Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,785 – Paul

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on August 29th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A very entertaining theme for this prize crossword, and nicely hidden in the relevant surface(s).

My only real problem was an explanation for 28ac


1. VASECTOMY. V(ery) + A SEC + TOM + (surger)Y.  About as delicate as it gets I imagine.
6. MUG UP. MUG(w)U(m)P.
10. BON VOYAGE. Not clear if this is more than just a cryptic definition.
12. BLUE. Double definition.
14. AVIGNON. AVI((desi)GN(ated))ON.  Confused me for a while because Bleriot’s planes were normally called ‘the Bleriot’.
15. SINE DIE. INSIDE* + E(xcavations).  Literally ‘whithout a day’.
17. DIGRESS. TIGRESS with a different ‘lead’.
20. ORGY. (hol)YGRO(und)<
26. OBESE. (b)O(o)B(s)E(a)S(i)E(r).
27. RIDGE. RID((le)G)E.
28. ENCRYPTED. CENT(Y + P)RE* + D. Not quite sure how D = half of roundabout?


6. MOON. Double definition.  I foolishly put MUSE at first.
14. AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. DOWNINGSTMELANCHOLYTOOFREE* Suggested refers to the fact that the anagrind is in the answer.
21. GELID. GEL(1)D.
23. YIELD. Double definition.
24. LIFE OF BRIAN.  N(IF + FOE< + B(arriste)R)AIL<

21 Responses to “Guardian 24,785 – Paul”

  1. shuchi says:

    28A: roundabout is circular, half of it gives a semi-circle i.e. D.

  2. shuchi says:

    10a: V[enture] O[verseas] in BONY (think Napoleon ‘Bony’ Bonaparte) AGE (era) &lit

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Ciaran and Paul, I loved it!

    Of course, it took me ages to figure out the relevance of MP and then the rest was fairly easy.

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks shuchi. Those two had eluded me.

  5. The trafites says:

    I thought this was great – virtually no headway until I got ‘And now for something completely different’ the rest followed pretty quickly for then on.

    Great fun.


  6. Mr Beaver says:

    Shuchi – blimey, D=half-roundabout – remarkably perspicacious of you to fathom that !

    Found this hard, but enjoyable. Took a long time to get ‘MP’ – a clever misdirection with MP’s antics being fairly topical. ‘Life of Brian’ was the magic key for us.

  7. Paul B says:

    Probably acceptable too to use ‘semi-circle’, or perhaps something a little more elaborate, to indicate D in SI – snooker usage, dontchaknow.

  8. Jake says:

    Excellent puzzle, I found this rather easy going as I instantly spotted the theme which led to several clues straight away.

    Too many great clues to mention.

    Thanks for blog!

    Cheers Paul.

  9. enitharmon says:

    Yes, “HOLY GRAIL” leapt out at me from the anagram – love that word ‘anagrind’ for the long Araucaric anagram by the way – as they occasionally do, and the rest was straightforward from there.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. I enjoyed this too, but took quite a while to get away from MPs and their expenses. I eventually saw LIFE OF BRIAN and after that finished quite easily.

    I also wasted time trying to work out a way of using NINE (Bleriot crossed the channel in Bleriot IX) in 14ac.

    D for half a roundabout is fiendish! Thanks for pointing that out shuchi — I would never have unpicked that!

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Excellent crossword with a misleading theme, which, once discovered, speeded up solving considerably.
    And some libertarian novelties, like D in 28ac (fully explained above) and V in 1dn.
    I am not sure if I like to have a V-shaped fork.
    In walking guides, forks in the road are normally given as Y.
    Therefore, I prefer Y above V when talking about a ‘character with a fork’.
    But apart from that, high quality – and another step towards becoming the country’s best setter.

  12. Squeakle says:

    Could somebody help me with 14 etc. down and 19 down, please?

