Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25234 Paul … Good things come in threes

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 1st, 2011

Uncle Yap.

The Chinese has a saying that good things come in threes and true to the ancient wisdom of my people, I get to blog Paul for the third time in a row. This augurs well for the imminent dawning of the Lunar New Year in two days’ time when we welcome the Hare (being a hasher, I prefer this lagomorphic creature to its more common cousin, the Rabbit) and break out the ubiquitous Official fruit (8) and greet each other Gong Xi Fa Cai.

When you solve and blog Paul, you get to smile, chuckle and even guffaw aloud a few times when you unravel the cleverness and sheer audacity of his 15 devices and today is no exception; 14,2 gets my vote for COD, closely followed by the outrageous Spoonerism in 1Down. Thank you, Paul, for such a great start to my day.

1 KICK OFF TICK OFF (carpet) with first letter changed from T to K
5 BEQUEST cd which Rufus would be proud of
9 EXALT Cha of EX (old) ALT (in alt = in the octave beginning on the G an octave and a fifth above middle C; in an exalted and high-flown mood) or, more appealingly as Barbara saw it, alt = key on computer
10 COALITION Ins of A L (Liberal) IT I O (1-0) in CON (Tory) Poor Nick Clegg
12 BURP Ins of R (right) in BUP (Rev of PUB, local)
14,2 SUBORDINATE CLAUSE What an absolutely hilarious homophone clue involving CLAUS and CLAUSE. Winner by a short head!
18 FLOWERINESS ha and I spent a couple of minutes trying to unravel the wordplay
21 ROOK Another brilliant dd involving the castle on the chess board and the crow flying in the air
22 ALTARPIECE Ins of *(ART) P (first letter of Padre) in A LIE (position) + CE (Church of England) I reckon this qualifies as an &lit
25 GRAVITATE Ins of V (very) in *(I GET A RAT)
27 TALLEST Tichy way to present ALL in TEST as a total of 22 international cricketers. Very creative

1,28 KEEN AS MUSTARD Mean as custard (nasty and yellow) I always enjoy Spoonerism clues and this one got me snickering
3 OUTCLASSED Ins of ASS (fool) in *(CLOUTED)
4 FACET Ins of E (East) in FACT (actuality)
5 BRASSERIE Cha of BRASS (money) ERIE (the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America)
6 QUIT QUITE (fairly) minus E
8 TONE POEM Ins of NEP O (Rev of Old PEN, writer) in *(TOME) for a piece of programme music, not divided into movements, conveying or translating a poetic idea or literary theme.
13 DISSIPATES Ins of I’S (one’s) + SIP (drink) in DATES (fruit)
15 BRILLIANT Ins of L LIAN (rev of NAIL, tack & L, left) in BRIT (A British person clued as islander)
16 AFFRIGHT A FF (a couple of females) RIGHT (certainly)
17 MONORAIL Ins of NORA (girl) in *(LIMO)
19 BELUGA Ins of LUG (ear) in BEAR (grizzly) minus R (end ripped off)
20 BEAKED Ins of E (last letter of sausage) in BAKED (put in the oven)
23 A-TEAM Another cheeky way of saying a Cockney ATE HAM (Had meat) with the H omitted. The A-Team is an American action adventure television series about a fictional group of ex-United States Army Special Forces personnel who work as soldiers of fortune while on the run from the Army after being branded as war criminals for a “crime they didn’t commit”.
24,26 FIRE TRUCK Ins of I (individual) in FRET (worry) + RUCK (fight)

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

42 Responses to “Guardian 25234 Paul … Good things come in threes”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Many thanks to Uncle Yap and Paul for a very entertaining morning.

  2. Barbara says:

    9. ex alt
    I see it as ex = old (former) and
    alt = key on computer

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, for another excellent analysis. You are still the Fastest Gun in East.

    I thought this was top class!

    On first reading, I was puzzled by so many clues – even FLOWERINESS – but they all unravelled one by one.

    The SE corner was my last segment after finally figuring out ALTARPIECE. I never imagined that there would be a religious artefact in any of Paul’s puzzles. BURP seems much more his style.

    Many thanks Paul – yes I do know that you watch 225.

