Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,943 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on February 25th, 2010


Quite a tough one from Paul, with some characteristic humour. I don’t fully understand 1 across, and I have some niggles about a couple of other clues.

1. FIREDOG FIRE + DOG (setter). It’s another word for andiron (“an iron bar to support the end of a log in a fire”), but I don’t understand the definition (“as would stand to be outspoken?”) Thanks to Radler: it’s a “homophonic definition” – “Wood stand”.
9. CATER CAT + ER. A female cat can be called a queen, which I suppose is why the apparently redundant “female” is in the clue.
10. SMART CARD SMART (hurt) + CARD (character – as in “a bit of a ..”)
14. INTERCOURSE A sort of cryptic definition, I suppose.
18. HARRIS TWEED HARRIS (Bomber) + [jacke]T + WEED (seems to be wrong part of speech and tense)
21. OBOE BO in O[n]E.
25. TRIVALENT RIVAL in TENT. I’m no chemist, but I though valency was a property of elements, not compounds.
26. ALIBI A[ccused] + LIB (party) + I (one).
27. EGGHEAD EGG (something laid) + HEAD (cape)
28. NANKEEN Grandad is not bothered, but NAN is KEEN. Silly but amusing.
2. RETAKE E.T. (film) in RAKE (collect)
3. DERMATITIS RED< + MAT + II IS ("that's right!")
4. GISMO Hidden in turninG IS Moving, with “bolts” meaning “shut in” or something. But “that’s” doesn’t make sense, except for the surface reading – it would have to be “that”
5. BRASSERIE BRASSIERE with the I “moved down”
7. GLAZIERS LAZIER in G [and] S.
15. TITLE DEED Alternate letters of TaLk EnD sEt in TIED
20. ADRIAN Anagram of [c]ARDINA[l], and the name of six popes.
24,17. MALE GROOMING LEG ROOM in MAIN (central) G[overnment].

47 Responses to “Guardian 24,943 – Paul”

  1. Radler says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew. I think 1ac is defined by a homophone of “wood stand”.

  2. Andrew says:

    Ah, thanks Radler.

  3. Bryan says:

    Thanks, Andrew, I hated it!

    There were too many bizarre clues for my liking so I gave up.

  4. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew – and Radler for the explanation of 1ac.

    At first I couldn’t see your grammatical problem with 18ac, then light dawned, I think. I read it as ‘weed’ = ‘pot’ rather than ‘weed’ = ‘went to pot’. [cf ‘peed’ reversed in last week’s Paul!]

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen – I think I realised the pot=weed connection when I solved the puzzle late last night, but I’d obviously forgotten it when I wrote up the blog ths morning!

  6. Eileen says:

    Andrew – that’s very easily done, I know!

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew et al. Balls=Ed didn’t ring with me so I went for ‘weightings’ (balls=chicken wings). Of course it meant I didn’t get 20d. A lot here seemed untidy, including 1a (andiron is a ‘stand’?), 4d and 28a with its single dash for nan keen. I did like 10a though with its seeming anagram from all five cross letters.

  8. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew, A typically amusing puzzle from ‘Paul’ which caused problems for me in the NW and SE corners.

    The key to all this of course was Intercourse. The clue had me thinking of a dd solution and it took several minutes for the penny to drop! I wonder how Cyclops would have clued that one!!!

    22ac was one I solved correctly, mistakenly using ten, not eight.

    Solving time 67 minutes.

  9. Martin H says:

    Thanks Andrew, particularly for NANKEEN, which I got blindly; and Radler for for would/wood.

    INTERCOURSE? Hmmmm…., I agree that GISMO is shaky, and a train is a vehicle? Otherwise some excellent clues: 1; 18; 20; 21, and the two to compound solutions in particular. Tough, but worth it. Thanks Paul.

  10. Shirley says:

    5A According to Chambers a bodega is a wine shop or warehouse. I certainly thought it is generally used to mean a wine bar but not a restaurant.

  11. Mick H says:

    From my experience a bodega is usually a wine bar/shop where you can buy by the glass, bottle or barrel. I have a hazy memomory of drinking from a porron in one too – the bag with a spout that you pour into your mouth from a height. But I think they are quite often combined into restaurants too, so that one didn’t throw me.
    I thought INTERCOURSE was a little weak, but enjoyed this otherwise, esp NANKEEN and the use of ‘legroom’ in MALE GROOMING.

  12. NeilW says:

    First time for me to not enjoy a Paul – normally I relish them but this was all too contrived and obscure. Where was the usual sense of fun? Sorry, Paul, but I hope this is a one-off!

  13. Bill Taylor says:

    There’s a very good restaurant in Toronto called La Bodega. There again, it’s French rather than Spanish so I guess that doesn’t count! Forget I said it.

    Not a great Paul today, though I liked NANKEEN very much. GISMO was very shaky indeed for me, given that we spell it here with a “z.” I wound with GUSTO but, of course, no idea why. Similarly, GOODS TRAIN, which I figured out eventually. We call them freight trains. But a lot of the clueing was, in my view, somewhat shaky.

