Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,735 – Paul

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on June 25th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A really enjoyable grid today, with a couple of royal references.  There are some very clever clues in here, with distinctively misleading surfaces –  I nearly stood up to applaud 20dn, it was so clever.

I’m not sure what the word is for a double definition where one of the defs is a cryptic definition, but it seems to be one of Paul’s specialities.

I couldn’t quite explain 18ac, so look forward to being told in the comments how obvious it is ;-)

* = anagram
“” = homophone
< = reversed


1. SICK BED. SICK + BED.  ‘Invalid here’ might be too loose for some purists.
5. SACKBUT. SACK + BUT. An ancient brass instrument.
9. DWELL. (roa)D + WELL.
11. STEP-PARENT. SET* + (a)PPARENT. The surface manages to allude to the step-ness (‘not originally’).
14. SPACEHOPPER. S(PACE)HOPPER. Famously smiley-faced.
18. PANDEMONIUM. “PANDA” + ?  Not sure about how this works.
21. NEWS . N + E + W + S.
25. HARMONICA. HARM + ON + 1 CA(t)
26. AMBLE. (r)AMBLE.
27. PASTERN. PA + STERN.  A new word for me, part of a horse’s leg.


3. BILL POSTER. BILL + POST E.R.  Glorious!  When Prince Charles becomes Charles III, his mother’s reign will have ended.
4. DOVER SOLE. DO(VERSO)LE.  Verso is a term for the left-hand page of a book.
6. CREW. double def, alternate form of ‘crowed’.
8. TELEPORT.  (ROPE + LET)< + T.
13. COMMENTARY. COMM(A RENT*)Y.  ‘Commy’ a less common variant of ‘commie’.
19. BUBBLE WRAP. B(l)U(r)B + BLEW + RAP.  ‘Pop fans’ certainly love it.
20. ANNE OF CLEVES. This clue is seriously good.  ELEVENCANSOF*, plus the def of ‘plain wrong choice for Henry’ is fantastic, as poor Anne’s marriage was arranged based on a painting, and when she arrived Henry VIII pretty much immediately divorced her for not being as good looking as advertised!
23.  GIANT. G.I. + ANT

32 Responses to “Guardian 24,735 – Paul”

  1. Speckled Jim says:

    So very, very, very difficult. I am in utter despair. Too many charade clues for me.

    Thanks for the answers though.

  2. Qaos says:

    18a: I just took this as a pun, based on “harmonium”, so sounds like PAND-AR-MONIUM. Maybe not as funny as some of the other answers :-).

  3. don says:

    BRILLIANT! Loved it, although I didn’t finish it completely.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. I totally agree with you about 20dn – brilliant!

    I agree with Qaos about 18ac: I laughed out loud at the sheer preposterousness of it!

  5. Jake says:

    I usually avoid Paul somewhat. But no longer. I seriously enjoyed this puzzle. I go so far to say this is probably one of the best I’ve come across so far.

    20/2 was brilliant, as was 19/12 and 3 dn.

    Real good stuff.

    Thanks for the blog and info on Henry VIII.

  6. sidey says:

    What a great puzzle!

  7. IanN14 says:

    Agree with everything said, apart from Speckled Jim.
    Plus, I loved the picture painted by 14ac.
    I’ve been to clubs like that. Years ago, I hasten to add…

    Certainly easier than yesterday’s…
    (Incidentally, Enigmatist’s alter-ego is over at the Indy today – much better).

  8. Speckled Jim says:

    Well that’s the double-edged sword of this site: after battling in vain it is great to be able to find out explanations (essential to make some sort of headway in this world), but at the same time having to suffer scores of people enthusing over how brilliant and easy the puzzle was!

    Either way, 18a is dreadful and in 16d how clumsy is “system of working not closed”?! Sounds like something Yoda might say.

    Ah well, back to the drawing board…

  9. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ciaran. As others have said, good fun.

    27ac – PASTERN was famously misdefined by Dr Johnson in his Dictionary. When a woman asked him to explain why he’d made the mistake, he replied “Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance”.

  10. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Speckled Jim – Today’s was harder than, say, a Monday puzzle. There’s a natural competitiveness among solvers that leads to us all pretending the hard ones are simplicity itself, but pay no heed.

  11. liz says:

    I loved 20,2 and it was the first one I got. I also liked 19, 12.

    Top right corner caused me the most trouble. I had NICKLES for SACKBUT for a while (reasoning that LES was almost LEST) then corrected it when I got SERENGETI.

    Plenty to smile about! I do find Paul’s puzzles hard, but for me they repay the effort even if I don’t always see the wordplay.

  12. liz says:

    You can see Holbein’s portrait of Anne of Cleves here,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger.jpg

    Holbein left out her smallpox scars. Henry called her ‘a fat Flanders mare’. Pot calling kettle?

  13. Jake says:

    Speckled Jim.

    I used to find the Daily Telegraph hard. In fact I used to laugh in madness at the answers the next day still not understanding them!

    I used to struggle with Rufus and now I don’t do him because it’s not stiff enough. However, I’ve been solving Guardian for just under a year and I mostly do Azed puzzles, which I never ever thought of attempting.

    Paul is tough, for me probably the toughest in this field, but real fun. This one is a real gem, that is if you are new to crosswords.

