Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,755 (Sat 18 Jul)/Paul – Calf pints

Posted by rightback on July 25th, 2009


Solving time: 8:54

A very enjoyable puzzle from Paul with no theme that I could see but a marvellous new word for me at 12dn.

Music of the day: the magnificent 5dn, Dies Irae, from Verdi’s Requiem.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 TOPSAIL; rev. of ASP in TOIL – I tried ‘orc’ and ‘orca’ for ‘killer’ and ’till’ for ‘work’ before getting anywhere with this.
5 DEPOSIT; rev. of IS in DEPOT
9,11 FIRST PERSON SINGULAR; SING (= ‘spill the beans’) in (ARTFUL PRISONERS)* – excellent clue with a very subtle definition at the beginning (‘I’).
10 GREEDY PIG; (REEDY + P[erson]) in GIG – a ‘gig’ being a two-wheeled carriage.
13 O + CHE – not sure about ‘Looping the loop’ = ‘O’, but I liked the definition (‘Arrows fly from here’) and the cunningly misleading ‘Red Arrows’.
14 BAR GRAPH; rev. of (PAR + GRAB), + H[eight]
17 FOUR-STAR; FOR around (URSA around [breakfas]T)
18 ODE + R – not sure about the surface reading here, but I was glad of this ‘starter’ clue which was the first I solved.
21 THE MIND BOGGLES; (HEM + (BIND)*) in TOGGLES – another excellent clue.
23 RE-LEASING – double use of ‘letting out’, in the literal and financial senses, although I think this clue is a little dubious because the definition needs to be ‘letting out’, not ‘Again letting out’. Having said that, if you take something in you could then be said to ‘let it out again’, where the ‘again’ doesn’t really mean anything, so perhaps the clue’s ok.
24 NEAT + H
25 ACE + TONE – nice definition (‘thinner’).
1 TOFU (hidden) – I don’t know really what this but it sounds much less appetising than, say, a pork pie.
2 PORTER (= ‘drink’) + HOUSE (= ‘pub’) + BLUE (= ‘down’) – a novel by Tom Sharpe, of which perhaps someone could give a quick appraisal?
3 AT TEST – I don’t quite understand the pluralisation of ‘crickets’ in this clue, but any mention of cricket at the moment has to be a good thing. Watching Andrew Flintoff bowl at Lord’s last Sunday was an absolute privilege.
5 DIES IRAE; DIES (= ‘fades’) + I, + rev. of EAR – literally ‘days of wrath’.
6 PEDAGOGY; P, + AGO in EDGY – very nice breakdown.
7 SUPPLY AND DEMAND; SUPPLY (= ‘flexibly’) + AND (= ‘joiner’, i.e. a joining word), + rev. of NAMED (= ‘called’) + D[aughter]
12 COWFETERIA; (OF ICE WATER)* – one of these – yours for only £104.10 + VAT. This was my last entry, but it’s a wonderful word.
15 OSTINATO; rev. of (A NIT SO), + TO – a repeating bass part in music.
20 UGANDA; U,G (last letters) + AND + A – I wanted ‘Zulu’ to give ‘Z’, as in the phonetic alphabet, and nearly put ‘Zambia’ in here.
22 WHEE[l]

32 Responses to “Guardian 24,755 (Sat 18 Jul)/Paul – Calf pints”

  1. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks rightback. A great effort with the blog for a quite difficult but immensely enjoyable puzzle.

    TOFU is soy bean curd used a lot in oriental cooking and greatly favoured by vegeterians as a source of protein. I must admit I prefer a nice hot pie or a good sausage!

    Like you 18a was my first solve and 12d the last. When I finally worked out COWFETERIA, I was amazed at the antipodean reference, as, although I have farming roots, I had never heard of the term. So I googled it and, after a lot of searching, finally found it.

    So I have to say that the credit, if that is what it is, for this word lies with our cousins across the ditch. Say what you like about them, the Kiwis are a terribly inventive bunch!

    Finally, one I wasn’t quite sure of. Am I correct in assuming that dabblers are ducks, or geese perhaps – hence the WADDLE in TWADDLE??

  2. Crypticnut says:

    Also, I thought 9,11 a brilliantly constructed clue!

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Rightback. The last two I derived were 1a and 6d, mainly because I had let myself become fixated on (Pol) Pot (rev) as the killer and agog as anxious. I strongly recommend you stay with the pork pie, tofu is tasteless stodge.

  4. Biggles A says:

    I knew 12d had to be cowfeteria but, as one of those from across the ditch Crypticnut, it is not a term I had heard of before either. Over here the word calfeteria is used more commonly.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rightback

    Well, 12dn certainly caused some fun! I can’t remember seeing a longer or more precise definition. I was away for the weekend, with no access to any references, thinking, ‘Well it’s just got to be that, because of the anagram’, but still not quite believing such a word existed.

    Some super clues apart from that one and a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.

    Crypticnut, dabbling ducks are those that feed on the surface, rather than by diving. I knew the word from Ratty’s ditty in ‘The wind in the willows’, which begins:

    All along the backwater,
    Through the rushes tall,
    Ducks are a-dabbling,
    Up tails all!

  6. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks Eileen. That puts my mind at rest.

    What a great puzzle!

  7. Bryan says:

    I struggled long and hard with 13a (OCHE) and also with 12d before stumbling on them eventually.

    12d brought to mind the comment from a member of a team of English cricketers who reported that, if he were ever ship wrecked 50 yards off the coast of New Zealand, he would swim to Australia.

    But, as always, I did enjoy the struggle.

    Thanks to Paul and also to Rightback.

