Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,118 / Paul

Posted by mhl on September 17th, 2010


A tricky puzzle from Paul, I think, with a theme of card games – lots of clever clues, and fun to work on. (For the first time in ages I’m doing this on an actual copy of the Guardian, being briefly back in the UK!)

8. PATIENCE “Patience is a virtue”
9. OMBRE (BOREM)* (“boredom” without DO = “party”)
10. SCAD [eccentri]C in SAD = “blue”
11. RHINOCEROS A lovely clue: (COIN R HORSE)*
12. FRIDAY I’D A = “I had a” in FRY = “fish”; fish is traditionally served on Friday
14. UNIVERSE IN U = “in you” reversed + VERSE = “part of song”
15. ATLANTA NT = “Books” beside ATLA[s] = “maps almost” + A
17. OLD MAID L[a]D[y] = “lady regularly” in DIAMO[nd] reversed = “entering suit withdrawing, for the most part”
20. CRIBBAGE B[one] = “bone (not one)” after RIB = “behind bone” all in CAGE = “arrangement of those bones?”
22. SUNLIT S = “Spades” + UNLIT = “dark”
23. STRIP POKER OPP = “opposite” reversed in STRIKER = “forward” (in football); sorry, I’m not going to attempt to find a Safe For Work link for this one :)
24. SNAP Double definition
25. ARGUS Double definition; a fish and a common name for newspapers
26,24down. NAPOLEON SOLO The two card games are NAPOLEON (also one of the pigs in “Animal Farm”) and SOLO (also Han SOLO in “Star Wars”). Napoleon Solo was “The Man from UNCLE”
1. BACCARAT BT = “Phone people” around ACCRA = “capital” around A
2. WILD Double definition: the jokers in games of cards are often treated as wildcards
3. GNARLY (ANGRY)* around L[abour]
4. BEZIQUE BEE = ‘spelling “quiz”‘ around (QUIZ)*
5. COLONIAL IN O L = “in, zero left” reversed (“standing”) in COAL = “fuel”
6. ABLE SEAMAN NAMES ELBA = “identifies [Napoleon]’s isle” reversed (“from the south”) around A
7. VENOUS VENUS = “Love” around O = “love”; veins carry blood to the heart
13. DRAWBRIDGE DRAW = “Design” + BRIDGE = “card game”
16. TRAPPIST T = “first of tankards” + SIP PART = “don’t gulp it all” all reversed (“up”)
18. IMITATOR (IT IT MOR[e])* = “It’s twice more difficult (without energy)” around A
19. SEEKING SEE = “understand” + KING = “card”
21. RAT-TAT Double definition
22. SERAPH H = “Entrance to heaven” + PARES = “cuts” reversed (“skyward”)

45 Responses to “Guardian 25,118 / Paul”

  1. Stella says:

    Thanks mhl.

    This was a little difficult, since i didn’t know of some of the card games and had forgotten others, which eventually came to mind, and I wasn’t familiar with the fish, either.

    It is 12ac, though, and the impeccable cluing helped me through what was, in the end, an enjoyable puzzle with some lovely surfaces.

    My favourites were 26/24, and 13d.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    You have a typo in 22dn. It should be PARES not PARSE.

  3. mhl says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid – I’ve fixed that

  4. JS says:

    Thanks mhl

    I enjoyed this crossword, liked the theme and the way it was ‘dealt’ with!

    I wondered what was going to be said about 11ac. Obviously an anagram (indicated by ‘perhaps’) and ‘coin’ can be interpreted as ‘to make up name/phrase for’ but a river horse is surely a hippopotamus not a rhinoceros – has Paul made a mistake here or is there something about the clue & answer that I have missed?

  5. Mick H says:

    I wondered about 11ac too – ‘river horse’ should of course refer to a hippopotamus, so I just assumed the ? and “coin indicated Paul’s awareness that to call a rhino one would be wrong. But it’s a stretch!

  6. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, mhl. I needed your explanation of the wordplay in 17ac.

    Like Stella, I didn’t know either of the fish but I had heard of all the card games.

    My favourite clue was TRAPPIST – made me laugh out loud!

