Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,873 / Paul

Posted by Andrew on December 3rd, 2009


An entertaining but quite tricky puzzle from Paul, with a lot of long answers spanning two positions in the grid and a fair amount of cross-referencing. The SW corner caused me the most difficulties

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

8,18. DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS cd – I guessed this straight away, though
I think it’s really a bit vague.
9. ADAGIO I in ‘AD A GO. Italian musical term for “slow” (literally ad agio, “at ease”)
10,23. SPIT AND SAWDUST (SAD WASN’T STUPID)* – used to describe old-style pubs.
11. DINNER LADY DIN + LA (cross-channel version of “the”) in NERDY (“as a geek”).
14. SUNDRIES You hang out the washing because the SUN DRIES it.
15. STUNNER dd
17. ASSUAGE U (you) in [m]ASSAGE
20. LICENSEE LICE + N in SEE (= get = understand)
22. BITERS BITTERS (as used in Pink Gin) less its “middle”
1,24. TRAPPIST MONK TRAP (mouth) + MOST* in PINK
2. SPOT TOPS<. "In a pickle" = "in a spot" = "in trouble"
4. ODDNESS Hidden in reverse of “legS SEND DOctor”
6. SAILOR SUIT dd, with a reference to the old music-hall song “All the nice girls love a sailor”,
7,12. MIDDLE FINGER FIDDLE with the F moved to the “bottom”, in MINGER
13. GINGER SNAP SN in (RANGE PIG)*. Sn (for “stannium”) is the chemical symbol for tin – a regular in harder crosswords but not often seen in dailies.
19. DEBUSSY B in DEUS (Latin for “god”) + S[a]Y
21. IONIAN IO (a moon of Jupiter) + I(sland) in NAN
22,3. BOTTOM FEEDER BOTTOM (“behind”) + FEEDER (“one at the table”), and a bottom-feeder lives on the sea bed.

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,873 / Paul”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew!

    An hour since you posted, without any comments – I think that shows this was tricky! But very satisfying to [finally] finish.

    Lots of Paul-type cheekiness to laugh at: I liked ADAGIO, DINNER LADY, MIDDLE FINGER and lots more.

    I hadn’t heard of BOTTOM FEEDER but the wordplay was scrupulously fair.

  2. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    “An hour since you posted, without any comments”.

    Eileen, people are still recovering from yesterday’s marathon.

  3. sidey says:

    Some good stuff here, I’m surprised 22d/3 wasn’t much more Paulish, perhaps he’s being reined in these days…

  4. Barbara says:

    5. Sailor suit
    As I see it: The def. is Nautical fashion, and the wordplay is:
    sailor = nice girl’s love (from the old song) +
    suit = quarter of a deck(of cards)

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Barbara, that looks very plausible to me, and better than the vague allusion I was thinking of.

  6. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found this quite tough and needed the check button to finish. But really enjoyable and funny. Like you, I got 8, 18 straight away. My reading of 6dn was the same as Barbara’s.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Beyond me today, but probably an enjoyable one for those who like a challenge. I stayed out of last evening’s (and early morning’s) marathon, but I would like to offer a perspective in the cold light of morning. Firstly, diagacht asked at no 44 yesterday if anyone reads this blog as a means of learning. Well, I can guarantee one person at least (me), but from what I read there are other contributors as well in the same position. More importantly, I’m pretty certain there are considerable numbers of improving solvers who will visit the blog but not wish to contribute – that was me for several months before I made my first comment. So to all bloggers – your efforts are, I’m certain, appreciated, and on behalf of all less experienced participants, thank you.

    Secondly, if the regular contributors want to use the blog to discuss setters’ styles and competences, I don’t see a problem with that: you clearly have strong opinions and as long as it’s polite(ish) then why shouldn’t the blog be the place to have that discussion? The rest of us can look on if we wish.

    And thirdly, in relation to a number of the interesting discussions I’ve followed since I arrived here: you are never going to please all of the people all of the time. But my sense is that it’s helpful, entertaining (and occasionally provocative) for most of the people most of the time.

    Executive summary: carry on as before please!

  8. walruss says:

    Thanks ‘KD’, I will. Lovely puzzle today, with some funny definitions as we should expect from this ‘tichy’ setter. Now to The Independent websitte for the Nimrod challenge, and I promise not to read that blog until I have prevailed.

  9. Geoff Anderson says:

    Thanks Andrew, a tough one today. I was happy to struggle to within a few of the end.

    I would have preferred ‘a moon’ (which Io is) to ‘the moon’ (which is specifically *our* moon!) but that’s because I didn’t get it. By the way, I thiiiiink you leaned on the ‘I’ key, Andrew!

