Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25009 / Paul

Posted by Handel on May 13th, 2010


Good morning all! You’re getting a double dose of us today. We’re very excited to be blogging a Paul puzzle as he’s a favourite of ours. This was an enjoyable puzzle, with a pleasing mixture of clue types and a good sprinkling of the setter’s trademark humour.  We’ve a couple of unresolved details here (10ac and 1dn), but I’m sure you’ll be able to put us right… And indeed you were, within the space of about five minutes. See below.



5. BEER GUT cryptic definition


10. ABDOMINAL (mad albino)* I wasn’t sure about ‘stomach’ as ‘abdominal’, as I would have said that was ‘of the stomach’. But in fact it’s fine as an adjective, as in ‘stomach pains/abdominal pains’


12, 19 W(ALL) (L)IZARD

14. CROSS-EXAMINE ‘romance is’ anagramised outside ‘sex’ (‘its physical side’)


21. A XIS<

25. MINUSCULE Minus is ‘take’, the ‘clue’ anagramised

26. ON AIR double definition ‘dancing on air’


28. SPINDLE (lends 1p)*


1. S(UP)INE I seem to remember that ‘sine’ is an effect in maths (‘sine over hypoteneuse’) but not entirely sure on this one. Nope, it’s hidden in ‘palmS UP IN Effect’


3. EAST BERLIN (let Serbian)*

4. OBAMA ‘Osama’ with ‘s’ becoming ‘b’. He really has been a gift to setters with all those vowels

5. BODY CHECK double definition

6. EMMA ‘mime’ dropping ‘i’ reversed, then ‘a’

7. GUN GAD IN dredged up from the back of El’s memory


13. CANNELLONI (nine on call)*

15. SPACE SUIT an opening is a space, and an action is a suit (in law)

16. EMBALMED ‘Lenin was’ is the definition. ‘lab me’ reversed (‘party with me’), then ‘med’ for ‘sea’


20. ENT RE E

23. MEETS sounds like ‘meats’

24. (r)IS(L)E

41 Responses to “Guardian 25009 / Paul”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks El!

    1d – SUPINE is hidden (reversed) within the clue.

  2. Bryan says:

    Sorry, NOT reversed!

  3. Rishi says:

    The solution to 1dn is hidden in part of the clue itself “Palms up in effect”, “keeping” being the indicator that it is embedded.

  4. Bryan says:

    10a is OK: ‘Stomach pains’ are sometimes referred to as ‘Abdominal pains’.

  5. Rishi says:

    Re 10ac, in phrases such as “stomach ulcer”, I believe ‘stomach’ is an adjective.

  6. Ian says:

    Thanks to both Handel and Paul.

    Delicious fare for a Thursday morning.

    The trademaek wit Handel refers to clearly evident as expected. I too love the way the cluing appears to be a pleasing mixture of charades, anagrams, containers, reversals and so on.

    This particular effort was one of the more unexacting puzzles of late and managed in 26′.

    5ac, 9/22ac, 12/19, 14ac and 20dn all sublime examples of the crossword setters art.

  7. IanN14 says:

    I was wandering if there was any significance to the number of double Ls, and specifically triple Ls in this grid?

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks Handel. Well up to Paul’s high standards. One new word (11a) but guessable, as was 1a with its (to me) baffling reference to giants – obvious now. Excellent in ingenuity and surface reading – and typical of the setter – were 14a and 9,22. Only quibble was whether 5d was properly defined: the two halves equate to the two cued words, but the whole is really a sporting term. Conceivably it’s like breast-check or body search, but even so, where is the definition?

  9. Orange says:

    A medical could be a “body check”, as well as the more usual sporting use, so a dd?
    There was something satisfying about this crossword, little bear’s porridge I think!

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Handel. A lovely puzzle from Paul. My favourite was 18ac, which wittily combined two things men can’t/won’t do!

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Liz – that was my first one in! :-)

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Handel – very enjoyable if in places a bit of ‘A.Bastard’ as the Guardian used to boast. I got 1a but missed the parsing (thanks for that) thinking it was something to do with ‘sup’. Similarly, 1 down which I thought was ‘up’ in ‘sine’. I wandered off course for some time thinking ‘brown’ in 11a must be ‘tan’ and that ‘minuscule’ was (as it can be less acceptably) ‘miniscule’. 5a amused, and it was satisfying to get 9a, 12a, 14a and 18a. I’ve got a feeling I’ve seen something close to 20d quite recently, but it still took some time to get it and only then remember.

  13. retired pleb says:

    A nice half hour solve, sitting in the sunshine this morning.
    Liked 5a (first one in) but suit of spacesuit (15d) slowed completion. Quite a straight forward one from Paul, I thought !

  14. Bill Taylor says:

    I wasn’t as impressed by this as most people here. I thought, for instance, 4d was a refugee from Rover! And, though MINUSCULE was obviously the answer, I didn’t equate “take” with “minus.” Brain-fade on my part, I guess. But when I pressed “check,” it came up as MINISCULE, which sent me into a self-righteous frenzy. I should have taken into account the Grauniad’s long and rather proud history of typos….

