Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,927 (Sat 6 Feb)/Paul – Not a pretty site

Posted by rightback on February 13th, 2010


Solving time: About 8 mins

This was fairly straightforward but took me longer than it should have because of the redesigned website. First impressions were not sparkling but I see this has been discussed at length in previous threads so will leave it at that. The crossword itself was good with some very nice clues, although I have a few quibbles/queries.

Music of the Day (with thanks to the Guardian website): If It Ain’t Broke, Break It by Meatloaf. Not sure about the song but it’s too appropriate not to use!

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

4 DILEMMA; “DIAL EMMA” – ‘picking up’ is the homophone indicator. Good surface reading!
9 INTRIGUES; IN (= ‘Popular’), + RIG (= ‘fix’) in TUES
10 MANGO CHUTNEY; CUT (= ‘slice’) around H[ot], all in GONE (= ‘off’), all in MANY – very complex wordplay not really justified by the surface reading which I can’t understand; what does ‘admitting off’ mean? (By ‘surface reading’ I mean what the setter wants you to think the clue means, i.e. what it would mean if it were not a cryptic clue.)
11 KAPUT; KA (= ‘Egyptian soul’) + PUT (= ‘rest’)
12 LOVE STORY; [p]LOY around (VEST OR)
13 TOPIARY; PIA[no] in TORY (= ‘blue’)
17 STALAG; STA[y] + LAG – nice clue.
19 LACONIC; CON (= ‘prisoner’) in LAIC (= ‘clerical’) – slightly strange word order which needs to be read as ‘prisoner, [which] clerical guards’.
22 ACROBATIC; A CROAT around B[ritish], + I + C (= ‘see’, written phonetically)
24 PILAU; (PAUL + I)* – this doesn’t really work (it should be ‘…Paul and me’), but it’s still a nice anagram.
27 WASHBASIN; WAS A SIN (= ‘was unholy’) around rev. of B[at]H – lovely wordplay.
29 LEMONY SNICKET; LEMONY (= ‘Fruity’), + SET (= ‘group’) around NICK (= ‘cooler’, as in ‘prison’) – fortunately I knew this author.
2 LIT UP (2 defs) – according to Chambers, ‘bombed’ means ‘intoxicated by drugs’ while ‘lit up’ means ‘drunk’, so I’m not sure this quite works which is a shame because it’s nearly a superb clue. Perhaps other dictionaries ‘bombed’ = ‘lit up’?
3 SHIRT TAIL; [ange]R in (THIS)*, + TAIL (= ‘[to] dog’)
4 DISAVOW; (SAID)* + V[ery] + OW (= ‘pained expression’)
5 LIMES; rev. of SEMI-L (= half of L = half of 50) – this took me a while to understand, including the (no doubt hoped-for) diversion to look at clue 25, but I liked it.
7 ANONYM; rev. of (MY N[ame] + ON + A) – excellent.
8,26 DUDLEY MOORE; Spoonerism of “MUDDLY DOOR”
14 PETER COOK; [s]POOK around rev. of CRETE – this was the most frustrating thing about the redesigned site. When I solved 8dn and saw the ellipsis at the end of the clue I suspected the next down answer would be Peter Cook, but because I was solving using the grid (and clicking on grid squares to bring up the relevant clues) I had to try to work out which down answer came next instead of just being able to read the next clue and its number.
16 ESCAPABLE; (CAB PLEASE)* – brilliant. There’s an implied apostrophe after ‘so’ in the definition (which needs to be read as ‘so [i.e. ‘like this’], [one] can get away’.
18 GATEWAY; [b]AT + E,W (= ‘two ways’), all in GAY (= ‘not straight’) – I considered ‘getaway’ here as well before entering ‘gateway’ without understanding the clue. Slightly inelegant to use ‘way’ in the wordplay and the answer.
23 BREAD (2 defs) – not sure about this; ‘greens’ is slang for money (i.e. ‘bread’), but ‘green’?
25 LASS + O[ver] – the cricketing abbreviation O for ‘over’ has found its way into Chambers (2008).

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,927 (Sat 6 Feb)/Paul – Not a pretty site”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Rightback for the good blog. My fun (and a little irritation) took longer than yours. Some splendid clues: 3d a classic Paul, 13a yes! yes! and 5d a clever distraction. Some vexing ones: 4a with its ‘lid’ and 11a’s ‘having to’ – and then there was 23’s to me obvious, quite baffling, green bread.