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, blog well up to your high standard. Thanks too for parsing 1a for me. Found this steady going, but got held up by a couple of toughies, including the excellent 17d. Liked 21d as well.

  5. malc95 says:

    Thanks Paul for another superb offering, and thanks UY for the explanatory blog.

    Couldn’t fully parse 1a, 9a & 15d, and had 23d as anagram of ‘a(d) meat – didn’t know what to do with the D! Had 12a as DUMP, but couldn’t see why. Now I know – it’s ‘cos I was wrong.

  6. beermagnet says:

    beeF LOWER IN ESSential has got to be the best hidden for a long time.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, a great Xword from Paul, which I found easier than the usual. Thanks, UY, for explanation to 1ac.

    A worthy, chucklesome spoonerism, for a change, at 1d. I liked the misdirections in several clues including 20d (thought COOKED, with its double O, for a while) and the superb 17d.

  8. beermagnet says:

    Was I the only one who wrote in TICK OFF interpreting 1A as
    Start putting fresh lead on, carpet
    instead of
    Start, putting fresh lead on carpet

    That delayed seeing the lovely Spoonerism at 1D for some time.

  9. Geoff says:

    Thanks UY and to Paul for a most entertaining (but not that difficult) puzzle, with a good complement of LOL clues.

    As beermagnet remarked, 18ac is an excellent hidden clue – it was one of the last I solved.

    22ac is a clever &lit that we might rather have expected from one of our reverend setters- Araucaria or Gordius.

    I only knew AFFRIGHT as a verb and I hadn’t come across it as a noun before, but Chambers assures me it can be so.

  10. Martin H says:

    I thought I knew most musical terms, but ‘in alt’ is a new one for me, so thanks for that UY; that wouldn’t give a Key though, so Barbara’s version (9) is no doubt what was intended.

    Some terrific clues here, for BEAKED and FLOWERINESS particularly, but 5 and 14,2 fell flat, and I’m afraid I didn’t go over the moon about the Spoonerism either, but partly for the reason that no-one seems to have found an interesting way to indicate them. ‘A total of’ meaning ALL (put) in (27) was very nice.

  11. aloo2 says:

    Doesn’t a duck have a bill. As “Mummy mummy there’s a man at the door with a bill, don’t be silly, it must be a duck with a hat on”.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Paul

    An excellent blog overall to a very clever puzzle. I agree with Barbara re 9 (a vg clue).

    I think your parsing of 13d is not quite right. ‘I’s’ is not ‘up’ i.e Insert of ‘I’s sip’ in ‘dates’.

    Masses of good clues including some fine misdirections. Agree re 14,2. Also liked 12, 18!, 27, 1d,28, 15, 17, 20 and 23 a lot.

    I wondered about your motto but could only see the ‘bus’ in 11. Thanks for the explanation!

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Paul for an entertaining start to the day, and Happy New Year.

    I managed all of this without understanding several, and had never heard of a tone poem, so your explanations were very welcome. 18ac was so well hidden I didn’t see it till I came here :)

    I agree with you on the two double clues, which raised a smile, as did the Paulish 12ac., though it’s really quite tame, isn’t it?

    Regarding the spoonerism, I’ve no more idea how mustard can be keen, than custard mean!

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Stella H

    Keen means ‘sharp’ here, I think, as one can say a knife-blad is ‘keen’.

  15. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I really enjoyed this puzzle — some great misdirection. Superb hidden at 17ac! I also liked the ‘tichy’ wordplay at 27 and the surface of 10ac. Great fun. Thanks Paul!

  16. blaise says:

    The spoonerism was easy for those who remembered the old schoolboy joke:
    What’s yellow and dangerous?
    Shark-infested custard!

  17. muz says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap

    I’m becoming a Paul fan.

    You’ve gotta love Spoonerism (we always used to sing “four bawling Kurds” in the twelve days of christmas).

    Finding a hiding place for “floweriness” was impressive!

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Paul for an enjoyable solve. And thanks to UY for an impressive blog.

    I found this a little easier than some previous ones but, despite playing chess, I took ages to get 21; I thought it must have something to do with superman, pilots or anglers!

    Amazingly, for once I saw the ha in 18. Didn’t know TONE POEM but the wordplay was good enough to get the answer.

