Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,242 / Paul

Posted by mhl on February 10th, 2011


As usual, a very entertaining solve from Paul, with a nice theme that shouldn’t have caused too many problems. (Incidentally, I’m sure we all wish the setter congratulations on his recent engagement!)

5. PUB GRUB PUG = “Dog” around B = “black”, followed by RUB = “shine”; Definition: “local food”
9. DISCO [min]D + I’S = “one’s” + CO = “business”; Definition: “Where would teenagers go at night?”
10. AT THE MOST A followed by: H = “hospital” + SOME reversed = “a few recovered” in (“feeding”) TTT = “three times”; Definition: “no more”
11. LONGFELLOW Cryptic definition
12,1. JE NE SAIS PAS (IS JAPANESE)* + S[ushi]; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s shrug of the shoulders”
14. MERCURIALISE MERC = “Car” + USE = “service” (as in “in use” / “in service”) around RIAL = “Iranian money” + I; Definition: “treat with liquid metal”
18. COUP DE MAÎTRE (I PRODUCE TEAM)*; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s stroke of genius”
21. ROAM Sounds like “Rome”; Definition: “Wander”
22. AMALGAMATE A + GLAM reversed = “lovely lying back” + A MATE = “a partner”; Definition: “come together” – I’m not sure about GLAM = “lovely” here…
25. FROGS LEGS A derogatory way of referring to a French person’s legs (“members”) might be FROG’S LEGS; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s dish”
26,6. SACRE BLEU (SECURABLE)*; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s oath”
27. LOSE OUT LOT = “Large number” around SEOU[l] = “capital almost”; Definition: “miss the boat”
28. SARKOZY SARK and OZ = “two islands” + [monarch]Y; Definition: “Leader of republic”
1. SADDLE [theatregoer]S + ADDLE = “go off”; Definition: “a seat”
2. INSANE “[SARKOZY]’s local dip” might be “in [the] Seine” (very!) “roughly speaking”; Definition: “Nuts”
3. PROOFREADS ROOF = “top of house” + RE = “on” in PADS = “flats”; Definition: “Corrects paperwork”
4. SNAIL S = “seconds” + NAIL = “secure”; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s food item”
5. POTPOURRI POUR = “to serve” in (PIT OR)*; Definition: “Mixed bag”
7. RHODESIA (I.E. SO HARD)*; Defintion: “Old country”
8. BATTERED Double definition: “Might cod be” and “assaulted”
13. HAIR RAISER Double definition: “Brylcreem” and “horror story”
15. CAMEMBERT CAME = “arrived” + M[elt] + BERT = “Vicky’s consort?”; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s food” – I like the idea of “Vicky and Bert” as opposed to “Victoria and Albert” :)
16. SCORNFUL CORN = “Something painful” in (FLU’S)*; Definition: “contemptuous”
17. ZUT ALORS Z = “the last” + (OUR LAST)*; Definition: “[SARKOZY]’s oath”
19. GAUCHO GAUCHE = “awkward” with the last letter replaced; Definition: “South American cowboy”
20. MERELY ME = “yours truly” + RELY = “bank”; Definition: “Just”
23. LYSIS Hidden in “sisterLY SISterhood”; Definition: “Breakdown” – – “of” as the hidden answer indicator is often used by Araucaria, but not by other setters so much
24. OSLO Alternate letters from “nOt SeLdOm”; Definition: “European city”

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,242 / Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Yes, another good and fair Paul, with one vintage clue (22A). The NW corner was easy enough to give the theme at once: 12a’s -E, -E could never be English, had to be French. A laugh for 13d – Paul perhaps hinting that once the cream neatly flattened, now it horridly makes stick up.

  2. Mikel says:

    Many thanks, mhl. Has Paul been watching a bit of Top Gear recently?

  3. Martin H says:

    Good puzzle, neat commentary – thanks to Paul and mhl. Thanks for the structure of ‘At the most'; it’s good when you see it, but it left me scratching my head. I found the NW the toughest bit, but perhaps molonglo means the NE where ‘je ne’ is.

    ‘Insane’? very much a stretch, and talking of which I thought ‘Longfellow’ a bit weak, and I agree about ‘glam’. My only other gripe is ‘that’ in 7d: cryptically it doesn’t do anything, and even the surface doesn’t need it.

    Otherwise a fair and entertaining puzzle. I liked CAMEMBERT, my first towards the theme.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Martin H-
    7d – “that is” = IE. How were you parsing it?

  5. William says:

    Thank you, mhl, and warmest congratulations to John & Taline on their forthcoming marriage.

    Loved this crossword, just my tasse de thé.

    LONGFELLOW being a stretched poet made me smile, as did FROGS LEGS & POTPOURRI.

    I entered ROME not ROAM in 21ac which mucked up ZUT ALORS! for a while.

