Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24959 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 16th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

Paul certainly knows how to make a theme exciting, right from 1Across to 22Down.  In between, he sprinkled his wit and humour liberally. Challenging in parts but mostly very very entertaining. Bravo, Paul, another good day at the office.

1 HINDEMITH Cha of HIND (rear) EMIT (discharge) H (hydrogen gas)
6 BACH BEACH (sand) minus E (English)
8 BLUE NILE Blue (down) *(line)
9 BARTOK Cha of BAR (unit of a composer’s work) TO K (King, the most important piece on any side of the chess board)
10 STASIS STASI (former East German secret police) + S (shilling)
11 ANTIDOTE Ins of I Dot (one mark) in ANTE (before)
12 WAGNER Ins of N (name) in WAGER (pledge)
15 DEBONAIR Rev of No Bed (fully booked) + Air (atmosphere) My clue of the day
16 TURBOJET Rev of JOB  RUT (work routine) ET (and in French)
19 EFFIGY Ins of FIG (fruit) in (d) EFY, resist
21 ATROPINE *(into pear)
22 BRAHMS Composer half under the table? (6) I must admit defeat here but TimR quickly came to the rescue … “Brahms & Liszt”  is cockney rhyming slang for pissed = drunk = under the table.
24 ARNOLD ARNE (composer) minus E + OLD (wrinkly)
25 LAZINESS Ins of A Z (first letter of zookeeper) in LINES (chains) + S (south pole)
26 ORFF Paul’s jokey way of saying how the royals would pronounce OFF (rotten) … thanks to the community’s input
27 RESETTLED *(letters) + E (fifth letter of those) + D (fourth letter of the alphabet)

1 HOLST An amusing cha of HOLS (short for holidays or time off) + T (time on) … most creative surface
3 EXITS Ins of XI (11 in Roman numeral) in *(set)
4 IRELAND What a beauty of a tichy clue .. IRE (fury) LAND (place)
5 HABITABLE H (hospital) + A Bit Able (not entirely competent) Another cracker that will make you smile
6 BORODIN BO (body odour, unwelcome bouquet) Auguste RODIN (artist or rather sculptor most famous for The Thinker)
7 CHORTLING Ins of HORT (ins of R, Rex or king in HOT, passionate) in CLING (embrace)
13 ADULTERER Another beauty of a cd that took me a while to figure out. Re-read as “One whose business is having affairs ” and you will see it
14 REJOINDER Ins of J (Jack) in *(one drier)
17 BLOW OFF Ins of LOW (base) in BOFFIN (scientist) minus IN (indicated by in evaporating)
18 TRELLIS Ins of R (right) in William TELL (a Rossini operatic work) + IS
22 BIZET The washing appliance is the French BIDET. Change the middle letter to Z (refitting central part !)
23 MUSED Ins of US (America) in MED (the Mediterranean Sea, or the region surrounding it, including the coast of Barcelona)

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

26 Responses to “Guardian 24959 – Paul”

  1. TimR says:

    Thanks for great blog
    22 “Brahms & Liszt” cockney rhyming slang = pissed = drunk = under the table

  2. stiofain says:

    Quick off the mark Uncle Yap ( the Usain Bolt of crossword blogging ) a brilliant puzzle by Paul I loved the ORFF clue and many others.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, and TimR, for explaining why I got 22 and 24a, and 13d, right. Was 13d such a great clue, and 15a: I still don’t see the Inn in that one. But I loved the 26a, which is surely how the Queen pronounces it.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap – a great one from Paul with lots of laugh-out-loud moments.

    I think 26ac is supposed to be how the Queen (and others) would say (“proclaim”) the word “off”, rather than the insertion you suggest.

  5. Andrew says:

    Oops, I hadn’t noticed that molonglo had already mentioned the queenly pronunciation of “off”.

  6. Martin H says:

    Terrific stuff, didn’t get started on this one until 9 o’clock so I’ve missed the bus, but what the hell, I’m still chortling. Paul hardly put a foot wrong here – the one flop (for me) was Adulterer; I read it as you did UY, but it didn’t work somehow.

    (‘E’ in 27 is also 5th letter of the alphabet.)

    Nice blog too – thanks

  7. ixion says:


    Enjoyed doing this online in the small hours – amusing and satisfying – slightly spoiled by 13D – bit tenuous!

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. Good fun from Paul and quite hard in places, I thought. Didn’t see the wordplay for BIZET so thanks for the explanation.

    The surface of 1ac was pure Paul! I also liked ORFF a lot. Wasn’t so keen on 13dn, though.

    I seem to remember other composer-themed puzzles from Paul.

  9. Bill Taylor says:

    That was a real work-out. A couple of composers I’d never heard of but a great theme. And 22a was superb.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Don’t usually manage to finish a Paul, but I got there with this one as the theme helped quite a bit. Some very inventive clueing as usual – like Bill, my pick would be 22ac.

  11. Ian says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for the blog.

    This took an age (95′)

    Despite it being themed, I found the fiendish nature of the clueing a toil.

    Nevertheless I appreciated very much the wit here and especially the 22’s and 26ac.

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    Excellent clueing, fun to do. Only 13dn cast a slight shadow. As an OAP I object to being referred to as a wrinkly. I know many very smooth old people, as well as some crumbly and some wrinkly.

