Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,631 / Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 24th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

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

Since last week, I have undergone surgery to correct a detached retina and for the next few weeks, I can only see through one eye. So if my views are more lop-sided and there are more typos, misspellings and other boo-boos, you will understand … my apologies in advance

I find today’s Paul quite a tough nut until Eliza Doolittle’s father whispered in my ears and then everything fitted into place. Very challenging and entertaining with some quibbles with the left fringe.

ACROSS
1 SALAD DAYS cd
6 CLIMB Cha of C (first letter of cedar) Limb (branch)
9 GLUER trees up logs – alternate letters backwards
10 POETASTER Poe (Edgar Allan, author) taster (one sampling)
12 HERE He (man) Re (on) here must be the Guardian
15 NON-SKID Ins of N (new) Ski (slipper) in NOD (gesture …)
19 BLOATER Ins of L (left) in Boater (hat)
20 IFFY (J) iffy
22,11 BOILED BEEF AND CARROTS Ins of Oiled (squeakless) bee fan (apiarist) DC (Washington) in BAR (pub) + rots (goes off); a comedic musical hall song published in 1909, and composed by Charles Collins and Fred Murray. The song was made famous by Harry Champion who sang it as part of his act and recorded it. It was also recorded by Peter Sellers in the 1960s.
25,14,7,17 I”M GETTING MARRIED IN THE MORNING When a clue ends with “Get me to the church on time” I can immediately picture that lovable rascal who played the father of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady ; I will leave it to the patient to work out the wordplay
26 REIGN Ins of G (good) in Rein (control)
27 DINKY Cha of D (penny) Inky (black)
28 SEA ANCHOR *(so Arachne)

DOWN
1 SIGMA Ins of G (first letter of Grecian) in Reversal of AMIS
If I have parsed this correctly, then to clue “Kingsley and Martin Amis, father and son British novelists is most unusual and, dare I say, not exactly cricket
2 LAUNDERER Clever cd
3 DERMATITIS Ins of MA (parent) in *(dirtiest)
4 ASPIRED Cha of AS (like) PI (pious or good) Red (wine)
5 SWEETEN S (small) Wee (small) Ten (figure)
6 CHAT Ins of H (hard) ub cat (bird’s predator)
8 BARTENDER Ins of End (aim) in barter (trade)
13 ANY OLD IRON “Any Old Iron” is old English Music hall song written by Charles Collins, Fred Terry and E.A. Sheppard. The song was made famous by Harry Champion, who sang it as part of his act and recorded it.
14 MUMMIFIED What a splendid cd spoilt, I think, by a slip in grammar. I would have used Kept instead of keeping.
16 KITTENISH Kit (gear) *(then is)
18 GOOLIES A clue which I thought more at home in the Private Eye
19 BOLOGNA BO (body odour or stink) rev of ANGOLA minus A
21 FAGIN A character from Dicken’s Oliver
23 FINER dd
24 STAY dd>

30 Responses to “Guardian 24,631 / Paul”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, and best wishes for a speedy recovery from your operation. I found this one very easy by Paul’s standards: I guessed the two long song titles quickly and (as often with this type of clue) didn’t bother to decode the wordplay. I was slightly help up by putting LAUNDRESS for 2dn: I’m not as impressed by that clue as you are, because (as often with cds) it doesn’t clearly lead to a single answer.

    18dn raised a giggle :)

  2. Mick H says:

    I wondered about the grammar in MUMMIFIED too, but actually I think it works – ‘keeping under wraps’ is an adjectival phrase describing the body, so corresponding to ‘mummified’.
    Good luck with the retina, Uncle Yap – I had the same thing more than 20 years ago, and they said at the time it was quite new so they didn’t know how long the operation would last, but I’ve had no problems since.

  3. Monica M says:

    Hello All,

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, and I hope you eye improves quickly.

    I managed to complete the puzzle, despite a couple of the songs being a little bit before my time…. thanks google.

    Andrew, my read of dirty habit = crime, altho I can see why you’d put laundress if habit was read as a nun’s garment.

    Good to see Paul including something a little naughty again.

  4. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    It might interest you naughty folks to know that ‘goolies’ originates perhaps from Hindi ‘goli’ which means ‘bullet’.

  5. steven says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap and good luck with the mince pie.

    I also went with Laundress but once I got 25 the penny dropped.Never heard of 22,googled it. Poetaster is a new word for me.I was struggling to justify”Pietaster” but left it blank.On looking up”poetaster” all became clear.If I don’t get a word, I find learning a new one makes up for it.

  6. Tom Hutton says:

    24dn feels extremely sketchy to me. Are we supposed to think of stay of execution or am I missing something?
    2dn is also thin with no obvious double meaning because there is not an simple word to hand for the possible other definition. The fact that others, as well as myself, considered laundress as a suitable answer shows a weakness in the clue.

