Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25222 Paul … The Vroom Vroom Show

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 18th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a lovely day this is turning out to be. First, I get to blog Paul and this evening I get to work up a thirst while hashing in the tropical jungle. Today’s bi-thematic puzzle is, as usual with Paul, very meticulously fair and solvable. Fantastic way to start off a lovely day.

8 SAN DIEGO Cha of SAND (coastal feature) IE (id est, that is) GO (to be removed)
9 ABHOR Ins of H (husband) in ABORT (stop) minus T
10,24 PULLOVER A speeding driver would, if caught by a speed trap, be asked to pull over to get his love letter. First of the other theme, a garment worn on top
11 SUGGESTIVE SUG (rev of GUS, boy) + DIGESTIVE (biscuit) minus Princess DIana
12 CHILLY C (cold) HILLY (mountains so)
14 ARMY WORM Ins of MY WOR (rev of ROW, line) in ARM (weapon) the larva of a small fly (genus Sciara) that collects in vast armies and can move in multitudes from field to field destroying crops
15 HAMSTER *(River THAMES) Nice surface and the nickname of Richard Hammond, the third presenter of Top Gear thanks to Madeleine White
17 MYSTIFY MY (Paul’s) + rev of Y (why) FITS (suits)
22, 20 JEREMY CLARKSON *(JEANS MOCKERY Left & Right) If this presenter at Top Gear is a scruffy wag, this would be an &lit
23 FALSE ALARM Ins of SEA (water) in ALL (everyone) -> ALSEAL inserted in FARM (rural establishment)
24 ORGY Ins of G (good) in TORY (Conservative Party) minus T. One of the delights of watching an Alfred Hitchcock film is to spot his incidental and innocuous appearance in one of the scenes. Similarly, solving a Paul involves spotting the risque clue of the day. Yes, my COD
25 TARSI TARS (sailors) I (iodine)
26 CHEYENNE Cha of CHE (GUEVARA, revolutionary) YEN (yearning) NE (North-East of the British Isle, where Newcastle is)

1 BABUSHKA Ins of former president George W BUSH in BA (Bachelor of Arts degree) and KA (Egyptian spirit) I was briefyly mired here trying to find a word with NAN. Defined in Chambers as triangular headscarf tied under the chin; a grandmother, granny, elderly woman.
2 IDOL I DO (solve) L (last letter of Paul)
3 JERSEY Second of the other garment theme
4 TOP GEAR Top Gear is an award winning British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars. The show is currently presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and JAMES MAY (answer to 5 Down; hence 5th show)
5 JAMES MAY JAM (blockage) + ins of M (motorway) in *(EASY)
6 WHITE WATER *(WITH) + ins of W (first letter of weevils) in EATER (apple)
7 DRIVER dd The golfer’s club (usually wood 1,3 or 5) used to start a hole
13 LAST RESORT One of those reversed clues where the answer reads like a clue *(last ) = salt
16 ECSTATIC EC (rev of CE, Church of England; incidentally, outside the UK, this is referred to as the Anglican Church) STATIC (still)
18 FUMIGANT Ins of M (universal) MIG (Russian fighter plane) in FANTASIA (imaginative work by Walt Disney) minus ASIA
19 INFANCY IN FANCY (thought)
21 LEAN-TO Ins of ANT (crawler) in LEO ( Leo George BLAIR (born 2000) the youngest son of Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and his wife Cherie Blair… looks like Tony Blair isn’t the most beloved of past premiers … second time he got hammered
22 JUMPER Third and last of the other top-gear garment themed answer

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

45 Responses to “Guardian 25222 Paul … The Vroom Vroom Show”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for another fine blog. I agree with all your adjectives for Paul’s puzzle. Never watched TOP GEAR but I admit to a dim familiarity with the names involved. Not so Leo of 21d, but it was evident. 14a was last to go in – never heard of that creature either, but the clue was excellent, as many others from 8a on.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks, Paul and well done, Uncle Yap. Although Top Gear does play here in the Colonies, I haven’t watched it so appreciate your enlightening me on the show and the stars. I was slowed down by 12A for a while by entering CHILLS in lieu of CHILLY. Should we count BABUSHKA as top gear?


  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap this was very enjoyable and, even though I’ve never watched TOP GEAR, I was aware of the two presenters’ names.

    However, I failed with 1d, having opted for Macushla which rang a bell from somewhere. I would never have chosen BABUSHKA.

    It’s the price I pay for doing these puzzles offline.

    Well done Paul!

  4. Madeleine White says:

    I think you should mention that 15a is the nickname of the third presenter in Top Gear, David Hammond.