  14. Chunter says:

    10ac: (irreguLAR BET: REViews)<

    18ac: Brilliant! One of these first clues that I solved. (What does that say about my sense of humour?)

  15. Pricklewedge says:

    Crikey that was tough, although did get 18ac first (as has been said earlier – what does that say about my sense of humour?). Was completely stumped by 5ac, 7d, 13d (commy? New to me) and 17d. Even with that failure one of my most enjoyable commutes to work in ages!

  16. mhl says:

    Great stuff today, as I suppose everyone’s already covered :)

    There was some nice misdirection in 11 across, I thought, where having guessed that the relative might be a STEP-relation, I thought “plain” must be “steppe”..

  17. stiofain says:

    A great puzzle there are too many great clues to list but the surface for SPACEHOPPER was brilliant. Strangely for Paul not a bit of smut.

  18. Dagnabit says:

    Count me as more an admirer than an enthusiast today. I got everything but felt mostly sweaty and tired at the end, not relieved or proud. I found many of the surfaces to be quite stilted – the worst offender here in my opinion being 28. However, I loved 19/12!

    18 was far more of a groaner to me than PROPAGANDA from the other day.

  19. Dave Ellison says:

    I got there but it was a steady plod. I really can’t share what, it seems to me, are other peoples’ over the top enthusiasm for Paul. Yes, there were some great clues (3d, 19d), but not 18a nor 20d.

    18a I got but couldn’t fathom even though harmonium did cross my mind. Even with the explanation, it is still hard to accept; in fact, I had to ask a colleague to confirm my spelling because I thought it must start PANDA. It really should, according to the clue, be something like PANDAHARMONIUM which to me doesn’t sound close enough to the answer. PROPOGANDA was quite acceptable the other day, and not at all preposterous.

    20d Admittedly I was looking for HAL or H in there for a while. And then XI. What put me off a direct anagram was that I clearly had OF in the answer fairly early, but that was also in the clue; how poor is that? And then the complete solution leaves me unimpressed.

    My first clue? 21ac, I think.

  20. Dave Ellison says:

    An after thought – 20d again. What is the AFTER for?

  21. Eileen says:

    Dave, I’m sorry you didn’t like 20dn, which I thought was one of the best clues I’ve seen for a long time but, as we keep saying, it’s a good job we’re all different! Clearly, ‘after’ is necessary for the very witty surface reading but I’d defend it in the wordplay by saying that the solution is what you get after ‘specially brewing’ the anagram fodder.

    I can’t possibly defend PANDEMONIUM – but it did make me laugh, it was so outrageous, even – dare I say it? – for Araucaria.

    I enjoyed this puzzle immensely but I am puzzled about 8dn. I’d never met this word and it isn’t in Collins but Chambers tells me it’s ‘to move by telekinesis’, which is ‘the production of motion at a distance by willpower or thought alone’. I can see from the derivation that it means ‘to move at a distance’ [another hybrid word, like ‘television’ – “It’ll never catch on”!] but where does ‘in an instant’ come from?

  22. brr says:

    I think teleportation is a staple of the science fiction world, where people disappear and then magically appear elsewhere …. instantaneously.

  23. Dagnabit says:

    Yes, Eileen, I agree with brr – the most familiar example I’m aware of is in the “Star Trek” series: “Beam me up, Scotty!”

  24. Dave Ellison says:

    Eileen, we’ve missed you in the last few days; I always look forward to your calming commentary.

    As brr says, teleport is from SF world, and, according to Wikipedia (dare I mention it – I always chide my student’s for quoting there from) coined in 1931 by title=”Charles Fort”, a travesty of running a Greek and a Latin word together

  25. Eileen says:

    Dagnabit, you just beat me to it. I was about to say that science fiction was not my scene but that I did know the [non- cf ‘Play it again, Sam]] quotation!

  26. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Dave, for the nice comment. I’m up to my ears in exam marking. I insist on giving myself time to do the crossword but am rationing my comments!

  27. Dave Ellison says:

    Sorry, I pressed the Submit instead of the Preview button, before I had finished.

    teleport …coined in 1931 by Charles Fort, a travesty of running a Greek and a Latin word together

  28. Brian Harris says:

    Pretty tough today, but got there in the end. Some very entertaining clues, particularly 14ac (Space Hopper – although two words?) and 3dn. Only just got the POST ER bit now!! Thanks, Ciaran.

  29. Martin Searle says:

    Hello, old hands. A bit slow through todays, but rather enjoyable. I’ve grown to really like Paul.

  30. Neil says:

    Piece of cake! Only took me two days to complete, though I did struggle for a while with 21 across.
    Otherwise, such clever, taxing, enjoyable stuff!

    Shall we ever know Paul’s intention about the delightfully silly PANDEMONIUM?

  31. Neil says:

    Liz #12: thanks for the portrait reference. Poor old Henry!

    Dave Ellison #19: “propaganda” an acceptable homophone? I guess you’re not American (as dagnabit #18 is) or Scots, or Irish, or from the Western half of England (not just the southwest)? And I bet you’re going to prove me wrong!

  32. stiofain says:

    Teleport is now in common usage as the way of moving around in virtual online worlds such as Second Life again exposing that recent scurrilous article in The Guardian accusing all xword solvers of being trapped in an imaginary middle england of pink gins and dusty academia.

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