Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,884 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on December 16th, 2009


A fun puzzle from Paul – not one of his more difficult ones [more than the usual quota of straight charades, I think] – with an entertaining theme. Some nice clues, as usual – just one I’m not entirely happy with.


1 CARAFE: A RAF [service] in CE [church
4   BEHALF: HE in FLAB, all reversed. ‘Behalf’ means ‘interest’  [Collins and Chambers]. ‘In the interests of’ would have to be ‘on [or, in US, ‘in’] behalf of’.
9   RING: double definition
10  AVOCATIONS: TACO [Mexican food] reversed in AVIONS [French planes]. Strangely, I hadn’t come across this word [‘a minor occupation undertaken as a diversion’] but it was easy to get from the wordplay and the derivation.
11 SKI RUN: R[ugby] U[nion] in SKIN [covering feature]
12  FANTASIA: F [loud] AN[as]TASIA: a great clue to the ‘fantastic’ Disney 1940 6dn, incorporating the 1997 one, not to be confused with the 1956 classic, starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman.
13 SNOW- BLIND: W[est] in SNOB [elitist] + LIND [Jenny {1820-87} aka ‘The Swedish Nightingale’].
16  TROT: double definition
17  STAGE NAME: anagram of GET SEAMAN
21  YEARS AGO: Y[why] EAR [attention] SAGO [pudding]
24  MIAMI BEACH: M[cDonald’s] + I in IAMB [a metrical foot] + EACH [every]. Paul used McDonald’s as a clue for M [the golden arches] a couple of months ago, which was a bit controversial. Most people [including me] liked it.
26  NUDITY: reversal of DUN [a horse of dun {greyish brown} colour] +[p]ITY
27 EDISON: ED[itor] + IS + ON [working]. Who else tried making an anagram of MY BOSS?


1,22 CHICKEN LITTLE: simple charade of CHICKEN [yellow] and LITTLE [wee] – typical Paul! I knew ‘Chicken Run’ and ‘Stuart Little’ but this one had somehow passed me by.
: hidden reversal in gENIAL Educated: a change from ‘Rita’!
ANIMATION: I’M [Paul’s] in A NATION: a nice straightforward clue to the theme
7   FINDING NEMO: FIN [bit of fish] + reversal of MEN [chess pieces] in DINGO [wild dog]
14,2,20:WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?: [doctor] WHO FRAMED [put in the picture] ROGER [OK] RABBIT [‘go on’]: a  simple charade but a nice surface.
16,15 THE LION KING: brilliant anagram of LIKE NOTHING
18  GALAHAD: GALA [party] HAD [laid on]
19  MILKMAN: MILK [exploit] MAN [isle]
23  TUNIS: TUN [beer barrel] + IS

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,884 / Paul”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Hello Eileen,
    Which one were you not entirely happy with?
    I liked this one, and it’s theme (having worked in animation), especially the Lion King anagram.
    Chicken Little, I do remember seeing posters for, but I don’t think was one of the best…

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Ian

    4ac was the one, for the reason given.

    Yes, THE LION KING was probably the best clue – perhaps some would call it &lit?

  3. DannyBoy says:

    Thanks Eileen for enlightening on 12 ac. I enjoyed this but the little ones were a bit frustrating at the end! It’s always the short ones!
    13, 2, 20 was a nice clue but for some reason I thought 27 ac was really cute, even before solving.
    Good fun.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you for the blog and the explanations, Eileen, helpful as always. If this is one of Paul’s easier puzzles then I think I’ll personally steer clear of the harder ones! Nearly gave up after the first pass, but then got ANIMATION, which made things easier. Made one mistake, putting DING at 9ac (the sound of the bell to start the round in boxing). Paul seems on a different wavelength to some of the other Grauniad setters, but I suppose as you solve him more then you get used to his style.

    21ac I liked for no particular reason other than it made me smile, and 10ac I got from the evident clueing, but only because I knew avion was the French for aeroplane; non-French speakers might have struggled, n’est-ce pas? But a small point in an otherwise very well put together crossword.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen. 4ac was the last one to go in, perhaps for the reason you mentioned. Otherwise, this was fun and enjoyable and, as you say, not too hard — although I had to check the Roger Rabbit ref, as I remembered the film wrongly as ‘Who Killed Roger Rabbit’…

  6. Chunter says:

    Neither the print nor the online version mentions the setter. Is Paul’s style now so easily recognisable that an attribution is unnecessary?

  7. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Chunter – I didn’t realise that. I do it in the paper!

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, so you reckon it was set by Paul, do you?

    The Setter’s name was not shown in the interactive on-line version and I had therefore assumed that The Gruaniad was also asking us to guess the Setter. Me? I had opted for Rufus because it was SO EASY. Or maybe Paul had asked for his name to be removed?

    Personally, I don’t like cartoons, as we used to call them, but I managed to dredge up the required titles from somewhere.

