Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,895 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on December 31st, 2009


A fine end to the Guardian Crossword year with this tricky, clever and amusing puzzle from Paul. The “sums” in the first four across clues are particularly ingenious, but there’s lots more to enjoy. Happy New Year to Paul and all our readers.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. MANX CAT MAN X CAT, with two “guys”
5. VACANT CAN in VAT – one VESSEL “divides” another
9. FLAGRANT FLAG (tire) + RANT (tirade)
10. ENDING 2 – 23 is NEAR minus SCAMP, or IMPENDING minus IMP
12. BAKEWELL TART BAKE WELL (be a good cook) + TART (cutting)
15. RELENTLESS (SELLERS TEN)* This is the explanation of the clue in the online version. The clue in the paper was different – see the comments
17. INN [f]INN
19. GUY dd – a guy-rope holds things down, and to guy someone could be to send them up
20. TABLE LINEN (NINE BALLET)* – clever misdirection with the “9”.
22. RECEIVERSHIP (VICE PRESI[dent] + HER)*, with a most bizarre picture painted by the surface reading.
26. OHIOAN I in HO, all in [L]OAN, and the definition is “statesman”, i.e. someone from the state of Ohio.
28. SIGHED Homophone of SIDE (=team)
29. PRESENT dd – with “host” as a verb, as in to host/present a TV programme.
1. MUFF dd – mistake or muffler
2. NEAR [garde]N + EAR
4. TENSE TEN (“The same” referring to the 10 in the previous clue) + SE[em]
6. ARNOLD ARN[e] + OLD. Thomas Arne is familiar in crosswords, Sir Malcolm Arnold perhaps less so.
8. TIGHTENING H in (IN GETTING)*, and to tighten is to become more TENSE (4dn).
11. VESSEL dd
16. LEADER Homophone of LIEDER – German for songs
18. BLAIRITE LAIR in BITE (=”champ”)
23. SCAMP [jesu]S + CAMP
24. TIRE Hidden in revilemenT I Regret. To be fagged out is to be tired.
25. PAST Homophone of PASSED, and reference to the past tense

41 Responses to “Guardian 24,895 – Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Once the bottom half resolved itself(with the tricky 26a being the last to be got)the cute mathematics of the top began at finally to make sense. All pretty entertaining. Thanks Andrew for explaining 1a which I got well before the end without quite knowing how it worked. 23d down was an aha and a haha.

  2. UncleAda says:

    15a. I can’t see ‘sellers ten’ in the clue, but can see 365 days minus the forty days of LENT (Lent-less) =325 days. Pip! Pip!

  3. Eileen says:

    Very many thanks, Andrew. I certainly did not envy you this one! I had to resort to the cheat, button, I’m afraid, and even then didn’t entirely understand all of them, so I was very grateful for your explanations. Someone asked the other day if bloggers ever can’t do a puzzle. I’m so glad this wasn’t mine!

    I had the same interpretation of 15ac as UncleAda.

    I was going to say that the clue for 16dn should be ‘songs’ [‘song’ in my paper] but I see that in the on-line version it is!

  4. Andrew says:

    My version of 15ac (from the PDF, though it’s the same in the online version) is:

    Uncompromising sellers, ten crooked (10)

    I assume from UncleAda’s and Eileen’s comments that the paper version is different (again!).

  5. brr says:

    My paper says “15. Uncompromising about a description of a 325 day year? (10)”

  6. Mick H says:

    Excellent stuff, especially the sums, but also ALP-YACHTING and a couple of fine anagrams. I gave up on 26ac, though I’d eventually guessed it must mean someone from a state, so should have persevered.

  7. Ian says:

    A stunner from Paul to end the year.

    Ingenious clueing as ever though this one tended to be more solver friendly than normal. I have to say that it i was pleased to finish this one in just under the hour mark.

    22ac & 27ac are brilliant!

    Happy New Year to you all.

  8. Tom_I says:

    Thanks, Andrew, though I don’t see how “tight=near=stingy” fits into the explanation of 8d. Isn’t it just TIGHTENING = “becoming tense [4d]”?

  9. Andrew says:

    Tom, you’re right: I was thinking the cross-reference was to 2dn. I’ll correct the blog.

  10. Tom Hutton says:

    This was an excellent way to end the year with the first four clues being very clever. The only niggle was 26ac which was elaborate and not entirely fair (via meaning round the outside or inside???) with a weak definition. I particularly like 5ac.

    The paper version of 15ac was very good too.

    A happy new year to all who read and contribute to the blog. This is one of the very few blogs I have met where all the contributors seem to be more interested in the subject matter than themselves. It’s a treat.

