Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize No 25,250 by Paul

Posted by bridgesong on February 26th, 2011


I thought that this was an easier than usual puzzle for a prize competition, and it took me about an hour and a half.

The theme – Leonardo and the Ninja Turtles –  was one which I dimly recall seeing before, although the anagram at 6 is, I think, new and wholly brilliant in the context of the clue.

Many thanks to PeeDee for his wonderful bit of software which enables me to dispense with the link to the pdf and instead allows you to see the clue by hovering your mouse over the clue number.

10 NEVADA DAVE in AN (all rev). Referring to Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture, and also a nod to the theme of the puzzle
11 LEONARDO *ONE in LARDO(n). A lardon is a small cube of bacon
12 CASTRO A,C (rev), *SORT. One of two clues in this week’s puzzle where the answer looks so obvious that you assume it can’t be right!
15 SKELETON S(to)KE, LET ON. The last clue I solved and even then I couldn’t work out the wordplay for some time. Stoke City are perhaps the least glamorous club in football’s Premiership, although they have a distinguished history. The surface is simply brilliant
16 GOLGOTHA GOT H(ot) in A LOG (rev).
19 See 2
22 See 6 down
24 TIRANA T(he), IRAN, A(lbania). The other clue where the answer looked too obvious to be true
25 MONA LISA ON in MALI, AS (rev). One of three clues defined simply as “11’s”.
27 INTESTACY IN TEST, (r)ACY. The legal description of your estate following death without having made a will
1 ADAGE AD, AGE. Saatchi & Saatchi were the predominant British advertising agency of the 1980s
2,19 THE LAST SUPPER *(LESS THAT), UPPER.  The Leonardo painting
3 See 6
4 See 6
5 LEFTOVERS EFT in LOVERS. Eft is an old word for a newt
*(MEN, JUST GENUINE TALENT AT ART). The names of the four heroes included Leonardo and Michaelangelo
7 GRANDIOSE *(GOES, RAIN, (scotlan)D)
ORATION OF THEM in ADAGI(o). The Leonardo painting
14 See 13
17 GRENADE *DANGER, pinEapple
20 PATELLA (specialis)T in PAELLA
23 NASTY Hidden in “protection as tyrant”

23 Responses to “Guardian Prize No 25,250 by Paul”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    First this: at Februari 14th I wrote this: “Can we have a Brendan on a Saturday, please?”. Wow, many thanks Hugh!


    Paul in optima forma (as the Dutch say in situations like this) – no smut, true, but a lot of wit and cleverness along the way.

    extraordinary anagram in a splendid misdirecting surface.
    This should be a classic.
    Would have been great too as a stand-alone clue (when 11 were just Leonardo).

    Our first entries were the two &lits, 12 and 24 (CASTRO & TIRANA).
    Very easy, but examples of how easy clues can be extremely satisfying.

    A big plus for 5d (LEFTOVERS), would be the Clue of the Day if TMNT wasn’t already CotD.
    Splendid clueing in 7d (GRANDIOSO – yes, indeed) and in 10ac (NEVADA).

    17ac deserves a special mentioning.
    Don’t like weapons to go off, but the imagery here was just amazing.

    Our last entry was ATTEMPT (18d).
    A pity that we weren’t convinced by ‘at’ for ‘towards’.

    Gosh, why am I so positive?
    Its’s only a crossword.
    Well, it was very very very enjoyable one.
    Did I say enjoyable?
    Yes I did!

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Sory, I meant GRANDIOSE (and it was!) and 17down (instead of across).

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Bridgesong for your helpful analysis and wonderful presentation.

    This must be the easiest PPP (Paul Prize Puzzle) ever but very enjoyable none the less.

    Even though I opted for SKELETON, I failed to see the Stoke connection until now. However, I would argue about Stoke being ‘the least glamorous club, etc.’ Wigan, West Brom and West Ham must also be serious contenders?

    This quickly unfolded for me after speculating that NINJA could be the solution to 3d N***A. What else?

    Many thanks Paul.

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Bridgesong. My last two were 15 and 17 and I had to stare at them for some time before enlightenment dawned. 17 was clever, PINEAPPLE also being a slang term for a hand grenade. I’m not sure I agree with Sil that 12 and 24 can be extremely satisfying; I spent some time looking for less obvious answers and gain more satisfaction from clues like 15 and 17.

  5. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Paul and bridgesong for your fine efforts. Loved the long anagram. Wondered about TIRANA – was I missing something? Apparently not. Learned two new words: bonce and lardon.


  6. Rishi says:

    Is there a possibility of my getting PeeDee’s software?

    My email ID:


    (ex-blogger on this forum)

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks bridgesong. Agree entirely with your puzzlement over 12a and 24a. Didn’t have trouble with this, except inordinate delay recalling what sort of mutant ninja turtles they were – teenage! Last in, 18d – mind fogged up with ‘automat.’ Loved 10a, and that fabulous work will be forever Dave.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks bridgesong for an excellent blog and Paul for an ‘immaculate conception’ which was nonetheless enjoyable.

    Pretty well all said already. Fine cluing. Like others I particularly liked the long ‘teenage mnt’ anagram. Like bridgesong I remember coming across a similar mixture of ideas last year. Also enjoyed ‘adoration of the magi’.

    ‘Nevada’ brilliant and ‘skeleton’ and ‘grenade’ very clever.

    Yes 12 and 24 were simple and lits, but even there the cluing very good.

    Like Sil I did worry a little re ‘at’ = towards. COD (to hand) says it can express exact, approximate, or vague position.