    My only (very minor) question concerns Brylcreem as a hair raiser. In my day it was just the opposite, but perhaps there’s a relaunched modern version aimed at today’s youth who like to do different things with their barnet.

    Meilleur voeux, cordialement, Guillaume.

  6. Ian W. says:

    I think Sarkozy’s about as likely to say “sacre bleu” or “zut alors” as Cameron is to say “gadzooks” or “balderdash”, but an enjoyable crossword nonetheless.

  7. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, mhl – great blog!

    I really enjoyed this puzzle – not too taxing but lots of smiles. [I loved the juxtaposition of Sark and Oz as ‘two islands’.]

    I’m not sure whether you’re doubtful about the abbreviation or the definition of ‘glam’. I didn’t think twice about it: Chambers has it as a word in its own right and glam = lovely is fine by me.

    Hi Martin H

    In 7dn ‘that is’ [IE] is part of the wordplay.

    Many thanks , Paul – et félicitations!

  8. Eileen says:

    Sorry for the cross, Thomas99!

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl

    This unravelled very quickly after SARKOZY had been exposed and it was certainly not as challenging as Paul’s usual fare.

    Maybe Paul has been preoccupied with other things …

    Cherchez la femme?

  10. mhl says:

    Eileen: it was the meaning – I think that “glamorous” has very different connotations from “lovely”, but I suppose there’s quite a bit of overlap…

  11. Martin H says:

    Thomas @4 and Eileen @ 7 – Thank you – yes, of course. I’d have ended up in Rhodista or somewhere equally silly. Strange how you can lock on to a mistaken reading when the correct one is staring you in the face.

  12. Geoff says:

    Thanks mhl, and congratulations to Paul for an entertaining puzzle and les prochaines noces.

    I put SARKOZY in 27ac by mistake (it fitted with OSLO, as it happens), so the SW corner was bouleversé until I corrected it.

    Some great clues (I particularly liked 9ac and 11ac) though 8dn was a ‘groan out load’ rather than the usual LOL.

    The French theme is a bit Clarksonian for the Guardian – all ancient slang and tired cliches – but je m’en fiche.

  13. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks mhl & Paul for an entertaining puzzle. Thought I was going to have a lot of difficulty till I got M Sarkozy & things fell into place.

    Would OZ not be described as a continent rather than an island? Just a thought.

  14. Stella Heath says:

    I got straight into this at 12/1, and it made me smile to remember the number of objections to yesterday’s ‘l’âne’. Today’s offering is chock-a-block with French expressions, but as yet has produced no such complaints. Maybe because, as has been ably pointed out, they are all somewhat dated clichés.
    BTW, the Spanish (and I) also enjoy frogs’ legs and snails, and the first appeared in today’s quickie, too.

    On which point a ;) to Robi for his comment yesterday – today’s is another example.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul

    A very good blog for a puzzle with a main theme and a mini one (of food in various contexts e.g. cod, sushi, local food as well as camembert, snails and frogs legs)).

    It took me some time to finish – got stuck a bit with ‘mercurialise’ (despite seeing ‘rialise’)and ‘merely’.

    23d We are more used to its occurence in ‘analysis’ (and it is the reason why I am more hostile to ‘analyze’ than to most such spellings’ – I shrink from thinking what analize might mean).

    11a Anyone else remember from schooldays
    ‘The boy sat on the burning deck
    His feet were in the water’ Longfellow?

    I enjoyed several clues inc. 5a,12,1a, 21a, 27a, 15d, and 20d.

    I thought gaucho was weakest.

    A good example of a a puzzle where wit is combined with clever but fair cluing that really helps.

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Dang, I finished it! A while back I thought I was getting the hang of Paul, but then I lost the plot completely with him for several weeks. Mind you, I’m not sure how I finished this, a degree of guess work there. You may think it strange, but SARKOZY was almost the last to go in!

  17. Robi says:

    Sacre bleu! Zis poozle maid moi l’arf :lol:

    Nice one Paul, and thanks to mhl. I persevered with 28 until I solved it and then everything began to fall into place.

    I’m afraid I didn’t know COUP DE MAITRE (coup de grace, yes) but as it was an anagram it was relatively easy to get. I thought 14 was quite clever – it sent me off on the wrong track as I thought it must be RE* with Hg for mercury.

    Thanks, Stella @14; I’ll look at this over lunch.

  18. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. Congratulations to Paul and many thanks for a funny, enjoyable puzzle. Like Stella @14 I did wonder if there would be complaints about all the French expressions clued here! 28ac was almost the first that I got, which meant I unravelled the linked clues pretty quickly. I needed the check button for 14ac, which was the last to go in.

  19. crypticsue says:

    I usually struggle a bit with a Paul but not today. I did enjoy the theme and resurrecting my A level French. Thanks and congratulations to Paul.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Having had a chunter yesterday about how easy I found l’âne yesterday, I couldn’t not finish this one …

    I’ve only managed to complete a few Pauls before now, but this one was not too difficult. The gateway clue at 28ac was pretty clear and then the French theme helped. ‘Sacre bleu!’ is probably a bit passé (although I still occasionally say ‘groovy!’ when I’ve had too many Babychams), but my French friends still use ‘Zut!’ so I don’t think that’s too dated.

