Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,194 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on December 15th, 2010


‘The best laid schemes … ‘ My plan was to stay up and solve this puzzle when it was published and provide an early blog, for once. Alas, I fell asleep at about the crucial moment and consequently overslept, so the blog is even later than usual – and it’s not nearly so pretty as Duncan’s!

Thankfully, it’s a reasonably straightforward Paul puzzle, with a couple of typically Pauline touches and, for me, one really laugh-out-loud clue.


1   JACKPOT: JACK [fish] + POT [cauldron]
5   OSMOSIS: M[aoist] in a reversal of SO SO [moderate] + IS: one scientific process I did understand
9   CORGI: double definition – and perhaps rather hard on non-UK solvers: it’s an ‘acronym’ for Council for [Chambers] Registered Gas Installers – and the Queen’s favourite breed of dog
10,11,10, 23 DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS: cryptic definition and a witty reference to 14,16. In view of our differing preferences for puzzles / setters, I think it should perhaps be the motto of this site. :-)
12   OPUS: O [oxygen] + PUS [bodily fluid]
14, 16 SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: anagram – and some would say a hilarious & lit – of DRENCHING MY OWN MISSIS
18  WHIPSNADE ZOO: I wonder how many other people spent minutes trying to make an anagram of the rather odd surface BEDS DRAW CAT + A? The definition is ‘Beds draw’, referring to the Bedfordshire tourist attraction: WHIP [cat] + an anagram of A SNOOZE D[rop] – lovely!
21  MOCK: double definition
22  NEWFANGLED: NEW FANG [latest milk tooth] + LED [was in front] Edit: as NeilW points out, I meant NEW FANG [milk tooth] – ‘latest’ is the definition.
25  IMPARTIAL: I’M PARTIAL [limited]
26  TANGO: TAN [brown] + GO
27  GRENADE: DANE [European] + R [king] in EG [say] all reversed
28  SWEETEN: [enormou]S + WEE [cute] + TEN [figure]


JOCOSE: JOE [ordinary chap] round COS [island]
2   CURARE: to save further delay in the publication of the blog, I’ll leave this one to you.  [Thanks, Andrew – Comment 1]
PRICKLY ASH: PRICK [unpleasant person – Chambers: ‘a term of abuse for a person one dislikes or thinks a fool’] + Y [unknown] in LASH [birch]
4   TIDES: reversed hidden in advertiSED ITinerary
5   OFF COURSE: F [very poor grade] in OF COURSE [certainly]
MEET: homophone of meat
7   SHEEPISH: cryptic [or, rather, double – thanks Martin H @20] definition, referring to Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned.
8   SET ASIDE: SIDE [team] ‘inferior to’ [behind] anagram [ham] of EAST – a really nice surface
13  ANTOINETTE: TO + I [individual in the sense of the personal pronoun, I think] in ANNETTE [girl]
15  CEASEFIRE: anagram of AS FIERCE + [battl]E
17  MINCE PIE: Cockney rhyming slang for ‘eye’
19  PLANET: E [energy] in PLANT [bush, perhaps]
20  ADJOIN: A DJ [a jacket] + I in ON

24 ARIA: A + reversal of AIR [song]

42 Responses to “Guardian 25,194 / Paul”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. I think 2dn is CU = copper =”something reddish-brown” + RARE = “very red” (as in rare steak).

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew – I knew I could depend on you! :-)

  3. Dynamic says:

    Great crossword with enough gettable ways in to make a start or restart after a grinding halt. Thanks for the puzzle and blog, Paul and Eileen.

    18 – I couldn’t untangle the wordplay for ages – off seems such an insignificant anagram indicator! To avoid DRAW doing double duty, I think the anagram is of A SNOOZE D[rop] which I’m certain you were meaning to type.

  4. Shirley says:

    Thanks Eileen – we loved Whipsnade Zoo – what a great clue. 9A Just to be really picky CORGI no longer exists – gas fitters are now members of the more prosaic Gas Safe. But a lot of plumbers seem to still say they are CORGI registered on their vans – pity it was such an easily remembered acronym I don’t know why it was changed.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Dynamic

    ‘Off’ is actually a very common anagram indicator. Thanks, yes, ‘draw’ was a careless typo – no question of double duty – I’ll correct that now.

    And Shirley, I really did mean to write ‘former’! I agree with you re ‘If it aint broke …’

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. You obviously fell asleep listening to Enya!

    22 – do you think “Latest” might be the definition rather than part of the derivation of NEW FANG?

  7. Eileen says:

    You’re quite right in both respects, Neil!

