Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,935 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 16th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

An intricately crafted puzzle mini-themed on a subject, something well before my time. Thank goodness for Wikipedia that came to my rescue. Paul, to his credit, clued the themal words most fairly, thereby making them solveable. Unfortunately, I cannot say this has been a breezy walk through the park but after cracking the puzzle, I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, especially all of his tongue-in-cheek definitions, sprinkled all over the place.

ACROSS
9 OPPORTUNE Ins of PORT (wine) in O PUN (old joke) + E (last letter of cheese)
10 SKUNK dd  a small American musteline animal, typically with a black-and-white coat and a squirrel-like tail, that emits an offensive fluid from a gland near its anus to deter predators; its fur; a despised person; a type of cannabis smoked for its particularly strong narcotic effects (Chambers).
11,18  FATTY ARBUCKLE Cha of FATTY (rich) A R (a right) BUCKLE (catch) Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle (1887–1933) was an American illustrated song slide “model,” silent film actor, comedian, director & screenwriter.
12 TESTAMENT Ins of E (eastern) STAMEN (part of plant) in TT (Times)
13 CENTAUR Ins of A in CENTURY minus Y (nearly a hundred) mythical creature, half man and half horse.
14 OPTIMAL Ins of TIM (boy) in OPAL (gemstone)
17,19D BLACK AND WHITE *(walk behind cat) with gone to the dogs as indicator and like Felix, the cartoon cat as def
19 ACE PACE (step) minus P
20 PANDA A secretary can also be known as Personal Assistant or PA and the letters are of course P and A
21 DEBITED Ins of BIT (piece) in DEED (document) Antonym of credited
22 PIGSKIN Cha of PI (constant, being the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter) + *(kings) What a fantastic def that got me chuckling
24 COCKED HAT COCK (bird) *(death) Another lovely def
26 AWARD A WARD (minor)
28 POLAR Ins of LA (Louisiana State) in PO & R (rivers)
29 THIGHBONE Ins of HIGH (off) in TB (tuberculosis, disease) + ONE

DOWN
1 LOAF Triple def
2 SPOT ON Rev of NO TOPS (all bottoms)
3 GREY MARKET Ins of Y (why) & MARK (label) in GREET (welcome) Another def that got me smiling
4 BUSTER KEATON Ins of USTERK *(turkeys minus y, unknown) in BEATON; let’s see who is the first to fully explain the wordplay (which eludes me) for the name of this famous film-maker …
5 KEYSTONE COPS Cha of KEY (important) + ins of ONE C (figure caught) in STOPS (checks) The Keystone Kops featured in a series of silent film comedies, all filmed in black and white, about a totally incompetent group of policemen.
6 ASIA Rev of A ISA (individual savings account)
7 SUPERMAN Ins of U (you) in SPERM (male swimmer) + AN This is my favourite clue today … yes, I did laugh aloud
8 SKIT SKIRT (garment) minus R (last letter of underwear)
13 CUBED Cha of CU (copper) BED (bottom) One to any power remains one
15 TOPOGRAPHY *(happy to go R)
16 LEARN Cha of LEAR (Shakespeare’s King Lear) N (knight in chess notation)
22 PUTRID Cha of PUT (set) RID (free)
25 EARL EAR (organ) L (loft oft vacated) This is as good as Araucaria’s deranged orange for the letter O.
27 DEEP Another tichy reversal of PEED (went to the loo)

Key to abbreviations used
dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram
tichy = tongue-in-cheek

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,935 – Paul”

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for the above uncle yap.
    Re 4/23D – agree with ‘usterk’ but then for ‘old cook strangling’ (ie surrounding/squeezing) I wonder if Paul has made a mistake in the spelling of ‘Beeton’ as in Mrs Beeton an ‘old cook’?

    “Isabella Mary Beeton (née Mayson) (12 March 1836 – 6 February 1865), universally known as Mrs Beeton,was the English author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, and is one of the most famous cookery writers.” (from Wikipedia.)

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Took me as long as a Saturday puzzle!

    I agree with Rob about the spelling mistake in 4/23d and also with you that COPS is misspelt as well. A bit sloppy in what I didn”t feel was Paul’s finest outing. I don’t think there’s any more to the wordplay in BUSTER KEATON either – it’s just that he was a famous black and white movie star – same loose definition as FATTY ARBUCKLE, although it is true that he appeared in the KEYSTONE KOPS.

  3. molonglo says:

    That’s great, Uncle Yap. Brilliant anagram for the theme which proved tough even after getting 4 and 5d fairly early. The hardest clue for me was the penultimate 29a, followed by 27d, pure (?) Paul. A pleasant hour, sans aids.

  4. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. Because I’d solved 27 down before 8 down, and because of Paul’s scatological predilections, I jumped to the conclusion that the 8d garment must be SHIRT!