    I agree about 8,18’s vagueness as a definition, but it can be made to work thus: a moribund person is near death; ogling this gorgeous woman is enough to make a man drop dead – but he’s obviously *not* dead yet, otherwise he couldn’t be ogling the woman. And anyway, don’t question marks cover a multitude of compiling sins?

  10. Tom Hutton says:

    With regard to yesterday’s conversation about the need for this site, I often need to look at the solutions even though I have solved the crossword either to check that I have understood the wordplay or to find out what is was if I couldn’t get it. Putting the answers in is often half the battle!

    Today I needed it because even though I was looking at teems for floods in 5dn I couldn’t get past ‘one’s’ for the second word and thus was unable to complete it. Keep it up, bloggers.

    Regarding the use of Tod yesterday, how many of the other words in this verse by Burns would be acceptable in a daily crossword:

    But the houlet cry’d frau the castle wa’,
    The blitter frae the boggie;
    The tod reply’d upon the hill,
    I trembled for my Hoggie.

  11. cholecyst says:

    Tom: my first thought (re Burns stanza) was “not many”, unfortunately. But then I googled this: “in a computer system, a blitter is a circuit, sometimes as a coprocessor or a logic block on a microprocessor, that is dedicated to rapid data transfer within that computer’s memory.” How prescient of Rabbie!

  12. jmac says:

    Re #10, I am in complete agreement with Tom’s first paragraph. Today’s crossword is a good example, in which I “solved” 11; 20; 7,12; and 13 but with an imperfect understanding of the wordplay. I find the blogs invaluable in my continuing sweet and pleasant battle with cryptics.

    Also, I found this a challenging grid with few answers providing starting letters.

  13. Trench Adviser says:

    With no reference tools I plumped for YALAMO at 25a. I don’t think that “massage” is a good synonym for “cause friction”. I am disappointed I failed to get Debussy, and thought “make ends meet” was very complicated. I am a big fan of Paul overall though, having laughed when “middle finger” clicked.

  14. Paul B says:

    It strikes me that the debate as to the ‘need for this site’ was a set-up designed to irritate the bloggers (unless of course people really do feel that passionately about Rover’s clues – could that be possible?), but I was amused nonetheless.

    Thank you for that, and thank you to Paul for his usual exciting and fun-filled fare.

  15. NeilW says:

    I don’t comment very often and, when I do, seldom elicit a response. Today, I would like to remark that I really needed the blog, so thanks Andrew. This took me a good hour to complete, most of the time guessing the answer and then working out the wordplay afterwards. A couple of the solutions were obviously correct but I really couldn’t “see” them. Wonderful to have those “doh” moments, reading the blog. To those who think this is just some erudite discussion group: No. Thanks one and all for your contributions.

  16. Alex says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew – really needed it today as I fell a long way short of completing. The clues were fair but I just wasn’t on Paul’s wavelength today.

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Andrew, for the blog.
    We needed it today, because we couldn’t find 20ac (far away from dictionaries etc. having a cup of coffee somewhere).
    Didn’t get ‘see’ (in the solution) [but did see ‘get’ (in the clue)].
    And just like with the previous midweek Paul, we couldn’t really get started.
    SPOT and DEBUSSY were the first ones we got, and even after we spotted DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS the ball didn’t start rolling.
    That clue (8,18ac) was not one of our favourites, neither was the SAILOR SUIT of 6dn.
    But you can’t have it all nowadays, apparently ….

    My PinC found this crossword untypical Paul. I think she’s right.
    Very clever clueing indeed, but the many cross references, long clues (7,12d and 1,24d (though good)) and the lack of good surface reading (like in the awful 10,23ac (“As a basic alehouse sad”? – what is it?) and 17ac) made this crossword, um, Araucarian to us. Or is this an insult? [Nót if you delete the examples in the sentence above.]
    One Paulish BOTTOM wasn’t enough to change this.
    As I said, clever constructions, but no transparancy.
    We thought the naughty smile wasn’t there today.

    However, you can’t fault him either. :( / :)

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Sil, it took me a long time to read any sense into 10, 23 ac. I think “sad” is an abbreviation of yesterday’s “saddo”.

  19. rrc says:

    managed spit and sawdust and ginger snap very quickly , after that I decided I was not on pauls wavelength today although on Saturdays I was.

  20. Andrew says:

    Thanks for all the comments, especially from those who’ve said they find the blogs useful as a learning aid. It’s nice to know our efforts are appreciated!

  21. stiofain says:

    xcellent xword and an xcelllent blog providing help to solvers of all levels

  22. Paul B says:

    But we don’t just need the blogs to learn how to solve, or crib the answers, or get ‘helped’ … do we? Aren’t they fun too, a good place to have a chinwag ’bout how bad/good it was today, about the techniques used etc? I mean, as we’re all grown up and there are NO TROLLS AT 15/2 (as a recent investigation showed) it ought to be possible to do all of these things without too much hass. Le.

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