Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,691 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on May 5th, 2009


A typically enjoyable Paul puzzle, with several witty clues and a couple of cheeky ones. 4ac is a nice reference to his Marathon run – well done, Paul!

cd: cryptic definition
dd: double definition
[ ]* anagram
[ ] < reverse


1   TOMATO: TO + T[urning] in [Chairman] MAO
4   STITCH: cd
9   ONYX: rev. hidden in foXY NOblewoman
10  ROYAL FLUSH: ROYAL [blue] FLUSH [turn red]: a royal flush is a poker hand of a sequence of five cards of the  same suit, headed by the ace.
11  FIDDLE: dd – and a cd reference to the 70s / 80s band OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark]
13  PROBATION: PRO [for] + BA[s]TION
15,22: FLEA MARKET: FLE [A MARK] ET: flea markets don’t have to be in the street, so I think this must be a dd reference to Fleet Street
16  PAWN: dd
24  WUNDERKIND: a lovely clue. W [UNDER K] IND. Mozart’s works are chronologically listed  in the Köchel catalogue   [‘under K’] –  and he was certainly a WUNDERKIND!
25  SNAP dd
26  BOWLER: dd
27  SCARCE: CAR inside de[SCEnt]


1   TANGIER: dd
2,12ac: MIXED BLESSING: [GLIBNESS]* – a typical Paul clue, which you either like or not – I do!
5   TALLER: hidden in wheaT ALLERgy – as in ‘a tall story’
6   TELESALES: TE[L]ES + ALES I loved the ‘undesirable calling’ definition
14  BOW WINDOW: IN D inside BOW WOW [Man’s best friend is his dog, so…]
16  PERTURB: P[embrokeshir]E + R + [BRUT] <
18  COMEDIC: CO-MEDIC: dd – another nice one
19  ITERATE: I + T + ERA + TE[n]
20  PIERCE: PIE [cutteR] CE
23  RISER: R + IS ER? [= should queen be?]

28 Responses to “Guardian 24,691 / Paul”

  1. Ian says:

    A worthy effort (thanks for the blog, by the way). Took me a while to get going, and I was staring at the checked letters for “Eyebrow Pencil” for quite some while (which was a bit stupid of me, as there’s not much else that could go in there).

  2. Bryan says:

    Very enjoyable but (silly me) ‘Spaceship’ was my solution for 14a.

    Must be more careful!


  3. don says:

    Good Lord – or 7 Down! I finished a Paul. 16a and 24a were the last to go in, but is a ‘pawn’ a tool? I didn’t understand why Mozart’s works wouldn’t be filed ‘UNDER M’, but guessed ‘kind’ was German for ‘child’.

    Thank you for the fully explained blog, Eileen. I didn’t understand ‘comedic/co-medic’ and agree with your comments on 2d/22a and 6d; ‘Undesirable calling’ brought a smile, but I think 8d deserves a mention, too, with the definition ‘One’s required to make up’ cleverly running into the anagrammatical ending.

  4. beermagnet says:

    Your not alone Bryan. I had SPACESHIP and a “?” against the clue ’cause I didn’t fully understand the wordplay – and now I know why …

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Don

    Chambers: ‘pawn: an easily manipulated person'; ‘tool: someone who is used as the mere instrument of another’.

    [And my first thought was ‘spaceship’, too.]

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    In contrast to comments so far, I thought this was run of the mill, fairly mediocre.

    2d 12 was good.

    11a? Fiddle is not orchestral; or is it to fiddle is to perform an orchestral manouevre?

    25a snap is to break in to pieces, not to crack; and if shot refers to having taken a picture, then it should be snapped; or am I missing something? I was contemplating slap as in slap shot

  7. Eileen says:

    I’m sorry, Dave, Chambers has ‘shot’ as ‘a crack’ and, in the photographic sense, I was taking ‘snap’ and ‘shot’ as being nouns.

    [I have to go out for a while now.]

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. I really enjoyed this, esp 24ac. Now Eileen has explained the wordplay for 2dn 12, I think this is a lovely clue too.

  9. Ian W. says:

    (I have previously posted as just “Ian” but have added a “W” to avoid confusion.)

    Re 16A, a pawn is not a “little man”. Rooks, bishops, knights, kings and queens are “men”, pawns are “pawns”, and all are “pieces”, so a pawn may be a “little piece” but not a “little man”. Crossword setters seem to make this mistake quite often, though.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, re 25a. I can’t spot “shot” as “crack” in my Chambers, but I suppose it might be “to have a shot at”, or “to have a crack at”. My brian was slow on recognising “snap” and “shot” as nouns.

    Thanks for the blog

  11. don says:

    Brian off the Magic Roundabout? ;-)

  12. dialrib says:

    Anyone else have STAB ( = attempt = crack = shot ) for 25A?

