outsize or considerable)
22,21 DOWN UNDER Ins of NUN (sister) DE (50% of deaf) in DOWR *(word)

41 Responses to “Guardian 24,607 – Paul”

  1. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    8dn is a two-def clue. Dining elsewhere/nuts. “Out to lunch” has the sense “slightly crazy”. American, perhaps.

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    You are right, Rishi, thanks.

    I just looked up Chambers
    “out to lunch (inf; orig US) slightly crazy, in a world of his or her own.”

  3. beermagnet says:

    8D OUT TO LUNCH is correctly enumerated (3,2,5) in the paper.
    The online version also differed on 23A/2D which were separately clued – I had a head-scratch over 2D’s clue “See 23″!
    I see both these points are corrected now.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap – a superb puzzle, as you say.

    I know many people don’t like clues like 9ac. I do – and I hope Brisbanegirl appreciates it, too!

    I think the ‘old poser’ in 26ac is the Sphinx [daughter of Chimaera and Orthrus] in the Greek myth of Oedipus, who posed the riddle: ‘What is it that walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon and on three in the evening?’

  5. Paul B says:

    Something to do with that ‘swollen foot’, I expect.

  6. smutchin says:

    Found this one quite tricky to get started on, so cheated on a couple of answers and that gave me a way in but I was still stumped by a few. Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap – it all makes sense now, though I had to think hard about CERBERUS. What a great clue! “Old poser” is a brilliantly devious cryptic definition, too.

    Eileen, re 9a – “invite” foxed me, I admit, but I’m happy for setters to use such devices. I don’t consider them unfair – you just need to be attuned to spotting these tricks, which I’m sure comes with practice.

    And the relative difficulty of today’s Guardian puzzle was balanced by today’s FT offering, which I completed in under 10 minutes but found rather less enjoyable. Swings and roundabouts.

  7. brisbanegirl says:

    Gong Xi Fa Cai, Uncle Yap,

    Believe it or not, but I had all the down letters in 9dn before I solved it, I laughed out loud and then couldn’t believe it took so long … vegemite being an absolute staple in an Aussie fridge … and the foor which most ex-pats miss most.

    I had a late mark at work, so printed off the puzzle to do on the train, I’m glad I did as there were a number of enumeration issues with today’s online version.

    Also, I seem to recall a solution in a Paul puzzle which was Punxsutawney. Is Paul a Bill Murray fan???

    Poltroon, is another new word for me, thanks for the explanation.

  8. Eileen says:

    Paul B: clever comment! [The story, given brilliant treatment in Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus Tyrannos’, is told beautifully simply on

  9. TwoPies says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Happy New Year. I have another confession today, I put in Condensation for 11ac, it being the re-formation of water vapour.

    On the Punxsutawney theme I look forward to seeing Gobbler’s Knob in a future Paul puzzle.

  10. brisbanegirl says:


    I’d like to see a clue for Gobblers Knob that was something I’d tell my mother. Perhaps you could have a go and post it on Paul’s clue competition…

  11. David says:

    Wasn’t there a Guardian crossword not too long ago which included several ‘Groundhog Day’ related answers? (Or is that false memory syndrome kicking in?)

  12. brisbanegirl says:


    I think you’re right, as I recollect the one with Punxsutawney also ahd Phil in it, I remember having to google the movie to get the answers.

    Someone just recently hinted about using the search tool on fifteensquared … I’m, off there now, I’ll let you know what I find.

  13. Matthew says:

    The “Groundhog Day” puzzle was published on Groundhog Day last year.

  14. brisbanegirl says:

    Here it is,

    It was Puck … Not Paul at all, but at leat we remembered correctly. I would have been still a lone crypticer doing the local nespaper version on the train.

    Guardian 24,301 (Sat 2 Feb)/Puck – Hog wash

  15. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks Matthew,

    Wikipedia reckons Groundhog Day is the 4th Feb, but the 2nd is near enough for me. Alternatively Wiki could be wrong …. surely not …

  16. David says:

    Wasn’t there a Guardian crossword not too long ago which included several ‘Groundhog Day’ related answers? (Or is that false memory syndrome kicking in?)