  11. medici says:

    Have we not had the clue to 15 ac fairly recently?

  12. brr says:

    maybe this one?

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Great puzzle from Paul and really tough too, I thought. I would never have finished without using the check button a few times to help me on my way. I loved 3dn. Didn’t see the wordplay for 10ac and a couple of others and the last one I got was 26ac, which I thought was very tricky!

    To everyone on the site, all the best for 2010!

  14. Ed H says:

    I’m probably being dim, but even with Andrew’s explanations I have no idea how the numbers in the first four across clues lead to ‘guys’, ‘vessels’, ‘flags’, ‘rants’, ‘near’ or ‘scamp’. Can anyone enlighten me?

    Happy New Year to all, and thanks, as has been said often in the last few days, to all the bloggers for their efforts over the last year.

  15. sandra says:

    thanks andrew

    ed h: man x cat man and cat are both “guys”. sorry if i am making assumptions here, but you may not remember that in jazz fans were called cats, sometimes hep cats.

    i am not too sure of near myself. i got it from close = ending but didn’t see the wordplay.perhaps i could be enlightened too.

    flagging = tiring

    a vessel, such as a pan or kettle, may hold water, and a vessel as in ship, will float on it.

    rant is a straight definition of tirade.

    i hope this helps and that i haven’t misunderstood you. i am not as well educated as other bloggers! and i do not think you are dim – way off that.

    happy new year to you all and thank you for all your insightful comments.

  16. Tom Hutton says:

    1ac: 19×19:The answer to 19ac was guy; so 19×19 is is word for guy (man) followed by the x (manx) followed by another word for guy (cat). Cat is a slang word for people used particularly in jazz. Bing Crosby in High Society talks about all you hats and cats. The whole is an animal.

    5ac: 11 divided by 11: The answer to 11 is vessel: Both cans and vats are vessels: divide one vessel by another and you have a can inside a vat: va(can)t. The whole is available (as in toilets presumably)

    9ac: 24+21: The answer to 24 is tire and the answer to 21 is tirade: flag is a synonym for tire and rant is a synonym for tirade: add them together for flagrant. The whole is open as in flagrant abuse.

    10ac: 2-23: The answer to 2 is near and the answer to 23 is scamp: impending is a synonym for near and imp is a synonym for scamp: Take the imp from impending and you are left with ending. The whole is close as in the close of play.

    I hope this is useful and not too obvious.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Mostly good all round, though I have a few gripes.

    Ed H:

    1a Man = Guy; cat = guy as in hepcat, I guess.
    5a Both can and vat are types of vessels
    9a To flag is to tire; a tirade is a rant
    10a 2d is near; 23d is scamp. Impending = near; then remove the scamp = imp, to give ending.

    I got all these four, but I didn’t get GUY or SCAMP, so couldn’t see the explanations.

    Wasn’t 3d CURTAINS also used recently? I couldn’t get it today either.

    The gripes:

    22a either wobbling or bust is redundant; both there only for the surface

    16d (already commented on) should be songs in clue.

    23d I have forgotten who it is that ususally objects to constructs such as “garden finally” for “n” – I don’t mind this. But in 23d, “Getting close to Jesus”? “Close of”, perhaps. But “Getting close to” is contrived. Capital letter for Devil when answer is scamp?

    26a “having lost capital” Again Paul is using capital to refer to first letter.

  18. Tom Hutton says:

    Sorry Sandra, I didn’t see yours.

  19. beermagnet says:

    Dave E: For 22A the Definition is “Bust, enters into this?” the Anagrind is wobbling. You have to be bust to go into receivership. So both wobbling and bust are valid, and nice misdirection achieved. for a long time I was trying to get something from Biden – D.

  20. Ed H says:

    Thanks all, appreciated. I was still looking for a play on the numbers themselves rather than x-refs to other clues. Wood for trees territory I’m afraid.

    I’m still (relatively) new to cryptics, and while I can get to grips with most other setters there is something in the mechanics of Paul’s designs that consistently confounds me.

  21. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew & Paul

    This was delightful and a fitting finish to a fabulous year that has been enhanced by the helpful comments on this site.

    I started mine on a 60 minute train journey during which I managed all but 5; then over lunch (without the puzzle) another one clicked; and finally within 10 minutes of my return journey it was completed.

    That said, I wasn’t fully convinced until I had checked on this site and found supporting evidence for my guesswork.

    HNY and HH for Eileen, etc.