    I suspect that the Grauniad had intended this for its Kiddies Corner because it wasn’t at all smutty – which will surely disappoint a lot of our contributors …

  9. Tom_I says:

    The setter’s name appears in the PDF version available online, but not in the interactive or print versions. An unintentional omission, surely, since the setter’s name is an essential part of the clue in 6d?

  10. DaveEllison says:

    No “Paul” given in the online version? Perhaps the Xword Editor has decided to take up my erstwhile suggestion that we have a week without names, to see if we could spot the setter! From Bryan’s remark, maybe it isn’t so easy (or was that tongue-in-cheek?).

    I did find it a slightly easier Paul. Incidentally, in terms of time to solve, it is the easiset of the 8 Paul’s since 21 October 2009, though the one on November 10 was about the same.

    I thought SING would also fit at 9a, a “round”, as in canon, being a type of song.

  11. Bryan says:

    Tom @ 9

    Not the Setter’s Name: just IM

    It could have been anyone!

  12. Bryan says:

    Sorry, Tom, I now see Paul in the clue.

    Silly me!

    I promise not to challenge you in future.

  13. John says:

    Bryan: I’m puzzled. How could “Paul’s” be anyone?

  14. John says:

    Too late!

  15. Ed H says:

    Attribution to Paul appears in my print edition. Perhaps early editions of the paper (used for the pdf) didn’t have it?

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’m pleased to hear that Ed, otherwise I was going to have to ask Eileen how she got 6ac from the print version without knowing it was Paul wot done it. Was starting to think that she must have psychic powers not available to the rest of us …

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, meant 6d.

  18. Rog says:

    I don’t think I have psychic powers, but I intuited pretty quickly that Paul must be the setter because of the style (especially 1,22), and a guess that 6d was self-referential.

  19. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Never heard of Jenny Lind so was never going to get 13.
    Don’t get 12, I can see it’s F plus anastasia without ‘as’, but where is anastasia indicated in the clue?

  20. IanN14 says:

    Grumpy Andrew,
    Anastasia was an animated film too (although, again, far from one of the best… Or best known).

  21. Eileen says:

    Grumpy Andrew,

    Sorry if I confused you by mentioning the [to me] more well-known ‘Anastasia’.

  22. Bryan says:

    Grumpy Andrew @ 19

    Jenny Lind was one of Phineas T Barnum’s American imports and she is characterised in the musical ‘Barnum’ by Cy Coleman.

  23. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen for your explanations especially 12a which I put in but didn’t understand the wordplay. This was a fun puzzle from Paul and a lot easier than his normal offerings. The whole puzzle opened up once ANIMATION had been solved. In this clue it amused me that Paul referred to himself as “im” which makes a change from “me”. I often signed myself as ‘im when emailing home to my better half.
    The only clue I failed to get was 16a TROT which is obviously an abbreviation for TROTSKY but I didn’t twig.
    Libertarians rule.

  24. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Davy.

    I think, as I said in the blog, that it’s good if the theme is, as here, straightforwardly clued, so that, even if some of the associated answers [like ‘Chicken Little’, for me] are unfamiliar, they are, at least, accessible. I thought this was a really fair puzzle.

    Kathryn’s Dad [incidentally, I’m ‘Catherine’s Mum’!] –
    I think perhaps the first French words I learned, as a very little girl, were PER AVION, from Airmail envelopes! :-)

  25. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, of course, I meant ‘Par Avion’!

  26. Mr Beaver says:

    Davy, not to spoil your fun, but I think “Paul’s” = “Paul is” = “I am” = “I’m”, rather than “‘im indoors”

  27. Davy says:

    I stand corrected Mr Beaver and you have not spoiled my fun which is endless. I did realise the error of my ways but preferred to keep quiet about it.

  28. liz says:

    Davy — a TROT was what we used to call a follower of Trotsky, aka a Trotskyite. It’s not really an abbreviation of Trotsky. Showing my age…

  29. Davy says:

    Sorry Liz but if TROT is not an abbreviation of Trotsky, then where does TROT come from ?.

  30. liz says:

    Sorry Davy, I wasn’t clear. TROT comes from Trotskyite, ie a follower of Trotsky. It’s not an abbreviation of ‘Trotsky’ per se. You were a Trot if you held those views. Or a Stalinist if you held different views…Or a Maoist…

  31. Bryan says:

    Eileen, you were 100% correct: the Setter is Paul!

    Proof (if needed) has now been provided by The Grauniad who have belatedly included his name on the interactive on-line version.

    Of course, you can’t believe everything that appears in The Grauniad. Methinks that it might still be Rufus or Rover masquerading as Paul.

  32. Eileen says:


    I’m no Mystic Meg – as I said at Comment 7, I do the puzzle in the paper, which clearly gave the setter as Paul!! :-)

  33. mhl says:

    A bit late to comment on this, but this was certainly my favourite Paul crossword in a while – in particular it brought back a lot of pleasant memories of seeing the various animations when younger.

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