Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24818 / Paul

Posted by mhl on September 30th, 2009


Excellent stuff from Paul today; we made steady progress through this last night and completed it without having to look anything up, so I think the difficulty’s about right. My particular favourite is MORGAN FREEMAN but there are lots of satisfying clues.

[Links to the puzzle as HTML, PDF and Java Applet]

1. LIBERAL RA = “sun god” in LIBEL = “the wrong, which is written”
5. SAPWOOD SAD = “Moving” around P[lant] + WOO = “seek to attract”
9. GRASP GASP = “to take a breath” around [ai]R. “inspire” can mean “to breathe in (something)”, indicating inclusion here – usually see you see it used the other way round (i.e. “to infuse into”), but both are fine.
11. CATHODE RAY ODER = “river” in CATHAY = “China”; the last one we got, with a lovely definition – a CATHODE RAY (as used in television sets) concentrates electrons into a fine beam.
12,10. TIME CONSUMING A reverse hidden answer: [projec]T I’M E[xpanding]
18. PLATE ARMOUR P = “Quietly” + L’AMOUR = “the love” around TEAR = “evidence of sorrow”
21. RAGE Double defintion; the latter as in the expression “it’s all the rage”
22. BAKING SODA A KING = “Crown-wearer” + SO = “thus” in BAD = “rotten” + A; the surface reading here is excellent, I think.
25. TABLE WINE ABLE = “expert” in TWINE
26. NIGER IN reversed + GER[many] = “European nation, few” (or “European nation, few suggested”?)
28. MELANIN MEAN = “Plan” (as in “to mean / plan to do something”) around L = “litres” + IN
1. LEGACY LEG = “limb” + [r]ACY = “quick” (the much less common sense of RACY) Thanks to rob lewis, who points out that this is much more likely to be [p]ACY = “quick”
3. REPROACHED REPRO = “Copy” + ACHED = “felt bad”
4. LUCRE A nice clue: reversed in [h]ERCUL[e] Poirot
5. SAN MARINO (MANSION)* around [kilm]AR[nock]; another nice surface reading
6. PLUG Double definition
7. ORIGINAL O = “love” + GIN = “drink” in RIAL = “Iranian currency”
8. DOGGEREL DOG = “Maybe setter” + GERE = “Richard who acts” + L; I think “who acts” rather spoils the surface reading here, and personally I think it would be quite soluble without it…
13. TETRAGONAL TEAL = “flier” around TON = “a lot” about RAG = “paper”
15. NARRATION ARR = “arrives” in NATION = “state”
16. APERITIF Sounds like “a pair of teeth” = “what could be missing after punch in the mouth?”. If the homophone’s a bit dubious, I think you’re meant to imagine a certain mumbling after the blow
19,27. MORGAN FREEMAN A wonderful clue and anagram: (NAME FOR GERMAN)*
20,2. WARREN BEATTY WARREN = “Where rabbits” + BATTY = “mad” about [s]E[x], the definition refers to the several famous actresses that he was involved with.
23. I-BEAM I BEAM = “Paul is smiling”
24. PERM [s]PERM = “vital swimmer”

21 Responses to “Guardian 24818 / Paul”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, this was a truly GREAT puzzle.

    Sadly, I didn’t get 24a PERM but it did make my hair curl when I saw the solution.

    I struggled for a while with the NE corner but, when I finally twigged SAPWOOD and DOGGEREL, I thought that they were magnificent.

    Paul at his very best.

  2. Peter Owen says:

    In 26a should “few” be interpreted as “not MANY”?

  3. rob lewis says:

    On 1 down I think the beheaded ‘quick’ is pacy – usually used of sports players or racehorses

  4. Andrew says:

    Tnanks mhl – some good fun here. The clue 20/2dn reads “..where rabbits mad..” but would surely be better as “where rabbits are mad” – perhaps a misprint? (Unless “mad” is being used in the old verbal sense, as in “far from the madding crowd”.)

  5. The trafites says:

    Morgan Freeman was excellent, and had me totally confused until I got all the checking letters and managed to stumble on 19dn could be Morgan – fantastically misleading clue.

    I failed though, as I had (b)REAM for 24dn, even though I couldn’t work out the ‘so vital’ bit. but know I see the solution, brilliant!

    One quibble – in 20/2dn can ‘where rabbits’ really define WARREN? Why not hutch, or burrow etc.?


  6. liz says:

    Thanks mhl. This was a lovely puzzle. 20,2 was the first one I got, and one of my favourites, along with 12,10. I also thought 24dn was very funny. 13dn was the one that caused me the most trouble and I had to check a number of letters before I got the wordplay.

  7. mhl says:

    Peter Owen: ah, I see what you mean. I’ll update that.

    rob lewis: Thanks, I’ve changed that in the post.