  17. brisbanegirl says:

    The sad thing is … we thought the puzzle was recent .. nearly 12 months ago … doesn’t time fly ….

  18. smutchin says:

    David – grr! I thought I was going mad for a second there…

    as blogged by rightback

    “Attempt to get on Big Brother list initially, before turning bonkers etc…” [GO + BB + L + BONKERS*] – fairly innocuous!

  19. brisbanegirl says:


    LOL … took me a while.

  20. brisbanegirl says:


    Toooo innocuous … I’m looking for something ribald (something that makes you friends think that cryptics aren’t too nerdy). Perhaps you could try with one of you puzzles … I reckon you’re up to it.

  21. brisbanegirl says:

    Sorry … I always type you for your

  22. David says:


    What about:

    Woodchuck comes from briber’s mouth, according to Spooner

  23. brisbanegirl says:

    Can I ask a rude question?

    Are the majority of morning bloggers generally at home or retired, I notice a different tone in the evening blogs(ie when I get up and want to check something I’ve dreamed about, things seem to have a different feel).

    I’m not complaining, just curious really…

    Sorry, I’m just a lawless colonial.

  24. David says:

    Can’t speak for the rest, Brisbanegirl, but I took early retirement a few years ago and love being able to be whimsical about how I spend my time!

    And that was curious, not rude.

  25. brisbanegirl says:


    I was just being curious, I hope noone takes offense.

    I’ll look at you clue tomorrow. It looked fun.

    It’d well bedtime here.

    Goodnight All

  26. Tom Hutton says:

    At the risk of getting another telling off from Eileen for being a badly brought up child, can I say that “t” for “ending in wicket” is horrible. (i.e. Eileen, it fills me with horror.) Wicket ends in t but t does not end in wicket. As for the wordplay for 18ac, I don’t think any solvers would have got the answer from the cryptic part of the clue. I know that some of you like to worry clues out after you have solved them, but I feel there should be some chance of using the cryptic part to get the answer.

    PS: since this blog seems to be drifting into very obscure channels, can I give praise to the web designer for achieving compliance with strict (x)html standards, which is a very rare thing.

  27. Ian Stark says:

    I’m delighted I wasn’t the only one that put in CONDENSATION for the same reason. I stared at CONVERSATION for ages but couldn’t see how it worked. Sigh . . . Of course I now see CONDENSE at 16d and I could kick myself.

    What a great crossword! Too many good moments to mention, although I thought 5d was brilliant.

    I was on a location shoot for much of yesterday and then drove back from Manchester to Hampshire. My colleage (who struggles with the Sun Coffee Time puzzle) read out the clues to yesterday’s puzzle while I was driving. It’s a mark of how easy it was in that I completed it before we got to Birmingham, without being able to see the grid. Not convinced I could have done that today!

    I’m disappointed that they haven’t yet done anything about the dreadful grid numbers in the PDF version. I know it’s free, but . . .

    Smutchin, enjoyed your number 4 very much indeed. Look forward to seeing more. I have a couple more to post up when I get a minute.

  28. Eileen says:

    Tom Hutton

    [from last Thursday] “My children were encouraged not to describe a new food as ‘horrible’, simply because they didn’t like it.” I’m sorry if you took that as a ‘telling -off’ :-) [I can do much better / worse than that, believe me!] I was only trying to say, yet again, that we’re all different and that what one finds delightful another will hate.

    Re today’s puzzle, I take your point about 7dn [though the surface reading is very clever] but, as usual, don’t agree about 18ac. I know that you have a particular horror of clues in which you have to ‘work back’ but several people have commented earlier that that’s part of the fun. So, once again, ‘one man’s meat…’

  29. Geoff says:

    Found this one 10ac tricky, but got there in the end. FOETUS had me stumped for ages (‘Child developing…’ would have been too easy, wouldn’t it?), which made the top left hand corner awkward, despite my spotting VEGEMITE early on (unusual use of the ‘in-joke’ trick here!).

