Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,993 (Sat 24 April)/Paul – Fast food

Posted by rightback on May 1st, 2010


Solving time: 5 minutes

A welcome return for Paul to the Saturday slot. For a prize puzzle this was surprisingly straightforward but still very enjoyable. It also made me very hungry with so many foody answers; I’ve highlighted the relevant answer phrases but several non-thematic answers (e.g. 12ac) had thematic clues. The cluing (or if you prefer, clueing) was really excellent: very tight with smooth and natural surface readings, and free from the solecisms, inaccuracies and clumsiness that plague so many Guardian crosswords.

I see that Monday’s puzzle will be number 25,000 – surely something special on the menu?

Music of the day: so many options I don’t know where to start. There’s Otis Redding at 18ac, Eva Peron at 5dn (who inspired Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Evita), Radiohead’s Bangers and Mash at 13/24dn but my favourite is Blur’s star-studded Far Out at 1dn (the link is to a longer version than the original that appeared on Parklife).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 FAN CLUB; FAN (= ‘cool’) + CLUB (= ‘clobber’, as in ‘club a seal’)
9 ROWAN; ROAN around W – interesting use of ‘white’ to indicate W, presumably from chess notation. This isn’t allowed in The Times, nor advanced/barred cryptics because it isn’t in Chambers, but it seems reasonable enough to me. (‘Black’ for ‘B’ is used anyway, because of the HB notation for pencils, which also provides ‘hard’ = ‘H’.)
10 APPLE TART; APART (= ‘alone’) around (PET (= ‘hamster, say’) around [gerbi]L)
11 UNSHACKLED; (SUN)* + HACK (= ‘reporter’) + LED (= ‘took the initiative’)
12 STOP (hidden)
14 HOT POTATOES (cryptic definition) – a ‘hot potato’ being a difficult or awkward matter or responsibility. I thought this clue was a little weak (‘Potentially tricky food items?) but perhaps I have missed something.
18 OTIS REDDING; (SINGER DID TO)* – a lovely anagram and indicator (‘cuckoo’), although the ultra-purist in me twitched slightly at the link word ‘as’ in the clue which doesn’t quite fit the cryptic reading.
21 FLAN; FLAN[k] – I’m getting really hungry now.
22 TENDERLOIN; (REDOLENT IN)* – excellent, with the imperative ‘Mince’ as the anagram indicator.
25 LOOK AFTER; OK (= ‘Fine’) in LOAF (= ‘head’), + TE[n] (= ‘figure not entirely’) + R[ight]
26 ALPHA; AHA (= ‘Eureka’) around L.P. (= ‘disc’)
27 SWISHER; SW (= ‘Cornish’) + ISHER[wood] – referring to the writer Christopher Isherwood.
28 AUDITOR; AUDI (= ‘German company’) + TOR (= ‘peak’)
1 FAR OUT (1 def, 1 literal def)
2 NEWEST; (N + E + WEST) or (NE + WEST) – hence ‘two or three points?’.
4,5ac PEPPERONI; PEP (= ‘go’) + PERON (= ‘Argentina’s favourite’) + I (= ‘one’)
8 GATEPOST; (P[lay] A[mbitious] S[hots] TO GET)* – a brilliantly worded cricketing surface reading.
15 TED DEXTER; (E[nglish] + D.D. (= Doctor of Divinity = ‘theologian’) in TEXTER – I loved ‘phone tapper’ for TEXTER. Ted Dexter is a former England captain and Wisden Cricketer of the Year; the link is to his personal blog. (The blogger is not responsible for external sites etc etc.)
16 SOUFFLES; SO + rev. of (SELF (= ‘being’) + FU[ll]) – my last entry, thanks to the complex wordplay and unusual accented ending.
17 RIGATONI; RIGA + (INTO)* – Riga is the capital of Latvia.
20 UNFAIR (1 def, 1 whimsical def) – ‘thick’ in the sense of ‘excessive’ or ‘intolerable’.
23 DERMA; rev. of RED (= ‘apparently sore’) + M.A. (= ‘degree’)

16 Responses to “Guardian 24,993 (Sat 24 April)/Paul – Fast food”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, I really enjoyed this.

    However, even though I guessed 27a SWISHER correctly, I still have no idea what it is!

    Swish someone would explain: I haven’t slept all week.

  2. Biggles A says:

    My last entry was 27 and I still don’t much like it. If branches swish in the wind then I suppose a branch is a swisher but I can’t find a supporting dictionary definition. I was stuck at the top left for a while, having confidently entered ‘way out’ for 1d.

    Even knowing all the answers I think it would take me more than 5 minutes to write them in.

  3. Daniel Miller says:

    Many thanks RB,

    I had a go at this one and found it fun, interesting and straightforward. Sometimes I feel Saturday’s need a bit more time to crack, or better still, to open. Enjoyable!

  4. Jim says:

    Thanks for the blog, I badly needed it! I found this a really enjoyable crossword, but I had three left, 17d, 25a and 27a, and they were bugging me all week long!

