Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,809 (Sat 19 Sep)/Paul – Snide remark

Posted by rightback on September 26th, 2009


Solving time: 7 mins

This was my fastest solve of a Saturday puzzle for a while, so must have been easier than usual, even for a non-Araucaria week. Only 20dn (REMARK) caused any real trouble.

I’m a big Paul fan but didn’t feel he was quite at his best in this puzzle, though there are still some excellent clues with very smooth surface readings.

Music of the day (26dn): Dame Nellie Melba singing La Boheme at one of her many “farewell” performances at Covent Garden in 1926.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 LOW-BROW – one definition, one whimsical allusion (‘evidence of frown?’). I’m never quite sure what to call these clues – it’s neither a double definition nor a cryptic definition.
5 STEW + [h]ARD
9,22 (GREEN INK BRIGADE)*; (BEING ENRAGED IRK)* – somehow this jumped out as my first answer, which was a big help and has probably left me feeling this puzzle was easier than it actually was. This was particularly surprising as I didn’t know precisely what it meant, although this suggests it may be a bit of a Guardian in-joke; there’s more here.
10 DIACRITIC; rev. of AID, + CRITIC – I’m not keen on the cryptic “grammar” here; ‘one reviews’ gives critic, but this use of a finite verb in the wordplay makes the first bit (‘rejecting charity’) seem awkward.
11,12 FOR THE HIGH JUMP – same sort of clue as 1ac. The ‘scissors’ method of doing the high jump preceded the Fosbury Flop.
14 TOILET TISSUE; TO + I + LETT + ISSUE – according to Chambers, Lettland is the former name for Latvia.
18 FREIGHT TRAIN; (TIRING FATHER)* – nice surface reading.
21 [hunky-]DORY – good clue which I struggled with.
25 INDONESIA; [f]IND ONE SIA[m] – nice idea, although ‘one Siam’ doesn’t quite work for me.
26 MELBA; 2 defs, and rev. of (ABLE + M) – actually ‘Sweet singer’ is arguably just one definition, because peach Melba was named after Dame Nellie Melba.
27 EAST END; (AS + TEND (= ‘mind’)) after E[cstasy] – the definition is ‘heroin’s first dropped here?’, alluding to the Cockney habit of dropping initial aitches. A nice twist on the rather tired ‘xxx for Cockney’ to indicate a missing ‘H’ at the start of a segment of wordplay.
1 LOG OFF; rev. of (F-FOOL) around G – how nice to see ‘G’ clued as ‘gravitational constant’ rather than ‘gravity’.
3 RUN THROUGH (2 defs)
6 [b]EARS
8 DECIPHER; (RICH + DEEP)* – this took me longer than it should have because I thought ‘crack’ was the (intransitive) anagram indicator, so was looking for an answer meaning ‘ground’.
13 MILITIAMAN; rev. of ([viet]NAM + A1 + ‘TIL I’M)
15 LATINISED (hidden backwards) – well-concealed.
16 OFF + DRIVE – again, not sure what to call this clue. It’s kind of a whimsical allusion, with no proper definition of the answer, unless you take the Araucarian line that ‘Batsman’s’ suffices to define anything a batsman might have or do.
17 HE-BRIDES – I’ve seen this a few times before but it always amuses me.
19 PAELLA; rev. of LEAP, + LA (= Louisiana)
20 REMARK; M in REAR, + K[ing] – this was the one that stumped me, primarily because I got fixed on ‘behind’ = ‘back’ and was looking for something to fit ‘BE_ACK’ of which ‘king’ was an example. At first I thought ‘McDonald’ must be famous person I didn’t know, giving ‘Ed’ or ‘Al’ or something, but eventually it occurred to me that ‘McDonald’s’ might give an M (although I’m not sure I like it).
23 BRAND (2 defs)
24 ANNE[x]

7 Responses to “Guardian 24,809 (Sat 19 Sep)/Paul – Snide remark”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, it’s nice to see that you are up and about so bright and early.

    This was easy (for a Paul Prize) except, as you say, for 20d REMARK which I pondered for a while before deciding that there was no better alternative.

    Like you, I wasn’t happy to see MacDonald’s standing for ‘M’ but otherwise very enjoyable.

  2. Dan says:

    “one definition, one whimsical allusion (’evidence of frown?’). I’m never quite sure what to call these clues – it’s neither a double definition nor a cryptic definition.”

    Uncle Yap clls these of clue tinch (tongue in cheek)which I think is rather nice. Thanks for the excellent blog.

  3. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, rightback. I thought this was a lot of fun, and not too difficult either. I love “McDonald’s” for M! There can be hardly be many better known corporate symbols than the golden arches, and it’s always nice to see some new crossword abbreviations. (Paul’s used it before in a daily puzzle.) I shared your reservation about “Batsman’s” for OFF-DRIVE, but didn’t mind the other ones you mention – I think that’s partly just because knowing that it’s a Paul crossword one expects the odd more allusory definition.

    Bryan: I think the exact time of the post as 5:00am suggests this might have been a scheduled post ;)

  4. Neil says:

    rightback: Thanks. It wasn’t hard, but 7 minutes is phenomenal. For how long did you “struggle” with 21?

    11,12ac: my recollection is that the “Scissors” preceded the “Straddle” which preceded the “Western Roll” which preceded the “Fosbury Flop”; not that this affects this clue at all, but might have some relevance for future solving?

    18ac: My father was a railway booking clerk, his father a station master and an uncle was a goods clerk. It seems “goods trains” are now replaced by “freight trains”. Seems a shame: like lorries replaced by trucks, shops replaced by stores, Sunday (and even Christmas) dinnner replaced by lunch (a particularly galling irritation) etc.

    20dn: well, I suppose Macdonald’s ‘restaurants’ are characterised by that huge red M logo on all their premises?

  5. Neil says:

    mhl: you were sending whilst I was typing. So now I feel daft. Of course, gold, not red. I’m not a regular patron!

  6. Paul B says:

    I like Gaufrid’s ‘D & CD’ classification for the likes of ‘definition plus whimsical allusion’.

    An excellent piece as usual from Paul with and some inventive clueing – to wit McDonald’s = M by reason of their great big cholesterol-dunked Golden Arch, which is a welcome addition to the, um, New Crosswordese.

    An anagram of LARGE FRIES is FAIRER LEGS: shurely, in thish cashe, the one cannot reshult from the other?

  7. Cheryl O says:

    I’m in Australia, crossword published in our local paper about a month late. “LOWBROW” also means “popular” (as in opposite of “elite”).

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