    So, two rather unsatisfactory cryptics in a row — I say that in spite of Pasquale’s call on yesterday’s blog for a more respectful attitude. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

  14. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Like Bryan and NeilW I hated this. Far too difficult to be interesting.
    Well done to Ian for solving it in 67 minutes, I don’t have a spare 67 minutes on a weekday for a crossword, and in any case would not have solved it in 67 weeks.
    Really there’s no point me trying when it’s Paul.

  15. Val says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Could someone explain 16dn to me a bit more? I understand the definition and where the love and French article fit in but I don’t see how one gets T HR T T from four times.

  16. sandra says:

    i agree with you andrew. i finished it but with no sense of satisfaction.
    i find paul difficult, but that usually adds to the pleasure, and sense of achievement. this time – neither.
    at the risk being boring, i am taking much longer to complete on the new site. it can be difficult for me and i get frustrated by it.
    i found the clue for gismo ridiculous, with a sense that too many words were used, and not to good effect. but i did like trivalent and bodegas.

  17. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Tough one today. 14ac was the first one I got, but it was quite a while before I got the long clue. HEIGHTENED was the last one I got — I was also thinking along the lines of TEN rather than EIGHT.

    28ac made me smile, but I think I’ve seen a very similar clue before. I liked 20ac.

  18. liz says:

    Sorry I mean 20dn!

  19. Val says:

    And one more question: in 6, 12dn why is DATELINE “map marking”? Isn’t a dateline something applied to articles or documents, not maps?

  20. NeilW says:

    Val, trying to be positive, I thought that one of the better clues – it refers to the International Date Line.

  21. NeilW says:

    Oh, sorry. I realise no one answered your earlier question. 4 times is T (short for time) HR (short for hour) and two more Ts.

  22. JimboNWUK says:

    I agree with GrumpyAndrew at al…. too harshly difficult to bother with in my dinner hour. On the other hand, if I was a retiree with all day to ruminate upon it I would probably gain a certain self-satisfaction from completing. But I’m not so I didn’t.

    Nil points pour moi unfortunately.

  23. Val says:

    NeilW, thanks for the explanations. I see now but yikes! Did most people get that T HR T T is four times? I would have understood T T T T, I think, but times=HR is a new one to me. Surely it could just as validly be M or MIN or S or SEC by that logic?

  24. Will Mc says:

    I didn’t think it was one of Paul’s best, some of the surfaces were veering dangerously towards Araucarian WTF-ness. Still finished it on my 20-minute train ride to Howden (even though I’m a comprehensive school-educated non-retiree).

  25. NeilW says:

    Yes, Val, an explanation is not an endorsement! See my much earlier comment – I thought this puzzle was horrid.

    Will Mc, I salute you. Obviously I went to the wrong school!

  26. Grumpy Andrew says:

    1a Remove setter from job. Oh please yes.

  27. Bill Taylor says:

    “Araucarian WTF-ness…..” beautiful! And I say that as a huge fan of Araucaria.

  28. sidey says:

    I’ve no education, I finished it in the time it took tok click the solution button.

  29. sidey says:

    28 proves lack

  30. Median says:

    I’m not often defeated but this one was beyond me. I agree that several clues were too contrived. Also 10ac caused me problems: I entered PUNCH CARD, which I reckon is better, grammatically, than SMART CARD. I realised it had to be wrong but couldn’t think of anything else that would fit. I still can’t. :)

  31. Ian says:

    Re #10. #11 and #13 – the last time I was in Sanlúcar and Jerez, the bodegas were restaurant-like in relation to the excellence and choice of the munchies available.

    #14 Grumpy Andrew. Fore me, a retiree, 67 minutes for Paul is less than average. Once, I spent over three hours, on and off, before giving up on one of this setters efforts!!

  32. JimboNWUK says:

    Will Mc @24… smugness is a most unbecoming trait! :oÞ

  33. Will Mc says:

    Thank you. It was either that or get my hair highlighted. Smugness is easier to maintain.

  34. Martin H says:

    Val @23 – yes the HR in ‘four times’ could just as well have been M or MIN or S or SEC or even X, but then it wouldn’t have made an appropriate word. Aren’t most clues like that?

  35. Derek Lazenby says:

    Being an old retiree, I struggled on for most of the afternoon, having earlier been convinced I wasn’t going to to get past 3 solved! And whilst it filled in an otherwise boring time, it did little else for me. My vote is with the overly contrived lobby.

    As noted above a train is not a single vehicle.

    Even on this side of the pond, I thought it was GIZMO.

  36. Admin says:

    Comments #32 & 33 are grossly off-topic. Please desist as I don’t want to have to start moving off-topic comments to a more appropriate location (something I have been able to avoid doing for many months now thanks to people generally following the Discussion Policy).

  37. stiofain says:

    I dont know what the complaints are about I thought this the best puzzle in ages, the surface of 5 down is totally outrageous.