  15. tupu says:

    Bill Taylor @14. Hi. Re miniscule/minuscule.
    Interesting that the online check is wrong – I did not know this, as I solve on the paper itself, but nearly made the same mistake as I mentioned. I wonder at what stage this happens – simply type-setting I suppose? Certainly I could not see any sense in that spelling.

  16. Bill Taylor says:

    “Miniscule” is an increasingly common misspelling, tupu, and has gained acceptance in some circles. That didn’t give me a moment’s pause, though, in shrieking about the continuing impoverishment of our vocabulary. As for the typo, I guess whoever was filling in the spaces in the diagram hit “i” instead of “u” (they’re neighbours on the standard “qwerty” keyboard) and the editor simply missed it. That’s a more charitable explanation, anyway, than assuming they’re functional illiterates. And, as I’ve said, it happens all the time at the Guradian.

  17. Tokyo Colin says:

    I agree that the correct answer to 25ac has to be “Minuscule” since the clue doesn’t make sense with “Miniscule”, but I think it is an exaggeration to say it is a mere misspelling. Tha “mini” variant has been in regular use for over 100 years and is now very widespread. Search for “miniscule” on the BBC home page and see how often the word is used. I think we are in the final stages of a transition where the “minuscule” variant will remain the preferred spelling for the noun referring to lower case and “miniscule” will take over as the adjective meaning very small, or “wee” as Paul puts it.

    My Compact Oxford does not acknowledge its existence, but the online edition of Chambers states that “miniscule” is not yet widely accepted but acknowledges that it is likely to win in the end.

    I use the online version of Guardian crosswords, via an iPhone App, and was puzzled when it showed up as “mini”. Typos were fairly common before the new version, but I think this was a deliberate entry.

  18. Bill Taylor says:

    There are so many things that are not yet widely accepted but likely to win in the end (I saw the on-line Chambers entry, too). It doesn’t necessarily make them right. But — sorry, Gaufrid! — that’s not a debate for this site.

  19. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks, Handel, for the blog, which I needed to explain 1a & 1d (neither of which I got) and 9, 22 which I got but didn’t understand except for the definition.

    Enjoyable, I thought, even though it has taken me all morning, but not as witty as usual. I wasted some time on 25a as I thought the definition would have a more Paul-like meaning.

  20. tupu says:

    Re miniscule. After looking at the OED, I feel a bit less bad for having nearly succumbed to this since it gives three seemingly respectable citations from 1871, 1878 and 1891. It’s clearly wrong
    historically – it’s definitely only ‘minusculus’ in Latin, but I’m not frantically worried about that in itself, if only because English spelling leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times. Bill’s perceptive explanation of the error in the ‘check’ is, as he says, perhaps too charitable. In any case it shouldn’t happen in that context. It will be interesting to see tomorrow’s paper.

  21. Bill Taylor says:

    Don’t get me started on “alright!”

  22. tupu says:

    I wonder if somebody once said much the same about ‘at-one’ment and, subsequently ‘atone’ :).

  23. Jack says:

    RE: 25ac. The ‘Cheat’ button on the online version now gives ‘minuscule’ so I guess it must have been a typo if/when it originally gave ‘miniscule’.

  24. Daniel Miller says:

    Fairly good, pun laden (not Bin laden tho) combo. No doubt we can expect Osama Bin Laden to refer to Obama AND Biden in due course. Beer Gut made me laugh with the Drinker’s hangover clue!

  25. Bill Taylor says:

    Jack @23 and tupu @22, I guess the Guardian has made at-one-ment….

  26. crikey says:

    Daniel at 24, I’m pretty sure that’s already happened. I can’t remember the exact clue, but it was either towards the end of (or just after) the US presidential election campaign. And, if memory serves, it was Paul too!

  27. crikey says:

    Found it!

    Hope this works, I’ve never tried to post a link before!

  28. Martin H says:

    Some lovely clueing from Paul, and with a nice mixture of types. So, an enjoyable puzzle.

    However I thought OBAMA very wordy, for such an obvious answer, and DEEPEST was similarly weak.
    PARODY was well-constructed, but the definition ‘farce’ is a bit loose; SUPINE refers to the lie of the body – the palms of a supine person could face up or down; and ‘seeking directions’ for ‘asking’ (18) seems a bit forced to me. (I’m drinking coffee at the same time as writing this – does that count?)

  29. Derek Lazenby says:

    Dang! Started off not getting Paul, then I went through a period of finishes or near finshes, then I went through another “Doh” stage. So I really wanted to have something to say about finishing this one as being the end of the latter stage, but it’s too late, it’s all been said. Still I have an excuse, I was busy with outstanding PC maintainence and got so “into it”, that it was only around 5 that I had chance to look at this. Oh, ok, there was a late afternoon pint to get over the PC work as well.