    I loved 14,2 and 17. All-in-all a very good puzzle.

  19. William says:

    Thanks, Uncle, and huge thanks to Paul. This was a delight from start to finish.

    I feel regret for those who could not enjoy SUBORDINATE CLAUSE or MEAN AS CUSTARD. This is what crosswords are about, for me.

    One quibble, though, I very quickly saw the word play in (T)KICK OFF, but why is ‘kick off’ to start putting? No doubt I’ve missed something.

    Thanks for a great blog.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Hi tupu – so what does mustard cut?

  21. Robi says:

    William, I think KICK OFF is just (to) start. I assume the putting refers to ‘putting (on the) fresh lead’ for TICK OFF.

  22. Robi says:

    Stella @20, see: Not that it helps that much.

  23. William says:

    Robi @21

    Ah. Being a bit dim there, I think. I had the wrong def, which is my most common error with Paul.

    Thanks, Robi

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Stella
    :) I suppose it cuts the taste buds with its sharp taste.
    There is also the ‘reverse’ expression ‘cut the mustard’! The rationale for that is much more puzzling, though its meaning is clear enough.

  25. William says:

    Stella @20, I’ve often wondered about ‘Cut the Mustard’. There is no shortage of ‘retro-fit’ type explanations, none of which is very satisfying. This, I thought, had the most credibilty;

    “There has been an association between the heat and piquancy of mustard and the zest and energy of people’s behaviour. This dates back to at least 1672, when the term ‘as keen as mustard’ is first recorded. ‘Up to mustard’ or just ‘mustard’ means up to standard in the same way as ‘up to snuff’. ‘Cutting’ has also long been used to mean ‘exhibiting’, as in the phrase ‘cutting a fine figure’. Unless some actual evidence is found for the other proposed explanations, the derivation of ‘cutting the mustard’ as an alternative way of saying ‘exhibiting one’s high standards’ is by far the most likely.”

  26. tupu says:

    Hi William
    :) I wonder if you are a bit mixed up between 20 and 24? In any case the quote is useful for general consumption as is the Worldwidewords

  27. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Paul & Uncle Yap

    Toiled a bit to start with on this one but after getting about 50% the rest eventually fell into place.

    Took me ages to see FLOWERINESS & it was staring me in the face.

  28. yogdaws says:

    Thanks UY and Paul

    Always feel cheated on the rare occasions when Paul’s irreverant – often topical – wit is absent but today’s xword had lots of nice moments. 10a (like the image of Cameron bear-hugging Clegg)…flatulent 12a…sweetly bonkers 1d…sly 20d…and very clever 18a…

    Only whinge: 22a – bit on the clunky side.

    Keep ’em coming!

  29. William says:

    Apologies, Tupu, you’re quite right.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi William

    Thanks. Easily done!

  31. tupu says:

    Hi Uncle Yap
    I left a small amendment @12 to your fine blog this morning which seems to have gone past you. I believe your reading of ‘dissipates’ is not quite right. Should it not be insertion of ‘i’s + sip’ in ‘dates’? Or have I missed something?

  32. stiofain says:

    Another classic Paul and a rare one with no smut perhaps he feels that is becoming too much of a signature as we have seen a few PG ones from him lately.
    Re mustard, in Belfast it is slang for “crap” or a person hard to stand the company of would be described as mustard.
    I enjoyed seeing the Derby pics thanks to all who stuck them up and Sil and Eileen for pointing me to them, it was nice to put some faces to the names it definitely didnt look like a mustard do.
    Tupu that was my parsing of DISSIPATES too with “soaking up” signifying the insertion.

  33. tupu says:

    Hi Stiofain
    Thanks. Yes that’s right. UY’s (no doubt hasty)reading gives ‘dsisipates’!
    I have also tried again with another problem I had yesterday re ‘overcome’.
    They are small things but the bloggers get personal copies of our comments and it would be nice if they responded, if only to show we are mistaken.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Good puzzle from last Saturday’s Great Absentee.
    Great, indeed capitalised, but not in relation to Absentee.

    As Dave Ellison said earlier, rather easy crossword, too.
    Although there was a difference between the top and the bottom half.

