Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,113 (Sat 11 Sep)/Paul – Optimised

Posted by rightback on September 18th, 2010


Solving time: 8½ mins

Excellent stuff from Paul with an impressive grid and virtually faultless clueing. 27ac (GENE POOL) was perhaps my favourite.

Music of the day: sometimes I struggle to find something appropriate, but today I’m spoilt for choice. Take your pick from R.E.M. (16ac), the Crash Test Dummies (9/24ac), U2 (4dn) or Supergrass (8dn).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 SIDE + STEP – ‘supplementary’ as in ‘side order’.
5 EVICTS; C[ouples] in rev. of ST IVE[s] – nice clue. I spent too long looking for a longer Cornish town from which to remove something before the reversal.
9,24 CRASH TEST DUMMY; ASH (= ‘Tree’) + TEST (= ‘flower’, the river in Hampshire) + D[ied], all in CRUMMY (= ‘second-rate’)
11 CHAMP (2 defs) – ‘Tyson’ as in the former heavyweight biting boxing champion.
12 BOTTOM DOLLAR; T (= ‘model’) + TOM (= ‘male’) + DOLL (= ‘model’), all in BOAR (= ‘swine’)
15 [s]EVEN
16 SIDEWINDER; DEER (= ‘Animal’) around WIND (= ‘breath’) after rev. of I’S
18 OPTIMISING; OP, + IS in TIMING – my last entry, but I’m not sure why; ‘the secret of great comedy’ had to be ‘timing’.
19 ZEUS; rev. of SUEZ
21 SPECTROGRAPH; (PERHAPS GOT + C[olou]R)* – some slight meandering here via ‘spectographer’ (sic).
26 RECITE; rev. of E[n]TICER
27 GENE POOL; LOO (= ‘can’) + PEN (= ‘writer’) + E.G. (= ‘say’), all reversed – excellent clue which I didn’t get when solving.
1 SACK (2 defs) – ‘the axe’ as in ‘the sack’.
2,22,23 DEAL OR NO DEAL; (LEONARDO)* + DEAL (= ‘wood’) – referring to the TV programme. I think ‘no questions asked’ is just a dig at the inanity of this particular show, but there may be more to it.
3 SCHOOL (2 defs)
4 ELECTRIC STORM; ELECT (= ‘Choose’) + R.I. (= Rhode Island = ‘state’), + R.M. (= ‘marines’) under (COST)*
6,20 VICTORIA SPONGE; VICTORIA’S PONG + [grim]E – had to laugh at this.
8 SUPERGRASS; E.R. in SUP + GRASS – the plural ‘drugs’ for ‘grass’ is slightly loose, but I suppose ‘into drugs’ is used coloquially to mean ‘into a particular drug’.
10 TIM BERNERS-LEE; TIMBER (= deal = ‘2’) + NER[d] + SLEE[p] – ‘web designer’ and the enumeration was sufficient here; if I hadn’t known the name this would probably have been my last entry and have added 25% or more to the solving time.
13 RECONSIDER (hidden backwards) – superbly hidden.
14 GEOTHERMIC; (THE RIG + COME)* – another very smooth clue. I just wonder whether ‘X has Y loose’ properly indicates that X is part of the anagram, but that’s a very minor quibble.
17 AMETHYST; A + ME (= ‘setter’) + THY (= ‘your’) + ST[one]

10 Responses to “Guardian 25,113 (Sat 11 Sep)/Paul – Optimised”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Rightback this was a joy.

    Everything worked nicely with CRASH TEST DUMMY being the last for me.

    And, yes, GENE POOL was my favourite, too.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks rightback. Lots to like here, including the diversionary ‘perhaps’ in 21a. Some challenging answers for monarchists, in 6 and 7d, and some others that got a chuckle after eventual elaboration, like 10d and 27a. Several were easy to get but left lingering queries, like the fragments making up 13d.

  3. Biggles A says:

    2 had to be DEAL OR NO DEAL but never having heard of the show I had to seek confirmation from the internet. I still don’t understand the NO QUESTIONS ASKED though unless it is only an indication that luck is the sole arbiter here.

    13 is hidden backwards molonglo.

  4. Tokyocolin says:

    This was an enjoyable solve, without any overly difficult clues but also without any “laugh out loud” moments I usually expect from Paul. It is a tribute to the cluing that I was able to complete this without having heard of the web designer, the TV show, the river (flower) and not knowing any Cornish towns.

    I think RECONSIDER was the best hidden answer I have seen and so my CotD.

  5. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Rightback. I agree with comments so far identifying some delicious clues. I’ve never seen the game show DOND but a quick glance at the Wiki entry suggests that there are no conventional quiz questions in the format apart, of course, from the eponymous one. But I’m quite possibly missing something.

  6. Davy says:

    Thanks rightback,

    I found this very very difficult to get into but got there in the end over the weekend and it took me slightly more than your 8.5 minutes. Does the extra half minute indicate the difficulty of this puzzle ?.

    The effort I put into this was well worth it and it’s a good feeling to decode Paul’s clues. The highlight for me was Victoria’s pong and who else but Paul could have come up with this construction. I had a real good laugh over that so thanks Paul. Other great answers were OPTIMISING which took a lot of thinking about and CHARLADIES which had a funny clue. Also the clue for SPECTROGRAPH had an excellent surface.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Rightback and Paul.

    10d certainly slowed me down until I eventually found him in Wiki.

    Some excellent clues and good laughs here.

    Last one in was 9/24, for no other reason than that it just didn’t occur to me :)

  8. Roger says:

    Many thanks, rightback. I wondered whether 2etc might also be alluding to one of those dodgy deals done down the pub where ‘no questions asked’ is probably good advice !

  9. Dynamic says:

    Deal Or No Deal goes out at about 4.15 or 4.30 on weekday afternoons, after Countdown on Channel 4. The host, Noel Edmonds introduces it with words such as “22 sealed boxes, a quarter of a million pounds, and just one question – Deal Or No Deal?”

    That one question isn’t really a question, more a number of predefined decision points, so I’d say the clue is faultless.

    Especially enjoyed 2,22,23 plus 18’s secret of great comedy.

  10. maarvarq says:

    No comments about the pleasingly biting surface of 7dn, or is alluding to the troubled marriage of the “People’s Princess” to the Prince of Wales still regarded as a bit close to the bone?

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