Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,143 (Sat 16 Nov)/Paul – Brandy flap

Posted by rightback on October 23rd, 2010


Solving time: 8½ minutes

A good puzzle from Paul which I made considerably more difficult for myself with a wrong answer at 1ac. There were several cross-referenced clues, including a couple of related Europeans at 16ac/22sn and 19dn/14ac.

Music of the day (20dn): Pinball Wizard by The Who.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 BRANDY; B + RANDY – I put in ‘boiled’ here, thinking ‘turned on’ might be a synonym for ‘drunk’ (= ‘oiled’).
4 ASSESSESS – because a female ass might be an assess. I spent a little time trying to anagram ‘analyses’ and a little more wondering if ‘blonde’ was relevant.
10 HULA-HULA – as in Hula Hoops (a British crisp variety for overseas solvers). [Edit: more likely a reference to hula hoops. Thanks Bryan.]
11,21 CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS [spelling corrected – thanks Dad’sLad]; C[onstant] + (LACONIC NARRATIONS SO RECTIFIED – [mistak]E)* [corrected – thanks Biggles]– I think this is a self-mocking dig at the Guardian’s notorious corrections column, an appearance in which is one of my few claims to fame.
13 PRISON TERM; SO (= ‘like that’) in PRINTER + [bu]M
16 LAPP; “LAP”
23 DEFIANCE – a pun on ‘fiancé’.
24 LIBIDO; BI (= ‘two’) in LIDO (= ‘pool’)
25 GOLD DUST; OLD (= ‘hardened’) + D[iamonds], all in GUST (= ‘blast’) – nice clue.
26 VEGGIE; VIE (= ‘compete’) around EGG (= ‘what’s laid’) – I read ‘Compete’ here as ‘Complete’ (which I’m sure I’ve done before) so was slow to spot this answer. In the definition a ‘layer’ is ‘one who lays’, i.e. a chicken.
1 BUST (2 defs)
2 ALVEOLI; (VOLA[t]ILE)* – the alveoli are the fractally bits in your lungs.
3 DARK ROOM; DOOM (= ‘catastrophe’) around (ARK + [wei]R)
5 SAUDI ARABIA; SARA around AUDI, + B.A. around I – very nicely worded, although ‘Country … (5,6)’ doesn’t leave too many options.
6 ELAINE (hidden backwards) – excellent surface.
7 SAUSAGE; [vi]SA + USAGE (= ‘application’) – as in ‘not a sausage’. Excellent wordplay, although the definition doesn’t seem to fit the surface reading quite so well.
8 SLANDERED; LAND (= ‘Sod’) in SE (= ‘London [postal] area’) + RED – to ‘slur’ someone is to slander them. This was the clue I found most difficult and I’m not totally convinced by ‘London area’ = SE; ‘SEI’ (i.e. ‘SE1′) would be ok but is SE alone used to mean south-east London?
12 CUT TO PIECES; (POETIC JUSTICE – J – I)* – very good anagram, though a slightly odd phrase for a crossword answer.
13 POLICE DOG; (POODLE + CORGI – OR)* – not keen on this ungrammatical deletion of ‘or’.
15 POSITIVE – because you’d get negatives in a DARK ROOM (the answer to clue 3).
17 PLAYFUL; (FLY + PAUL)* – the question mark is because of the indirect anagram (since the solver has to replace ‘me’ with the setter’s name ‘Paul’).
19,14 DANCING BEAR; “DANCING BARE” – which lap dancers or pole dancers might, so I understand. (‘We hear’ acts on [the answer to] 16 as well as ‘bear’, so LAPP => “LAP”.)
20 WIZARD (2 defs) – with a pun on ‘spell’. I think ‘wizard!’ meaning ‘super!’ is probably a bit passé.
22 POLE (2 defs)

14 Responses to “Guardian 25,143 (Sat 16 Nov)/Paul – Brandy flap”

  1. Biggles A says:

    11, 21: Is there not one more C needed for the anagram? I took this as a symbol for ‘constant’ even though my recollection of schoolboy maths tells me it is more likely to be K or R (the gas constant).