    Groundhog Day is definitely 2 Feb – ie Candlemas.

  30. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry I’m late, been investigating xword compilation freebies. Yuk.

    As usual I’m too dense for Paul. Did a fair bit of it though. And as usual once I see the explanations it all makes dreadful sense.

    Two minor queries though if anyone is still around….

    1) In 1ac, shouldn’t the wordplay lead to TUSFOE?
    2) In the explanation of 10ac, why dd? This looks like a single definition to me. As usual I must be missing something appalingly obvious, but I can’t recall ever using Quite as meaning Pretty.

    Thanks in advance.

  31. Ian Stark says:


    I agree with your 1ac query, although I guess it’s accepted that the position is interchangeable.

    re 2) Dare I suggest it’s pretty obvious/quite obvious? 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist . . . not funny or clever, I know!

  32. Andrew says:

    I’m arriving even later to the party after a couple of days away. I agree with the consensus of “tough but fun” (or perhaps vice versa).

    1ac – the “by” indicates that TUS(k) is “beside” FOE, so which is true in FOETUS

    10c – think of “pretty good” = “quite good”.

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    Thanks guys. I guess when I use pretty or quite with good I don’t mean the same thing. If I use quite it’s faint praise, if I use pretty I’m reasonably, but not totally, enthusiastic. I wouldn’t use them to mean the same thing, there is level of enthusiasm different between them.

    Ummm, btw, this trying out of xword freebies, I can’t find anything which allows both manual grid design (including symetry) AND solving AND export in common file formats. I was thinking off a one off for my railway’s magazine, so I don’t want spend on this. I can create a puzzle. I can manually copy it into a file format that a “player” program can read. And I have done, yee hah!!! but those should be integrated. And I still have no way to send anything useful for import into a publisher program.

    Don’t clag up this thread if you know anything, find passingidiot on the IM.

  34. GF Johnston says:

    Wise up! Who cheated?

  35. Dave Ellison says:


    I am usually late in looking at this site. I am not yet retired, and start the Xword on the bus on the way in to work, and hope to finish it on the way back. Except for Wednesdays, when I work at home, so my comments are sometimes earlier then. No idea if I come across as different from the morning crowd.

    Paul was easy to start with today (9 completed on the first run through), but I ground to a halt and failed on 1a (despite thinking EMBRYO early on).

  36. Ian Stark says:

    Picking up on the ‘pretty/quite’ discussion, one of my earliest watershed moments, when I realised how much fun you could have with words, was when my English master asked us what we thought of the phrases ‘pretty ugly’ and ‘fairly unattractive’. Hadn’t thought about that for thirty odd years until tonight!

    I see what you mean about degrees of enthusiasm, Derek. Still think it’s a fair clue though.

  37. Dave Ellison says:


    Does the Kurilpa Bridge exist? I was looking at tensegrity (inspired by a tower sculpture I saw in the Kroller-Muller museum in the Netherlands many years ago) when I came across a reference to the K. Bridge, but couldn’t find if it had been built.

  38. Ian Stark says:

    Dave Ellison: Just in case Brisbanegirl doesn’t look back at this blog, this might be of interest:,_Brisbane. I know the source isn’t always to be trusted but it seems reasonable. This source, however, is probably accurate:

  39. tuck says:

    The Groundhog Day puzzle last year was compiled by Puck not Paul

  40. tuck says:

    Whoops! Brisbanegirl has already point that out – Sorry!

  41. smutchin says:

    Brisbanegirl – unless I win the lottery, I’ll be in full-time employment for a good few years yet. The chance to do the crossword is one of the things that makes my daily commute bearable. Don’t tell my boss, but I dip into fifteensquared during quiet moments at work.

    Ian S, re #27 – thanks! Likewise, I enjoyed your no.2 – once I cracked the theme. Had to plumb the depths of my trivia banks for that one. Complex anagrams seem to be a speciality of yours – quite a distinctive style!

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