    JS and Mick H, I thought the whole point of 11ac was that everyone knows that a hippopotamus is a river horse. I thought it was a great clue! :-)

  7. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks mhl. Like you I found parts of this quite tricky, although the theme was reasonably accessible. I see there is no consensus about rhino – must say I’m lukewarm about the clue.

    Re 12a I’m partial to fish any day of the week, though having read ‘Kitchen Confidential’ perhaps not in restaurants on Mondays or Tuesdays….

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. V enjoyable from Paul. OMBRE was the one I didn’t know, but I made a lucky guess and confirmed it with the check button. I liked 20ac — not the most elegant of surfaces, perhaps, but the wordplay made me smile!

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl I really enjoyed this.

    However, I’d never heard of ARGUS as a fish but, here in Brighton & Hove, we do have an Evening Argus which normally contains very little except when it’s used for carrying Fish & Chips.

  10. walruss says:

    A nice puzzle, but yes! 11 across is definitely a mistake by the compiler and the editor. A hippopotamus is the river horse, as is clear from the etymology, while a rhinoceros is just a ‘nose-horn’! It might wander down to theriver, though :)

  11. The Architrave says:

    I don’t see it as a mistake, more a gentle dig at those who might make such a mistake, especially as the Rhine is a river. I’m sure Araucaria would be forgiven a clue like this.

  12. cyniccure says:

    11a definitely not a mistake. Just very clever. Paul doesn’t make mistakes!

  13. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks for the link-filled blog mhl.

    I found this less inspiring than most of Paul’s puzzles but quite prepared to ascribe that to a long hard day at work.

    Definitely agree with cyniccure@12. The ? shows Paul knew what he was about.

    My only real quibble is with 21dn. I have never heard “rat-a-tat” abbreviated to just “rat-tat” and even if that is accepted what does TAT have to do with being discerning? (I had entered RATBAG, not entirely sure why but until someone enlightens me it is still a better fit than RATTAT.)

  14. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks, mhl

    Tokyo Colin – in 21d, TAT means “cheap trashy goods”, which a discerning rat wuldn’t buy. And even though I can’t specifically recall coming across it, I personally don’t have a problem with RAT-TAT for rat-a-tat.

  15. otherstuff says:

    A discerning rat (or anyone) would not buy TAT, but I agree it doesn’t sound right and rat-a-tat is the knock

  16. FumbleFingers says:

    @otherstuff & Tokyo Colin

    OED gives RAT-TAT, as does thefreedictionary online. In any case, it’s just onomatopoeia, so arguably it depends on the specific sound being invoked.

    My own “trademark” knock on a door is always 2 knocks rather than 3, as I’m getting too old to do 3 in rapid succession :-)

  17. Eileen says:

    It sounds odd to me, too, but I’ve just looked and RAT-TAT is in Chambers as a knocking sound and, what’s more, RAT-A-TAT [which, of course, comes first] is simply ‘same as RAT-TAT’. [Only Rat-a-tat [plus Rat-a-tat-tat] is in Collins, though.]

  18. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thank you FumbleFingers and otherstuff. I finally found TAT in Chambers online as “Brit colloq rubbish or junk”. Explains why I hadn’t run across it.

  19. PeterO says:

    For those of you who object to 11A: I certainly wouldn’t call a rhinoceros a river horse. At least, not to its face. I think you are missing the point.

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Fun, but with some recourse to the gadgets sadly.

    If the anagram is from coin r horse, then why on earth does it have to make sense? It is just anagram fodder.

    Not that is was needed for this crossword, but if you ever want to know about card games then is a good place to start. I never knew there were so many (and yet there is the odd gap!).

  21. cyniccure says:

    Derek @ 20
    Couldn’t have put it better – ‘anagram fodder’. Nice. Thanks.

  22. Richard says:

    I’m pleased to have got all but 10 & 11 without aids. Having now seen both answers, I can’t say that they brought a smile to my face.

  23. otherstuff says:

    Derek at 20 I used pagat as well and got fooled into thinking it was definitive because they include both Chase the Lady and 52 Card pick-up
    and thus was stumped by the fairly obvious 24a which is missing from their list.

  24. walruss says:

    Why wouldn’t anagram fodder make sense? It usually does, as far as I am aware! I do not buy that one.

  25. JamesG says:

    why is “bee” spelling? Sorry if I’m being dim….