    14d: How does the “PM” fit in? Is it part of the anagram indicator (because writing MP as PM is in itself an anagram), or rather part of the definition (which would therefore be “MP’s … PM”, because MP written as PM is completely different)?

    19d: I arrived at the solution from the wordplay but am still at a loss as to how “hepatic” is defined by “so” … (Perhaps it isn’t, and I’m even more confused than I thought!)

    By the by, what’s the background to “anagrind”, please?

    Please be gentle with me if I’ve asked for an explanation to something totally obvious – this is my very first comment on fifteensquared and it’s taking quite some courage to hit “submit”!

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Squeakle, you are right about 14dn.
    Our beloved blogger forgot to add PM to all the other letters he’d mentioned.
    Then the ‘anagrind’ (= anagram indicator) SUGGESTED leads us to the solution, another of M(onty) P(ython)’s.

    “organ,so” must be seen as something referring to an organ (in the body), therefore HEPATIC. A bit Libertarian, I know, but the combination church/organ is also irresistable for our setter.
    So why not make it the Best of Two Worlds?
    That’s Paul (and I like it).

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Squeakle
    Welcome to 15². In 14d PM is part of the anagram fodder. DOWNING ST MELANCHOLY TOO FREE PM is an anagram of NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY ie the latter is ‘different’.

    19d The wordplay is I TAPE (I record) in CH (church) all reversed. The definition is ‘organ, so’, hepatic = relating to the liver.

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    RE #12 & 14 & the blog:
    Of course, in 14dn the anagrind is DIFFERENT (part of the solution) and not as I said SUGGESTED, which indicates the indicator (like Ciaran explains). My mistake.

  16. Squeakle says:

    Sil and Gaufrid, thank you for being VERY gentle with me given I was indeed being blatantly stupid. These “blind spots” I get are rather alarming, although to be honest I think it’s more a case of flagrant non-engagement of the brain … (Rather like opening a cupboard door into one’s head, which I have somehow just managed to do!) I shall continue my endeavours to improve with Fifteensquared’s invaluable help.

  17. Dave Roberts says:

    Regarding Guardian 24,785 – Paul

    The answer to 28 across was ENCRYPTED. You commented, “Not quite sure how D = half of roundabout”.

    If you think of a roundabout as a circle on a map, the D would be the right half of the circle.

  18. Ciaran McNulty says:

    PM is indeed part of the anagrind in 14dn, my mistake but it’s nice to know I’m beloved ;-)

  19. RB says:

    Excellent crossword. And many thanks for the explanation by Shuchi #2 for 10A BON VOYAGE – what a brilliant &lit!

    The trouble with having such a brilliant crossword is that the “weak” clues stand out! For me, I thought the following definitions were a bit weak, which made me hesitate to put the answers in at first. Am I being too picky?
    27A RIDGE: definition is “which is raised”. I also thought “go”=RIDE a bit weak.

    28A ENCRYPTED: definition is “having confusing signs”.

    3D COAT HANGER: definition is “one’s hooked!”.

    And a couple of queries:
    1D: VETCH: I can’t see why “deep” is required in the clue (other than surface considerations).

    19D HEPATIC: definition is “organ, so”. Sorry, I still don’t quite get it. Hepatic (adj) means “relating to the liver” i.e. an organ (noun). What’s the “so” doing? And why the adj/noun mismatch?

  20. Maarvarq says:

    RB: as far as I know, “etch” carries the connotation of making a deep mark on a surface, although Chambers (1972 edn) doesn’t include the word “deep” in its definition.

    Re: 6 ac and this puzzle being easy, what, the word “mugwump” is at the top of everyone else’s vocabulary? I got the answer from crossing letters and spotting “study” as the definition, but I hadn’t the faintest idea what the constructional part was.

  21. RB says:

    Maarvarq, re 6A, like you, I got the answer without understanding the wordplay. I’d heard of the term “mugwump” without being aware of its meaning as an independent politician. (Many years ago, my dad would call me a “mugwump” if he considered I’d done something foolish!)

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