  5. Swukker says:

    The Hamster is actually Richard Hammond. 22,20 is, indeed, an excellent &lit, describing JC in a nutshell.
    Not a difficult puzzle (although I guessed 14A, never having heard of it) but very enjoyable. However, it must have been a bit of a closed book to non-British resident solvers.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

    I don’t drive and so have never watched the programme but do know of its presenters.

    Lots of witty clues, especially PULLOVER, linking the two themes.

    [Polite request, which has been made by others before, that you don’t give your blogs a title which gives away the theme. :-) ]

    Re 4 dn: as I said, I’m not a driver but doesn’t ‘5th’ just mean ‘top gear’?

  7. Michael says:

    As Eileen said, fifth is top gear. You are presumably not an FRB Uncle Yap :) On-on

  8. Orange says:

    Enjoyed this one, and I hope Jeremy Clarkson is suitably impressed with appearing in a Guardian Crossword. Anyone else waste time trying fit “Garibal” into 11a (garibaldi minus the ubiquitous di)? Thought I was being so clever!

  9. sidey says:

    Typical Paul, very well clued thematic answers especially JC whose jeans are a trade mark, the rest distinctly average though.

  10. paul8hours says:

    Thanks UY and Paul. Very enjoyable puzzle to do but not very challenging despite not having a TV and having no interest in puerile ‘entertainment’ like Top Gear. I can never understand why my female relatives love it so much. My COD is 23A which raised a smile.

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Managed this in one sitting (40′); very enjoyable, so thanks Paul and UY. It took me till late in the crossword to get 4d; JERSEY was the first connected one I got, so was thinking along the lines of COW G— (GATE, GIRL) for a while. Then PULL OVER led to the correct answer.

    I agree with Eileen and Michael about 4d. That is why the ? is in the clue; there are not always 5 forward gears.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Paul

    A very enjoyable puzzle with its theme shifts and clever cluing.

    I agree with Eileen and Michael re 5th and (please) also with Eileen re vroom vroom though this did not matter to me this time.

    9, 23, 24,4, 13, 18 all particularly amused at time of solving. The 22, 20 anagram is cleverly unlikely but answer first guessed from context.

  13. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. What a witty puzzle! One small point. 26ac Newcastle is in the NE of England,not the British Isles as I’m sure you know only too well. I suppose a pedant (and I’m one , obviously) might object that there are several other Newcastles in England, Wales and elsewhere and they are not necessarily in the NE. Oh well – back to the annual marmalade-making marathon. Beats hashing any day!

  14. tupu says:

    and Dave Ellison re ? etc.

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, progress: I completed another Paul and have to say I enjoyed it, despite the theme. The programme and in particular 22/20 do my head in and I’m only familiar with it because my kids have it on sometimes.

    But to be fair to Paul, he introduced a second theme, which was amusing, and I was taken with LAST RESORT, FUMIGANT and ORGY too.

    If I may also have a small but polite request: can we finally lay Diana I only got one GCSE Spencer to rest as a clue, please?

    Excellent blog as always, Uncle Yap.

  16. Stella says:

    I might agree, K’sD, but at least she’s useful here :)

    Thanks for the blog UY. I also took 4d to be referring to the 5th gear, especially as there is a similar show called just that. I seem to be in a minority here, in that I actually enjoy the show when I get to see it – it’s a welcome change from most programmes of the genre, which seem to be chock-full of technicalities without saying much about how it feels to drive the car in question.

    So I enjoyed this puzzle, even though it took a while to get the theme clue. Not too taxing, but by no means a giveaway. Thanks Paul.

  17. James G says:

    lovely puzzle and blog thanks

    Re 26 why is Cheyenne Brave? If brave is indeed the definition.

    Found the theme difficult, as I loathe Top Gear and all it represents, and think of JC and his chums as the devil incarnate!

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Paul for excellent clueing, and to UY for a super blog.

    I,too, was determined to find a spirit beginning with ‘nan’ in 1d (nanushka? nanuchka?).

    Top Gear is worth an occasional look, just to see how objectionable JC can be, although some of the stunts are dangerously stupid (like driving at over 100 mph on an autobahn in a non-roadworthy car!) I was tickled to see how JC changed his mind about the Prius once Cameron Diaz was on the programme!

    My COD (if that is clue-of-the-day [?]) was 1, despite my difficulties and the torture involved.

  19. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I envy you your hash tonight, I ran in temperatures of 3C.