  26. mhl says:

    JamesG: a “spelling bee” is a type of competition they have in the USA where children are given words to spell out loud. These events became widely known about here largely as a result of the documentary film “Spellbound”, I think.

  27. mhl says:

    (it’s BEE = “spelling quiz” rather than just “spelling”)

  28. PeterO says:

    Yes, walrus, anagram fodder does make surface sense, in that it is not an arbitrary collection of letters; but in general only in the very special case of an &lit clue will that meaning refer to the answer.

  29. snigger says:

    Armed with an italian/english dictionary, a 1740’s copy of the “a’s-2-z’s” of archaic abbreviations, i sat down to complete the daily crossword.

    Paul, i am sorry, but you haven’t got the hang of this crossword setting lark at all have you?

    ” cyniccure says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    11a definitely not a mistake. Just very clever. Paul doesn’t make mistakes!”

    And i’m sorry cynnicure, you are supposed to express yourself as the setters “greatest apologist”

    As you may gather, i enjoyed this far more than yesterdays.

  30. Dave Ellison says:

    I am with Mick H at #5; isn’t the clue an &lit of sorts, too?

    I had ANGLE for 25a which ruined 16d for me. ANGLE fits, as “in newspaper” could mean their particular take.

  31. grandpuzzler says:

    I also had ANGLE for 25a for the same reason as Dave Ellison @30.
    Tried to make ZEROES work at 7d. Forgot about the love goddess.
    Thanks, mhl, for the blog.

  32. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    Excellent puzzle from Paul and far easier than his Saturday offering. I got one letter wrong. I couldn’t be bothered checking so I put ARGOS for “Fish in newspaper” just to finish off the puzzle and the answer was ARGUS. Maybe I should throw down the sword and the king will come later. (music fans will understand this).

    I thought the clue for BEZIQUE was very good and RAT-TAT gave me a good laugh despite all you whingers.

    Paul has a unique style of clueing and is definitely the eire apparent (sorcerer’s apprentice) to the great Araucaria. I couldn’t pay him a greater compliment.

  33. cyniccure says:

    If anyone can make any sense of snigger @ 29 please let me know. (Or maybe that’s the point – there is no sense… ‘snigger’!)

    snigger: bear in mind it’s a good rule only to post when you have something worth saying. And please note the spelling – cyniccure – thanks.

  34. FumbleFingers says:

    I don’t understand all this fuss about 11a. As Derek @20 says, COIN R(iver) HORSE is primarily anagram fodder.

    The fact that it also calls hippopotamus to mind is obviously not happenstance – that’s Paul’s deliberate & legitimate attempt to throw us off the track. Which worked on me for a minute or two, I must confess.

  35. Mr Beaver says:

    Sorry to flog a dead hippopotamus, but if ‘Coin “river horse”‘ is the anagram fodder, ‘perhaps’ is the anagrind, where on earth is the definition ?
    ‘For this’ implies to me some sort of &lit.
    Either 11a is wrong, or far too ‘clever’ for my simple brain – if so, would someone mind explaining what I’ve missed ?

  36. Stella says:

    Hi Mr. Beaver

    The anagram fodder is ‘coin+r+horse’, with ‘perhaps’ as anagrind, and the definition is ‘this large beast’ – one often associated with a hippopotomus for reasons we are all aware of.

  37. Martin H says:

    ‘What large beast?’ I thought when I saw your reply to Mr B, Stella. When I, and I imagine a few others too, did it this morning on line the ‘definition’ was simply ‘for this’, and hence the head-scratching at what looked like the wrong &lit. He’s there now – I’ve checked – but he certainly hadn’t surfaced by 9.00.

  38. JS says:

    Interesting that the clue for 11a has, as Martin H #37 says, been amended from its original form – this is presumably where the confusion lies. I have only seen the online version not the printed version.

    Original clue in online version was:

    11 Coin “river horse”, perhaps, for this? (10) – it was this version that led to my comment #4; as I said then I thought this might be a mistake.

    Latest version is:

    11 Coin “river horse”, perhaps, for this large beast? (10) – presumably the people who thought it was a great clue only saw this version; I like Paul’s crosswords as much as the next person but I wouldn’t call this clue particularly great or brilliant.

    Now, Paul may never make mistakes, but it looks as though someone has hence the amendment.