    19,14 seemed to me to indicate that the pole or the lap BORE the weight of the dancer.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Rightback I enjoyed this.

    Regarding HULA HULA, I recalled the HULA HOOP as follows:

    I previously knew several Italians including Al Pacino, Al Gebra and Al Fresco as well as the comedian Al Read but Al Veoli was completely new to me.

    Wherever does Paul find ’em? Maybe this is one of ‘the secrets’ that he intends to reveal?

  3. The Architrave says:

    Re 8, I took “London area” to mean the area (the South-East) that contains London.

  4. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Rightback.

    Do you need a spelling “correction” at 11,21a? Or is this your own “self-mocking dig”. The answers were gettable for 11,21a but I thought a bit insular.

    I read the SE for 8d to be the area London is in, within England – but you may well be right about the setter’s intention.

    Like you I struggled a bit with 1a and yet again for a 1a it was first read, last in. Loved 26 across.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks rightback. One quick cheat early on, with the atlas: to find a 5,6 country ending in A (5d) . Straightforward after that, with a gift at 22d, a laugh at 23a and applause for the brandy and sausage.

  6. tupu says:

    thanks rightback and Paul

    A very clever and enjoyable puzzle.

    I took Hula Hoops as Bryan did.

    I particularly liked ‘assesses’, and enjoyed solving 3d and 5d.

    :) 19,14 etc puts a different perspective on its namesake in the Teletubbies.

  7. rightback says:

    Thanks for the corrections, now made in the blog.

    8ac: I think The Architrave and Dad’sLad (#3 and #4) may well be right that ‘London area’ = SE as in the south-east of England.

  8. tupu says:

    Hi rightback. Sorry but ‘clarifications’ still misspelt.

  9. tupu says:


    7d ‘sausage’ was also an excellent clue.

    Re Hulahula: this was of course a Hawaian dance with much hip-swinging and the hula hoops were kept ‘afloat’ in a way reminiscent of this.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Alveoli, Bryan @ 2; perhaps Paul did O-level biology; that’s where I met the word.

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This was a very good Paul.
    And to start off with our Favourites, here they are, in no particular order:
    9ac (SEVERN), 26ac (VEGGIE) [probably the winner], 5d (SAUDI ARABIA) [although very easy], 13d (POLICE DOG) and 17d (PLAYFUL) [yep –playful!].
    Oh, and 1ac too, even if we’ve seen BRANDY too many times recently.

    On the other side of the spectrum, 22d (POLE) was way too easy, but together with LAPP invaluable for our ‘dancer’.

    On the other side of Paul’s spectrum, we didn’t understand why he used the word “bum” in 13ac to get an M.
    To live up to his reputation?
    [and did anyone see those ‘boobs’ coming up in the 12th column? :) ]

    4ac (ASSESSES) was a bit libertarian, but it’s all right eventually – just like 23’s DEFIANCE.

    As I said seven days ago, there was a lot more going on than in the previous prize puzzle [well, for us, that is – sometimes I have to be a bit careful with what I say].

    Vintage Paul [and not even that hard].

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks rightback,

    I found this puzzle tough but rewarding and also difficult to get into. So many great clues and I didn’t finish it till Monday although there’s no rush is there !. It’s fun to get inside Paul’s mind and there were so many moments of illumination. Thanks Paul.

  13. plutocrat says:

    I find Paul a bit oblique sometimes, so I was surprised to find this one quite approachable, and finished it quite quickly. Which for me is measured in hours rather than minutes. Anyway, good stuff.

  14. maarvarq says:

    Late to the party as usual – I just feel the need to point out that Paul may have meant “constant” = “c” (11ac) as in the speed of light, best known in the most famous formula in physics :)

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

five − = 2