Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,701 (Sat 16 May)/Paul – Futilitarian

Posted by rightback on May 23rd, 2009


Solving time: 11:50

A fairly gentle offering from Paul, I thought – only 2dn (FUTILITY) and 9ac (BORING) really held me up in this. My favourite clues were probably 2dn (OMIGOD) and 7/20dn (JACK-IN-THE-BOX).

It was very nice to meet some of you at Thursday night’s ‘Sloggers and Betters’ gathering in London – many thanks to Peter Biddlecombe for having organised it.

Music of the day should probably really be something by CHOPIN (5dn) but I wouldn’t know what to pick, so suggestions for our general musical education would be welcome.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

6 THE RAJ; HE in TRAJ[an] – Trajan seems to be a generally well-thought-of emperor. He was succeeded by Hadrian.
9 BORING (2 defs) – I struggled on this because I didn’t split the clue in the right place (between ‘Woodworm’s work’ and ‘routine’) and spent a lot of time thinking that ‘work’ = ‘go’ would give the first two letters (e.g. ‘godrag’, ‘go’ + ‘drag’, looked feasible for a while).
10 INSTANCE; ST (= ‘way’) in [f]INANCE (= ‘back’) – I couldn’t parse this when solving but it had to be right.
11 KIWI (2 defs)
12 DOMINATRIX; ([lembi]T in SARI) in MINX, all after DO – a wordy but rather splendid clue, referring to Lembit Opik, Liberal Democrat MP and one-time lover of one of the Cheeky Girls. What amazes me about the expenses “scandal” is not the revelations per se but the fact that anyone considers them revelatory. Anyway, Lembit supports Leicester City so can’t be all bad.
13 SYSTEMATISE; (A MESS IT’S YET)* – nice anagram.
18 HIGH PRIEST; HIGH (= ‘on coke, perhaps’) + PRIES + T (= ‘top of table’)
21 AGED; DEGA[s] – a somewhat hackneyed reversal.
22 D(IS + T)ANCE
23 [h]ER NEST
24,15 IMELDA STAUNTON; I MELD + AS (= ‘while’) + TAUNTON (= ‘location in Somerset’) – not a name I could remember and ‘Imelda’ was a rather unsure guess. She won the ‘Best Actress’ Bafta for Vera Drake a couple of years ago.
1 F + UTILITY – very slow on this, ‘strong’ = ‘F’ didn’t occur to me for some reason.
2 OMIGOD – brilliantly hidden in ‘slalom, I go downhill’. I imagine this “word” is a chick lit neologism.
3 CHESTNUT (2 defs)
7,20 JACK-IN-THE-BOX; Spoonerism of “BACKIN’ THE JOCKS” – marvellous.
16 RIMINI; rev. of IR, + MINI – referring to the Minis in The Italian Job.
19 HAT + RED – a clever one to finish.

8 Responses to “Guardian 24,701 (Sat 16 May)/Paul – Futilitarian”

  1. Chunter says:

    Hi rightback,

    I suggest either Chopin’s Piano Sonata No 2 (Funeral March) (a reference to 14d) or Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini (16dn).

  2. rightback says:

    Ok, the Funeral March is here and Francesca da Rimini (Part One, with links to the other parts) is here. Thanks Chunter!

    I had meant to say above that I won’t be able to reply to any comments until Tuesday – have a good Bank Holiday weekend all.

  3. Arthur says:

    Another very enjoyable Paul crossword. Backin’ the Jocks was fab, and the Lembit & cheeky girl clue was very well put together – even more amusing that the solution was dominatrix! Agree it was quite gentle for both Paul and Saturday, but as long as they’re fun, who cares!?

  4. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. I found this a lot of fun, especially the DOMINATRIX clue. I liked OMIGOD a lot too, along with many others. FUTILITY caught me out — just never made that connection between F and ‘strong’. None of the other answers I thought of — CUPIDITY, LUCIDITY, etc made any sense.

  5. AMB says:

    It’s rumoured that compiler ‘Paul’ has a musical past. Another nice puzzle from one of the best Guardian writers.

  6. James Lyon says:

    I’m starting to like Paul. One of the rare weekend crosswords I’ve actually gone more than halfway on. Although putting CHORUS instead of CHOPIN in 5dn tripped me up in the end, admittedly.

    Araucaria again this week. Wish me luck (gulp!).

  7. Ralph G says:

    Thanks Rightback for illuminating 12a DOMINATRIX. Great clue.
    7d 20d best Spoonerism for some time.

  8. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, rightback, and likewise it was great to meet you on Thursday. (Incidentally, having jogged off rather unfitly to try to catch the last fast train, I ended up having to run back again to get my bag from the restaurant, got lost and missed it by miles. Oh well.)

    FUTILTY caused problems for similarly to you and Liz – we even spent some time trying to work out how it might be “pudicity”, which perhaps could have been “lack of it” :)

    A fun crossword overall, with the laugh-out-loud OMIGOD and JACK-IN-THE-BOX being particular highlights.

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