  30. Carrots says:

    Although I`m not averse to obscure words (e.g.”Nudibranch”)setters who clue them seem to be demonstrating a paucity of their stock-in-trade. Paul is an excellent and accomplished setter who, as this puzzle clearly demonstrates, provides much pleasure for us all. However, I did not put in 1 dn. (“supine”) until I saw it was an “includogram” (my neologism). The reason? I sleep on my back…but with my palms facing down on the bottom bedsheet. Such is my dearth of bedfellowesses that I thought most people did!!

  31. cholecyst says:

    6 dn.EMMA. I know I’ve winged on about the Emmas Bovary (nee Rouault) and Woodhouse before on this site. They’ve already appeared at least three times this year – sometimes included in DILEMMA – and frequently last year (do a search to confirm). So – compilers : please let her (them) rest peacefully in the grave. It’s just too easy isn’t it? You need to try harder!

  32. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, a good puzzle, but we wouldn’t say a very good one.
    Just the usual fare [which, admitted, is indeed better than some other’s tour de force] – relatively unremarkable on the Paul-scale.

    Like cholecyst, we think EMMA should be banned now [though the clue was OK].
    ALLIANCE and ENTREE were too obvious, in our opinion [maybe even old chestnuts].
    The OBAMA clue was also immediately clear [the s/b trick surely must have been done before], but why such a surface, “Born to replace son in terrorist”? What does that mean?

    We weren’t happy with ‘Lenin was’ for the definition of EMBALMED.
    There must be more people than just Lenin, and it’s surely not the only ‘thing’ he was.

    One question: why is ‘minus’ = ‘take’?
    If it has to do with subtracting, well, then I have to say that my pupils say ‘8 take away 3′ when I write down ‘8-3′. But maybe there’s another explanation?

    Best clues probably, 14ac (CROSS-EXAMINE) [and nót because of the ‘sex’] and 24d (ISLE – one that we saw yesterday too), both very well constructed.

    This was really a quickie today, and in our After-work-session, we even had the time to tackle Alberich in the FT [also easier than usual, and a match to Paul in precision].

    Good, not great.

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sil, it’s because take, in the remove sense implies a subtraction. E.G. Saying, take 3 cans off the shelf. You wouldn’t say take away because that could imply “and remove from this vicinity” (if you meant that then take away from is correct), but from the point of view of the shelf, the cans are taken away, subtracted. So just saying take in this instance is doing double work, one part of which justifies the clue.

    Doh, that wasn’t very good. I always find it hard to be succinct when meanings are intertwined and need explaining. But you asked, and no-one else answered so I had to try.

  34. Fletch says:

    I did enjoy it though I agree with Sil that it was nothing outstanding. But when you’ve been around so long as a setter and have had such a prolific output in most of the major broadsheets, I don’t expect to see every clue honed to the same kind of perfection as, say, a setter that gets one stab a month at it.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Derek (#33), thanks for your efforts.
    I do get it now.
    ‘Take poor clue’ then ‘we will get as a result’ (as): ‘wee’.
    So, ‘minus CULE*’, we’ll have ‘wee’.
    I don’t like it, though [but that’s my problem].

  36. Dave Ellison says:

    Instead of EMMA for E?M? there are: ERMA, ELMO, ELMS, EMMY, ESME; and for ?M?A, AMIA, YMCA, AMEN; and probably others, so quite a choice.

    I completed half of this in 30′, then ground to a halt. I didn’t find the rest easy.

    I must demur to 21a: An axis is not a turning point; an axis is a line.

  37. Dave Ellison says:

    Ooops, sorry, not AMEN

  38. scarpia says:

    A pretty good puzzle from Paul,not one of his very best but plenty of fun nonetheless.
    Particularly liked 18 across and 7 down.
    Re 27 across – it seems Pest has not been a city in it’s own right since 1873(see link below),so should clue have read’meeting old city on the Danube’?,_Hungary

  39. Steve Pardoe says:

    Tupu (20) – our fairly Northern edition of Friday’s paper spells 25a MINISCULE, but Fowler and Burchfield are having none of it (and neither is Fifteensquared’s checker, I see!).

    I enjoyed 25009 – perhaps in part because I found it easier than many of Paul’s. Now for The Master…..

  40. tupu says:

    Hi Steve Pardoe. Thanks re Fowler. So too does my paper here further south! But quite apart from the spelling – which, as you can see, is not so great a worry for me in itself – the crucial thing is that ‘miniscule’ makes no sense in the context of the clue as far as I can see. Perhaps Paul could comment.

  41. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks, Handel and Paul.

    Very enjoyable puzzle, started in a few easy clues, then kept hitting brick walls, but each time I’d attack it again I’d get another 1-3 or so and be remotivated to not give up yet. MULTITASKING finally got me the last five or so. Didn’t get WALL LIZARD, but I do have “wizard” and “alll” written in my notes so I was almost there.

    I also appreciated the nice mix and wide range of clue types. 14 was my favorite.

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