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, rightback, for the blog.
    I fully agree with everything you said about this crossword in the preamble.
    This was a tasty affair – and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal … :)

    In 9ac (ROWAN) the ‘W’ stands for ‘white’. It is indeed not in Chambers, but Collins give us ‘B & W’ = ‘black and white’. That could be a justification.
    Even so, it was clear that it had to be like that, therefore we couldn’t get bothered too much.

    Like in 27ac (SWISHER).
    It is probably just as Biggles A thinks it is: ‘an object that swishes’. Again, not in the Dictionary as such, but we liked the freedom Paul took here [and – not unimportant – there is a question mark at the end].

    Rightback, what you said about the word ‘as’ in 18ac may surely be true [to purists], but let’s face it: “He sang as OTIS REDDING”, didn’t he [and not as Wilson Pickett]? :)

    As always, Paul couldn’t resist writing a clue referring to physical pleasures (well, um, bondage).
    I always wonder why the English say S-AND-M (remember that great THOUSAND clue a while ago?). It stands for sado-masochism, of course, which is normally SM (confirmed by Chambers, which also gives S-M and S/M). Hence, my question: why the connecting ‘and’?

    Straightforward or not [and Cryptica or not] Paul continues to be one of the very best.

  6. Bill Taylor says:

    With reservations about 27a, this was a terrific crossword. Nice theme and some lovely, clever clues. But SWISHER? I got it but only because there was nothing else it could be.

  7. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks rightback. This was an enjoyable solve with a few that took a while. I was very happy to enter Swisher since I didn’t know the author and wasn’t sure where Cornwall was until I checked both. It is only recently that I seem to be consistently able to finish a Prize crossword at one sitting. Fifteensquared must be a good influence (maybe motivator?)

    BTW – I think you inadvertently substituted 5dn for 4dn/5ac – BLACK PUDDING.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, rightback. Fast food, indeed! However did you solve it in five minutes??

    I got SWISHER early on and it didn’t particularly bother me. My hold-up was having FAN BELT at 1ac, even tho I thought it was wrong, but I eventually corrected it.

    Very enjoyable puzzle and nothing seemed forced. I liked the food theme too.

  9. rrc says:

    It takes me more than five minutes to read the clues let alone answer them. Very enjoyable crossword with some great clues.

  10. Mr Beaver says:

    Sil – I think S&M stands for Sadism and Masochism. Arguably more accurate than ‘sado-masochism’ as one participant would be S and the other M. Or so I suppose – I’m no expert, I hasten to say!

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    There are a lot of things that spring to my mind right now.
    One would be S (someone?), the other M (me?)? :)
    And what about M&S? :)

    Thanks, Mr Beaver, I get it [btw, I’m no expert either]

  12. smutchin says:

    Isn’t a swisher a headmaster’s cane? So called for the sound it makes.

  13. FumbleFingers says:

    Many thanks, rightback, for a few derivations & thematic allusions I didn’t get.

    Re ‘White = W’ in 9a ROWAN – interested to see you say “isn’t allowed in The Times, nor advanced/barred cryptics because it isn’t in Chambers”

    I wouldn’t want to be dismissive of anyone who solved this puzzle in 5 minutes, but seriously – are you saying Hugh Stephenson, Richard Browne, etc. actually codify such rules? And if they do, that Araucaria, Paul, etc. would feel bound by them?

    I’m a great fan of Chambers – great dictionary, and the only credible for an Official Scrabble Wordlist (playing in the UK – it obviously won’t do for international contests).

    Apart from proper nouns, Mephisto sticks to Chambers for answer words – but let’s face it, no-one could complete the puzzle without knowing they’re in there somewhere! Mephisto goes out of his way to include the neologisms whenever there’s a new edition!

    There have to be some rules in any sport, including cruciverbalism. But setting up one dictionary as the final arbiter of lexical conventions & validity seems to me more than a bit OTT. Valid English is whatever people say – so let the people speak!

  14. Huw Powell says:

    interesting and fun… in 75′ I was down to 3 missing answers. Some in depth research into the history of cricket got me 15d, leaving 27a (although I do have “swisher” written next to the clue, I couldn’t prove it to myself either literally or cryptically) and 20d. While I see how one could get 27a “fairly”, 20 makes no sense to me at all. But the rest of the puzzle was very enjoyable, the food theme requiring some odd research. I went to to suss out 3/19, since I knew they had lists of traditional British food!

    Thanks for the blog as always.

  15. Ian says:

    Thanks rightback.

    This was superb! Easy but richly rewarding. 35′ to complete.

    ‘Ted Dexter’ was stupendous. ‘Lancashire Hotpot’, ‘Tenderloin’ & ‘Bangers and Mash’ utterly scrumptious.

    Only wished you could have used a different, less graphic example for the use of a club rb.

  16. crosser says:

    @Huw Powell
    I hesitate to give an explanation as I’m a relative newcomer, but the clueing of “unfair” is, in fact, very fair. (1) A redhead is not fair-haired (therefore UNfair)and (2)when we think something is not fair, we say “I think that’s a bit thick”. Hope that has helped.

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