  13. Bullfrog says:

    With two lots of flatulence and some B.O., this really was a stinker!

  14. Martin says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Paul!

    I enjoyed this one – tho’ needing to cheat a little to compelte it.

    For some time, I was rather convinced that 1ac (German composer’s rear needs to discharge explosive gas) must be ‘Buxterhude'; ‘cos it’s an anagram of BUT (rear) + EXUDE (discharge) + H (dangerous gas)!

  15. Alberich says:

    I’m aware that backslapping among setters annoys some people but I can’t resist adding my praise here for what I believe to be the most enyoyable Guardian puzzle I have seen for a very long time. I’m biased as the theme is right up my street – though even to a classical geek like me the answers didn’t come easily as they were so well disguised. Not a hint of the unfair/dodgy devices that cause controversy with some Guardian puzzles, but at the same time every clue abounded with fresh ideas. For once I really did laugh out loud at some of them – notably ORFF and HINDEMITH. The idea of one of the most austere 20th century composers farting will be with me for a very long time. Strangely WAGNER was one of the last I got even though I’ve done the Bayreuth pilgrimage three times!

    There are some who think that Paul is now the finest setter the Guardian has. I am firmly in agreement.

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I can only agree with everyone else – this was a very good, well-balanced crossword.
    And it didn’t even take thát much time, knowing all the composers (which, however, wasn’t a guarantee to find them right away – as Alberich pointed out).
    We had a flying start in the NW, but had some problems in the SW. For example, we thought 16ac had to be ‘Jumbojet’ and therefore we couldn’t explain the ‘routine’ bit – thanks to Uncle Yap, we can now (and we discovered to have made a mistake).
    Indeed, 13d wasn’t the best of them all, but acceptable.

    Very impressed by 15ac (DEBONAIR), even if the ‘Inn’ could just as well be a ‘Hotel’ and even if ‘evidently’ is probably superfluous (although it may refer to a sign outside or on the door). Also impressed by 5d (HABITABLE). Nice surfaces all over the place anyway (which can’t always be said of Paul, certainly not when he uses cross references in an Araucarian way) – especially in HINDEMITH clue (in which Paul apparently didn’t want to leave out ‘German’ …)

    Only one clue (RESETTLED) has us still slightly puzzled.
    If ‘fifth’ and ‘fourth’ just refer to the 5th and the 4th letter of the alphabet, then what is ‘those’ doing there? If ‘fifth’ is referring to the 5th letter of ‘those’, then what is ‘fourth’ referring to (surely not clear that it’s the alphabet then). At first we thought they were both referring to ‘those’, giving us the E and the S, which would lead to ‘resettles’ (so the wrong tense). Not quite satisfying this (from a construction point of view), unless someone else has a better idea.

    Saying ‘it was the most enjoyable crossword for a very long time’ is IMHO a bit of a stretch, but it was surely a very fine one.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Sil #16, probably coincidental but the fifth and fourth of MOVED are also DE.

    Also had JUMBOJET, and, for a while, CHUCKLING for 7d, which I couldn’t explain till I got BARTOK and had to change 7d to CHORTLING

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yeah, Dave, that’s true – but then not in the right order.
    And in that case ‘moved’ would be doing double duty.

  19. molonglo says:

    Sil et al – how does debonair=hotel or inn?

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #19:
    With “No Bed” – I think – Paul refers to a sign outside (perhaps, therefore ‘evidently’) an Inn that tells us that it is ‘fully booked’. If so, the ‘Inn’ could be also be ‘Hotel’ or whatever place to stay. If he leaves out the ‘Inn’, the surface of the clue wouldn’t be half as good – so probably, that’s why he did it. Well, it’s only a guess.

  21. Mr Beaver says:

    Sil, I read 27a ‘.. those fifth and fourth..’ to mean ‘those letters, 5th and 4th’ ie ED. Possibly a little forced, but it didn’t raise an eyebrow here …

    This must be something of a record for us – finished a Paul quite comfortably (ok, we did have to look up a couple of lesser-known composers), but found yesterday’s Rufus a real grind, even having to give up on one (Back seat – a wretched clue, what might Paul have made of POSTERIOR? :))

  22. liz says:

    Alberich — you expressed very well what I wanted to say earlier. What is so funny about 1ac is the juxtaposition of high art and low comedy!

    Sil — I agree about 27ac, my least favourite, out of what was a highly enjoyable puzzle otherwise.

  23. Paul (not Paul) says:

    This was hard. Some really hard clueing. I know the the theme is supposed to help but if you’ve never heard of hindemith then it doesn’t.

    Obscure composers and obscure clues = hard puzzle

    I usually like Paul but this was a theme too far.

  24. molonglo says:

    Is there anyone out there who can explain the “inn” in 15 across – or is it gratuitous, and a flaw? Sil: where does Paul refer to a sign outside?

  25. Eileen says:


    #19 and #24

    The definition is ‘charming’, not ‘inn’.

    I think Sil has explained the ‘sign outside’ [usually ‘No vacancies’].

    So it’s NO BED, reversed, + AIR [atmosphere]

  26. Richard says:

    For once I had to buy the paper to do this, and it was a delight to be able to complete it on the train home with no assistance whatsoever.
    The most enjoyable crossword I’ve done for a long time.

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