    I always look forward to a Paul puzzle and I got a pleasant surprise when the first Across answer was the city I lived in for 7 years many moons ago. Things went well for a while but I had to resort to “guess and Google” for the last half dozen as Swukker@5 predicted. Never seen Top Gear so didn’t know any of its presenters and have never heard an apple called an “eater” (are there “throwers”?) But the parts I understood I enjoyed. Favourite was 13dn.

  20. Tokyo Colin says:

    To James G – the cheyenne are a native American nation and a brave is a native American warrior.

    In order to loathe Top Gear you have to have seen it and clearly remember it well.

  21. Roger says:

    Thanks YU ~ and Paul, for a fun puzzle linked to a brilliant tv programme … some say, a motoring show where the car is largely incidental. A thought wrt 8a, does ‘go’ not come from ‘be removed’ (rather than ‘to be removed’) as in “That rubbish must go.” (Now, now, no cheap jokes linking this to Top Gear !)

  22. norm says:

    Tokyo Collin @19 – apples can be eaters or cookers

    Loved 24a – I think ‘conservative’ = TORY while ‘party’ is part of the cheeky definition

  23. Geoff says:

    Thanks to Paul and UY. Fun puzzle, which I raced through, unlike many from this setter.

    Wonderful &lit for the egregious JC in 22, 20.

    Roger @21: the ‘to’ in 8a works if it is read as a linker word for the charade. ‘To’, ‘by’, ‘with’, ‘and’ etc are often used in this way.

  24. Roger says:

    Agreed, Geoff, that’s how I assumed the ‘to’ was being used, also. I was simply questioning UY’s blog where ‘go’ seems to be equated with ‘to be removed’.

  25. John H says:

    Good puzzle.

    For the non automotive types my Volvo automatic only goes up to third gear although i only ever use it in Drive (why have a dog and bark yourself).

    My VW van has six (forward) gears.

    Military vehicles can have nine forward gears and six reverse.

    Maybe i need to get out a bit

    I am appalled at having to say that 4 down is one of my guilty pleasures.

  26. Uncle Yap says:

    It is the evening of the day …
    I sit and watch the children play …
    Smiling faces I can see …
    But not for me, I sit and watch as tears go by …

    Just came back from my hash. We ran in the rain for some 7 km thro’ tropical jungles (yes, you can still find them in the City of Kuala Lumpur)and came back to the Club totally dehydrated which is a serious medical condition which could lead to dire consequences if left untreated. In true Hash tradition, water or 95% water was available and we partook for medical reasons, of course :-)

    Yes, Eileen, I felt guilty when I crafted the headline but then what could I say that is pertinent to the two themes in Paul’s excellent puzzle?
    Please forgive me, for I have sinned.

    And yes, you are absolutely right about 5th being the top gear; even thought some car-makers call it overdrive. I bow once again to your erudition.

    I better go to bed before I say something I might regret tomorrow

    Good Night, sleep tight
    do not let the bedbugs bite

  27. Stella says:

    :) :) UY

    Very poetic. Buenas noches y quelos ángeles te guarden.

  28. Stella says:

    I’ve just been told off by Word Press for posting comments too quickly, as I tried to correct a slight error in the previous one having already hit the ‘submit’ button:

    que los ángeles te guarden

  29. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog. What a lovely puzzle. I really enjoyed this, especially JEREMY CLARKSON, who for those who don’t know him is famed for wearing ill-fitting jeans and mocking left, right (and centre).

    I was stumped for 4d – agree with those who say that ‘5th’ refers to the top gear in (many) cars – until I started getting some of the linked clues.

    I seem to have missed the second theme, unless this refers to the fact that clues linked to 4d fall into two categories dependent on two readings of ‘top gear’. Could someone point me in the direction of the second theme, if it’s not that?

    Also have been unable to parse 13d, and it’s not really explained in the blog. I get that LAST is an anagram of ‘salt’, and that a last resort is something without appeal, but can’t see where RESORT comes from. Would be grateful to any kind soul who would explain it to me. Thanks.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi otter

    Since UY’s gone to bed …

    Yes, you’re right about the second theme, JERSEY, JUMPER and PULLOVER all being ‘tops’.

    Re 13dn: we’ve seen ‘resort’ [read it as ‘re-sort’] several times as an anagram indicator recently. ‘Salt’ is an anagram of LAST, i.e. LAST RESORT.

  31. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap. And thanks to Paul for a very entertaining puzzle, with its two linked themes. I think a case could be made for 7dn being a theme clue, too.

    Otter — jersey, jumper and pullover are all types of ‘top gear’. And if you ‘re-sort’ ‘salt’, you get ‘last’ :-)

    I don’t make a habit of watching Top Gear, but when I do, I find it hilarious (although I know I shouldn’t really). 22,20 was my favourite clue.

