Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,948 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on March 3rd, 2010


I found it very hard to get started on this one, but getting 3dn, swiftly followed by 15dn, and most of the linked answers, filled up a lot of the grid, and the rest was only slightly troublesome. Lots of clever clueing and humour here, as we have come to expect from Paul.

1. COSSACK COS (Greek island, also spelt Kos) + SACK (fire)
10. PERM Double definition – a hairstyle for “locks”, and as short for “permutation”, though mathematicians will insist on the distinction between perms and combs.
11. CHERRY TART Spoonerism of TERRY (fabric) CHART (plan)
12. CARNAL [ardou]R in CANAL
13,19. THE SOUND OF SILENCE “Reverse homophone” – silence is peace, so the sound of silence is “piece”.
14. LONGHAIRS (GIRL HAS NO)*. Persian cats are long-haired.
17. AGORA Hidden (“boxed”) in bAG OR All. Ancient Greek meeting place or market, and the root of “agoraphobia”.
24,27,23,16. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER OVERT ROUBLE in ED, all in BRIDGWATER. I was wondering where the journalist came from until I realised the surprising spelling of the town.
26. BASKET CASE BASKET and CASE are both containers.
28. BERLIOZ [Irving][ BERLI[n] + OZ (light weight)
29. ADVERTS STARVED*, and a clever definition “break items”, i.e. items shown in the break between programmes.
2. OREGANO E[xquisite] in ORGAN plus O (duck).
3. SIMON S[tage] + I’M ON (as an actor might say when hearing his cue), and “Paul” is not the setter but the definition of the first half of Simon and Garfunkel.
9. BETTER OFF DEAD (EFFORT DEBATED)*. Some might question “useless” as an anagram indicator.
15. GARFUNKEL [deale]R + FUNK in GAEL. The definition “Art” for the second half of S&G is well-concealed.
21. CAGIEST A GI in CEST. I couldn’t think how even Paul could get a synonym of “incest” into a word, so it just had to be “in cest”.
25. IN ONE I + NONE. The second use of “duck” in the sense of zero in this puzzle

43 Responses to “Guardian 24,948 – Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. Good clean fun. 7d and 21d led me to ‘silence’ in 19a and hence the theme in five minutes. Quite a bit longer though to nut out some good clues – missed the anagram in 14a for a while, held up by having CHEESE TART for the Spoonerism, and wrestled hard with the best clue (for me) 28a. 10a was neat, didn’t like the ‘taste’ in 6d. Perm (10a) is a betting term, too.

  2. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks. I really enjoyed this one because I completed it in under 20 minutes which, for me, is probably a record for one of Paul’s. Got held up on 14a and 8d but the rest were fairly straightforward.

  3. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew, a smart blog as usual to tie up the loose endings.

    I took me the best part of an hour to finish this. My entry was via OREGANO and COSSACK. Then AMERICA and then the Spoonerism. At this stage, I still didn’t twig the themed connexion.

    Molonglo, I though PERM was a top class dd. It took me a while to crack this too. Clever though, typically Paul.

    Three excellently written anagrams. The last to go in was BERLIOZ.

    Solving time 53 minutes.

  4. Mike M says:

    Good stuff from Paul, but once the theme was cracked (quite quickly, from S-IM-ON), it enabled some very long answers to be written in just from the numbers of letters in the clues. And rest became rather easy from there.

    Liked PERM and BERLIOZ.

    Not sure about 11ac – shouldn’t it be “fabric plan” rather than “fabricated plan”?

  5. John Appleton says:

    Loved the theme on this one.

  6. Lanson says:

    Mike @4, I thought 11a fair, a terry chart would be a chart that is made from fabric – fabricated. Seems strange to print a chart on a towel, then Douglas Adams came to mind and I thought how handy a galactic one would be…..

  7. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew, but this was another one of Paul’s that I couldn’t get into.

    Having now seen the solutions, I am glad that I didn’t persevere.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too found it hard to get into, but because I’m a big PS fan, I perservered and managed most of it. Paul’s clueing is hugely inventive – I think (and I mean this in a complimentary way if you’re listening, Paul) his linguistic brain is just wired up differently to the majority of people, and maybe even to some of his fellow setters. But that’s good news for cryptic addicts, of course. Lots of super clues, but BASKET CASE and ADVERTS my faves.

  9. Eileen says:

    I loved this puzzle! I thought the clues for SIMON and GARFUNKEL [I laughed out loud when the penny dropped with ‘Art’] were just great – and so was THE SOUND OF SILENCE.

    The only quibble I have is that the clue for 12 ac should be ‘sensual’, not ‘sensuous’.

  10. Richard says:

    I agree with Bryan. Too many obscure references.

  11. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I had trouble getting into this one, too, but glad I kept going. I loved BASKET CASE! 3dn was a great clue, too, I thought.

    I got 28ac without fully understanding the wordplay, so thanks for the explanation.