    The trafites (Nick): I don’t think the problem is that it’s a more general class (since that’s the standard direction without “perhaps”, “maybe”, etc.) but that “where rabbits” doesn’t make sense for WARREN whereas “where rabbits are” would, as Andrew suggests.

    Andrew: I can’t decide between your explanations, since either there’s double duty of “mad” or there’s a missing “are” – I think the latter’s more likely, since the surface reads better as well…

  8. IanN14 says:

    …or “go”, instead of “are”?

    Nick@5; I don’t think the clue needs to “define” the part of the wordplay.
    You could use, for example “pet” to suggest “dog”, despite the fact that it could also be “cat”, “goldfish” etc.
    (Different when it comes to defining the answer, though, I think).

    Another great puzzle from Paul/Punk, by the way.

  9. mhl says:

    IanN14: I think it’s the same with the definition part, isn’t it? (i.e. more general in the clue is standard, more specific in the clue needs an extra indication.)

    Liz: strangely I thought 20,2 was one of the most tough clues, just because I had trouble parsing it – I agree about your other favourites though :)

  10. IanN14 says:

    Sorry, I think I got my example the wrong way round. Should have been “dog” to define “pet”…
    I was just thinking that, after some recent comments, “clues by example” were frowned upon round these parts.

  11. IanN14 says:

    …unless, of course, as you say, “perhaps”, “maybe”, etc. are used.

  12. PaulG says:

    A truly wonderful and clever puzzle (from one of the Bletchley mob). Aperitif, Morgan Freeman and Warren Beatty stand out as real goodies!

  13. The trafites says:

    I was just wondering if there was some sort of ‘nina’ going on here, but all I can find is Morgan and Warren are both 72 this year – different birth dates though, and looking at the films they have been in, there appears nothing else in the grid?

    BTW, researching this, I found Paul from the Guardian website


  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Had my usual medicated doze through this and despite that still nearly finished, so I must be getting back slowly. It wouldn’t be fair to comment on the overall quality under the circumstances, but there were a few “oh no” responses. But still, that’s part of the fun innit?

  15. Al Streatfield says:

    Since when, and in what dialect, does “itif” (in “aperitif”) serve as a homophone for “of teeth”? I’ve got a tooth missing and it hasn’t caused me to mumble. If it did, it is difficult to imagine it would come out as “itif”, (iteef). Come on…

    “A truly wonderful and clever puzzle (from one of the Bletchley mob)”. What does this mean? My understanding of “the Bletchley mob” is that they were codebreakers who, through their brilliance, helped shorten WW11…

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Al, I have to say that was one the ones I went “Oh no” at. And if you ask around here you’ll know I rarely take the side of the setter. So I think I must be going soft or something as I’m going to do some setter

    I think the justification is that the ? is used. In my understanding of the lexicon of crosswords (so we’re on shaky ground already)the ? has two uses, 1)homophone indicator and 2) “I’m being a bit naughty and bending things here”. This one seems to serve both purposes, maybe that is wrong, I leave it to others to advise, but it is why I didn’t object to it, just went “oh no”.

  17. IanN14 says:

    Well said Derek,
    (Fancy you doing the defending, eh?).
    Clearly this was meant to be a jokey clue, and I thought really well done. Libertarianism at its best.

    Al Streatfield@15, having one tooth missing is one thing, but if someone punched YOU in the mouth…

  18. The Trafites says:

    We, the Trafites are from Pompey, and although Lorrain speaks better English than I do (with little prononced Pompey accent), I have the Pompey slang accent (a bit like cockney) ‘dain tain raynd the raynd-about’ (down town round the round-about).

    ‘A pair of teeth’ is super, and I laughed when I got it… and it’s two teeth too. 8-(E


  19. liz says:

    I got APERITIF from the checking letters and didn’t spot the homophone (what’s new? I never do — and Spoonerisms are also another bugbear) but my daughter got it and laughed like a drain. She’s dead chuffed because she’s got lots of this one out and it’s a Paul, also saw the humour of Perm and Warren Beatty.

  20. PaulG says:

    Al Streatfield: The Bletchley bit referred to a comment posted here about the Tuesday puzzle, where the term ‘Bletchley Park’ was used to disparage excellent setters such as, I suspect, Paul, Araucaria & Enigmatist.

  21. Eileen says:

    I managed to get APERITIF straight away [but it still made me laugh] having last year taken part in ‘Me and My Girl’, which has the lines:
    ‘Aperitif, Sir?’
    ‘No, thanks, I’ve already got some.’ – or something like that.

    Al Streatfield: if you say APERITIF to yourself, I think it comes out as more like ‘…ateef’ – or it does when I say it! It certainly worked in the show.

    Great blog of a great puzzle. Thanks, mhl.

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