    I don’t know what I was thinking about re 22 – of course that’s what I meant. You folk are all so polite! :-)

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. It helped to get 14, 16 at once with the eye-catching ‘ridiculous’ doing double duty. 5a seemed obvious but it took a bit to work it out: nice one. Its O gave 5d, and so enough letters to get the rhythm and answer to the 10 etc motto. All in all a fine puzzle, including especially the zoo clue. The gasfitting relevance to CORGI required later online verification – like 3d it was all new. No quibbles anywhere, except maybe the puzzlingly easy 24d: why “here”?

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul

    Like Dynamic, I made an easy start and then got stuck for a time. A very staisfying solve in the end.

    First in was 14,16 – very nice! I do not remember having encountered 10 etc. but it was eventually guessable.

    I had a vague recollection of CORGI. My Chambers gives ‘Confederation for Registration of Gas Installers’, while most google refs seem to have ‘of’ instead of ‘for’. A very nice clue.

    Masses of other ticked clues – lots of impish wit and subtle twists. Liked 18, 22, 26, 1d, 5, 7 (kept trying to use Parton!), 15.

    I had not heard of prickly ash but guessed it from the wordplay. Also known as the ‘toothache tree’ it seems.

    I thought 13 had a disappointing surface for such an otherwise superb puzzle.

  10. sidey says:

    CORGI still exists, unlike my interest in P’s efforts.

  11. tupu says:

    ps re 13d and individual.

    I wonder if the ref is to the number ‘one’ (Roman – where it is a letter – or arabic) rather than the personal pronoun.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen. From memory, this is only the second Paul I’ve ever finished, and certainly the first without having to use online gadgetry. It did, however, take me a long time. Your 10,11,10,23 suggestion as a motto has hit the nail on the head: I did enjoy it, and admired it, but I’m not sure Paul’s clueing style will ever fully float my boat. That aside, you can’t say WHIPSNADE ZOO, PRICKLY ASH and CEASEFIRE weren’t all fantastic clues, and the SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING anagram was excellent also.

    I have to say that I consider myself pretty well clued up on ‘popular culture’ references and expressions, having four children aged between 21 and 16 (yes, I know … perhaps I should have fallen asleep at the crucial moment more often) but I never in my life have come across DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. It was pretty much my last to go in.

    And I’m still not sure where the indication is in 4dn that you should just take part of the fodder reversed, or is this just Pauline clueing style that you have to get used to?

  13. tupu says:

    Hi K’sD
    Isn’t the reverse indicator in the ‘up’?

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi K’s D

    My four children are considerably older than yours but they were very fond of an American TV series, ‘Diff’rent strokes’, which is where [the only place] I came across the expression.

    In 4dn, since it’s a down clue, ‘held up’ is the containment / reversal indicator.

  15. tupu says:

    Sorry Eileen – I should have left that to you.

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, both. Okay, ‘held up’ makes sense.

  17. Robi says:

    Thanks Eileen for good explanations and to Paul for a not-impossible puzzle.
    I used to live near Whipsnade Zoo, so that fitted in fairly easily, although I didn’t get the full parsing until I saw the blog.
    On 28a, I thought cute was twee and couldn’t see then how the figure fitted in.
    I’ve had a number of CORGI men fiddling with my gas appliances, although they are now GS. Maybe the thought was that CORGI on their vans was misinterpreted by some to think that they were dog groomers.

  18. Dynamic says:

    Strangely, my PinC did today’s Telegraph Toughie No 476 by Notabilis with a little joining-in by me and the ‘ordinary chap’ of Paul’s 1d appeared in 10a, while 27a has something else in common. See for the full clues, hidden solutions and hints which I possibly shouldn’t post here.

    Eileen@5: Thanks, I shouldn’t have got held up by “off” in 18a but I became fixated with treating it as a removal indicator for too long. It was all rather well disguised for someone of my ablities but the penny-drop moment was lovely! Though I’m here for the fun not the speed, hopefully I’ll learn to move on and unravel such clues a little quicker.

  19. walruss says:

    Yes good one, much more satisfying than the recent Puck offering. Just a difference in league, there!! WHIPSNADE ZOO the best for me among these. Happy Xmas Paul.

  20. Martin H says:

    Not keen on ARIA (like molonglo – why ‘here’?) or ANTOINETTE, nor 10 etc, not just because I’d never heard the phrase, but find the lack of wordplay other than the reference to 14, 16 a bit weak. 14, 16 itself was terrific though, and so were 18, 15 and 22. Overall, witty and varied, and I though quite challenging.

