Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,759 – Paul

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on July 23rd, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

Maybe not as fiendish as some Thursday puzzles, but still tricky – I’m still in the dark about 10ac.  Some lovely clues today, especially 13dn and 11ac.


1. BUMPER. Double definition.
9. VENICE. V(E+N)ICE. ‘Clamped’ = ‘In a vice’.
10.  BONELESS?. A fish might be boneless… BESOLE* is in there, but can’t see how it all fits together.
14. STAB. d.d.
18. ALTOGETHER. ALTO + G + ETHER.  Ether is an anaesthetic = ‘numb-er’.
24. ARCHER. d.d.
26. ‘X’ MARKS THE SPOT. Cryptic definition.


1. BEVY. d.d. Both slang for a drink, and a collective noun for birds, and thereafter for people.
2. MONSOON. If it’s Sun(day) now, it’s Mon(day) soon.
3. EXCUSE-ME. d.d.
6. VIENNA. ANNE + IV <<.  Anne was the 4th queen of Henry VII, whom he divorced.
12. ABSOLUTISTS. A + B(and) + SO + LUTISTS. I think SO = very works?
13. REFINANCE. ANEARIF* + CE.  The def. of ‘once more lend’ is skillfully hidden.
17. CAT’S EYE. CA(T)SE + YE. Invented by Percy Shaw in the ’30s.
20 MUSLIN. NIL + SUM <<.
22. KRIS. Putting the header at the end gives ‘RISK’.  A Malay dagger.

30 Responses to “Guardian 24,759 – Paul”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ciaran, especially for the explanation of VIENNA, which I couldn’t see. I’m also clueless about BONELESS.

    In 1dn there may be a reference to the phrase “a bevy of beauties”.

    12dn – “so”=”very” is fine by me.

  2. Andrew says:

    Ah, I’ve got it:
    B=second rate
    ONE = sole
    LESS = off

  3. GHD says:

    I read 10ac as
    B – second rate ONE – sole LESS – off

    and a fish might well be BONELESS on the plate.

  4. The trafites says:

    BONELESS is B (second rate) + ONELESS, a sort of pun on ‘sole off’.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    I finished it, so by definition that justifies the less fiendish comment.

    I was wondering if 10 was more like B + ONE LESS, but thatdoesn’t work either as you then have two parts derived from “second rate” and still no clue as to how the rest fits in. Ah, but as I type it occurs to me it might be B = second rate + ONE = sole + LESS = off. That seems more likely.

  6. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hah, we all typed at the same time!. Still I guess we’ve got that now.

  7. Crypticnut says:

    Hi Ciaran

    Thanks for the blog.

    I’ve been spoilt today with Araucaria in this mornings local paper and Paul this afternoon(our time).

    I, too, got 10a but couldn’t work out why. Thanks to Andrew, GHD and The trafites for showing us the light.

    I also made the mistake of assuming that the first letter of 26a was “A”. That caused a considerable hold-up until I got some crossing letters – which then caused considerable head slapping!

    As you come to expect from Paul, a very enjoyable puzzle!

  8. Monica M says:

    Thanks Ciaran

    I’m warming to 2dn MONSOON. But that was one of the clues I struggled to find the word play to (Got the wet season bit so solved it). Not that it’s bad, just eluded me.

    And congratulations to all you who got BONELESS … again I got it but not sure why …thanks clever clogs

  9. Crypticnut says:

    While I was typing you came up with the parsing of 10a as well. So you are included in the thanksgiving!

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ciaran.

    Just a wee typo in 6dn: you meant Henry VIII, I know. :-)

    Chambers: ‘bevy: a company or flock [of larks – I thought it was an ‘exultation’ – quails, swans, roes or ladies]’!

    [What is going on this week? Even Paul’s easier!]

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. And for the explanation of BONELESS. I’m kicking myself for the one I didn’t get, which was MUSLIN. I was trying to come up with a material that ended in ‘on’. Enjoyable puzzle!

  12. Bryan says:

    I loved it and managed to complete it without, in two cases, knowing why:

    2d (MONSOON) and 6d (VIENNA)

    But now all is clear!

    Many thanks, Ciaran for the enlightenment and Paul for setting another super puzzle.

  13. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    10a is
    second rate – B
    sole – ONE
    off – LESS

  14. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Apologies for duplication.

    After looking at your post I must have scrolled much lower down and seen “No comments” under another post!

  15. Eileen says:

    Liz, re 20dn: yes, I spent a minute or two trying to make LARD = ‘problem’!

  16. Dawn says:

    I loved this puzzle and finished it without knowing why for several clues so thanks for the blogs. 26ac was my favourite clue when I finally got it – having spent ages trying to think of a phrase starting with A or I.

  17. Paul B says:

    Ex-a-ltation shurely. And it IS larks in the ole terms of venery.

  18. Eileen says:

    Googling ‘exaltation of larks’ brings up a number of instances, as does ‘exultation of larks’. I shall continue to use the latter [not that it crops up too often in conversation!] as the metaphor seems much more apt.

  19. John says:

    I’m missing something. In what sense does “off” = LESS?

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry, but larks?

    John, I wasn’t too keen on that either but I figured it was something tenuous like if something goes off (rots) it is lessened (not as good as) from the original.

  21. JohnR says:

    13d – I can’t get the wordplay to work as you give it, Ciaran. Surely it must be (a)NEARIF* + N(ew)+ CE: abandoning ‘a’ from the fodder, then a redundant (?) ‘new’. Superb surface: very Paul!

  22. Eileen says:


    i took the ‘off’ as in Sales ads, eg ‘25% off’.

  23. john goldthorpe says:

    When I was in primary school – a long time ago – we would be asked, for example, what is 6 off 11, expecting the answer, 5.

  24. Gaufrid says:

    Your parsing of 13d is correct. The first ‘new’ in the clue is the anagram indicator, the second ‘new’ gives the N.

  25. IanN14 says:

    JohnR @ 21.
    I think the second “new” is required as an anagram indicator.

  26. IanN14 says:

    Sorry Gaufrid…
    It’s not been my day today.

  27. Dagnabit says:

    Thanks, Ciaran! Thanks also to JohnR, who put my mind at rest re: 13d.

    Apologies in advance, but with respect to 11ac I can’t resist quoting from one of my favorite songs: “Every gal in Constantinople / lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople / So if you’ve a date in Constantinople / She’ll be waiting in Istanbul.”

  28. stiofain says:

    Eileen says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 12:15 pm
    [What is going on this week? Even Paul’s easier!]

    And not even a hint of schoolboy smut.

  29. Paul B says:

    Well … ‘exult’ and ‘exalt’ are pretty close but not the same in meaning according to Chambers, whilst Collins makes a point (or box, in reality) of clarifying the difference twixt the two: larks do not figure in either tome under ‘exult’. Sorry.

  30. enitharmon says:

    I thought I was doing really well on this one but 10ac just wouldn’t yield so I had to go to bed on an unfinished crossword. And I lost my bowls match last night. It was that kind of day…

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