  12. Martin H says:

    Great stuff again from Paul. Got the theme quite quickly from CECILIA, and, as for Mike @4, everything came together smoothly from there on. PERM and ADVERTS perhaps the pick of an excellent crop.

  13. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Andrew, I forgot to say thanks for the blog.

    [The ‘terry chart’ made me smile, too: our ‘pantomime’ next week is ‘Treasure Island’ and in it the treasure map is written on a napkin!]

  14. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    You say `I couldn’t think how even Paul could get a synonym of “incest” into a word, so it just had to be “in cest”’

    but what about 20 down?

    Got all except BERLIOZ – thought “light weight” = L TON, which proved fruitless.

  15. norm says:

    That’s the first Paul I’ve ever finished without cheating using reference works.

    I especially liked the crossover between the clue to 21d and the answer to 20d

  16. Richard says:

    Sorry, Andrew. I too forgot to thank you for the blog, (even though the crossword didn’t leave me Feelin’ Groovy’!).

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Seriously hard work for me and agree with what was said by others who found it the same. Still, got there eventually, but with far too much gadget aid.

    Umm, can someone with the [b]original[/b] vinyl LP please check this, but I thought it was The Sound[b][u]s[/u][/b] Of Silence. I only have the cassette version. The web seems divided between the two so is no help. The album title is plural and in those days using a track title for the album title was vey common. The lyrics don’t help because both the singular and plural forms are present, though the latter only occurs as the last line, but then the last line is presumably more significant than mere intermediaries. And what about the title of the single? Was that the same as the album?

    Not going off on a tangent here, because if the plural is correct then it’s a definite complaint. My direct evidence, the cassette, says it’s a complaint.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    arg wrong brackets original and s

  19. Mike M says:

    I dont have the original vinyl, but according to iTunes the album title is plural but the track title is singular….

  20. Gaufrid says:

    My vinyl copy was unfortunately lost in an enforced move (divorce) many years ago but the replacement CD I have (issued by CBS and with, from memory, a duplicate of the original album cover) has the album title “Sounds of Silence” and the track title “The Sounds of Silence”.

    The picture of the single in Wikipedia gives the plural but there is a comment that this was used in early albums but that in later compilations the track title was revised to the singular.

  21. Ian Stark says:

    Confirming Mike M’s post: The album is ‘Sounds of Silence’ and the single is ‘The Sound of Silence’.

    For me, a quick but pleasurable one to solve, bringing back memories of hours in the car with my Dad and his only two eight tracks (the other being The Carpenters). Not surprisingly I became a punk a few short years later.

    29a was great!

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    I think Gaufrid’s post seems definitive enough. Basically, historically the clue should be wrong, but sundry meddlers mean that history has been overtaken, so it is understandable that a youngster like Paul saw the meddled info. But I’m surprised the other older posters didn’t say anything.

  23. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Didn’t get 3d or 15d so there wasn’t much point me continuing (and I didn’t). 24a etc was not a clue but a form of torture.
    After a decent start to the week this was horrible.

  24. Eileen says:

    Re sound / sounds: I think this is covered by Paul’s question mark in the clue [ not needed to indicate the homophone] which suggests to me that he might well be aware of the ‘confusion’.

    No one else has commented on my ‘quibble’ [#9] about ‘sensuous’ in 12ac. It’s more than that – this is quite wrong. We were very firmly taught the difference between ‘sensuous’ and ‘sensual’ when reading Keats’ poetry for A Level! In fact [something I didn’t know] Collins and SOED both say that ‘sensuous’ was “apparently coined by Milton to avoid the sexual overtones of ‘sensual'”.

  25. eimi says:

    I suspect the original LP sleeve that called the song ‘The Sounds of Silence’ was a misprint from the ‘whores on 7th Avenue’ – if you listen to the song, Paul Simon is clearly singing ‘the sound of silence’. I think what Derek calls meddling is actually a process of correction.

    Paul became a Punk too :-)

  26. liz says:

    Eileen — I didn’t comment on your quibble re sensual but I do agree. The mistake held me up a bit because the answer didn’t sound right. Thanks for the info on Milton by the way!

    The other one that bothered me slightly, but only slightly was PERM. (I remember Permutations and Combinations from my A level Maths).

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    eimi, as I pointed out, the song finishes with the plural.

  28. eimi says:

    Sorry Derek, I started reading the thread backwards and didn’t see your 17, but if Paul Simon wrote it and he calls it The Sound of Silence I think it’s fair for this Paul to do the same.

  29. cholecyst says:

    Eileen. Sensual/sensuous. Of course you are right. I thought of moaning about it but supposed that the misuse of one to mean the other was now too common to do anything about. Like ‘uninterested/disinterested’. Unfortunately, if you want to be sure to be understood, certain words – like these – are off limits. Other examples are ‘fulsome’ and ‘enormity’. It’s the lexicographical equivalent of Gresham’s Law.

  30. hoffi says:

    I lavished praise on Paul last week but found today not taxing at all. Interesting that some found it difficult. Shows how there are different types of brains within this community. And maybe age plays a part? I did like the clueing for ‘simon’ though.