    I think SHEEPISH is a double rather than a cryptic definition, Eileen. Like you I was stumped by the parsing of the CU in CURARE; Andrew’s explanation is no doubt right. Bit of a stretch isn’t it? Still, I was smiling when I finished, as usual with Paul, so thanks to him and to you for the commentary.

  21. Stella says:

    Many thanks Eileen and Paul

    I enjoyed this, though I needed a little help at 22ac., which made me smile when the penny dropped, and 3d. , which opened up the NW corner for me.

    I’d never heard the long expression, but the reference to 14/16 suggested ‘strokes’ and, after a sidetrack thinking of golf and holes, for some reason, I eventually hit on the rhyme.

    One of my first in was 8d., but the process there was curious, since the answer should have been immediately obvious, had I not equated fleshy ears with corn, and decided that ‘find’ referred to a maze!

    All in all great fun, though I didn’t know about the gasmen, and needed your explanations for 18ac. and 17d.

  22. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Martin H – corrected now. [There’ll soon be more ‘Edit’ than blog!]

    I didn’t much like ANTOINETTE either, but I’ve no problem with Andrew’s explanation of CURARE. I just couldn’t get my mind off the Latin verb!

    And ‘here’ I think, is OK, meaning ‘the answer’ – another song. My grouse with that one would have been that ARIA and ‘air’ are too close in derivation.

  23. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen. Finished all but 18A. The answer sounds like a character from Spongebob Squarepants. As you say, Eileen, Diff’rent Strokes was a US sit-com which ran from 1978-1982. I don’t recall the expression prior to that. If I ever make it to the UK, I must get some pennies that drop. Apparently when that happens, the puzzle is easily finished.


  24. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul. As always, Eileen, you cleared up plenty of loose ends for me (for example “Beds draw” as the definition of the zoo, which I completely missed, and the Dane in Grenade, also missed); and as always, I enjoyed your blog as much as the crossword. I have only just plucked up the courage to comment here, but have in fact been following your explanations and learning from them for about six months now – you and your fellow-bloggers have been formidable tutors to this crossword newcomer. Thank you!

  25. Eileen says:

    It’s good to hear from you, Wanderer – look forward to hearing more, now you’ve broken the ice. [I still remember how nervous I felt before clicking on ‘Submit comment’ for the first time! :-) ]

  26. Trebor says:

    I absolutely adored “Sheepish” and laughed for quite some time! A nice easy Paul after (or was it just me?) a series of more challenging offerings.

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi again Dynamic @ 18

    I was just going out when your comment was posted and I forgot to come back to the link.

    I’m constantly being amazed by the frequency of these spooky coincidences – and often, as today, they involve by no means common words. Thanks for that. [I prefer Paul’s clue, I think!]

  28. James G says:

    re 22 I wondered whether a NEW fang ought to be a permanent tooth. But I suppose milk teeth are all new in a way. Actually, do children have canine milk teeth at all, or do they only appear as adult teeth. Blimey! The things I worry about! I need to get a life!
    Great puzzle, and I loved all of it. And thatks for the blog, and for the working out of 2d which I just couldn’t get

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi James G

    You can stop worrying!

  30. Vince says:

    To James G @ 28

    You can have Canine Milk teeth, I still have one aged 37….

  31. Carrots says:

    Auntie Eileen: you are the undisputed queen of crossypuzzle land! This puzzle had everything that yesterday`s just didn`t. 18 ac., 17dn. and 14 dn., (as a bedevilling anagram), will probably remain in my memory for ever. The whole thing took me over two hours to crack….and even then, there were three guesses I couldn`t parse. Paul really is the Heir Apparent and when the Old Wizard eventually starts taking things “easy” (and lets hope that he NEVER does!)his chosen acolyte will be a worthy successor.

    PS….and thanks for the serenade XX.

  32. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    As you know, like you and MartinH, I did not much like 13d Antoinette whose surface seems strained.

    I am still puzzled by the parsing, however. I cannot properly understand your comment about I as the personal pronoun – this seems no more specially ‘individual’ than ‘he’ or ‘she’. Am I missing something here?

    It was for this reason that I suggested (@11) the possibility of ‘I’ as the number one. I realise that it is just a sign like an ‘I’ in our own numbers, but it is a letter in Roman ones (if a letter it needs to be – even though it was not a letter originally there either. OED gives i 5. The Roman numeral symbol for One.
    This was not originally the letter, but a single line denoting unity.)

    Any further ideas or clarification?

  33. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    A very enjoyable puzzle from Paul and (would you believe) I’ve just finished it. Despite having all the time in the world, I never seem to have time to do anything and usually finish off the puzzle after 9pm although I often fail to complete it. If I fail, I say to myself that I really didn’t have enough time. It’s just a defence mechanism.