  8. Andrew says:

    Porterhouse Blue is well worth a read, especially if you know Cambridge (though in Tom Sharpe’s usual style everything is exaggerated for farcical effect). There was a rather good TV adaptation on Channel 4 in (I see to my amazement) 1987, featuring David Jason, Ian Richardson and John Sesssions among others.

  9. Crypticnut says:

    Bryan – that’s not fair.
    New Zealand is a beautiful country with good food and lovely people. I should know – I have relatives in Auckland and we have a very cordial relationship – except when the Wallabies play the All Blacks!
    Some of their beer is a bit crook though….

  10. enitharmon says:

    Porterhouse Blue – pompous college servant in highly traditional Cambridge college (not unlike a combination of Trinity Hall and St Johns) mounts fierce opposition to liberal reforming Master with hilarious consequences. I seem to recall some of the mayhem involves a large quantity of gas-filled condoms.

    Tom Sharpe seems sadly out of fashion these days. I commend Wilt.

  11. The trafites says:

    Thanks for 13ac. I thought this was ECHO with the ends changed (looping the loop=repeat=echo), but of course then I was stuck with a redundant ‘RED’ in the wordplay, and thought perhaps Paul was being a bit sneaky here to mislead.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. Hugely enjoyable, tho I didn’t get 13ac.

    My favourite was 9, 11. Thought the full definition for 12dn made this a fair clue, given the unfamiliar word, and the surface was typically Paul!

    18ac was my route in, too.

  13. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, rightback – in particular for the picture of a cowfeteria! We enjoyed this one a lot, particularly FIRST PERSON SINGULAR and OCHE. (The latter was my last entry, and an excellent “a-ha!” moment.)

    I see that Simon Hoggart gave away the answer to 12d in his Twitter parody on Tuesday – disappointing…

  14. muck says:

    I have emailed [email protected] as follows

    Much as I enjoy your Guardian columns, there have been complaints on the crossword site, that you leaked one of the answers to the July 18 Guardian Prize Crossword.

  15. Eileen says:

    Well done, muck!

  16. Chunter says:

    There was another, earlier leak at

  17. Eileen says:

    It’s always a pity when this kind of thing happens – and I’m particularly disappointed with Simon Hoggart, whose column I turn to first, but didn’t comment on on Tuesday. It’s particularly frustrating for those still working towards their Collins [and, for Goodness’ sake, why is that the prize when Guardian solutions depend on Chambers?] I’m just proud that we at 15² managed to make several oblique references to 12dn and still maintained our integrity.

  18. The trafites says:


    [and, for Goodness’ sake, why is that the prize when Guardian solutions depend on Chambers?]

    COWFETERIA is not in Chambers, but it is in Collins.

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi trafites


  20. Eileen says:

    Hi again, trafites

    I realise that my previous comment does not make complete sense: ‘Cowfeteria’ is not in my [2006] Collins.

    But I still stand by my initial query re why Chambers is not the prize.

  21. The trafites says:


    I have a Collins 1994 version (third edition), and that confirmed the word/anagram for me – I could find it no where else.

  22. stiofain says:

    Great puzzle and another lacking in smut Paul is certainly cleaning his act up.
    The answer bank is a regular offender in revealing prize solutions and unfortunately they show very high and quickly in google so the answer can be easily stumbled upon inadvertently.
    Im surprized at Simon Hoggart as he is well known as an x word fan.
    My comment on 12d is wouldnt “calfeteria” been a much better neologism?

  23. Eileen says:

    trafites – curiouser and curiouser: it certainly isn’t in my more recent [prize!] edition!

    Stiofain: yes, as I said, Simon Hoggart’s comment was a disappointment. Let’s hope muck may have recruited him to the site!

  24. The trafites says:

    Isn’t Chambers ‘claim to fame’ that once having added a word, they do not drop it? I think other dictionaries do that once the word is deemed out of vogue?.

  25. Eileen says:

    Hi trafites

    I’m afraid I’m getting rather lost here. I thought we were talking about Collins.

    [Sorry, probably one glass of wine too many – I’m going to bed now! : -) ]

  26. The trafites says:

    Yes, we are talking about Collins – I meant seeing as ‘Cowfeteria’ is in my 1994 Collins, but not in your later version, Collins must drop words, whereas I do not think Chambers does.

  27. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Trafites – it’s all clear now!

  28. Paul B says:

    I’m not sure that Chambers is the Bible for the Guardian crossword.

    Perhaps an editor type of person can clear this up, but I’m fairly sure Collins is seen as the preferred source, due in no small part to the fact that Chambers, by reputation, contains so many recondite entries (hence its relevance as the ultimate source for Listener puzzles).

    At least two editors in high office will accept words from either, or indeed from any reliable source. But to be fair to Chambers, setters can still find some plenty abstruse words in Collins to ruin their chances of publication on a Monday.

  29. mhl says:

    Eileen: As Paul B suggests, Chambers isn’t the canonical dictionary for the Guardian – Hugh Stephenson has said in the past that a word just has to appear in one of “Chambers, Collins and the newish Oxford Dictionary of English” in order to be acceptable for the cryptic crossword:,,2261802,00.html

    The trafites: Chambers does drop words – Jeremy Paxman’s introduction to the most recent edition mentions a few examples.

  30. muck says:

    Re: Simon Hoggart (#13, #14 and others).

    He has replied to my email, thus: “yes – three days after the crossword appeared!”

    I have replied to him, thus: “The problem is that your answer ‘cowfeteria’ referred to a Saturday Prize Puzzle, in which competitors may submit their answers up until first post on the following Friday”

    I suppose the Guardian subs should have picked this up.

  31. mhl says:

    muck: I was just idly mentioning it – I really don’t think it’s a big deal!

  32. muck says:

    mhl: Simon Hoggart has taken the trouble to reply to my emails, and we agree it isn’t a big deal!

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