  22. sandra says:

    tom hutton#16#18

    that’s fine tom – glad to have the explanation of near. thank you

  23. Bob says:

    I finished this, in a time which I dare not publicly reveal, but needed the blog to understand the clueing of 10a (I suspected imp-something, but couldn’t see imp-ending, oh dear!) and 4d (which I got by fitting letters into TxNxE, and then confirmed by cross-referring clues, but really couldn’t sort out the wordplay at all until I checked the blog).
    I struggle with the Guardian cryptics, but enjoy them, and am beginning to finish them more often; and most of it is thanks to the education that this excellent blog provides. Please keep up the good work, and Happy New Year to all.

  24. IanN14 says:

    Dave @ 17,
    Re: your penultimate paragraph; I think it might be me you’ve forgotten.
    Without trying to be too pedantic, though, I don’t really object to “garden, finally” for N.
    My examples have always been “first post” for P or “last post” for T. I think there is a difference.
    And “close to Jesus” is surely OK, (as in “ending to Jesus”) for S.
    Anyway, I liked the sums device here.
    By the way, did anyone asking for (or giving) an explanation actually read Andrew’s blog?

    Happy New Year…

  25. John says:

    Thanks Andrew. Excellent puzzle and blog. Just one comment – I think 1 down is MUFF as in a furry container for hands, rather than muffler.

  26. John says:

    P.S. Or perhaps as in ear muff, but you wouldn’t wear just one, even in summer.

  27. Brian Harris says:

    Really enjoyed this today. Got all but 26ac – I’d figured out that it referred to someone from America, and was even wondering about particular states, but I assumed someone from Ohio was called an Ohian (without the extra o), so discounted that.

    Anyway. A fine end to the year. Loved the cryptic sums on the five across clues, and some very nice surface readings.

    Happy New Year to everyone at 225.

  28. Jake says:

    ‘Wicked’ stuff Paul – Literally.

    Nice end to the year.

    Thank-you all for all.

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi Brian @ 27

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Ohioan looked odd.

    And IanN14: re your final comment: I’m so glad someone has finally asked that question – I’ve often wanted to myself! :-)

    Have a good evening, everyone!

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A very well constructed offering from Paul, but I am not sure if I found it as satisfactory as usual because a lot of things were elaborate as well. Maybe it was also because I did this one after I finished the excellent Alberich in the FT.
    And – in my opinion – the Paul humour was missing. However, clever stuff.

    It was very easy to make a flying start because of some more or less obvious (and rather long) anagrams (RELENTLESS, TIGHTENING, TABLE LINEN), after which the other long ones followed (12ac, 14d (very good!) and the ANIMATIONS of 7d – which we recently saw in its singular form in Paul’s film crossword).

    I had more déjà vus. VACANT was not so long ago a splendid one in a great Dante crossword (and therefore I saw the answer immediately after finding VESSEL).
    The BASILICA came along recently, also in the FT (maybe Cinephile, or Dante?), as ‘silica’ being ‘basilica’ minus ‘ba’ – so the penny dropped very quickly.
    But then I got a bit stuck.
    I thought about MANX CAT (but didn’t get 19ac at that point), suspected ENDING to be answer to 10ac (but, although fair, don’t find this indirect kind of clueing (subtracting two synonyms) very attractive) and did think of CURTAINS in 3d (but didn’t fill it in).

    So, CURTAINS in 3d.
    I can see that at the ending of a play the curtains are drawn, but Andrew’s blog mentions ‘dd’, so is there more to this apparently? And how should I read the clue? ENDING (10)= drawn CURTAINS on the dots? Or is there a meaning to ‘ending drawn’?

    And in 29ac (I hardly dare to ask any more), shouldn’t it be ‘appears to be 4’? Or is this called an ellipsis?

    Talking about ‘tense’, what is the word ‘though’ doing in 25ac?
    It suggests that there is a contradiction.

    And, finally, coming back to the (indeed very inventive) numerical clues, I didn’t find 9ac mainly because the words TIRADE and TIRE are so similar that I thought one had to do something with that. Which wasn’t the case.

    a week of very clever stuff (including this one and Pasquale’s), in which I preferred the lightness and brightness of Rufus and Enigmatist. And, alas, no Rover.

    Hope you all have a great evening.
    See you next year, I fear (that’s only there because it rhymes :) )

  31. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Beermagnet @ #19, I hadn’t seen this; that raises it to a vg clue!

  32. Mr Beaver says:

    Sil: re 29a, I thought ‘appears’ was pretty much redundant – only included to make surface sense (which I felt a bit unfair, being 33% of the clue).
    I guess adding a further ‘to be’ – which would have improved the surface grammatically – would have been filler (much) too far ?