    A strangely unsatisfying crossword for me in general where several answers go in without the cluing being worked out making the rest easier than it might be because of the number of cross letters.

    Monica M: you must lead a sheltered life if a mention of goolies is exciting rather than just vulgar. Leave that to Jonathan Ross, I say.

  7. Shirley says:

    Tom – Chambers defines a stay as a rope used on ships so it is a double definition.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes, the two long ones were solved from the definition part only. I’m getting married in the morning required no help, but Boiled beef and carrots required some cross checks and spotting a useful place to put bee. So I was kinda curious about the word play, having been left totally cold by it in both cases. Sadly only one has been explained so far. Any ideas people?

    2d was not a problem for me because by the time I got the answer the cross checks had already ruled out launderess. But then, being a thorough type (comes from the software) I hate the idea that I might get slowed down by not realising there was a clue I accidently hadn’t read. So I avoid that by going down the whole list clue at a time before I start dodging about, hence 2d will never be looked at before I’ve looked at all the acrosses. And I got “I’m getting etc” at the first attempt, so there was no problem.

    19d, I was less than convinced as to why I should drop the A except that it didn’t fit. Anybody want to justify “detailed” as being the same as “drop one letter”?

  9. JohnR says:

    #8 – Derek: on 19d, surely “de-tail” = “take the end off”?

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hah! I looked up from typing here just in time to see a horse called Iffy running second. How appropriate given 20ac!

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ah, yes the old vanishing hyphen. Ta John. I know there’s always something I missed, but it’s best to ask and find out than waste time fretting over it. There are better things to do.

  12. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, and best wishes for your recovery.

    This was one of my fastest Paul puzzles ever but no less enjoyable for that.

    Yes, the two long answers were pretty easy to put in but has no one noticed what a brilliant [almost] &lit 25ac etc. is, Alfred Doolittle having had more than three wives already? Like everyone else, I didn’t initially bother to work out the wordplay but now have: [THIRD T[ime] MINIM]um] ENGAGEMENT RING OR I]*

    The wordplay in the other one does puzzle me rather: ‘Washington’ = ‘DC’?

    I’m sure you all knew that 1ac is a quotation from ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, Cleopatra regretting her youthful indiscretions with Julius Caesar:
    … my salad days
    When I was green in judgment’,
    and also the title of a charming musical of the 1950s by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds.

    I really liked ‘father and son writing’ for the Amises; [there aren’t too many such combinations] and 21dn made me smile, not to mention the not unusual cheeky Paul touch in 18dn.

    Re 2dn: I think that ‘launderer’ is / was one of the recognised jobs in a monastery and so thought it was rather neat.

    I, too, thought ‘Kept under wraps’ would be far better for 14dn. I thought 24dn was very clever.

  13. stiofain_x says:

    Although a big fan of Paul I didnt enjoy this at all. I detest those long clues where a few crossing letters and an obvious reference fills in a quarter of the grid in one fell swoop with no need to reference the wordplay, made worse in this case as the two offending clues were both mainly across gifting too many crossing letters for the downs, as has been said here before it is more of a setters indulgence than an attempt to supply a good clue for the solver.
    I share others reservations about LAUNDERER, MUMMIFIED and STAY (surely a stay is the opposite of execution and needs further definition “stay of execution” would have worked for me for “rope” but not this way round)
    Uncharacteristically there were no particularly witty surface readings.
    In Pauls defence i liked SIGMA, SALAD DAYS and POETASTER.
    Stiofain

  14. Ian Stark says:

    Hello Eileen, quick note re DC – there are two (main) Washingtons in the United States: one is Washington (the state)on the west coast, the other is Washington DC (the capital). DC stands for District of Columbia, so named after the ‘poetic’ name given to America around the turn of the 19th century.

  15. JimboNWUK says:

    I was completely naffed off by the fact that “squeakless apiarist” did not lead to B(EEK)EEPER cos I racked my brains trying to think of a cockney song with “Beeper” in the title for far too long… hmph!

  16. Eileen says:

    Ian: now that really is something I’ve learned!

    I was all set to say [patiently] ‘Yes, thank you, Ian, I do know there are two Washingtons…’ but then read on to find that Washington DC does not mean, as all these years I have thought, ‘Washington *in* the district of Columbia – and Washington really does = DC!

    So [very humbly] thank you very much, Ian!