  2. molonglo says:

    On 4a, I couldn’t see/hear the homophone – opted for lid/up: but the answer was still obvious.

  3. sidey says:

    I filled this in quite quickly. Unfortunately I was able to enter rather a lot simply from the definitions. I feel a bit disappointed when that happens.

  4. Andrew says:

    “Greens” is a slang term for money – “esp. US” says Chambers, as in “greenbacks”.

  5. sidey says:

    Green for money is in the OED. I’ve heard it used much brass or silver would be.

  6. Davy says:

    Thanks rightback. I finished in about 2 hours which is not bad for me. An enjoyable puzzle from Paul and being an oldie, I liked the references to Pete and Dud which were marvellously clued.

    I nearly put SHARPE (as in the TV programme) for 1a as it fitted the clue perfectly ie “Cut round page showing prominent feature”. CUT=SHARE round P. Maybe that’s an answer in another crossword.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    I had put Melony at 29a, which held me up on the last few, failing to find an author of that name. Eventually the penny dropped.

    This was my third longest solve time for Paul in his last thirteen outings, so quite difficult in my view.

  8. Tom_I says:

    Re 2d, the Compact OED gives bombed as “intoxicated by drink or drugs”.

    Then in the Cassell Dictionary of Slang (always an entertaining read), there’s:
    bombed [1950s+] (orig. US) drunk, and
    lit up [late 19C+] (orig. US) drunk.

    And from the same source re 23d:
    green [late 19C+] (US) money, dollar bills.

  9. sandra coleman says:

    not sparkling? have you seen what happens with today’s online version?? wrong place – i know, but the air is blue. will post on this one later, when i have, hopefully, calmed down a bit! suffice to say – it’s pretty much useless to me, and i like these.
    sorry folks!

  10. Stella says:

    Try again, Sandra, starting with the only two with two clues (for today’s Prize, which I’ve just finished)

  11. sidey says:

    Sandra, see my comment on the other thread.

  12. Stella says:

    Having now refreshed my memory (I did this last week), 19d produced a snicker – “cereal” killer :D.

    In 19a, Rightback, laic=non-clerical, and I have no objection to the juxtaposition.

    I agree with most of your appreciations, though. 27a – lovely, and thanks for your explanations of 2d and 5d. I, too, was put off by the diversion in the latter, not helped by a certain citrusy feel induced by Mr. Snicket (who I had to Google hving guessed his first “name”)

  13. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback.

    I always enjoy Paul’s puzzles and there were some lovely clues here. Like you, I had (slight) reservations about ‘green’ for ‘bread’ and the double use of ‘way’ in 18dn. I also wondered for a time whether the answer was ‘getaway’ but fortunately opted for the right one despite not seeing the wordplay. I didn’t see the wordplay for 5dn, so thanks for your explanation.

    Lemony Snicket rang a distant bell, which I confirmed by googling. And cereal killer was really funny.

  14. stiofain says:

    I too thought cereal killer waas great I knew 4ac must be dilemma but couldnt get the word play so thanks RB.
    I think Paul missed a trick in 24ac
    “rice dish cooked by I and I” 5
    would have given a nice Jamaican misdirection.
    Best prize puzzle in weeks.

  15. sandra coleman says:

    wish i could delete the last post. all i can say is sorry everybody.

  16. sandra coleman says:

    thank you stella and sidey. will do that. very kind of you under the circs! hadn’t seen any following posts when i wrote the second one.

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    The only (?) thing I want to say about this crossword (which we enjoyed, but didn’t find fully up to Paul’s standard – but then, so what?) is that it was surely the hardest one in the last five weeks or so.
    But, dear stiofain (#14), let’s give Shed (# 24,915) the credits for being the best.
    Even though the ‘cereal killer’ and WEEPIE were great.
    But GATEWAY, LIT UP and PILAU weren’t (as Rightback explained).
    And we saw the Croat just recently as part of an Acrobat (in a Cincinnus).

  18. maarvarq says:

    How anyone can describe this one as “staight-forward” when it contains a monstrosity like 10ac/20dn is beyond me. I finished it but had to make substantial use of a crossword dictionary.

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