    Like you, we suspected MANX CAT, and only put in 1a and 19a together when the penny dropped – a case of solving two clues at once rather than one solution leading to another.

    Oh – and I wasn’t in love with OHIOAN either…

  33. Tom_I says:

    Sil @30, re the double definition in 3d. There is a colloquial use of CURTAINS in English to mean the end, finality, or even death (such as “it’s curtains for him”), the reference being theatrical imagery, as you say, the curtain coming down to signal the end of a play. And curtains may be drawn.

  34. sandra says:

    brian#27 and eileen #29

    i answered ed h because he asked the question, and at that point there hadn’t been an answer. i hoped someone else would explain as i knew there were people better equipped to do so. maybe i was wrong. but ed h said he didn’t get it, even with the blog. i understand that. i have been doing the guardian crossword for many years, but solo. neither have i read any books about the subject. consequently, there are many terms with which i am not familiar. that means i can work it out from the blog but it takes time and can be confusing if there are a few like that. please spare people like me a thought!
    i know that the bloggers work hard and are extremely helpul, for which i am truly grateful, and i thank you. this has certainly helped me to look at the clues at greater depth than was the case. and a happy new year to uou all.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Tom_I, re #33:
    Thank you for explaining 3d.
    I already thought that it might be a thing like that.
    But even so, it is still a gramatically poor clue, I think.
    And a bit funny that one or two people loved this one (it being so un-special).
    In the meantime I still wonder why the word ‘though’ is in 25d.

    Have A Nice “Year In, Year Out”
    (to refer to a recent clue, but I forgot in which paper it was … it’s the wine)

  36. sandra says:

    meant to say – i didn’t like ohioan at all! looked a clumsy word to me. haven’t yet checked the dictionary though.

  37. Eileen says:

    Hi sandra

    I’m really sorry that you took my remark personally. It certainly wasn’t aimed at you – or at anyone particularly today. It often happens that people ‘cross each other in the post’, as NeilW put it yesterday, when that happened to us. It’s often amusing / interesting that two [or more] people can have the same thought at exactly the same time.

    Inevitably there are times when the blog is not completely clear to everyone and needs some further clarification and it’s great when other people can perhaps put the explanation another way.

    I was really just taking the opportunity when [I thought] I wasn’t pointing the finger at anyone in particular, to say that, for a long time now, I’ve been mildly exasperated to see that some people seem simply to read the blog, without looking at the comments that follow – or, conversely, only read the comments without referring to the blog, so that, quite often, the same questions are asked several times over in the course of several hours or someone pops up at the end of the day with an observation that was in the original blog. I was just grateful to IanN14 for making me feel less alone!

    I certainly don’t want to get too heavy about this. I really value the friendly atmosphere of this site and would hate to hurt anyone’s feelings – and especially someone so new to the site as you are. Please accept my sincere apologies and have a very good new year. :-)

  38. sandra says:

    hi eileen

    many thanks – i just didn’t want other people to be deterred from asking questions – i had to ask what a “nina” was today, on
    the independent site. thanks for your explanation. i do realise that because i only recently found the site i may put my foot in it from time to time. maybe sometime down the line i may have said the same thing, and i can see it is always good when someone voices an opinion one has held privately for a while.

    thank you for your good wishes – i always enjoy your blogs.

    i am sure you know already but they are indeed “ohioans” i could hardly believe it! happy new year to you.

  39. jmac says:

    10 across and 23 down interested me. Both were easily solvable from crossing letters, but, in the case of the latter clue, I don’t see that “s” for “close to Jesus” is any better than the “G” for “Gateshead” that Pasquale objected to in his comment #28 re his puzzle of 29th December. In the case of the former, I regard (my problem) “near” as spatial and “impending” as temporal – not being Einstein I found this a tricky synonym to resolve. Conversely, 26 across, “Ohioan”, once I had read Andrew’s blog, seemed obvious, but alas eluded me at the solving stage.

    Very pleased that I had the online version of 15 across (relentless) as this straight-forward anagram helped open up this puzzle.

  40. Zoe says:

    Great to find this blog and comments as often have not been able to work out why an answer is correct. I am still puzzled about why “affected the Devil” comes out as “camp” in 23 down? My respect to the person who did it in an hour as it took two of us what felt like hours to complete.

  41. Zoe says:

    My husband just pointed out that the Devil is the whole answer (ie scamp) and camp can mean affected. Although the crossword was enjoyable it feels rather tortuous, somehow not satisfying as to the perfection of the fit between answer and clue.

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