  39. Eileen says:

    There was no ‘large beast’ in the paper, either, but I still thought it was a great clue: I was happy enough with ‘for this’ being the definition.

  40. cyniccure says:

    Wasn’t aware of the earlier version of the 11a clue. It certainly explains some – to me – inexplicable confusion. Someone at the Graun should fess up.

  41. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl.
    Following your link to ‘Old Maid’, the clue now seems to have also taken on something of an &lit about it. The game is one in which you take out (withdrawing, for the most part) a Queen (lady regularly entering suit – there’s one in each).
    Well, I liked it !

  42. Gerry says:

    I was beaten by ‘venous’ and tried to fit ‘zeroes’ like grandpuzzler, as in zeroing into the heart of something.

  43. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks, Stella and Martin H – all is now clear. I too only saw the clue ending with ‘for this’.

    But then Eileen’s post @39 threw me into confusion again – how could the truncated clue possibly be described as ‘great’ ? It just doesn’t make sense {8-(

  44. Huw Powell says:

    Hmmm, fun puzzle, and excellent theme, especially the way it worked both ways – the obvious thematic clues that led to “card games” as solutions, but I also count six clues in which “cards” are part of the “game” of the clue itself.

    I was wondering what all the fuss was about RHINOCEROS (I was working on the online print version) until you folks discovered the original online version was flawed.

    I only guessed at ARGUS briefly near the end but didn’t write it in, got close to TRAPPIST (well, I had the T and A and wrote “SIP” in my notes…). Didn’t go further with it because wikipedia didn’t list a fish as being one of the entries for it. Oh well.

    Other than those two misses, though, a very enjoyable and very fair puzzle, I thought.

    Thanks Paul for the theme-rich playground, and mhl for the blog!

    Oh, PS, the first Man From U.N.C.L.E. I remembered was Ilya Kuryakin, but it didn’t quite fit! And I only remembered him because I watched a couple of episodes on utube the other evening. I used to adore that show when I was a child…

  45. Sil van den Hoek says:

    It feels a bit strange to comment on a crossword that isn’t today’s one – even more so, when there are things that haven’t been said before.

    Well, I will nót make a contribution to the RHINOCEROS issue [but I fully agree with Mr Beaver in #43].
    Although, cyniccure’s post (#12) is a bit too confident to my taste.
    Neither “11a definitely not a mistake. Just very clever” nor “Paul doesn’t make mistakes!” are indisputable statements.
    I clearly remember this setter (as Mudd and Punk, that’s true) making two or three mistakes in the last 12 months.
    However, setters are human beings, so they make mistakes – just like everyone else. I have no problem with that.
    And in the end, it is probably more the ‘fault’ of the editor or the person who’s responsible for the (typographical) end product.

    Back to this puzzle.
    We thought, this Paul was on the easy side – probably because of the theme being a bit too obvious.

    And some clues were under par.
    SEEKING (19d), for example, is really poor because it is too similar to ‘Looking’.
    The same applies to 14ac (UNIVERSE) – why on earth does Paul choose a reversal indicator that contains ‘verse’?
    In our opinion, this was very very un-Paul.

    I am a person who does like storytelling clues, but I thought 26,24d was too much of that. “Animal Farm” and “Star Trek” are completely superfluous. Strictly speaking there’s nothing wrong with it, but they make the clue unnecessarily long and are not value added as far as the surface is concerned.

    SUNLIT (22ac) is a nice clue within the context of the theme, but (for us) slightly spoilt by the fact that ‘unlit’ is too close to ‘sunlit’ [both ‘lit’s are the same thing].

    And finally, our last entry (WILD – 2d) is not extremely brilliant, is it?
    I don’t even want to spend too much time on explaining why.

    However – don’t worry! – there were some genuine Paul clues.
    Eileen mentioned TRAPPIST as outstanding and we say yes, too.
    4d (BEZIQUE) is another example of clever Paulian wordplay.
    And just like liz (#8) [and for the same reasons] we liked 20ac (CRIBBAGE).

    Clue of the Day the lovely, sweet and completely appropriate 7d (VENOUS).

    We had to think of the name of one of the more or less regulars at this site: Paul (not Paul)?
    [but still a good crossword in a good week anyway]

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