  32. liz says:

    Eileen — you beat me to it! :-)

  33. Robi says:

    In case anyone, like me, didn’t know what UY meant by ‘hashing,’ here is an appropriate link:

  34. Carrots says:

    This puzzle initially had me barking up several wrong trees (COW GIRL/MEAL WORM/FUMICIDE etc) before getting the theme with HAMSTER. Even so, I needed UY`s excellent blog for the last three solutions.

    My Skoda Superb has six forward gears, so the clue should read “5th or 6th show”. Incidentally, this is the model with kerbside “Park Assist” which JC of Top Gear used to smash into into another parked vehicle….entirely, in my view, by not following instructions and with the sole intent of mocking Skodas generally. Jezza needs not only to buy himself some jeans that fit but also get himself a (larger) brain trnsplant whilst he`s at it!

    Great Puzzle Paul…super solve.

  35. otter says:

    Thanks, Eileen and Liz. I realised that jumper etc were types of ‘top gear'; but to me it’s one theme (‘top gear’) with two different readings (a programme, and outerwear, as it would n doubt be called in a gentlemen’s outfitters).

    Thanks for enlightening me re ‘re-sort’ – I’m frequently stumped when words are enclosed together like that in crosswords. Will try to remember it.

  36. Median says:

    Really good puzzle – tough but clever and fair. Needed liberal helpings of TEA to revive me when I got stuck after solving only a few clues. Despite having JERSEY, PULLOVER and JUMPER, it took a while to get TOP GEAR. Thanks, Paul.

  37. g larsen says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Paul. One of the easiest offerings from Paul I can remember, but full of clever and amusing clues -especially the clue for Clarkson himself.

    I imagine Paul having a good chuckle at setting this theme for the Guardian, most of whose readers would 9ac the appalling Clarkson and all his works, I guess.

  38. Brian Harris says:

    Fab stuff today. Some really imaginative and humorous cluing. We spent ages guessing at what “5th” could refer to…..

  39. John H says:

    @ carrots

    Although he generally fits the description “twat” Clarkson has been remarkably supportive of and complimentary towards Skodas over recent years.

    He often recommends them over “posher” brands like BMW etc.

    He rubbished the mercedes anti collision system a lot more mercilessly – which was fair as it crashed the car within about fifty yards.

  40. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Carrots @ no 34, if you’re still around.

    If Gaufrid will permit me to go off-topic for a moment, there is a message for you about the Derby do in the latest update on the event in the Announcements section.

  41. sidey says:

    “In order to loathe Top Gear you have to have seen it and clearly remember it well.”

    It’s amazing quite how many people do so simply to go apoplectic about it.

  42. Carrots says:

    John H….I`m actually quite a fan of Top Gear (watching numerous repeats on “DAVE”) but can`t recollect one thing “Just Jezza & The Outlaws” have said in praise of Skodas. Maybe it`s because I have the 2.0TDI, which delivers up to 57.7 mpg and leaves so-called supercars standing at traffic lights.

    From Mr Toad….who collects his new one (the latest of three) in March.

  43. mike says:

    Why do folks get so upset about a motoring – themed tv comedy show? I go camping, drive a Vauxhall (with 6 gears), and disagree with Clarkson’s right wing rantings, but still watch Top Gear because it makes me laugh. Out loud. Frequently. Suggest some of us take ourselves a little less seriously?

  44. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.
    Great puzzle,crap theme.My heart dropped when I twigged that Top Gear was the theme.I always refer to JC as the antichrist,the high priest of the cult of the I.C.E.
    I am almost ashamed to admit enjoying the puzzle,although a lot of the references were to a different meaning of top gear.
    All fairly and wittily clued so no real cause for complaint.

  45. anax says:

    Mike @43
    Well said. I have every respect for solvers’ opinions on the TV show, but that doesn’t preclude a setter from using it as a theme.
    Actually, I’m slightly annoyed that John Halpern chose Top Gear as his subject – it’s forced me to scrap the one I was working on! Ah well; his secondary theme made this puzzle far superior to mine anyway.
    And I’m with you as regards reasons for watching the programme. It’s just damn funny, and its critics should remember that it doesn’t in any way pretend to be a serious, informative motoring programme. It’s (frequently irreverent) entertainment and whatever rantings (right wing or otherwise) it features are pretty mild compared to those of your average standup comedian. Frankie Boyle anyone?
    Sorry – back to the matter in hand; I had huge fun solving this one and, like Uncle Yap, I’m an ORGY fan – that was a real giggle.

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