    I actually saw S & G at the RAH in May 1970 (when I was 15) which I believe was the last concert before their first split.

    This puzzle was finished before the end of a 3 mile bus journey and I hadn’t taken a book with me! That’ll teach me.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Without a comment from the horses mouth, one is merely guessing as to who did what. I am still swayed by the traditions, a last line is the most important, and naming an album after a track. If it was a misprint on the album, it was a misprint that was copied onto other media before any change was made, one would have thought an error would have been changed PDQ. Still, we’re not going to agree, so better leave it, it was fun.

  32. John says:

    Is the mouth an organ?

  33. Dave Ellison says:

    There is a mouth organ, John!

    I agreed with your comment re sensual/sensuous, Eileen, and briefly thought about it as I was solving, but couldn’t myself remember exactly which was which.

    I enjoyed this today. On the bus, I only had 2/3 after fifteen minutes, when I suddenly spotted Simon and Garfunkel for some reason. There was nothing obvious to help. It could easily have been an annoying slog without this.

  34. Davy says:

    Another enjoyable puzzle from Paul. Started off with COSSACK and OREGANO then didn’t get any more for ages until I suddenly thought SIMON. The last one to go in was BERLIOZ and I had to use the crossword solver to get that one but I could see all elements of the clue as soon as I saw the word. Got there eventually with not too much difficulty.

    Thanks Andrew and thanks Paul.

  35. stiofain says:

    I thought this was great my entry was through SIMON then the 2 long clues were guessible from the enumeration.I share the qualms about TERRY and SENSUAL but thought ADVERTS was the best anagram in a long time.
    Ian Stark @21 my dad also had a played to death in car copy of S and Gs greatest hits which also contributed to my later punk persona but I came back to them in later life and still enjoy them and Paul Simons great solo stuff.
    As an aside you could hardly go for a pint in Belfast recently without hearing some pub singer doing their “Mrs Robinson” due to our first ministers wifes indiscretions and the echoes of “The Graduate” Iris affair I would love to have seen that clued.
    All this talk of vinyl and punk rock has made me nostalgic I might dig out Siouxsie or the Clash later for a long overdue re-listen. Who would have thought in those days of spit and safety pins we would be here discussing semantics with a world wide community.

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Those who found last week’s Paul unsatisfying, have no reason to complain today – we thought. No Bums & Bottoms, everything’s just very decent in this crossword.

    When I first looked at the clues, I saw an Araucarian style of cluing – not many good surfaces, some cross-references – , but it turned out to be rather clever in the end.

    After I guessed BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER just from one letter in each word,
    the ball started rolling.
    So, in 3d and 15d there were first the answers, which only had to be checked (but very good clues, using the first names of both victims (esp. Art) nicely).
    The other S&G solutions (fortunately not too many, because that would make it all too easy – like e.g. in last Saturday’s Prize Crossword) were quickly found.
    We were so impressed by 13,19ac (SOUND OF SILENCE) that we didn’t see it was wrong(ish). Yet, I can imagine that Paul did this deliberately because of the homophone.

    The last one to go in was PERM, and we both raised our eyebrows a bit.
    I always tell my students that they shouldn’t confuse Permutations (short: Perm’s) with Combinations.
    When you choose three items out of five (say, A B C D E), a combination doesn’t make any difference between the order of the three (so ABC would be the same as BAC or CBA). A permutation, though, does: so ABC is something else than CBA.
    The two are certainly not synonymous.
    But then, every combination is a permutation (something that Chambers says too), but not the other way around.
    It’s not completely watertight what I am saying now, but defining PERM as “Combination” is a bit the same as ANIMAL defining as “Fish” – so not really right.
    That said, my version of Chambers says that a PERM(utation) can also be ‘a fixed combination in football pools for selecting the results of matches’, so – although I don’t like betting – Paul has the benefit of the doubt.
    It’s a brilliant surface anyway.

    There’s a lot to admire in this puzzle.
    For example, the use of “Break items” in 29ac and “I note well” in 20d. And we very much liked the LONGHAIRS of 14ac.
    But we put a question mark to the use of B for ‘Billion’.
    (My) Chambers clearly says that it should be ‘Bn’.

    Still, one of Paul’s more sunnier efforts.
    And a worthy successor to this week’s Rufus and Orlando.

  37. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sil, Chambers is right re football pools, but that is just marketing slang for permutation, so your first thought is correct.

  38. Bryan says:

    A cryptic crossword is published every weekday in the Guardian …

    But (as yet) not so far today.

  39. jmac says:

    Re # 38

    Bryan, Mordred has a good medium-level puzzle in the Independent today.

  40. Bryan says:

    Thanks jmac … I’ve already done it!

  41. Richard says:

    There’s now a link to the PDF version of today’s crossword posted on The Guardian website with an apology.

  42. Jacq says:

    Paul back to his best.

  43. J&C says:

    Just a quibble – but is ‘longhairs’ all one word, or should it be two?

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