    Some classic Paul today with WHIPSNADE ZOO, PRICKLY ASH (apologies to Ian W) and NEWFANGLED being marvellous.
    I also thought TANGO and CEASEFIRE were great. Paul is certainly out on his own when it comes to clue constructions. He is definitely the eire apparent to the great man himself (now who could that be ?).

  34. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    I’m sorry to have seemingly ignored your comment. You’re absolutely right: ‘individual’ = ‘one’.

    [I thought this was a very weak clue – and not like Paul. ‘Clutch to’ doesn’t exist as a phrase, does it? It’s surely either ‘clutch’ or ‘cling to’?]

    Congratulations, Davy!

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Different strokes for different folks?
    Did this puzzle all by myself tonight, and I have to admit it didn’t really set me on fire.

    I don’t know, maybe some clues were just a tad too easy (or had constructions that were a tiny bit too simple) like OPUS, MOCK, MINCE PIE, OFF COURSE or PLANET (guessed it rightaway from the first two words in the clue).
    ANTOINETTE was poor, I thought (using one (related) girl to get another). Didn’t like SHEEPISH either.

    I have seen ‘ham’ as an anagrind before, but that doesn’t mean I like it. It is probably ‘ham’ in the sense of ‘clumsy’?
    And capitalised, too – I know, don’t explain, I surrender …. :)
    Last one to go in was CORGI, and indeed, Eileen, the acronym was unknown to me, but it hád to that dog.

    So, a relatively negative verdict?
    Well, re-reading the clues, I must say that there’s not much wrong with this crossword as such.
    I had never heard of WHIPSNADE ZOO (had to Google), but it is nicely clued. And although I am getting tired of bottomed clues, 28ac (SWEETEN) was a highlight. Also liked TANGO and had to smile at SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING (one of my first entries) as it is [only in my opinion!] a ridiculous sport.

    Good puzzle, but (for me) a bit uneven.
    Some compared it to yesterday’s Puck (where I compared that one yesterday to a Paul), but I’m not sure whether Paul’s the winner.
    Last Saturday’s prize crossword, thát was “my” Paul.
    But more about that later.

    Different strokes for different folks?

  36. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks. I agree re ‘clutching to’. ‘Taking to’ would be better perhaps, but it doesn’t help all that much.

  37. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. As others have said, much to enjoy here ~ especially sheepish Dolly ! In 8d, I thought ‘inferior to’ was a neat way of saying that side is to be lower in position than seta, given that it’s a down clue. Thanks Paul, another nice one.

  38. TokyoColin says:

    Late to the party, but that is because I too fell asleep trying to finish this last night after a long, busy day. Polished it off over breakfast this morning. As others have said I found it a bit mixed but the good clues were very, very good.

    I particularly enjoyed the “synchronised swimming”/”different strokes” connection. I got the strokes answer early on and am very familiar with the phrase. I was surprised to see that not everyone is. It certainly predates that dreadful TV show but I probably know it from my time in the US in the 70s. (Yes, K’sD I am certainly old enough to not only remember, but to still revere, the Fab Four.)

    Many thanks Eileen for your excellent blog and your followup on the ensuing discussions. I suppose Paul/Eileen is my favourite setter/blogger partnership!

  39. Mr DNA says:

    grandpuzzler @ 23,

    The phrase DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS certainly predates the eponymous sitcom: I know it from the lyrics to the Sly & the Family Stone song Everyday People from, I think, 1969.

  40. frank king says:

    ref on pricklyash is actually biblical ‘kick against the pricks’=authority

  41. Huw Powell says:

    Hi Eileen, thanks for the blog, and to Paul for the slow-moving stumper ‘today’. This week went rough, I still have only four inked-in entries in Tuesday’s Puck!

    But having this one “mostly” done, I gave up and came here. I note you “apologize” to furriners for “CORGI” the acronym, thank you, had it pencilled in with big question marks. But no similar note for WHIPSNADE ZOO??? I thought it might be a zoo, but there was no real way to research what sort of zoo it might be. Oh well.

    The puzzle went from 1/4 finished to 3/4 finished when I got MOCK (trivial, eh?) which finally led me to Sync’d swimmers (sorry disabled capslock on this machine…) which finally opened up the “big answer”, helping me with the NE corner.

    My one pride is getting CURARE “on my own”. Cheers all!

  42. Huw Powell says:

    PS, ironically, the different strokes phrase is very common, or at least well known, on the colonial side of the pond. Go figure.

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