    French stereotyping? Not sure. The English all have a cup of tea at 4pm precisely, red buses still go round the capital, and all those investment *ankers going into the Square Mile every day still wear dark suits and bowler hats, just like in Mary Poppins, don’t they?

    Good puzzle, thank you Paul and congratulations. And thanks to mhl for the blog.

  21. Robi says:

    Stella @14: re. your last point, I can’t find a ‘p’ for ‘puzzle.’ Perhaps it’s an angram :)

  22. Robi says:

    BTW re. mhl @10 and others: I think ‘lovely’ here is meant as a noun (Chambers: ‘a beautiful woman’); glam as a noun is also ‘groomed beauty.’

  23. Alan says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. “Zut alors” was the very last to go in as I had mistakenly entered Rome instead of Roam. Re Robi @17, my old French lecturer had a list of tongue-in-cheek “mistranslations” for various French expressions, and one of my favourites was “lawn mower” for “coup de grâce”! Thanks to Paul for the puzzle and to mhl for the blog.

  24. Wanderer says:

    Hilarious. I think you need a very childish sense of humour to enjoy this puzzle, which apparently we all share. I did wonder why Paul didn’t go the whole hog and clue FROGS LEGS as simply “28’s members?” I also wonder if anyone at the French embassy does Guardian cryptics! Thanks mhl and Paul, this was a lot of fun.

  25. Eileen says:

    Thanks Robi @22

    That is the way I’d taken ‘glam’.

  26. Chris says:

    Typically excellent stuff from Paul.

    And the supposdely dodgy soundalike in 2d may not be exact, but it’s considerably better than a great many of the soundalikes we get which only work if you have a specific south of England accent, and which don’t work *at all* (to the point of insolubility) if you have a rhotic accent like Scottish or Irish.

    At least this one works more or less equally well (and gettably) wherever you are solving from.

  27. Geoff Chapman says:

    Unlike almost the rest of you I don’t worship at the Temple of St Paul and his clues only enthuse on rare occasions. This certainly isn’t one of them.

    But I’ll say this. Having just browsed his website and read about ‘the real Paul’….what a lovely man.

  28. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Robi@21, you’re quite right. It didn’t occur to me to look for such a (p)rosaic letter, once I’d identified the usual candidates – and yesterday I missed the pangram altogether, until you pointed it out.

  29. yogdaws says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul

    Concur with Ian W on crustiness of French oaths…but what the hell. It’s kind of in keeping with the stuffy old frog-bashing theme.

    Plus, I can forgive Paul almost anything for providing so many chuckles over the years.

    And he’s getting married.

  30. Paul8hours says:

    Congrats all round & relief again that French is the preferred language of Guardian setters. I see ‘Frogs Legs’ made it into the Quick today as well !

  31. Martin P says:

    Sure a few smiles but not nearly as many as the blog has supplied!
    G’night all, Martin and Sue

  32. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    This was a very entertaining puzzle from Paul and on first reading of the clues, I thought that I probably wouldn’t get anywhere with this but then I saw SARKOZY and most of it just fell into place. Took me ages to get DISCO (a horrible place of my youth) and SADDLE (I was trying for SETTEE or SETTLE till DISCO crept in).
    As Derek says at 16, sometimes I can lose the plot with Paul but this puzzle was very accessible. My French is very basic but the expressions here were fairly well known and not too difficult to suss out. My favourite clue was definitely INSANE which amused me.

    Congratulations to Mr Halpern and Taline (unusual name) and I hope you will be happy together as The Turtles used to sing.

  33. Qaos says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable crossword with 12,1 being the pick for me.

  34. guybles says:

    I lose track of how long I’ve been attempting to solve the Guardian cryptic – three years now? – yet this is only the second one I have managed all by myself. Tragically, the last one was 24,870. Still, I got there with no need to resort to anagram solvers, dictionaries, missing letter tools or – no offence intended – having to consult you lot.

    I did smirk at the cheek of 25a, nearly blew it on 21a (wrong homophone) and only really got 14a from patient assembly as the very last answer, but delighted in getting this one in the end.

    Of course, it’ll be about another 400 crosswords until I can say that again.

  35. Carrots says:

    I was looking forward to this but had completed only half (or so) in over 90 minutes. Cuisine Francais is the second love of my life, but helped me not at all.

    mhl`s blog was very useful in reminding me of my shortcomings. I will go to the Savoy Grill for lunch with the Eumenides by way of atonement.

  36. Roger says:

    Hi Gaufrid, if you’re within earshot, this is puzzle number 25242 (not 25252). Just for the record.

  37. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Roger, now corrected.

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