  13. Mick H says:

    ‘Under K’ for in 24ac is surely a pretty obscure reference. I guessed the answer from the rest of the clue (knowing WUNDERKIND and feeling fairly certain that WUNDERMIND was not a word) but then wondered whether Paul had put in an obscure composer beginning with K, and someone had erroneously changed it to the more familiar Mozart in the editing process. Silly me!
    I liked CO-MEDIC a lot, but not so keen on the loose DD type of clues like 25 – I put SNAP but wouldn’t have been surprised to find another word worked as well.

  14. Will says:

    You are not alone, Dialrib. I had STAB too.

  15. Chunter says:

    Mick H: 24ac – so much use is made of Kõchel numbers in references to Mozart’s works that I feel this clue is perfectly OK. (The same isn’t true of the catalogues of other composers.)

  16. Eileen says:

    Re comments 6/7 : sorry, Dave: my mistake. I meant to say that Chambers has SNAP as ‘a crack’.

    [And, yes, STAB does seem to work, too!]

    Chunter, I agree: I guess it just depends on whether you’re a Mozart fan!

  17. JimboNWUK says:

    Not happy with 14D — as Eileen says it’s MAN’S best friend not CHILD’S…
    Also 11AC I think an orchestral violinist would punch you for that one Paul!

    Otherwise an OK and entertaining puzzle as is usual from the P-man

  18. Eileen says:

    Jimbo, you misunderstood me: if man’s best friend is his dog, then a child’s best friend is his bow wow – lovely!

  19. Eileen says:

    And re FIDDLE. I wasn’t happy with this to begin with, thinking that ‘fiddle’ implied something dodgy.
    But – back to Chambers: ‘manoeuvre: any movement skilfully or cleverly executed';
    ‘fiddle: a manually delicate or tricky operation’.
    You find fiddles in an orchestra, so i thought this was a good clue, especially with the ref. to OMD.

  20. Ian P says:

    (Similarly adding a surname initial). I don’t really know much about classical music (well, next to nothing would be slightly more accurate) but I know about Mozart and K Numbers. I think it’s fair game – almost general knowledge, really, in that you can have no music at all but still know it. Like knowing Beethoven was deaf.

  21. Geoff says:

    I found this one really tough. I completed about a third and got stuck, so I had to put it aside for a few hours – which did the trick, because I managed to finish it thereafter.

    I had STAB for 25ac, but without much confidence, since this wouldn’t make it a proper dd: ‘crack’ and ‘shot’ are both synonyms of ‘attempt’. SNAP works much better.

    I’m not too keen on 16ac, since both halves of the clue refer to the chess piece. ‘Little man’s pledge’ would be better in this respect, but would lose the rudeness of the surface meaning!

    Some great clues, as ever – I particularly enjoyed 24ac.

  22. Tom Hutton says:

    I didn’t enjoy this at all. It was a grind. I don’t like tee as supporter. The tee is what you stand on and into which you may stick a tee peg. 1ac is tortuous, as is 23dn which I don’t understand. Armstrong breathed in his helmet and not down his trouser leg. I don’t think of a flea market as a street but rather something that is in a street and so on. They’re all OK and it was just me but cumulatively it got to me. Having said that 24ac was very nice and 10ac was elegant.

  23. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.
    I agree 24ac was great, even tho’ I didn’t get it (I had the K and the IND, but then lost it). I too had STAB at 25ac, but thought SNAP was better.

  24. Eileen says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Tom, and I know nothing I say will make you like it in retrospect!

    I know there has been discussion about TEE = ‘support’ fairly recently but I think I’ve seen it used in this way for about as long as I’ve been doing crosswords! Perhaps it’s one of those ‘conventions’, like PI, that we have to accept. However, Chambers does have ‘TEE: a small plastic or wooden support for the ball, with a concave top, for when it is first played at each hole [golf]; the strip of ground [also teeing ground or area] where this is done’. Collins has the ‘area’ as the primary and ‘support’ as the secondary meaning.

    I’m sorry if I didn’t make 23dn clear: R [king] = IS ER? [= should queen be?] RISER: ‘the upright portion of a step’ [Chambers]; ‘the vertical part of a stair’ [Collins]. I didn’t think the surface of this one was great!

    I didn’t have a problem with SPACESUIT, defined by Collins as ‘a sealed and pressurised suit worn by astronauts, providing an artificial atmosphere, [acceptable temperature, radiocommunication link and protection from radiation].

  25. Chunter says:


    The entry in Chambers continues ‘a plastic support from which a dead ball may be kicked in rugby and American football’. To quote the website of a firm that sells such things, ‘ A good shot at goal can be the difference between defeat and glory’. (With apologies to any Cardiff Blues supporters who read this.)

  26. Daniel says:

    I had CHIP for 25 across

  27. Eileen says:

    Chunter: best not to rub it in. ;-)

  28. Arthur says:

    Got round to this very late on, but enjoyed it immensely (as always with Paul). I particularly like the &lit element to some of the clues (13ac, 24ac) even if they aren’t completely &lits and as usual the humour is great (co-medic! surfaces for 20dn, 16ac, 26ac – can’t beat a cheeky clue!)

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