    Uncle Yap, thank you for the fine blog, but I think you should do something with tupu’s view on 13d (DISSIPATES) as it is right.
    Yes, boys and girls, I’ve heard somewhere that tupu and I seem to have come closer recently … :)
    BTW, when I saw the answer I immediately had visions of another (smutty) 4-letter word ‘coming up’, being perhaps a missed chance for Paul? Although, that would have been even beyond what is the Guardian’s definition of Crosswordland.

    My PinC (another great absentee) wasn’t happy with BEAKED (20d), as ‘put in the oven’ doesn’t mean ‘baked’. The oven could be off, she said.

    The difference between being British (and looking at the language in a natural way) and being from Somewhere Else (looking purely at the construction of the clue) became apparent in 23d (A-TEAM). Where my PinC didn’t see any problem as deleting an ‘h’ is deleting an ‘h’, I was questioning the fact that in the clue it was (v)erb+noun and in the answer verb+(n)oun.
    Ah well, she will surely be right.

    The top clues were IOO (= in our opinion) COALITION (10ac), GRAVITATE (25ac) and QUIT (6d). Not because they were hard to find, but because they were elegant.

    So, good crossword.
    And I hope Paul will join us all sooner or later at a KD-like do, otherwise I will call hím from now on ‘the other John H’ (instead of who I called so far ‘the other John H) :)

  35. Carrots says:

    My only excuse for only scratching the surface of this (and what surfaces it has to scratch!)is that I`m still convalescing after K`s D thrash. I daren`t confess how few of these solutions I managed to put in: if I did I might not get invited to the next one.

    Does anybody else suffer from “pop-ups” from First Direct Bank, obliterating the top two rows of the on-line print version of the Grauniad puzzle? Any ideas about how to get rid of them (short of storming the office of the El Supremo of First Direct with a Kalashnikov) would be very welcome.

  36. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.
    Super stuff from Paul.14/2 and 1/28 were real laugh out loud moments.

  37. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Carrots, you’ll be more than welcome the next time!!

    And, why not leave all this on-line-‘rubbish’ [excusez-moi le mot] behind, and just print off the pdf version?

    So much more pleasure, so much more the Real Thing!

  38. Davy says:

    … also Carrots, try the ordinary Print option to the extreme left of PDF. This is quite acceptable and also does not show yesterday’s answers unlike the PDF option. I used to use the PDF option but I’m now a convert to the grey Print. It saves your black ink too which is perfect for skinflints.

    As to your mental impairment, I don’t it’s just attributable to the gargle. We all have off days and days where thinking ability is enhanced. I finished this Paul after quite a struggle but failed to finish Rufus on Monday.

  39. Carrots says:

    Sil & Davy…..Many Thanks! Your combined might has out-flanked and out-gunned the evil gremlins of First Direct Bank and their irritating attempts to get their snouts into my coffers!

  40. Dynamic says:

    Just wanted to say this was a blast! Some marvellous images, a funny Spoonerism and Santa’s little helper were excellent, 17d “funny one-liner” was nice too as were quite a few others, and on 18a I was off on bovine tangents (lower) and all sorts (but I have no ‘beef’ about that) before my PinC spotted the hidden answer. Just the sort of Paul for a Tuesday – loads of fun yet not all that taxing (little or no obscure vocabulary) and masterly use of every major type of cryptic device including the cd and dd types we don’t often think of as typically Paulian. Loved it!

  41. Dynamic says:

    O.T – @35 – Carrots – I use Mozilla Firefox browser with a built-in pop-up blocker and haven’t yet noticed any attempts by First Direct to p!%$ me off.

  42. Dynamic says:

    For anyone still reading this blog, Paul (@crypticpaul) tweets that he declined to use another
    distasteful Spoonerism:
    “A further Spoonerism in today’s Guardian tempting, but ill-advised.”
    though, assuming he means 13d, he still managed to refer to the fruit in question, but thankfully not the condition in which the dear Reverend found it!
    Incidentally, Paul also tweeted a happy announcement, for which congratulations:
    “I’d like to announce my engagement to the lovely Taline, and wish us both a fabulous life together! Jan 30

    Does one announce one’s engagement on Twitter? Well, I’m getting married on July 31. I’d like to thank lovely Taline for saying ‘yes’. Feb 2

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