  17. petero says:

    Uncle Yap, thank you for the blog, excellent as always. I offer you best wishes for your recovery. I can sympathise with you, as I had both eyes done a few years back. Fortunately I was not required to wear patches – just promise not to look at anything for a while.
    To the matter in hand: the first answer I put in was boiled beef and carrots , I suppose just on the basis of song {6,4,3,7). Astonishingly, it turned out to be right. The other song followed not long after, which eliminated any thought of ‘laundress’ for 2D. Eileen, did Mr Doolittle have three wives? I seem to recall him admitting that he was never exactly married to Eliza’s mother, and complaining that Professor Higgins had finally cornered him into matrimony.
    At times, if I squint hard enough, I can see the suitability of ‘keeping’ in 14D, but I agree that ‘kept’ would have been far better. Again, we run up against the imprecision of many CDs: when solving this, I had to choose between mummified and mummifies, both of which seemed grammatically wrong. I chose the former because of the ‘old penny’ in 27A, even before I had solved that clue.
    C.G. Rishikesh: thank you for the etymological snippet. On a not entirely unrelated subject, I have wondered if the term googly had anything to do with a Hindi (?) word for snail which I once heard in a Ray film. Both Chambers and the OED say origin unknown.

  18. Ian Stark says:

    Any time, Eileen! As I hit the ‘submit’ button I did wonder if I was actually answering your question or whether I may appear condescending! I made a film in DC just before Christmas and despite having been there many times, it was only on that visit that I learnt the two are the same. So you’re only a couple of months behind me!

    Like you, Eileen, I finished this Paul offering in record time. Not a big fan of the ultra-long clues (laziness, I suspect) but thoroughly enjoyed 21d, 27a, 15a and several others. Agree with the concern over STAY. I thought MUMMIFIED was fine, though, with ‘keeping’ in the sense of ‘remaining preserved’ doing a good job for me. In fact, I like this clue above all others today! A laugh out loud job.

    And so to Milan . . . Ciao.

  19. Eileen says:

    Petero: oh dear, egg on my face twice already! Of course, I’m sure you’re right: Doolittle accuses Higgins of having made him ‘middle- class’. I do remember that but googled ‘Alfred Doolittle this morning to check something else and the very first entry was: ‘Alfred Doolittle – Alfred Doolittle is Eliza’s father, an elderly but vigorous dustman who has had at least six wives and who “seems equally free from fear …’ – and it fitted the surface so well, as I said!

    As someone else on this site has been known to say, I’ll get my coat…

  20. Brian Harris says:

    Good, lively stuff today. Squeakless apiarist = “Oiled bee fan” I thought was delightful.

  21. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ian: I don’t feel quite so bad now!

    Buon viaggio!

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    This 24d thing? The ? says, I’m doing something tricky here (where tricky can mean several possibilities), therefore the clue is unlikely to meet normal expectations. Then if you want it to have two halves, a rope can be used as a stay, and stay is a concept which can be applied to an execution. Then you can have it a 3rd way, substitute stay for rope and you get an overall literal phrase corresponding to the the snint of the second part. Given that many ways of looking at it, what’s the problem, remembering my opening statement, that infernal ? takes the brakes off what is allowed.

  23. Geoff says:

    Very unusually for one of Paul’s I got 1ac and 6ac instantly – and the rest wasn’t too much of a struggle. The very long long clue is one of those where most of us don’t even bother to work out the wordplay, but 22,11 is much better, with the ‘squeakless apiarist’ being LOL. 13dn is a good cd for the song.

    I wasn’t happy with the grammar for 14 dn, but I suppose it just about works, and I agree with Stiofain about STAY.

    Like Eileen, I knew the Shakespearean origin of SALAD DAYS, but the quote shows that it is really only barely cryptic – green in judgement = raw inexperience, with no semantic stretch at all.

    Quite a few amusing short clues, as always – ‘Fish left in hat’ is typical Paulian fun.

  24. liz says:

    I found 24d perfectly ok, because of the question mark. but I did think ‘keeping’ should have been ‘kept’ in 14d. When I see an ‘ing’ in the def, in go those three letters at the end, which on this occasion prevented me from getting 27ac and 20ac. I knew it must be something to do with mummies, but didn’t listen to my inner nag! Guessed ‘goolies’ from the checking letters, but held back until I worked out why, even knowing Paul’s fondness for a little off-colour humour.

    thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog and best wishes for recovery. Also to Eileen for explaining the Shakespeare ref in 1ac.

  25. ACP says:

    Not Paul’s best effort in my opinion.
    2dn and 1ac were borderline inadequate. If you’re not familiar with the history behind these clue, then you’d be excused for saying they weren’t very cryptic.

    They weren’t very cryptic.

  26. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Petero: Your query on googly proves to be a yorker for me as I know very little Hindi (I speak Kannada and Tamil and possess a smattering of Telugu and Malayalam). Will have to find out from people whose mother tongue is Hindi.

  27. Harley26 says:

    Didn’t mind this one too much, though agree that the long song titles were a bit weak as clues.
    Does anyone else share my problem with good = PI in 4 dn? It seems such a random abbreviation

  28. Garry says:

    Harley26. No-one else has answered you and it’s yesterday’s blog so just to let you know in case you look again that good is a very common crossword indicator for the use/inclusion of pi.

  29. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I think pi is short for ‘pious’.

  30. Garry says:

    That’s true Rishi – I probably should have expanded. “British informal” according to COED.

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