  38. Brian Harris says:

    Found this pretty difficult today, with some tricksy, complicated clues. Was quite pleased to finish with only two clues left – 24 down eluded me completely. Still, Paul is always enjoyable, albeit rather hard to get going sometimes. Agree about the spelling of GISMO too, but that didn’t detain me for too long.

    BTW, I don’t wish to stir at all, but I thought comments 32 and 33 were light-hearted and completely inoffensive…. clearly intended (and taken) in jest.

    I quite like this forum for the odd bit of cheekiness, irreverence and controversy. It would be a real shame to start moderating everybody and leave it po-faced. We’re all adults here. (Or maybe there are some kids too – would be nice to see some younger crossword-solvers out there).

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  39. John says:

    Hear what you say Admin, but some of us wonder why some contributors need to boast about their solving times. Isn’t that also “off topic”?

  40. TC says:

    Over the course of the day I can say that I sent hours on this. And failed. When I read this blog, to say I ‘groaned’, a noise particular to the solver, is an understatement. But many thanks, Andrew.

    Would never have got ‘Adrian’ for 20dn, or ‘Nankeen’ for 20 dn. Like another of the solvers above I had Weightings for 22 ac. As for ‘Male Grooming’, I thought, being Narcissus, it something to do with ‘Face’.

    BTW, what time of night is the following day’s crossword released, anyone ?


  41. IanN14 says:

    About midnight, TC.

  42. Dave Ellison says:

    I am with the didn’t like camp. Even though I had intercourse early today, I couldn’t find my way around the long one.

    I didn’t get very far; 0 first time through, 4 second time and eventually about 8 or 9 altogether. I think what prevented my getting further were too many words that were off target. 1a SETTER for DOG (needs a perhaps); 22a CHICKEN is not HEN; 25a TENT is not CAMP; 3d MAT is not CARPET; 23d LIKE is not really ENJOY. And several surfaces that made no sense to me: 1a, 25a possibly, 23d, and 24d.

  43. Sil van den Hoek says:

    On the night that European football’s been freed from Dutch clubs (and Everton),
    I needed something to cheer me up.
    So why not write a post, after a couple of days’ absence.

    Did this crossword cheer me up?
    Yes it did.

    Although I am not very keen on the implicite definition of 1ac, and though I (read: we) thought 10ac is not a particularly good clue (‘card’ has a lot in common with ‘char …’), there was a lot to admire.
    However, just like Liz (#17), we had seen the idea of 28ac (NANKEEN) before.
    For us, this was Paul in optima forma – as revolting as ever with his ‘smutty’ clues.
    Even though the ‘pot’ of 18ac was just another kind of ‘pot’ (as Eileen explained).
    Ever seen OBOE (21ac) being clued like this?
    I know, there were a lot of words used (#16) to tell us to take the ‘n’ out of ‘one’,
    but it was completely fair in the end.
    Indeed, a lot of words in the anagrind of 6,12d too, making up half of the clue.
    But you can hardly fault Paul on construction in the clues anyway.

    I am a bit surprised that so may people didn’t like it.
    In particular, I think that our friend Grumpy Andrew shouldn’t make a comment like
    in #26.

    I don’t have any problem with the definition problems that Dave Ellison came up with
    in #42. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand his objections against ‘setter’ being the definition of ‘dog’, but look at the surface.
    And ‘camp’ can be ‘tent’ as a verb (although in this clue it is a noun).
    ‘Chicken’ is not ‘hen’? That is going too far in Cryptic Land, I think.
    And (not Dave’s words) a train’s not a vehicle. Well, for me a vehicle is a conveyance that transports people or objects, which can be a train.
    All this criticism (right or wrong) takes us away from the overall feel of this crossword, which was in our opinion very veryPaul.
    Maybe some people don’t like this (or his) style, but the (in)famous ingredients were
    all there today – and we liked it.

    Stand-out clues, perhaps 26ac (almost(?) an &Lit) and 20d (beautiful surface).

    Andrew, thank you for the blog.
    But how can it be that you solved this crossword late last night, when (according to information on this site) you live in the UK? Do bloggers get earlier access to crosswords?

  44. hoffi says:

    I become more of a fan of Paul the more I see of him. I think he now is the best and has overtaken Araucaria which is some feat. Paul’s efforts always seem impossible at first viewing but slowly the light dawns and I invariably finish him as I did today.

    I thought today’s puzzle was top class and I really enjoyed the struggle.

  45. Andrew says:

    Sil – by “late last night” I meant “after midnight”. As IanN14 says in #41, the next day’s crosswords become available on the web site at midnight.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Gosh, Andrew, and then you instantly start solving the puzzle?
    Even before having a sleep – that’s quite an achievement! :)

    Anyway, see what tomorrow’s/today’s Bonxie will bring us.
    [Not sure if I look forward to it]

  47. maarvarq says:

    Far too late for anyone not subscribed to this post to read this. I hope Paul enjoyed his self-indulgently obscure clues, because I sure as heck didn’t.

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