  5. Ian says:

    Uncle Yap – thanks!

    I found this one to my liking as far as solving was concerned as I’m a fan of the film genre at the centre of the theme.

    Nonetheless, I have to agree that the Buster Keaton clue is mistaken. Unless of course I, and I suspect others, have missed something.

  6. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. This took me ages to get into! I got some of the themed clues before I got the theme. Eventually guessed the theme with the help of the checking letters, but didn’t see the wordplay.

    I agree with the others that there must be a spelling mistake in 4, 23. Perhaps more forgivable in 5, 24.

    My favourite (and last) was 7dn. I also liked 20ac.

    Nice to see ‘centaur’ clued with a greater degree of difficulty than we’ve had lately!

  7. muck says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. Tough for Tuesday. I had to Google FATTY ARBUCKLE to get the film theme.

    7d SUPERMAN: great clue, but ‘Strong’ in the clue appears unnecessary, even though it adds to the surface reading.

  8. TC says:

    Many thanks again, UY. If the key to these semi-circular puzzles remains elusive, as it did in my case, then it’s a hard slog. Unfortunately I had Grey Wallet for 3dn thereby losing the ‘k’ for ‘black’. Yet, what does ‘Gone to the dogs’ signify in 17,19dn ?

    Also, I am still struggling with ’tile on the slant’. Anyone ?

    It really felt like a good qulaity puzzle but I had to admit defeat on the key clue.

    TC

  9. John says:

    TC: 17,9 – “gone to the dogs” is the anagrind. 24 ac – “tile on the slant” is the defintion (“on the slant” = COCKED “tile” = HAT).

  10. John says:

    Make that 17,19 dn

  11. muck says:

    7dn again: ‘male swimmer’ gives us SPERM, but only half the sperm (those carrying the Y chromosome) are male. The other half (carrying the X chromosome) are female!

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    I didn’t much like polar as a definition of frozen. Admittedly it is quite chilly at the poles but polar bears move about quite readily. There were some lovely clues here but some pretty weak ones too including the crucial 17ac. I loved 24ac and 29ac.

  13. TC says:

    Doh ! (John #9, thanks). Re 24ac Could see ‘cocked’ but thanks with ’tile’. Didn’t know that. Re 8dn, before I got ‘ski(r)t’, standing on the Tube thinking of all the many garments, I did come up with ‘shirt’ but thought, ahem, nooooo.

  14. NealH says:

    The word you are alluding to did appear in a Punk (Paul’s other alias) puzzle in the Independent last week, so is obviously not off limits.

  15. Gnomethang says:

    Re: 4d.
    There was a similar mistake by a setter in the Telegraph some time before Christmas.

  16. Davy says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Another entertaining puzzle from Paul with DEEP eliciting a chuckle. Weird this but molonglo
    finished with the same two clues as myself and in the same order. Also Liz got 7d last and it was the first one I got. It took me ages to get the theme although I did think 17,19d was BLACK AND WHITE but couldn’t for the life of me see why. Then a ray of light, Gone to the dogs=anagrind (very clever).

    I didn’t pick up on the incorrect spellings of BEETON or KOPS but the answers were obvious once the theme was known so I forgive Paul although he should have checked.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    I was disappointed when I eventually got the theme very late on, after solving most of the related clues – I was aniticipating something exciting, but it was a flop: “like Felix” is not much of a definition. Likewise, the definition in 13d was hardly a definition (“As 1 is to 1″).

    29a and 27d were my last, too.

    21a I “got” early on, but didn’t put it in: I had in my mind BIT in DEED, but kept pronouncing it “dee bited”. Doh!

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Forgot to mention You = U and Why = Y; two in one crossword. Are these texting abbreviations? Not really keen on them.

  19. liz says:

    Davy — my daughter got 7dn very early on too!

    Dave Ellison — I think it’s good when crosswords update. I hate texting but I don’t mind text abbreviations in crosswords, within reason. Y as an abbreviation for ‘why’ has been around for a while in crosswords think, possibly before texting, but I may stand corrected.

  20. Martin H says:

    A bit late, but I didn’t get round to doing it until about midnight, and just found time to finish this morning. A great puzzle, despite the old cook really being the old photographer. The great thing about this theme is that it opened the crossword up (rather than shut it down, like a one-way prescriptive theme – star wars from last week for instance – so often does), as it could point in different directions. So in 5 down I spent time trying to relate ‘checks’ to the theme, and went off on a chessboard-related ramble. Super.

  21. Alison Rowan says:

    The Guardian site continues to disappoint. I went there today to fill in my last two clues, and found the online version to be a different puzzle in top right and bottom left! What on earth is going on?

  22. Andrew T says:

    The Correction column on Feb 19th acknowledged the wrong spellings for Mrs Beeton and the Keystone Kops.

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