  9. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks bridgesong

    This was fun. I struggled initially trying to get a connection to the Knights Templar as I had the t and l of “turtles”. Then I assumed the long clue must be something similar to Vasari’s “Lives of the Great Artists”. When I started to see it must be ‘teenage’ I let out such a loud “I don’t believe it” when seeing the rest that I frightened my daughter! Excellent mis-direction from Paul.

    Bryan @3 with your comment about West Ham you may be risking some indignant “backbone of ’66” type comments. Let’s see.

  10. Storyteller says:

    I wondered about 27ac IN, TEST, (p)ACY rather than racy. Same difference but fits with the cricketing surface.

  11. Colin Greenland says:

    27ac: (p)ACY, I’m sure, yes. Wonderful crossword. Thanks for the blog.

  12. PeeDee says:

    Thanks for the blog bridgesong. What a treat! The Stoke City reference defeated me though, thanks for the explanation.

  13. Shirley says:

    Hope Sil enjoys todays Brendan more than we did! A bit disappointing for a Prize we thought

  14. Carrots says:

    I know nothing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but my 8 yrs. old grandson does. The idea of enlisting a child`s help to solve a Paul Prize Puzzle is taking me quite a bit of getting used to!

    But this was a lovely puzzle and a real delight throughout: Many thanks Paul & Bridgesong for such a memorable-even classic-puzzle.

  15. Carrots says:

    P.S. I don`t think I have ever seen Sil so ecstatic: his obvious pleasure is infectious. I`ll remember this when he`s being grumpy again!

  16. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle; at least I was confident in the answers, unlike yesterday’s Bonxie.

    Thanks bridgesong for a good blog. Like Sil, I thought TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES was a classic, especially after the misleading reference to Leonardo.

  17. Geoff says:

    Thanks to bridgesong and especially to John H.

    Thematic with four subsidiary clues, one of which was a long anagram with a splendidly misleading surface (I am still chuckling over it 7 days later). And no less than 4 &lits to boot.


  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Carrots (and others) I wrote my comments already last Saturday immediately after solving.
    Today I am probably a wiser man ….. :)

    Of course, we were also a bit puzzled by the easiness of TIRANA and CASTRO. Very un-Paulian, we thought, but probably he had these two clues still lying around somewhere and didn’t want to bin them – in our opinion, rightly so as they are well-written as such.

    But the long anagram was exceptional and fully worth my ecstasy.
    Michelangelo’s Dave and the great surfaces of 5d, 7d and 17d, wow.
    These clues just made our day.
    I know that a few good clues don’t make a good crossword [just like a few bad ones don’t make a bad puzzle], but given the quality of the rest, this was – I have to repeat – Paul in optima forma. One may disagree, of course.
    I don’t know anymore whether we found it as easy as some others, but when you’re really enjoying yourself (like we did) you can’t be bothered that much about it.

    Shirley, I don’t have an opinion on Brendan’s crossword yet [and will not say anything about it here anyway], but the simple fact thát he was chosen for the Saturday spot is – not just for me – something that he fully deserved at last!

    tupu @8: your COD gives a definition for “at” with the word ‘position’ in it, so something static. I’m not a linguist and certainly not an expert on English, but “towards” suggests a ‘movement’. On the other hand, in the expression “to aim at …” one can see “at” as “towards”. Still, I/we didn’t feel comfortable with it, especially as it was our last word to go in. Paul, though at times laddish in his clueing (my PinC’s words!), is always very precise too – so it felt a bit like a false note at the end of a smashing performance.

    And Carrots @14, me grumpy …. ? :)

    Last but not least, many many thanks to you bridgesong.

  19. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, bridgesong. A great Paul puzzle — lots of fun. Particularly liked the teenage mutant ninja turtles, the statue called Dave (!) and all the business with pineapples in 17dn, which was just gloriously silly.

    I’m ashamed to say I needed help with 15ac :-(

    Shirley @13. Me, too. Fastest solve ever for a prize.

  20. Martin P says:

    I have to say I’m not settled on themed crosswords. If you spot it too early on the solve can be over all too quickly, and the pleasure a bit short.

    I did have a moment’s pride in rumbling “Stoke City”, though.

    Many thanks to all :)

  21. Davy says:

    Thanks bridgesong,

    I thought this was a very entertaining puzzle from Paul whose style of clueing is certainly unique among(st) his fellow setters. I didn’t quite finish it despite its perceived simplicity but this was mainly due to lack of attention. I usually start the puzzle on a Saturday, remember on Tue/Wed that I’ve not finished it and then solve a few more clues sporadically. Suddenly it was Saturday so it remained unfinished and I’d had a golgotha of a day.

    As has already been said, the TMNT clue was a brilliant anagram and brings Paul further into the role of saucerer’s apprentice. LEFTOVERS was also brilliant.

    I cannot agree with Martin P on themed crosswords. To me they make the puzzle far more interesting and give a bonehead such as myself, more of a chance of completement (I hope that’s a word Eileen). I find 27 or so unrelated clues quite boring sometimes. Thanks Paul.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    I’ve been out and about. As I said, I was not wholly happy about ‘at’. One can, however, say for instance that ‘this puzzle lies somewhere towards the top of the list of Prize Crosswords’.

  23. Scarpia says:

    Thanks bridgesong.
    I enjoyed this puzzle which was full of Paul’s usual wit and invention,but I have to agree with Martin P @20.If a puzzle has a very narrow theme,like this one,once the gateway clue is solved the subsidiaries are often far too easy.In this case I noticed the clues referrimg to 11,so solved that first and after that could fill in 2,19/13,14 and 25 from the enumeration alone,which sort of opened up the whole puzzle rather quickly.
    For me,if a puzzle has a theme it needs to be wide ranging.
    Still,the turtles was a nice twist!
    As for this weeks prize puzzle….escaped from the Monday slot methinks!

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